Lawyer without a license

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Veyron
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Lawyer without a license

Postby Veyron » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:13 pm

You don't need to be a member of the bar to do most legal work. Why don't firms just hire a few lawyers to do courtroom work and speak to clients and then a bunch of bright folks without law degrees to research, write, and do fact gathering? I know of at least one firm where the paralegals do just these sorts of things bit I was wondering why the practice is not more widespread.

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NinerFan
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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby NinerFan » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:25 pm

Just off the top of my head, businesses probably feel more comfortable with actual lawyers doing their work, even if some of it could be done by trained monkeys.

And, bright folks usually don't want to be paralegals and get paid like paralegals. That's why lots of bright young paralegals end up going to law school. Every firm would have to do this for it to have much of an effect.

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Veyron
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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby Veyron » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:34 pm

NinerFan wrote:Just off the top of my head, businesses probably feel more comfortable with actual lawyers doing their work, even if some of it could be done by trained monkeys.

And, bright folks usually don't want to be paralegals and get paid like paralegals. That's why lots of bright young paralegals end up going to law school. Every firm would have to do this for it to have much of an effect.


I mean, you could call them something else ("analyst" is a nice catch-all title). As far as getting paid like a paralegal, well considering that they wouldn't have law school debt and that paralegals make more than the average college graduate in this economy ....

And every firm would definitely not have to do it. A single firm could do it on its own and benefit. Its really silly to imagine that someone who has done well in a challenging undergraduate program would do any worse of a job than your average law grad. I showed a sample motion to a recent college graduate of my acquaintance and she was able to provide constructive suggestions. I have no doubt that with a week of instruction in Westlaw next, legal writing, and precedent she could produce something similar - the dirty little secret of law is that the clerical aspects of practice have much more to do with innate intelligence than anything else.

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NinerFan
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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby NinerFan » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:42 pm

I think firms like having lawyers with soul crushing non-dischargable debt because it forces them into indentured servitude. They can treat them like shit and they have no choice but to roll with it or get a slightly less shitty job at another firm if they want to pay off their loans.

If you have paralegals with no law school debt, their opportunity cost for switching careers is much lower compared to a recent law grad.

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dingbat
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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby dingbat » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:49 pm

Because no one is going to pay a law firm hundreds of dollars an hour for a paralegal to review documents.

With the deals we do, our team reviews the documents and the ibank's paralegals review the documents before we send them to the law firm. We don't pay them for doc review, we pay them to put their ass on the line if something goes wrong.
They have their first year associates perform doc review so that everything is correct before they sign off and put their ass on the line

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby bk1 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:57 pm

dingbat wrote:Because no one is going to pay a law firm hundreds of dollars an hour for a paralegal to review documents.


I think this is it. They can justify a high billing rate when the people they are using have JD's.

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby shoeshine » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:21 pm

Veyron wrote:You don't need to be a member of the bar to do most legal work. Why don't firms just hire a few lawyers to do courtroom work and speak to clients and then a bunch of bright folks without law degrees to research, write, and do fact gathering? I know of at least one firm where the paralegals do just these sorts of things bit I was wondering why the practice is not more widespread.


Because no one is going to pay 400-600 per billable hour for a non-lawyer, paralegal, or analyst to do their legal work.

/end thread

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Veyron
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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby Veyron » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:37 pm

dingbat wrote:Because no one is going to pay a law firm hundreds of dollars an hour for a paralegal to review documents.

With the deals we do, our team reviews the documents and the ibank's paralegals review the documents before we send them to the law firm. We don't pay them for doc review, we pay them to put their ass on the line if something goes wrong.
They have their first year associates perform doc review so that everything is correct before they sign off and put their ass on the line


shoeshine wrote:
Veyron wrote:You don't need to be a member of the bar to do most legal work. Why don't firms just hire a few lawyers to do courtroom work and speak to clients and then a bunch of bright folks without law degrees to research, write, and do fact gathering? I know of at least one firm where the paralegals do just these sorts of things bit I was wondering why the practice is not more widespread.


Because no one is going to pay 400-600 per billable hour for a non-lawyer, paralegal, or analyst to do their legal work.

