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Author Topic: poor lawyers  (Read 46842 times)

benny

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Re: poor lawyers
« Reply #100 on: June 15, 2006, 09:22:13 PM »
 :o

jason1114

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Re: poor lawyers
« Reply #101 on: June 16, 2006, 07:13:50 PM »
 ??? meh?

mirra

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Re: poor lawyers
« Reply #102 on: June 18, 2006, 07:37:34 AM »
OK

retail theft

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Re: poor lawyers
« Reply #103 on: June 21, 2006, 09:26:28 AM »

[...] but if you make these claims, then you're going to have to back them up these numbers with some sources.


A former soldier who wants to see sources .. what an ass that has begun to take itself seriously!

Budlaw

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Re: poor lawyers
« Reply #104 on: June 21, 2006, 12:30:04 PM »

[...] but if you make these claims, then you're going to have to back them up these numbers with some sources.


A former soldier who wants to see sources .. what an ass that has begun to take itself seriously!

Actually it's former Marine, not "solidier". There's a big difference. But at least you got one thing right: I am an ass.

da!

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Law School by Default
« Reply #105 on: June 25, 2006, 04:56:40 PM »
Want to keep your options open? Don't train to be a lawyer.

BY CAMERON STRACHER

Friday, June 23, 2006

They're dropping like flies. Count 'em. Despite the swelling ranks of the new recruits, the steady growth in large corporate firms, and the length, breadth and expense of lawsuits, the legal profession is actually losing lawyers every day, a silent drain of talent to banking, business and premature retirement. Every year, I face a new class of eager law students, ready to take on the world, but after a couple of years of practice, many have lost their youthful glow. Perhaps it's time to rethink the whole "law school as default" mentality that infects so many otherwise sane young minds.

On the surface, the legal profession appears to be booming. Although growth has slowed since the 1960s and '70s, each year 40,000 new lawyers join a field that now totals one million, about the same size as the nation's state prison population. Salaries have climbed steadily, and lawyers at the top firms can expect to make about $160,000 upon graduation from law school. But look beneath the statistics and a few facts jump out. First, large law firms, those employing more than 500 lawyers, lose nearly 40% of their associates within four years of hiring them. After six years, the ratio climbs to 60%.

Some might suggest that the fault here lies with the firms' policies regarding advancement. A number of recent articles have bemoaned the lack of female partners (only 17% of the partners at major law firms are women, while women compose nearly half of all law-school graduates). The number of males who don't stick around long enough to make partner, however, is only a few percentage points lower. Thus, while it may not be easy to be a woman in law, the guys aren't doing much better. In fact, it could be argued that women are leaving in slightly higher numbers because they can while many men, trapped by their gender-typed "provider" roles, have fewer options.

The attrition numbers are even worse in other parts of the profession. According to a recent study by the National Association for Law Placement Foundation, 42% of lawyers in small firms (and 50% in solo practices) have changed jobs within three years of graduation, and two-thirds of them have switched two or more times. One way to interpret the numbers is to conclude that such lawyers have plentiful opportunities and are moving to better jobs. The same group, however, tends to have less stellar credentials and to have graduated lower in their class than their colleagues at big firms, leaving them fewer options, and suggesting that these attorneys are even more dissatisfied than their big-firm contemporaries.

What happens to the recently departed? While many go to other law firms, or into other legal jobs, such as in-house counsel at corporations, anecdotal evidence shows that a significant percentage drop out of the legal profession entirely. This doesn't surprise me: Among my own law school classmates, for example, only one of my friends is still practicing at the firm he joined upon graduation. The rest have moved on or dropped out of the profession.

My two closest female friends are both stay-at-home moms, forsaking lucrative practices to raise their children. Another friend has gone on to become an actor. Another writes for television. Several are novelists. While there have always been lawyers who choose not to practice, "The buzz now is lawyers getting three years of experience at a big firm, then going off and doing something entirely unrelated to the law," says Allan Whitescarver, director of communications at the commercial firm, Clifford Chance. He mentions one lawyer who opened a bookstore in France and another who works for the World Health Organization in a nonlegal role. They may be among the lucky ones. The legal profession is really two professions: the elite lawyers and everyone else. Most of the former start out at big law firms. Many of the latter never find gainful legal employment. Instead, they work at jobs that might be characterized as "quasi-legal": paralegals, clerks, administrators, doing work for which they probably never needed a J.D.

Although hard data about the nature of these jobs are difficult to come by (and rely on self-reporting, which is inherently unreliable), the mean salary for graduates of top 10 law schools is $135,000 while it is $60,000 for "tier three" schools. It's certainly possible that tier-three graduates tend to gravitate toward lower-paying public-interest and government jobs, but this lower salary may also reflect the nonlegal nature of many of these jobs and the fact that these graduates are settling for anything that will pay the bills. At $38,000 a year for law school, plus living expenses, law-school graduates certainly have a lot of debt ($60,000 on average, upon graduation). For this price, college students and their parents should be thinking harder about their choices. When I went to law school, nearly everyone tried to convince me that doing so would "keep my options open." All this really means is: "You can still be a lawyer."



