ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
NR3C1
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 10:52 pm

ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby NR3C1 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:00 pm

Long and informative article about the new realities and many emerging issues of the legal profession. I think everyone should read it.

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/arti ... igm_shift/

JD2014
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:45 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby JD2014 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:44 pm

the [legal] profession, which had just witnessed a golden age of prosperity unmatched by any other industry


Apparently the authors have never heard of the financial services industry.

xchel2828
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 11:02 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby xchel2828 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:03 pm

Technology is replacing many of the tasks formerly performed by lawyers. From a social point of view, this is very desirable because it drives down the cost of legal services and satisfies unmet legal needs. From an industry view, however, it can be a gut shot to the bottom line.


U.S. lawyers underestimate the threats of foreign competition to the provision of domestic legal services.


Lower-level “commodity” legal work is already being sent to developing markets like China, India and the Philippines because wages are lower and the multiplying workforce is eager. Staff positions doing document review and slogging through discovery are highly coveted by a booming, educated middle class in a culture where law firm jobs often go to those at the top of the caste system. And quality, consistency, security and efficiency concerns have been quelled by legal services providers such as Pangea3 (acquired by Thomson Reuters), which is building facilities across the U.S. modeled after its India operations, and Chicago-based Mindcrest, which has facilities in India.

What a sad and depressing article...

User avatar
DaveBear07
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:21 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby DaveBear07 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:12 pm

Just finished reading. Thanks for the share.

Do you all think these current trends will give rise to a more prominent 'start-up' climate in law? Or will it be the best firms that spearhead the adapting and innovation?

User avatar
NR3C1
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 10:52 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby NR3C1 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:31 pm

xchel2828 wrote:What a sad and depressing article...

It's inevitable... Technology and outsourcing will make most lawyers obsolete very soon. It may be shitty for lawyers, but society will benefit as a result because people and businesses will finally have access to very, very cheap legal services in the form of software and/or a legal counselor in India.

I am a Computer Scientist, and I am going to law school with about 10 other colleagues in a few more months. Our company is paying for all the costs on top of our salaries. Many other software companies are doing the same, or so we hear. Why? Because we all want to understand "the law," the legal system, and how they interact so that we can design software to perform legal services. In the past, software has been pretty successful (and displaced many lawyers in the process) at menial tasks, like "doc review;" but now, we want to accomplish much more, something like IBM achieved with Watson, except that we want to do that for legal services. We'll see how it works out, but we are all very excited and think it is totally doable.
DaveBear07 wrote:Just finished reading. Thanks for the share.

Do you all think these current trends will give rise to a more prominent 'start-up' climate in law? Or will it be the best firms that spearhead the adapting and innovation?

No. I don't think there will be a start-up climate in law. There will be innovation, but this innovation will make many lawyers obsolete. Legal services are probably going to change like manufacturing did a few decades ago. There will be much fewer workers/lawyers supervising the output of automated machines and software that performs much more efficiently than what countless workers/lawyers used to perform.
Last edited by NR3C1 on Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
DaveBear07
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:21 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby DaveBear07 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:34 pm

INBSkynet.

User avatar
NR3C1
Posts: 52
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 10:52 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby NR3C1 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:38 pm

DaveBear07 wrote:INBSkynet.

Many of us computer geeks actually believe that the "technological singularity" is near. Maybe in about 12 more years at the current rate.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:17 pm

Interesting article. Basically, lawyers prices are too high in the eyes of clients who are turning to technology & foreign suppliers of legal services.
Much of the article hints at the need for more cross-training in the legal profession so that lawyers become problem solvers & key business strategists in an increasingly globalized economy. Technology savvy JD/MBAs with foreign language fluency may be an answer.

Also, not directly addressed in the article, is the over supply of lawyers by law schools with no direct vested interest in their students' post law school success. Perhaps tuition should be paid primarily after law school in the form of a life-long share of the graduates earnings---such as one(1%) percent of gross annual earnings for life instead of tuition during law school. Harvard University tried this a couple of decades ago with undergraduates.

JD2014
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:45 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby JD2014 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:48 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Basically, lawyers prices are too high...Also, not directly addressed in the article, is the over supply of lawyers


If prices are too high, oversupply is clearly not the problem.