/end thread


They do in London. Or, I should say, they pay hundreds of dollars (400-600 far above lower level associate territory even in biglaw) an hour for lawyers with an undergraduate degree and on-the-job training. Besides, I know plenty of firms where paralegals are billed out at over 100 an hour and not even in MANFUCKINHATTAN

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby holdencaulfield » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:45 pm

Veyron wrote:You don't need to be a member of the bar to do most legal work. Why don't firms just hire a few lawyers to do courtroom work and speak to clients and then a bunch of bright folks without law degrees to research, write, and do fact gathering? I know of at least one firm where the paralegals do just these sorts of things bit I was wondering why the practice is not more widespread.


In my experience, you need to be a member of the bar to do most legal work well. Paralegals can draft a pleading or contract, but they do not know the legal theories and can easily miss details in fact or law that might hurt or help your client.

Legal work is not filling out forms; actual judgment and analysis is needed to tailor your work to the facts of each case and the needs of each client.

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dingbat
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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby dingbat » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:49 pm

Veyron wrote:
dingbat wrote:Because no one is going to pay a law firm hundreds of dollars an hour for a paralegal to review documents.

With the deals we do, our team reviews the documents and the ibank's paralegals review the documents before we send them to the law firm. We don't pay them for doc review, we pay them to put their ass on the line if something goes wrong.
They have their first year associates perform doc review so that everything is correct before they sign off and put their ass on the line


shoeshine wrote:
Veyron wrote:You don't need to be a member of the bar to do most legal work. Why don't firms just hire a few lawyers to do courtroom work and speak to clients and then a bunch of bright folks without law degrees to research, write, and do fact gathering? I know of at least one firm where the paralegals do just these sorts of things bit I was wondering why the practice is not more widespread.


Because no one is going to pay 400-600 per billable hour for a non-lawyer, paralegal, or analyst to do their legal work.

/end thread


They do in London. Or, I should say, they pay hundreds of dollars (400-600 far above lower level associate territory even in biglaw) an hour for lawyers with an undergraduate degree and on-the-job training. Besides, I know plenty of firms where paralegals are billed out at over 100 an hour and not even in MANFUCKINHATTAN

That's because in England, an LLB is very different from a BA here and "on-the-job training" is a requirement for the bar. It's a different system and not directly comparable. See my note above as to why a client pays law firms a lot of money.
As for charging $100 an hour for paralegals, it's because its cheaper than hiring an additional person to perform paralegal work.

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby flcath » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:57 pm

Why not just hire lawyers and pay them the same crappy salary you'd pay the paralegal.

I think your idea would be more enticing in a world where lawyers were in short supply, not one where thousands of people with actual JDs would kill for the chance to do such "legal" work.

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tyro
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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby tyro » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:59 pm

I think it's mainly about client assumptions. Even if a firm tried its best to make it clear that paralegals were doing the tough legal work, people would still expect otherwise. It's like a salesman quickly telling a customer that they're a "continual service," the customer agrees, but they're still pissed when they find out later that they were billed w/o being asked.

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby shoeshine » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:00 am

flcath wrote:Why not just hire lawyers and pay them the same crappy salary you'd pay the paralegal.

I think your idea would be more enticing in a world where lawyers were in short supply, not one where thousands of people with actual JDs would kill for the chance to do such "legal" work.

+1

There are thousands of TTT grads willing to do this work.

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby Renzo » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:11 am

They do. I sat through a presentation not to long ago by the GC of one of the big national insurers about how they have worked to keep legal costs down. They have consolidated all supports staff nationwide in one giant office, where paralegals and secretaries do basically all the litigation except for court appearances. A very few high-risk, complex, or high-value cases get routed to local counsel for handling, but otherwise, there's basically one motion/pleading factory handling thousands of cases nationwide.

Oh, I should mention that about 1/3 of their "paralegals" have JDs.

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby mness » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:14 am

Even better -- small firms or solos can hire the best and brightest 2L and 3L students at the best local law schools as law clerks/paid interns for $20 an hour or so. For all intents and purposes, a 3L has the same skill set as a first year attorney. They can do research and draft fairly simple motions and pleadings for attorneys at the firm.

You can recruit the best talent at the best local schools. I think most students would jump at the chance to make some money, get practical experience, and build their resumes while in school. They can probably be paid $20/hr or so, log their hours, and be billed out to clients for $75 as law clerks.

