Friday, March 8, 2013
New York Times: To Place Graduates, Law Schools Are Opening Firms:
Arizona State is setting up [a nonprofit law firm] this summer for some of its graduates. Over the next few years, 30 graduates will work under seasoned lawyers and be paid for a wide range of services provided at relatively low cost to the people of Phoenix.
The plan is one of a dozen efforts across the country to address two acute — and seemingly contradictory — problems: heavily indebted law graduates with no clients and a vast number of Americans unable to afford a lawyer.
This paradox, fed by the growth of Internet-based legal research and services, is at the heart of a crisis looming over the legal profession after decades of relentless growth and accumulated wealth. It is evident in the sharp drop in law school applications and the increasing numbers of Americans showing up in court without a lawyer....
A dozen law schools, including City University of New York and Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, have set up incubators to train future solo practitioners in their first year out of school, offering office space and mentors. ...
[T]he incoming president of the ABA, James R. Silkenat, of New York, said his top priority next fall would be to establish a “legal job corps” to match lawyers who need jobs with clients who need legal assistance. “We have these two issues running in opposite directions,” Mr. Silkenat said in an interview. “There are unmet legal needs because of money and geography that seem to be growing, and the question of how to make use of unemployed recent graduates.”
All law schools, including the elites, are increasing skills training by adding clinics and externships. ...
Critics [of Arizona State's program] say that $125 an hour is too high to serve those in need and too low to break even. Others say that Phoenix, a city of intense growth and few law students, could support such an operation but that others could not and that local law firms would resent the competition. “We charge $50 an hour, and I don’t take any pay,” said Dennis A. Gladwell, who runs a smaller firm at the University of Utah with a staff of five graduates started 16 months ago. “If you are going to charge $125, you are not going to serve an underserved population.” Mr. Gladwell, who retired as a partner from the big firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, also said that despite having asked top local firms to send along cases they considered too small for themselves, none responded.
- ABA Journal, ‘Teaching Hospital for Law School Graduates’ Is Launching at Arizona State
- Business Insider, Law Schools Are Resorting To A New Strategy To Make Sure Grads Get Jobs
- JD Journal, Law Schools Starting Firms to Help Graduates Get Jobs
- Matt Leichter (Law School Tuition Bubble), Poor People Being Poor Is Not a Paradox
- Kyle McEntee (Law School Transparency), Describing “Law School Firm” Jobs
- Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Law School Firms
- Kevin Outterson (Boston University), Letter to ABA Section on Legal Education on 'Captive Clinics' (Mar. 8, 2013)
- Matthew Yglesias (Slate), ASU Launching a Law Firm to Employ Unemployable Law School Graduates