CanadianWolf wrote:Perhaps tuition should be paid primarily after law school


Perhaps people should stop paying $50k/year for a JD. If demand declines, schools will adjust prices to compensate.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:55 pm

Actually oversupply is a problem that is criss-crossing with another problem about pricing. The fact that both exist at the same time suggests that significant changes are overdue for the legal field. This was a main theme of the article.

If you don't think that there is an over supply of lawyers in the US, then you may want to get out & about a bit more.
If you don't think that US lawyers are too high cost, then why the dramatic shift to using lawyers in India & China ? Also why is the demand for $160,000 a year associates diminishing ?

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:03 pm

The change in bankruptcy laws which disallow discharge of student loans is a major reason that law school tuition has risen so rapidly. Easy money fueled the recent real estate boom & its subsequent bust, just as easy law school tuition loans are fueling the growth of law schools & the over-supply of lawyers. Guess what's coming next.

JD2014
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:45 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby JD2014 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:22 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:If you don't think that there is an over supply of lawyers in the US, then you may want to get out & about a bit more.


I've been out plenty. There is an absolute glut of lawyers $200k in debt who can't afford to take any job other than Biglaw associate for $160k. In that market, where law grads sell their services, and corporate law firms buy them, it is clearly a buyer's market where supply greatly exceeds demand.

For small businesses and consumers though, there isn't enough supply and lawyers are too expensive, at least partially because the prices attorneys need to charge to pay their loans are excessive, as the article states. In short, law school needs to be shorter and cheaper so attorneys able to serve this market. It would be great if the ABA could take the lead on this, rather than watching schools grind out grads deep in debt and unable to take jobs until it scares people away from law school, thus lowering demand for a JD and leading to reforms to rekindle it.

CanadianWolf wrote:If you don't think that US lawyers are too high cost, then why the dramatic shift to using lawyers in India & China ? Also why is the demand for $160,000 a year associates diminishing ?


I said there isn't an oversupply of lawyers, except in Biglaw, which, while the most prestigious, is actually only a tiny slice of the market. It's odd that you'd counter an argument about oversupply by indicating that buyers are going to other countries to further increase the supply. Demand for $160k associates is diminishing because they charge clients $300 to $700 an hour, which is a lot when there are other firms willing to undercut them.

CanadianWolf wrote:The change in bankruptcy laws which disallow discharge of student loans is a major reason that law school tuition has risen so rapidly.


No, the fact that people are willing to pay rapidly rising tuition prices is the reason tuition prices are rapidly rising. Federal loans just make this possible, while amending the bankruptcy code just made the government more comfortable that the money was being put to good use.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:25 pm

Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree. I don't agree with anything other than the change in your position about lawyers overpricing themselves from small clients as noted in the article.

Problems & causes of those problems often, and usually do, overlap. To me, your view is too simplistic because it fails to acknowledge that mixed factors can exist at the same time. You may not be seeing the big picture, in my opinion. Or, you may be focusing on just a portion of the picture when you put the blame on tuition paying law students. There is an information lag & a faith in cyclical economies that may be misplaced in light of the emerging realities of the US legal profession.

Amending the bankruptcy code was primarily an exercise of the power & influence in Congress of the large credit card companies to protect their interests in a down economy.

P.S. So where are all these $160,000 a year first year associate jobs ? We know where the $200,000 loans are.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
robotclubmember
Posts: 743
Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:53 am

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby robotclubmember » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:38 pm

NR3C1 wrote:I am a Computer Scientist, and I am going to law school with about 10 other colleagues in a few more months. Our company is paying for all the costs on top of our salaries. Many other software companies are doing the same, or so we hear. Why? Because we all want to understand "the law," the legal system, and how they interact so that we can design software to perform legal services. In the past, software has been pretty successful (and displaced many lawyers in the process) at menial tasks, like "doc review;" but now, we want to accomplish much more, something like IBM achieved with Watson, except that we want to do that for legal services. We'll see how it works out, but we are all very excited and think it is totally doable.


um where do i sign up lol

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: ABA Journal Article About the Legal Profession

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 01, 2011 12:17 am

Law school probably needs to revamp its curriculum to address the changes in the profession. Should law school be reduced to two years ? If law school remains as a three year degree, then should a substantial portion focus on interdisciplinary studies so that law students develop the "...ability to collaborate with professionals of other disciplines, such as systems engineering, knowledge management, marketing, finance & project management..." ? Additionally, the article cites growing globalization of the US legal industry & a need for "cross-border expertise".




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Google [Bot] and 4 guests