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby Veyron » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:34 am

shoeshine wrote:
flcath wrote:Why not just hire lawyers and pay them the same crappy salary you'd pay the paralegal.

I think your idea would be more enticing in a world where lawyers were in short supply, not one where thousands of people with actual JDs would kill for the chance to do such "legal" work.

+1

There are thousands of TTT grads willing to do this work.


Yes, there are. However,

(1) Quality talent is still in short supply in the 40k/yr price range. Better a 4.0 college student who can research and write like a dream then some TTT grad. Even better, plenty of MA's and PHDs are looking for work and you can bet your ass there are some very skilled people in that pool.
(2) The firm incurs a great deal more time and expense to prepare materials for court then it does to actually ague in court but the client only perceives that part and his personal interactions with the lawyer. This is one reason why England's barrister/solicitor distinction makes sense.
(3) Smaller firms may need coverage on both clerical and legal work but not be able to afford dedicated staff for each. However, it is rare that a solo or small firm, no matter how many cases it had, would lack the manpower to take care of courtroom business since that is proportionality a very small amount of legal practice.

Basically, my thought process is that firms have failed to leverage the current market for employees enough. Hence why those law students who ARE able to secure full time legal employment in the private sector still tend to be highly compensated even outside of "biglaw." I think the first american firms that re-orient themselves around the barrister/solicitor model will reap large gains. Expanding the hiring pool is one way to do that.

Essentially, this approach makes sense, no matter how advantageous the labor market for employers, if we assume that law school has almost no value added for those that are already intelligent and logical. I don't think that's a crazy assumption.

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 2:43 am

Non-lawyers can't sign pleadings. That means some lawyer at the "pleading factory" has to actually read each pleading and agree to put their name on it before filing. And there is your insurmountable limitation; someone's head will be on the line for malpractice, and it won't be the paralegal. Not all legal work is suitable for the cookie cutter pleading approach you mention. Low paying insurance work? Paralegals can put together the pleadings when each case is a minor variation on a common theme, sure, but its not "writing," it filling out forms. And an attorney will file that with the court along with his or her signature, owning it.

That high volume approach doesn't work for a dispute between a vendor and his customer over non-conforming or defective goods. There the business model breaks down and you couldn't pay enough monkeys with typewriters to write the Shakespere needed to win. There, the actual lawyer is more cost effective. I don't want to be a monkey supervisor - I want to practice law.

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Veyron
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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby Veyron » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:42 am

NotMyRealName09 wrote:Non-lawyers can't sign pleadings. That means some lawyer at the "pleading factory" has to actually read each pleading and agree to put their name on it before filing. And there is your insurmountable limitation; someone's head will be on the line for malpractice, and it won't be the paralegal. Not all legal work is suitable for the cookie cutter pleading approach you mention. Low paying insurance work? Paralegals can put together the pleadings when each case is a minor variation on a common theme, sure, but its not "writing," it filling out forms. And an attorney will file that with the court along with his or her signature, owning it.

That high volume approach doesn't work for a dispute between a vendor and his customer over non-conforming or defective goods. There the business model breaks down and you couldn't pay enough monkeys with typewriters to write the Shakespere needed to win. There, the actual lawyer is more cost effective. I don't want to be a monkey supervisor - I want to practice law.


You are right, an attorney has to file. But its the same in biglaw where associates crank out product that is reviewed and signed by the partner before being filed.

And I'm not just talking about forms. You don't need a 3 year legal education to write motions and research. Part of a good college education is learning how to do similar sorts of research and persuasive writing. A week of instruction in the constraints unique to legal writing and how to use Westlaw is all that is needed to match the competence of your average newly minted lawyer for most types of matters. Now, of course there will be complex cases on the margins but I'm speaking generally.

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby flcath » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:02 am

Veyron wrote:
shoeshine wrote:
flcath wrote:Why not just hire lawyers and pay them the same crappy salary you'd pay the paralegal.

I think your idea would be more enticing in a world where lawyers were in short supply, not one where thousands of people with actual JDs would kill for the chance to do such "legal" work.

+1

There are thousands of TTT grads willing to do this work.


