The WSJ Law Blog provides an interesting link to a new group of law students, Law Students Building a Better Legal Profession. They raise some valid concerns in their Cluetrain-like manifesto entitiled “Principles For a Renewed Legal Profession.”
It will be interesting to see how this group takes hold. Thus far all members appear anonymous as far as I can tell. Far be it for me to criticize that…
The students offer the suggestion that firms should “link partnership with working hard, not working long…” Actually, partnership, especially equity partnership, is also linked to working on getting and keeping clients. I know when I was in law school I presumed clients sort of grew on trees; certainly there was nothing in the course catalog on legal marketing or client service.
In addition, the group offers that a target of 3,000 hours at some firms (!!) should be reduced to 2,200.
I hope the students continue to do research on this; 2,200 billable (and collected) hours is no small feat, unless you have a year of block-billing-friendly M&A deals or major litigation.
The group seems to understand that you can’t get max pay without max work at a max rate when it notes that members are “…willing to accept reduced salaries in exchange for better working lives.” But when that offer letter arrives with a $150,000 starting salary, it’s really an interesting decision.
The more law students head into their first job with eyes wide open instead of shut, the better. There are initiatives underway to make legal service delivery more productive for firms and clients. I’ll take a look at one of these on Thursday.