Posts Tagged ‘outsourcing’

Too Little Too Late Part II: ABA Journal Article

A recent blurb was published in the online ABA Journal positing the question of how to improve law schools. One of the highlighted suggestions included reducing the cost of a law school education. This will have a two fold negative effect: 1) As law schools are already discharging and furloughing support staff and adjunct faculty to further reduce costs will increase the loss of non tenured faculty and support staff (I know reader, I heard you chuckle) 2) Will lower the standards of a law school education which will make the law degree worth even less than it is now, as many law graduates learned the hard way. Ironically, it is published by the very law school accrediting agency that is responsible for the glut of attorneys that’s been happening for decades. Those who are in a position to implement change can start by not accrediting any more law schools and it is now time to shut down many of them. The measurement of success is not just in a constricted market but does the law degree hold value when the economy enjoys economic progress. For most, the answer is “no” as the problem existed for decades cloaked under false employment statistics and contract work. For many law schools the following suggestions is akin to performing CPR after the person has died.
I hope you enjoy the comic relief:
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How to improve law school? Required clinical training, capped loans are among expert suggestions
http://www.abajournal.com/mobile/article/how_to_improve_law_school_required_clinical_training_capped_loans_are_among/
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Jul 24, 2013, 05:45 am CDT
Law schools that once promised grads a place among the elite need to change along with the legal profession, according to several experts who offered their suggestions.

The New Republic queried the experts as a follow-up to an article that, in its words, “chronicles the looming economic collapse of the legal profession.” ABAJournal.com reported on the highlights or the prior article here. The experts’ suggestions are here.

Among the suggestions gathered by the New Republic:

• From Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz: Law schools should offer two years of academic instruction and a third year focused on the student’s career choice that could include internships and clinical training. The third year change might result in the need for fewer teachers and reduced costs. “There are no free lunches when it comes to legal education,” he write, “but cost-cutting is essential as law-school tuition has ballooned dramatically over the past half century.”

• From University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos, who formerly blogged at Inside the Law School Scam: Cap student loans. “The cost of law school needs to be reduced to what it was a generation ago,” he writes. “This would happen practically overnight if the federal government put reasonable caps on educational loans.”

• Slate legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick: Add a hands-on clinical component to legal education, and put it during the first year. “The hope is that a year of practicing taking depositions, doing document review, and interviewing cranky clients might have helped clarify for many of us, early and often, that we won’t all get to be Clarence Darrow,” she says.

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US News & World Reports: (Law School) Know What You’re Getting Into

US News & World Reports
Ann Levine
November 22, 2010

I am proud to be a lawyer and I am proud to help other people reach their dream of becoming a lawyer. [sounds desparate to sell the profession]. However, there have been numerous stories recently that may discourage you from applying to law school. There are negative and disgruntled law students and attorneys warning you about the evils of law schools, of the profession, and of anyone remotely related to it. My goal is to make sure you don’t join that disgruntled bunch. [Which can simply be prevented by not attending law school]

So, if you decide to go to law school, you need to feel that the benefits outweigh the sacrifices and potential drawbacks that many of the naysayers routinely harp on. Go into it with your eyes wide open, ready to work hard, ready to make your way and create your own career. [Sounds like a tort in the beginning you are proceeding into a known danger and that it’s forseeable that you will have damages]. You won’t expect anyone to hand you a six figure job at graduation.

[This is such a misleading characterization, that most attorneys EXPECT six figures. No most attorneys expect after committing and investing time, money, effort and basically their life into achieving admittance into a noble profession that one can obtain a job in which one can have DECENT housing, food and transportation. The only graduates who really expect six figures upon graduation are those set for the patent bar, trust fund babies, IVY League graduates with connections.]

You will go into this with an understanding of the realities of the profession. You will know that success does not happen overnight, that your dream job isn’t the first job out of law school, but the one you hold ten years down the road. [false misrepresentation, how in the world can such a writer state this with a ‘straight face’ without submitting statistics or even state based on people he or she knows. It appears the author writes in theory or the same rhetoric that continues to be told to unsuspecting 0Ls.]
There is no fast track to success in law school or in anything else in life. The key is to make the best decisions you can about your future with the information you currently have at your disposal.

I want you to really consider whether to go to law school, and I want to share the questions you should be asking before you go. Plus, I want to make sure you are equipped to make good decisions about where to attend.