Yes, there are. However,

(1) Quality talent is still in short supply in the 40k/yr price range. Better a 4.0 college student who can research and write like a dream then some TTT grad. Even better, plenty of MA's and PHDs are looking for work and you can bet your ass there are some very skilled people in that pool.
(2) The firm incurs a great deal more time and expense to prepare materials for court then it does to actually ague in court but the client only perceives that part and his personal interactions with the lawyer. This is one reason why England's barrister/solicitor distinction makes sense.
(3) Smaller firms may need coverage on both clerical and legal work but not be able to afford dedicated staff for each. However, it is rare that a solo or small firm, no matter how many cases it had, would lack the manpower to take care of courtroom business since that is proportionality a very small amount of legal practice.

Basically, my thought process is that firms have failed to leverage the current market for employees enough. Hence why those law students who ARE able to secure full time legal employment in the private sector still tend to be highly compensated even outside of "biglaw." I think the first american firms that re-orient themselves around the barrister/solicitor model will reap large gains. Expanding the hiring pool is one way to do that.

Essentially, this approach makes sense, no matter how advantageous the labor market for employers, if we assume that law school has almost no value added for those that are already intelligent and logical. I don't think that's a crazy assumption.

I guess I just don't really agree with premise #1. Also, it would seem relatively difficult to ascertain 'quality' on the front end, compared to JD kids. I mean, I shit on LS curriculum as much as anyone, but someone with good LS grades can probably research, reason, and write his way through a brief.

Whereas judging an applicant based off his 4.00 GPA in Inter-Ethnic Women's Studies or Political Science is really risky. I know plenty of bona fide retards who graduated summa thanks to shithead majors.

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby dingbat » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:49 am

Veyron wrote:Yes, there are. However,

(1) Quality talent is still in short supply in the 40k/yr price range. Better a 4.0 college student who can research and write like a dream then some TTT grad. Even better, plenty of MA's and PHDs are looking for work and you can bet your ass there are some very skilled people in that pool.
(2) The firm incurs a great deal more time and expense to prepare materials for court then it does to actually ague in court but the client only perceives that part and his personal interactions with the lawyer. This is one reason why England's barrister/solicitor distinction makes sense.
(3) Smaller firms may need coverage on both clerical and legal work but not be able to afford dedicated staff for each. However, it is rare that a solo or small firm, no matter how many cases it had, would lack the manpower to take care of courtroom business since that is proportionality a very small amount of legal practice.

Basically, my thought process is that firms have failed to leverage the current market for employees enough. Hence why those law students who ARE able to secure full time legal employment in the private sector still tend to be highly compensated even outside of "biglaw." I think the first american firms that re-orient themselves around the barrister/solicitor model will reap large gains. Expanding the hiring pool is one way to do that.

Essentially, this approach makes sense, no matter how advantageous the labor market for employers, if we assume that law school has almost no value added for those that are already intelligent and logical. I don't think that's a crazy assumption.

I'm on the client side of biglaw legal hiring.
Fully half of what we're paying for is the firm's name and reputation. Firstly to ensure that we don't end up in trouble and secondly to make sure that if we do, our lawyers will be the ones whose necks are on the line.
Seriously, if there's a screw-up in the documents, we're suing the law firm who signed off.
Therefore, biglaw will only assign such work to someone who has actually studied law, just in case there's a screw-up in the documents (which has been known to happen). It's not the $400 (or so) per hour that they bill the client (or, in many cases, a flat fee), it's the hundreds of thousands (or more) that can be lost if they screw up.

As for the barrister/solicitor model, it's a different system and not easily imposed here. In many, an apprenticeship or work/study is a requirement to sit for the bar. Usually, this involves 22 year olds, because it's possible to study law straight out of high school (there's no B.A. in liberal arts in Europe, you pick one subject before freshman year and that's all you study).

