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Beyond Private Practice – Some Examples
“What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering,” A title from a November 19, 2011 article in the New York Times. Deeper in the article, “The fundamental issue is that law schools are producing people who are not capable of being counselors,” says Jeffrey W. Carr, the General Counsel of FMC Technologies.”
Law Schools are under heavy attack to change as well. With student loan debt now surpassing credit card debt and with law graduates unable to actually practice law, many even within the legal industry are turning on the law schools. This debate has reached a fever-pitch. Law students are now suing their schools for not preparing them for the realities of the legal market. And law schools are suing the ABA over accrediting standards.
Long held as a sacred space within a law firm, now law libraries are convenient cost cutting opportunities. Librarians are forced to defend their value and try to maintain staffing levels in order to effectively respond to lawyer research requests. Even clients have joined in this attack, specifying which time keepers are allowed on their bills, many times excluding valuable librarians.
Those in the legal technology space are now under an all-sides attack. Clients want to know specifically which tools a firm is using to be efficient. Firm leadership expects IT to bring every innovation to them, but then declines to fund much beyond basic upgrades. Partners want to cut what they perceive as less-utilized systems (a.k.a. the ones other partners use). Administrative leadership expects that no system will ever go down. Individual lawyers want to switch to iPhones. And IT gets to support all of this. Meanwhile, they are competing against the entire market to retain top technical talent.
While fighting with every other government agency for funding, they must stay on top of all the new technology, as every day some case is filed over its use or abuse. Meanwhile, they haven’t seen a decent raise in years.
You get the picture …
Part 7 reveals the biggest challenge facing the legal profession - its deep, traditional emphasis on precedence.