Law School Discussion

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Messages - SwampFox

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21
Of course, all fees are paid in twigs, wild berries, bubbles, and fairy dust.

22
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Law School or Army OCS
« on: May 06, 2009, 10:35:40 PM »
I did a lot of research on this, and what jpiesel44 says is correct.  If you want to be a JAG, just go to law school.  OCS, I believe, is for people who want to serve as an officer doing almost anything BUT a JAG.  Lawyers, chaplains, and doctors are recruited in totally different manners than the rest of the military.  Once you're out of law school, you can apply through the DCO (direct commission) program, which is how most JAG's get commissioned.  If you would like some financial aid while in school, about the only way to do it for people who are non-prior service is either through ROTC (which even then is kind of discouraged), or being in the National Guard/Reserves.  Even then, I believe (but I could be wrong) there are restrictions on switching specialties after you reach Capt. (Navy LT).

23
Anyone have any experience with 10.1" netbooks?  I'm considering Samsung, Asus, or MSI.  I recently checked one out and am concern about the screen size, specifically, toggling multiple screens.  Any thoughts from those who own a netbook in this size?  Has it worked for you?  The 12.1" look a bit more manageable.
The screen size isn't the only drawback I see.  Can you actually type on those things?  I tried a couple out in the store, and the keyboard was way too small for my liking.

24
Maybe the power lawyers will eventually make it possible to outsource everything except what they do.  ;)
Let's sure hope they don't  :)!  We'll all need jobs in three years  :)

25
Wow, that was quick.
I hate to play the "personal anecdotal experience" card, but I never saw things work that way in practice.  Where I used to work, the senior offshore staff spent a year in the U.S. first before going back to India or Southeast Asia, in no small part to defuse the "how can these folks in a Third-World country know what they're doing?" argument, just as you said.  However, I don't think it ever came up with a potential customer.  People were willing to chance that the offshore help was, if not as good, at least good enough.  Even people that expressed dismay that good-paying American jobs (eventually including mine) were going overseas still signed on the dotted line when they saw the enormous price difference.  American engineers just can't compete with someone making $4/hour.  (In reality, it turned out that the offshore work almost never was good enough, and it had nothing to do a lack of exposure to American business practices).
Just because someone is in a foreign country doesn't mean he or she couldn't become an expert on American laws.  I suppose even courtroom action could get outsourced, if teleconferencing equipment could be used.
I've heard that even a lot of medical work is now getting done overseas.  X-ray analysis, for example, is often sent out to someone in Asia before being sent back here.

26
Sure, they could replace the junior folks...but what's to stop the entire FIRM being replaced by someone overseas?  If I'm going to save money on my legal fees by paying some young guy in India a quarter of what I pay here, why not replace the older, and even higher-paid, one?

For the same reason why you don't replace the older, higher-paid one with a young lawyer here: the work that's done at the partner level actually makes a huge difference.

Associate level: not as much.
Ah, but why wouldn't you replace the older, experienced partner here with an older, experienced person somewhere else?
In my experience with offshoring, the offshore crew very quickly came to resemble the crew over here that it replaced.  They had senior people, junior people, and even managers, eventually.  In our case, most of the senior folks had spent at least a year in America to get familiar with our practices, but there's no reason an "offshore law firm" couldn't eventually field a lawyer at every level, including the partner.

27
TopCat, I remember now one characteristic about the Village that made it an especially interesting place to live.  Toyota used to rent out several of the apartments for people from Japan staying there temporarily.  They made for excellent neighbors, and often someone would stop by to politely ask (in halting English) for basic assistance on something like setting up the cable TV or where to buy groceries.

28
Most of those nice $150,000+ starting salaries would vanish, simply because of the laws of supply and demand.

This is simply not true.  There's a huge supply of new lawyers each year, but they haven't done anything to drive down the starting salary at the big firms.  Lawyers are simply not fungible in all instances.

There are plenty of new lawyers entering the field each year, but there are not so many new ones entering the field that they throw things out of balance.  There are also plenty of lawyers LEAVING the practice of law every year, due to retirements, changing careers, etc. which offset new ones entering.  My point is that the ABA and the state bar associations do a great job of making sure that the number of people who enter the legal profession is nowhere near what it would be naturally without all the hoops to jump through.  They don't want the profession to be COMPLETELY dried up (that would be suicide), but just to make sure the club is as small as possible.
If the major leagues of baseball were suddenly to expand to 200+ teams, do you think all those new ballplayers (or even the old ones) would be making millions of dollars each year?  No, because at that point the balance of supply and demand would be tilted far out of whack from where it is now.

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And I bet there are tons of partners at big firms who would love to replace some of their associates with outsourced labor from India.  More profit for them.
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Sure, they could replace the junior folks...but what's to stop the entire FIRM being replaced by someone overseas?  If I'm going to save money on my legal fees by paying some young guy in India a quarter of what I pay here, why not replace the older, and even higher-paid, one?

29
All lawyers (or, more precisely, the firms they work for) have a vested interest in making sure as few new competitors come into the market as possible.

I disagree, because new lawyers entering with a market will only compete with some existing lawyers but not others.  New law school graduates, for example, will be competing with associates, but not necessarily with partners.

I apologize; I must be doing a poor job explaining myself.  Yes, the profession has to admit SOME new lawyers every year, if for no other reason so that the system wouldn't wither away.  However, lawyers do a darn fine job of making sure the total number of people, and thus firms, in practice is as small as possible.  Consider what would happen, for example, if you could sit for the bar after only a year of law school, and that the ABA wasn't the only accrediting agency?  Plenty of smart people who don't have the time or money for three years of law school could suddenly flood the market, simply by boning up on the law.  (If memory serves, that's how people became lawyers before there were law schools).  What would be the result?  Most of those nice $150,000+ starting salaries would vanish, simply because of the laws of supply and demand.  There are oodles of people who could be lawyers, but don't have either the time or the inclination to jump through all the hoops currently required.
Consider another possibility:  what if you could outsource legal advice, so that people were free to call up an 800 number for legal work, and the work could be done way out of local jurisdiction?
In many types of engineering, the only real certification required is a four-year degree, and there are many accrediting agencies available.  Pretty much any reputable college that wants to can offer classes in engineering.  Furthermore, there's nothing preventing someone from hiring engineers in another state, or even another country.  In the legal profession, that's just unheard of.
The ABA and the state bar associations do a great job of keeping out as much competition as possible, both in limiting who can practice and in restricting just who can take the bar.

30
For the sake of this argument, I would say that the economics interest of all, or almost all, practicing lawyers in a given locale converge to prevent competition.  All lawyers (or, more precisely, the firms they work for) have a vested interest in making sure as few new competitors come into the market as possible.  It may not be possible to eliminate competitors through laws, but it sure is easy to make sure new ones don't enter.  There doesn't have to be any collusion.  This isn't unique to the legal profession at all.  For example, some states license barbers and hairstylists, while others do not.  According to my old econ textbook, there is no discernible difference between customer satisfaction in places that license them and places that don't.  What does differ, though, is the price; it's much higher in places where a license is required.
I don't really wish to start a debate as to whether the legal world would be better off if lawyers weren't licensed, but any kind of legal licensing or certification scheme serves as a barrier to entry, and thus limits competition.  I really can't see legal advice getting outsourced to India in the same way as say, tech support.  Given how many hurdles the legal profession already has, and how easy it would be to add new ones, I think lawyers are certainly better insulated from the laws of competition than almost any other profession.

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