Equally, in many other countries a notary is a separate profession. This covers not only what a notary does here, but also certain legal work, such as trusts, or closing the sale of a home. They studied law, but ended up choosing (being forced into?) notary law

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:05 pm

Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM


If you hire a top firm in your city-industry-whatever, and something goes wrong, no one can blame you for it going wrong as a result of you being cheap on the talent. You might even avoid some justified blame because people will say "if X couldn't do it, it was truly hopeless." Doing things that look cheap (until they're accepted for being as good as the original, think doc reviewers in the midwest over doc reviewers in NYC), makes a client think they're somehow accepting a lesser service. Sure it might save them money (ok, math time, assume using Kirkland as your litigator cost $1,200,000 with a 5% chance of a loss of $20,000,000 and using paralegal-based firm costs $500,000 with a 7.5% chance of a loss of $20,000,000; that means the paralegal firm will save you $200,000, on the average), but they just see it as an avoidable attribution of blame. They're paying for the Vault ranking and power suits and fancy offices because it's a great form of insurance.

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Veyron
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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby Veyron » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:11 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote:
Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM


If you hire a top firm in your city-industry-whatever, and something goes wrong, no one can blame you for it going wrong as a result of you being cheap on the talent. You might even avoid some justified blame because people will say "if X couldn't do it, it was truly hopeless." Doing things that look cheap (until they're accepted for being as good as the original, think doc reviewers in the midwest over doc reviewers in NYC), makes a client think they're somehow accepting a lesser service. Sure it might save them money (ok, math time, assume using Kirkland as your litigator cost $1,200,000 with a 5% chance of a loss of $20,000,000 and using paralegal-based firm costs $500,000 with a 7.5% chance of a loss of $20,000,000; that means the paralegal firm will save you $200,000, on the average), but they just see it as an avoidable attribution of blame. They're paying for the Vault ranking and power suits and fancy offices because it's a great form of insurance.


Which would explain why the starting salary is still 160. My model does seem like it would work for midlaw and lower applications though since the very act of choosing such a firm indicates a willingness to make choices based on price and not insurance value. A lawyer is always going to have to sign off on the final product and take responsibility.

LawIdiot86
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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:20 pm

Veyron wrote:
LawIdiot86 wrote:
Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM


If you hire a top firm in your city-industry-whatever, and something goes wrong, no one can blame you for it going wrong as a result of you being cheap on the talent. You might even avoid some justified blame because people will say "if X couldn't do it, it was truly hopeless." Doing things that look cheap (until they're accepted for being as good as the original, think doc reviewers in the midwest over doc reviewers in NYC), makes a client think they're somehow accepting a lesser service. Sure it might save them money (ok, math time, assume using Kirkland as your litigator cost $1,200,000 with a 5% chance of a loss of $20,000,000 and using paralegal-based firm costs $500,000 with a 7.5% chance of a loss of $20,000,000; that means the paralegal firm will save you $200,000, on the average), but they just see it as an avoidable attribution of blame. They're paying for the Vault ranking and power suits and fancy offices because it's a great form of insurance.


Which would explain why the starting salary is still 160. My model does seem like it would work for midlaw and lower applications though since the very act of choosing such a firm indicates a willingness to make choices based on price and not insurance value. A lawyer is always going to have to sign off on the final product and take responsibility.


Not true for midlaw (or even small-law). Remember that "IBM" is a relative term to the observer. GC of a Fortune 500 knows he needs a V25 firm or his job is toast if the matter blows up. GC of the third largest employer in Bridgeport, CT knows his business can't afford an AmLaw 250 firm (in part because there are none in Bridgeport), but will hire the gold standard for Bridgeport (which according to NALP is Cohen & Wolf), because he can't be blamed for hiring the best firm in his city. The other guy in Bridgeport, with the paralegal based office, will always lose to the gold standard, even in his smaller setting. Only when cost becomes the overriding factor, because the client is so small/desperate they can't worry about covering their ass, would your model work. This explains why shitlaw exists, which is based on paralegals/TTTs making paralegal money.

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Veyron
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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby Veyron » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:29 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote:
Veyron wrote:
LawIdiot86 wrote:
Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM


If you hire a top firm in your city-industry-whatever, and something goes wrong, no one can blame you for it going wrong as a result of you being cheap on the talent. You might even avoid some justified blame because people will say "if X couldn't do it, it was truly hopeless." Doing things that look cheap (until they're accepted for being as good as the original, think doc reviewers in the midwest over doc reviewers in NYC), makes a client think they're somehow accepting a lesser service. Sure it might save them money (ok, math time, assume using Kirkland as your litigator cost $1,200,000 with a 5% chance of a loss of $20,000,000 and using paralegal-based firm costs $500,000 with a 7.5% chance of a loss of $20,000,000; that means the paralegal firm will save you $200,000, on the average), but they just see it as an avoidable attribution of blame. They're paying for the Vault ranking and power suits and fancy offices because it's a great form of insurance.