Let’s start here: Reasons NOT to Go to Law School:

1. Money (How much does law school cost and how can I pay for it?)

2. Time (three years full-time, 4 years part-time)

3. Bad career outlook in current economic environment

4. It’s difficult

5. It’s competitive

6. There are too many lawyers

It appears that 1, 3, 5, 6 are all related to NOT being able to get a job or make decent money with a law degree. Decent refers to enough money to sustain you and your family (whatever that may be) with food, gas, heat, electricity, housing and transportation. Four out of the six reality checks are stating that you cannot live a normal life with a law degree. So those of you who are already making $50,000-$75,000 without a law degree; you are in a much better position than most licensed American attorneys. So, does it make ANY sense to encumber your life with unnecessary debt to be in a profession with superficial professionalism, mentally disabled persons who many have broken down after realizing the reality of what going to law school has done to them, all while struggling to meet your monthly financial obligations and reaching for straws to keep a facade of upward mobility. Reason with yourself and don’t ignore the signs.

Points 2 and 4 are related to losing valuable years of your life to spend hours, days, weeks studying to impress law professors who already made their decisions of who each student is, where they will fall in the mandatory curve within the first week of classes, all the while subjecting students to the Socratic method with the intent of satisfying a power-trip. Now all professors are like this but most are. Your first year you do not select your law professors and many have tenure, so good luck in being treated fairly while learning about the law–ironic isn’t it?

Now, the Reasons TO Attend Law School:

1. Learning how to think

2. Profession you can always rely upon/Job security

3. Helping others/contributing to the community

4. Being important and respected

5. Financial security, prosperity

Points 2 and 5 do not make any sense in light of the previous set of points. Although most professions and both the private and public sector is suffering due to the current economy, the legal profession has forever changed. There is no such thing as financial security in general when there is a permanent oversaturation of law graduates and attorneys. Due to this saturation how can point 4 be valid? Value is based on quality and rarity. Many media outlets have exposed how unprepared most law graduates are and have been over the past few decades. When lawyers are a dime a dozen, how are you important? Though theoretically an attorney is to advocate, be a defender of the Constitution, etc, most attorneys are either focused on keeping their financial security which inevitably compromises the value of the services and as a result the profession. Additionally, when there is not a demand for a product or service, the price steadily decreases (oversaturation).

You need to do your research about each one of these pros and cons. How much can you expect to make in the area of law you plan on pursuing? What would your student loan payment be? Your rent? Your car payment? Etc.

So, how can you research this? Talk to lawyers in big firms, lawyers who work for the public defender, lawyers who work in a firm with only two or three attorneys, or insurance defense attorneys. Ask them how much they made in their first five years of practice and how much they made after ten years. Ask them what they really do all day. Ask them to describe a typical case they are working on. [A simple approach is to read these blogs. The following two questions are good suggestions though:]

Ask them what time they get to the office everyday and what time they leave. Ask them if they like their jobs.
Ask them where they went to law school. Did they take a scholarship to a lower ranked school? Why or why not?

Do top law schools open some doors? Do you want to clerk for the Supreme Court? Be a law professor? I suggest you look up people who have jobs you would like to have one day and see where they went to law school.

It’s essential you have a firm grasp on what the profession entails before you commit. Comparing and contrasting the answers to these questions with your expectations is key to helping you make your decision.

If you’ve gone through this thought process and you still decide to attend law school, you will know what you are getting yourself into. You will be in a position to make good decisions about your future. And then you’ll be ready to hear this podcast: How to Get Hired as a Rookie Attorney.

In other words you will definitely be “proceeding into a known danger.”

Legal Outsourcing Company: Someone’s thriving from Lawyers’ Misery

All Rights Reserved

On June 2, 2010 Corporate Counsel publishes an article regarding Wipro an Indian-BASED legal process outsourcing company.[

Wipro Legal Process Outsourcing Creates Gold Standard For Customer Value] and the same company will provide LPO services to Microsoft [Wipro to provide LPO to Microsoft’s IP, June 16, 2010]. Wow, I know Apple and Microsoft are always battling in the technology industry but who would have forseen Microsoft’s legal department work  outsourced to India.

On June 14, 2010 i Bridge gets a feature: Demand for Legal Outsourcing Drives Growth at iBridge in Beaverton, which profiles the company based in Oregon which does electronic business solutions for various fields including the legal industry. As stated before, many in the legal field have already noted the impact of the unofficial permissibility for law firms to outsource discovery materials to India for document review. iBridge is that “middle-man” in this instance to get the documents uploaded.

