John Conroy, until last month the boss of Baker & McKenzie, the most globalised law firm, thinks England and Germany do better at helping graduates make the transition to becoming practising lawyers. A recent graduate spends two years combining work and study as a trainee solicitor in England and Referendar in Germany. The English system matches graduates to firms well, whereas the German system produces exceptional legal technicians, in Mr Conroy’s view. In America, clients grumble that they are being billed at high rates for recent graduates who contribute little. “Clients shouldn’t be paying for law firms to train people,” is their refrain. Right now, many graduates wish they could get anybody to pay them for anything.
Why DO firms feel the need to pay $160,000+ for unproven talent? Why not hire twice as many lawyers straight out of school, pay them 40k per year, and keep only the ones who show the most promise in those two years? That way the firm gets the better attorney and the client doesn't pay through the nose to train attorneys.