Which would explain why the starting salary is still 160. My model does seem like it would work for midlaw and lower applications though since the very act of choosing such a firm indicates a willingness to make choices based on price and not insurance value. A lawyer is always going to have to sign off on the final product and take responsibility.


Not true for midlaw (or even small-law). Remember that "IBM" is a relative term to the observer. GC of a Fortune 500 knows he needs a V25 firm or his job is toast if the matter blows up. GC of the third largest employer in Bridgeport, CT knows his business can't afford an AmLaw 250 firm (in part because there are none in Bridgeport), but will hire the gold standard for Bridgeport (which according to NALP is Cohen & Wolf), because he can't be blamed for hiring the best firm in his city. The other guy in Bridgeport, with the paralegal based office, will always lose to the gold standard, even in his smaller setting. Only when cost becomes the overriding factor, because the client is so small/desperate they can't worry about covering their ass, would your model work. This explains why shitlaw exists, which is based on paralegals/TTTs making paralegal money.


Now this also makes sense but isn't born out by observation. I've been on the midlaw client side. Sometimes quality is an overarching consideration. More frequently in day-to-day litigation its more about cost v.s. expected gain and personal relationship with the partner(s) handling the case. If our firm sent us a bill for paralegals preparing court documents we'd be pretty happy about that -its not like the client is going to second guess the firm about what paralegals can and can't do when the people we have a relationship with at the firm tell them that they found a way to save money. After all, clients are already totally comfortable with firms run by non-attorneys. And, as I said, I do know a firm that uses this model somewhat and they do quite well.

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Re: Lawyer without a license

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:01 pm

Veyron wrote:
LawIdiot86 wrote:
Veyron wrote:
LawIdiot86 wrote:
If you hire a top firm in your city-industry-whatever, and something goes wrong, no one can blame you for it going wrong as a result of you being cheap on the talent. You might even avoid some justified blame because people will say "if X couldn't do it, it was truly hopeless." Doing things that look cheap (until they're accepted for being as good as the original, think doc reviewers in the midwest over doc reviewers in NYC), makes a client think they're somehow accepting a lesser service. Sure it might save them money (ok, math time, assume using Kirkland as your litigator cost $1,200,000 with a 5% chance of a loss of $20,000,000 and using paralegal-based firm costs $500,000 with a 7.5% chance of a loss of $20,000,000; that means the paralegal firm will save you $200,000, on the average), but they just see it as an avoidable attribution of blame. They're paying for the Vault ranking and power suits and fancy offices because it's a great form of insurance.


Which would explain why the starting salary is still 160. My model does seem like it would work for midlaw and lower applications though since the very act of choosing such a firm indicates a willingness to make choices based on price and not insurance value. A lawyer is always going to have to sign off on the final product and take responsibility.


Not true for midlaw (or even small-law). Remember that "IBM" is a relative term to the observer. GC of a Fortune 500 knows he needs a V25 firm or his job is toast if the matter blows up. GC of the third largest employer in Bridgeport, CT knows his business can't afford an AmLaw 250 firm (in part because there are none in Bridgeport), but will hire the gold standard for Bridgeport (which according to NALP is Cohen & Wolf), because he can't be blamed for hiring the best firm in his city. The other guy in Bridgeport, with the paralegal based office, will always lose to the gold standard, even in his smaller setting. Only when cost becomes the overriding factor, because the client is so small/desperate they can't worry about covering their ass, would your model work. This explains why shitlaw exists, which is based on paralegals/TTTs making paralegal money.


Now this also makes sense but isn't born out by observation. I've been on the midlaw client side. Sometimes quality is an overarching consideration. More frequently in day-to-day litigation its more about cost v.s. expected gain. And, as I said, I do know a firm that uses this model somewhat and they do quite well.


I will obviously defer to your actual life experience, it just seems to be the exception rather than the rule from my perspective interviewing (none of the midlaw firms I interviewed with relied on paralegals).




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