If I wanted to be a screenwriter, waiting tables would have kept my options open, too. In fact, many wannabe screenwriters find themselves going to law school, misled by adults into thinking that it will help them get into the movie business. It won't. Sure, you can be a talent agent or a movie producer with a law degree, but you can be one without a degree, too. Most of the skills you learn in law school (and legal practice) won't help you make a movie, and the few that will may not be worth the cost (more than $120,000, including tuition, living expenses, as well as three years of forgone experience and salary). Rather than keeping options open, the crushing debt of law school often slams doors shut, pushing law students to find the highest-paying job they can and forever deferring dreams of anything else.

It's time those of us inside the profession did a better job of telling others outside the profession that most of us don't earn $160,000 a year, that we can't afford expensive suits, flashy cars, sexy apartments. We don't lunch with rock stars or produce movies. Every year I'm surprised by the number of my students who think a J.D. degree is a ticket to fame, fortune and the envy of one's peers -- a sure ticket to the upper middle class. Even for the select few for whom it is, not many last long enough at their law firms to really enjoy it. There's something wrong with a system that makes a whole lot of people pay a whole lot of money for jobs that are not worth it, or that have no future. If we wanted to be honest, we would inform students that law school doesn't keep their options open. Instead, we should say that if they work hard and do well, they can become lawyers.

_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________________
Mr. Stracher is publisher of the New York Law School Law Review and the author of "Double Billing: A Young Lawyer's Tale of Greed, Sex, Lies and the Pursuit of a Swivel Chair."
H ... is for Hardcore.

lejla

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Re: poor lawyers
« Reply #106 on: July 03, 2006, 01:57:03 AM »
There is nothing wrong with making money. But money can become the tail that wags the dog. Karl Llewellyn's observations of some 40 years ago, on lawyers and money, still ring true. He observed "a brand of lawyer for whom law is making of a livelihood, a competence, a fortune. Law offers means to live, to get ahead. It is so viewed. Such men give their whole selves to it, in this aspect. Coin is their reward. Coin makes it possible to live. Coin is success, coin is prestige, and coin is power. Such lawyers, I take it, reflect rather adequately the standards of our civilization. They have perceived the mainspring of a money economy. They follow single-heartedly on their perception. Coin is, in this society, the measure of a man."

ronaldo

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Re: poor lawyers
« Reply #107 on: July 05, 2006, 04:53:28 AM »

There is nothing wrong with making money. But money can become the tail that wags the dog. Karl Llewellyn's observations of some 40 years ago, on lawyers and money, still ring true. He observed "a brand of lawyer for whom law is making of a livelihood, a competence, a fortune. Law offers means to live, to get ahead. It is so viewed. Such men give their whole selves to it, in this aspect. Coin is their reward. Coin makes it possible to live. Coin is success, coin is prestige, and coin is power. Such lawyers, I take it, reflect rather adequately the standards of our civilization. They have perceived the mainspring of a money economy. They follow single-heartedly on their perception. Coin is, in this society, the measure of a man."


An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "only a little while."

The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked, "but what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15 - 20 years."

"But what then?" Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!"

"Millions - then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

manny portuguese

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Re: poor lawyers
« Reply #108 on: July 05, 2006, 06:04:20 AM »
Very thoughtful! 

inthelaw45

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Re: poor lawyers
« Reply #109 on: July 05, 2006, 12:01:31 PM »
Before law school I actually worked for a few years as a paralegal at smaller firms.  None of the attorneys at these firms were wealthy, except for the managing partner.  What was most shocking to me, however, was that at one of the firms I worked at, I worked with an attorney who had graduated high in her class from William and Mary (pretty respectable school) and, essentially, WE DID THE SAME WORK.  She got to see clients in person, but other than that, we did all the same types of paperwork and document production within the files.  I'm sure she got paid a bit more than I did as a paralegal, but what really freaked me out was that our duties were almost the same.  She had a JD and was doing paralegal work, really.  After a few years of loathing my workload as a paralegal I'm getting a JD from a CHEAP (public in-state) decent-but-not-great law school and I've decided I want to work for the district attorney's office.  At the very least, I the work I'll be doing should be interesting.  At least I'll get to be in a courtroom every once in awhile.  The pay will suck, but I expect that, and I shouldn't have more than $5000 of debt from my run-of-the-mill school.  Being "poor" as a lawyer isn't what scares me.  What scares me is that a lot of lawyers do REALLY REALLY boring, crappy work.