TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Borden & Rhee: The Law School Firm

Tax Prof Bradley T. Borden (Brooklyn) & Robert J. Rhee (Maryland) have posted The Law School Firm, 63 S.C. L. Rev. ___ (2011), on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This Article introduces the concept of the law school firm. The concept calls for law schools to establish affiliated law firms. The affiliation would provide opportunities for students, faculty, and attorneys to collaborate and share resources to teach, research, write, serve clients, and influence the development of law and policy. Based loosely on the medical school model, the law school firm will help bridge the gap between law schools and the practice of law.Firm

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An interesting thought experiment. Although I think the resistance from clinical law faculty who could potentially be pushed out during a transition to this model will be very difficult to overcome. On the other hand, I see opportunities for highly experienced solos who wish to continue practicing law but who no longer wish to run their own practice, as well as senior biglaw partners facing mandatory retirement.

The aspect that needs to be further thought out is how the firm will generate sufficient revenue - I predict that a significant portion of the work will still be pro bono. Or the firm may end up competing with traditional legal aid organizations chasing an ever-diminishing pot of federal LSC and state IOLTA money.

The key difference between school firms and teaching hospitals is that whereas hospital ER's must provide charity care, school firms need to balance client vetting with revenue generation. I think because of the affiliation with their parent law schools and its multiple stakeholders, the firms will face a higher conflicts vetting burden than traditional private firms.

Posted by: WL | Aug 9, 2011 2:29:39 PM

Because there is nothing alumni will like better than having their former school compete with them...

Posted by: anonprof | Aug 9, 2011 6:21:50 PM