To give you some insight on the day to day o perations: “The company’s growth is driven by the demand for outsourcing of legal industry support services such as early case assessment, information collection and management, hosting and document review. The iBridge team comprises of experienced project managers, technologists, seasoned in-house and contract attorneys admitted to the bar in the U.S. and India.”  See those key words: ‘project mangers’, ‘facility’; ‘contract attorneys.’ Facility, isn’t that a work synonymous with hospitals and manufacturing plants? Attorneys, as other bloggers have called out, are part of the McJob and WalMartization of the legal industry. Those who have survived on working with firms doing similar work, is it not obvious a new career path is needed?

I am actually not surprised at all. Someone informed me a few years ago a company who was doing exactly that where the contract attorneys are akin to the permanent staff of the vendor company thus eliminating the need for a law firm to actually hire attorneys themselves through placement agencies or junior level associates whose primary job was to perform document review. As evidenced by this statement: “This team is often called to supplement law firms and in-house counsel to aid in complex litigation and document review projects.” Talk about business model and changing operations and saving money, well so the argument goes: “The value the firm provides is in enhanced productivity and lowered costs in data heavy litigation.” Though this company is innovative in decreasing costs to law firms. Just imagine the founders of this company don’t have law degrees and likely little to no student loans…the legal industry will never be the same.

A Post from Above the Law Website: Commentary on ABA approved outsourcing

This article was featured on Above the Law website, surprisingly it concerns the plight of unemployed attorneys who must survive amidst the legal outsourcing phenomenon by corporate law firms. Hopefully this wasn’t already posted on another blog. I wonder to what extent outsourcing is receiving such attention now, is it because T-14 graduates are now having to be in the company of the non-prestigious lawyers and it is having a big effect on them? I remember attorneys telling me that the discovery review work was for a long period of time the work of first year associates, then became the work of the contractual attorneys–which helped firms bottom lines. So I initially thought, maybe as a result the firms would not hire as many associates who are likely from T-14, thus rendering them in pro bono, internship or contract attorney work. As outsourcing gained additional support, more attorneys across the economic and social spectrum have been affected–is this why more people care now? Or do they really?: Anyway here’s the featured piece:

Legal Olympics Update: Outsourcing E-Discovery Sliding Down Slippery Slope, at Record Speed

The author doesn’t seem to oppose the cost-cutting effects on most American attorneys but suggests it’s primarily an issue of quality. Agreeably the standards in most foreign countries are likely not as strict in it’s process. So I get from this that it’s ok to keep outsourcing as long as quality measures were actually put in place. So in the end, no one cares about the masses of American attorneys affected by it.

Law School Admissions Lag Among Minorities January 6, 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/07/education/07law.html

Law School Admissions Lag Among Minorities

By Tamar Lewin
Published: January 6, 2010

While law schools added about 3,000 seats for first-year students from 1993 to 2008, both the percentage and the number of black and Mexican-American law students declined in that period, according to a study by a Columbia Law School professor.

What makes the declines particularly troubling, said the professor, Conrad Johnson, is that in that same period, both groups improved their college grade-point averages and their scores on the Law School Admission Test, or L.S.A.T.

“Even though their scores and grades are improving, and are very close to those of white applicants, African-Americans and Mexican-Americans are increasingly being shut out of law schools,” said Mr. Johnson, who oversees the Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic at Columbia, which collaborated with the Society of American Law Teachers to examine minority enrollment rates at American law schools.

However, Hispanics other than Mexicans and Puerto Ricans made slight gains in law school enrollment.

The number of black and Mexican-American students applying to law school has been relatively constant, or growing slightly, for two decades. But from 2003 to 2008, 61 percent of black applicants and 46 percent of Mexican-American applicants were denied acceptance at all of the law schools to which they applied, compared with 34 percent of white applicants.

“What’s happening, as the American population becomes more diverse, is that the lawyer corps and judges are remaining predominantly white,” said John Nussbaumer, associate dean of Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s campus in Auburn Hills, Mich., which enrolls an unusually high percentage of African-American students.

Mr. Nussbaumer, who has been looking at the same minority-representation numbers, independently of the Columbia clinic, has become increasingly concerned about the large percentage of minority applicants shut out of law schools.

“A big part of it is that many schools base their admissions criteria not on whether students have a reasonable chance of success, but how those L.S.A.T. numbers are going to affect their rankings in the U.S. News & World Report,” Mr. Nussbaumer said. “Deans get fired if the rankings drop, so they set their L.S.A.T. requirements very high.

“We’re living proof that it doesn’t have to be that way, that those students with the slightly lower L.S.A.T. scores can graduate, pass the bar and be terrific lawyers.”

