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April 29, 2009

Some real-world insights from some real-world lawyers

This interesting new article from the Fulton County Daily Report, headlined "Best Lawyers' Panels Agree That Law Schools, Firms Need Retooling," say a lot about the modern realities facing lawyers and law schools. Here are some notable excerpts that end with a sentencing spin:

Seismic changes in the legal profession engaged the concern of seasoned attorneys at a conference held last week by the Best Lawyers of America.... At Friday's panels on the future of legal education and the legal profession, the tenor of questions showed a lively concern for where the profession is headed.

The practice of law has changed radically in 25 years.... Law schools must retool legal education, the deans agreed, but exactly how still is not clear. "You're producing a product that very few people want. Firms have hiring freezes. Why not stop producing the product -- or create new markets for what you're producing?" one lawyer challenged the deans. "You're like the auto manufacturers who produce a product for which there is no demand."...

Organizational behavior and product management skills plus strategic business thinking are important competencies for lawyers at firms handling today's giant matters, said the deans. But they said the current criteria for law school admission -- college grades and LSAT scores -- do not assess these competencies. [Dean Richard] Matasar challenged lawyers who think legal education is out of step with the demands of the market to "go back to your place that manufactured you and put pressure on them. You have the power of the pocketbook."

Another lawyer in the audience objected to the idea that legal education should merely supply product to private firms and companies. "We're not talking about cars. We're talking about minds. ... This is supposed to be a profession," he protested. Massive discovery demands have shifted legal work away from thinking and analysis to product management, said another attorney. "When we were in law school, discovery meant two or three banker boxes of documents. Now it means two or three hundred boxes. That demands widgets -- not thinking," he said.

Members of the panel on the future of the profession agreed that the vastly expanded scale of electronic discovery has transformed legal work. The panel's moderator, Philip K. Howard of Covington & Burling, pointed to another fundamental change: the increase in the number and complexity of laws.

"Layers of law have accumulated like concrete. Some is productive. So much of it is not. Congress never goes back and revises," said Howard, who addresses this issue in his latest book, "Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans From Too Much Law."...

[Robert] Clifford, a member of plaintiffs firm, the Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, cited gargantuan discovery requirements as one of the culprits for the disappearing jury trial....

[Charles] Stillman, the panel's white-collar criminal practitioner, said federal sentencing guidelines also have chilled jury trials. Defendants prefer to cut a sentencing deal rather than take their chances in court.  Stillman is a founder of Stillman, Friedman & Shechtman and a former federal prosecutor.

He warned of a new development -- the government's increasing use of private firms to handle internal investigations of companies.  Subcontracting investigations to firms is another shift in power from public law enforcement agencies to the private sector, said Stillman. "So lawyers are increasingly viewed as an arm of government.  This is a very serious challenge to our profession, which I find quite scary," he said.

Cross-posted at LSI

April 29, 2009 at 09:27 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I am sorry. Could someone repeat the insights?

Here is an insight. Every self-stated goal of every law subject is in utter failure.

The lawyers are the New Dominicans, conducting the plunder of all productive entities, and totally protecting criminals in pursuit of the rent. By their control of the three branches of government, they caused or enable 9/11, the financial crisis, the rise of bastardy in black and now in white families, the spread of AIDS, and all other social and economic problems.

As with the Dominicans, the guillotine is the remedy to this criminal cult enterprise. Arrest, and after a fair trial, summarily execute the entire hierarchy by a bullet to the head, in the court basements. Haul out the corpses from the court loading docks. Feed them to the pigs so that no secret shrines for their followers may arise.

Enact an Amendment prohibiting from all benches, from all legislative seats, and from all responsible policy positions in the executive, all who have passed 1L and underwent the indoctrination of this criminal cult.

I mean no offense to anyone here, but every one here is totally safe from this proposal. None of you even know anyone in the hierarchy. You will thank me later after you're liberated too.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 29, 2009 11:56:17 PM

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