I have been following the ongoing (1) discussions about the structure and changes in the law or law firm business/profession, and (2) discussions relating to law school operation and the recent new rankings. (1) and (2) are separate and yet also in some ways inter-related issues.
The law business or profession has been going through a rough time for several years. Some firms will survive, some will not, and there is also a sustainability factor meaning that some firms will survive for the current partners but there is no longevity for the lower-level attorneys. The law business also is important for the public at large and for the community as a means to peacefully resolve disputes – people need access to legal representation, and litigation and court costs that they can afford, the lawsuit process needs to be fair and sufficiently time efficient, people need to feel like they had their appropriate opportunity and day in court, and lawyers should be able to earn a reasonable living.
You might also be aware that the US News law school rankings came out recently. Yes, the rankings are flawed, as are some law school admission processes, but the rankings exist nevertheless. And, the rankings are relevant because some, or many, or most law school applicants decide to go to the “best” law school that they can get into, and they might consider those rankings as part of the decision process. Perhaps the legal profession should come up with a better ranking system, one that is based on important available verifiable information, to compete with the US News ranking, if the legal profession could agree on better ranking criteria. This year, and I believe without prior notice, US News changed some of its important ranking criteria. The result for individual schools was either beneficial, detrimental, or no significant ranking change. But it would have been wrong for US News to make the significant criteria change without sufficient prior notice. And, somewhere there should be a critical, public review and evaluation of the criteria that US News uses – including the good, bad, and unknown or unclear.
Here is a link to an interesting PowerPoint about the changing state of the law business (I don’t know why there are blank or black pager, but it doesn’t really matter as you will get the point anyway). It is my experience that the PowerPoint primarily would apply to large cases such as cases that involve a large volume of documents, or many depositions, or other voluminous evidence, and these are issues that the courts are also still considering for discovery and trial presentation purposes. Click Here For PowerPoint.
More to follow on these topics.
Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)