Margaret Martin Barry, co-president of the Society of American Law Teachers, said that while she understood the importance of rankings, law schools must address the issue of diversity. “If you’re so concerned with rankings, you’re going to lose a whole generation,” she said.

The Columbia study found that among the 46,500 law school matriculants in the fall of 2008, there were 3,392 African-Americans, or 7.3 percent, and 673 Mexican-Americans, or 1.4 percent. Among the 43,520 matriculants in 1993, there were 3,432 African-Americans, or 7.9 percent, and 710 Mexican-Americans, or 1.6 percent. The study, whose findings are detailed at the Web site A Disturbing Trend in Law School Diversity, relied on the admission council’s minority categories, which track Mexican-Americans separately from Puerto Ricans and Hispanic/Latino students.

“We focused on the two groups, African-Americans and Mexican-Americans, who did not make progress in law school representation during the period,” Mr. Johnson said. “The Hispanic/Latino group did increase, from 3.1 percent of the matriculants in 1993, to 5.1 percent in 2008.”

Mr. Johnson said he did not have a good explanation for the disparity, particularly since the 2008 LSAT scores among Mexican-Americans were, on average, one point higher than those of the Hispanics, and one point lower in 1993.

Over all, Mr. Johnson said, it is puzzling that minority enrollment in law schools has fallen, even since the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2003, in Grutter v. Bollinger, that race can be taken into account in law school admissions because the diversity of the student body is a compelling state interest.

“Someone told me that things had actually gotten worse since the Grutter decision, and that’s what got us started looking at this,” Mr. Johnson said. “Many people are not aware of the numbers, even among those interested in diversity issues. For many African-American and Mexican-American students, law school is an elusive goal.”

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I have mixed feelings about this article. First, I know how hard it was historically for blacks to even obtain the privilege to read, eat in public, use the restroom in public, ride in transportation in integrated transport. Let alone to obtain the right the vote and get a formal education. The problem is that with invidious discrimination that is interwoven in American society, going to law school will be a financial detriment. This will likely affects one credit (mind you there are studies which shows black Americans with equal or slightly better credit scores still receive subprime rates: [Credit, Capital and Communities: The Implications of the Changing Mortgage Banking Industry for Community Based Organizations, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University(2004) AND 88th Annual Report, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2001). Denial rates for conventional home purchase loans in 2000 were 45 percent for black applicants, 42 percent for Native American applicants, 31 percent for Hispanic applicants, 22 percent for white applicants, and 12 percent for Asian applicants.]).   In a way, we desparately need quality attorneys to fight institutionalized discrimination, but to make it seem like law schools are doing certain minorities a favor by soliciting their borrowed dollars to be flunked out, hazed, unemployed and an indentured servant in modern society and use a criterion which isn’t fair even when you do things the right way; it’s like either way you’re damned. MAYBE THE ENROLLMENT RATES ARE LOWER BECAUSE MINORITIES FIGURED OUT THE GAME EARLIER AND CHOSE NOT TO BE SUCKERED–I tried to end the thought on a positive note!

Reasons Why You Should Not Go to Law School

Top 10

10) Money Money, Money or the lack thereof you will be mortgaging your future.

9) People assume that an attorney = prestige, lexus, bmw and a nice condo or home, you will be left with the damaging reality of scraping up money to make your monthly bills and pondering how many years of happiness you wasted

8) Unless you attend a top 10 school in top tier your prospects will diminish upon graduation with polite rebuffs of why you weren’t hired (that might’ve been repetitive too).

7) The legal profession is being outsourced, you will likely not have a job in the legal profession when you graduate.

6) What they call the ‘Socratic method’ is nothing more than hazing and to see if they can plummet your self-esteem while laughing on the way to the bank to deposit their gradiose paycheck.

5) As a person of color, you are not wanted there, no matter how hard you work, if your ideas aren’t conformist, no matter how plausible or right, you will become that professor’s target.

4) Did I mention student loans?

3) There are other options than law school, such as trade, culinary schools and other graduate programs such as engineering and medical school that are more cost-investment-worthy than law school.

2) You will be told that it is a sacrifice during your first year of law school, that your family, spouses, etc will understand the “pay-off” only to realize the only pay-off you’ll be doing is on those student loans.

1) As things are generally harder for the majority of blacks– you know discrimination in employment, housing and education, criminal justice system (don’t challenge me–I have reports and statistics), laidening yourself with debt is pushing yourself  further into a form of servitude to a system that doesn’t respect you in the first place.