Paradigm Shift

19 ABA Journal articles on Paradigm Shift.

How managed services are building systems for corporate legal work
Legal managed services providers design, build and staff process-driven systems that efficiently complete legal work. The work’s content often is sophisticated and important to the client’s long-term commercial interests. Yet the volume is too large to be performed cost-effectively by law firm associates and too narrow and repetitive to warrant hiring more in-house lawyers.
Some law firms look outside law practice to avoid their ‘Kodak moment’
During the course of reporting this story, the name Kodak kept coming up as a symbol of where the legal industry could be headed if it continues to resist technology. A survey released in January by Georgetown University's Center for the Study of the Legal Profession and Thomson Reuters' Peer Monitor serves up the Eastman Kodak Co. as its main allegory.

What the jobs are: New tech and client needs create a new field of legal operations
It's mid-March and I'm at the DocuSign conference at the Grand Hyatt in downtown San Francisco. It's a bustling gathering with a Fortune 500 vibe—room after room of people discussing various aspects of digital transaction management.
Roundtable on change and challenge in the business of law
At a rather small table in a large hotel conference room, five pioneers in new legal services met with the ABA Journal in May. Someone suggested the Las Vegas gathering looked like a poker game, but the intention was a discussion of a very different kind of gambling—the risks they've taken in beginning legal businesses outside the traditional law firm and the bets they've placed on the future of the legal industry.

Model program brings holistic solutions to divorce
Does the UK know something we don’t about alternative business structures?
Who owns the law? Technology reignites the war over just how public documents should be

These days the smallest and most exclusive piece of real estate in Washington, D.C., is the sliver of common ground that exists between congressional Democrats and Republicans. But during a January hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on the scope of copyright protection laws, Democrats and Republicans were in broad agreement on an issue that was seemingly settled long ago: No one can own the law.

Architecture firm unveils display of the ‘law firm of the future’

There have already been plenty of pop-up stores, especially ones that appear during the holidays. Now witness the pop-up law firm.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that architectural…

These venture capitalists skip law firms for legal services startups
Who’s eating law firms’ lunch?

Deanna Johnston had 30 minutes to spare. As vice president of litigation at Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., she and her busy team couldn’t afford to waste time meeting with another typical legal vendor. But her boss, the general counsel, had insisted on this one.

Two hours later, Johnston hired the company to aid her outside counsel on a test basis to redo the discovery process: roughly 30,000 documents for a case two months before trial. The vendor’s team of lawyers identified a missing key document and saved Johnston $100,000 in outside lawyers’ fees on the matter—even as she paid for repeat work—because the high level of organization and analysis of the thousands of documents so thoroughly and quickly prepped her team and the BigLaw lawyers for trial.

How law firms can use LPOs to their own advantage (podcast with transcript)

Podcast Transcript

Reginald Davis: What should your law firm do to deal with these upstart non-traditional legal service providers?

Bill Henderson: If I was a law firm, I would go…

ABA Journal takes home hardware in journalism contest

The ABA Journal congratulates its staff and contributors for several awards in the national and regional business-to-business journalism contest sponsored by the American…

‘Law is broken.’ Will these legal tech gurus bring about change?

Corrected: “The law is broken, change is coming.”

So said Axiom Law Managing Director Henry Jones at a one-day session not for the many U.S. lawyers clinging to a century-old…

The Pedigree Problem: Are Law School Ties Choking the Profession?

John, a senior associate at a regional law firm, read the recruiter’s email a second time, still in disbelief.

An experienced litigator, John (who asked not to be identified out of concern for future job prospects) graduated in the top 10 percent of his law school class in 2006 with a resumé that boasted the brass rings of law review and moot court, where he won numerous awards. His undergraduate GPA was equally stellar, and in the past six years he’d run numerous litigation matters. His annual billed hours remained in the top 5 percent of his firm.

Yet, according to the message, his legal career hinged on a single factor: the name of his second-tier law school.

“We don’t typically recruit from [school X],” the recruiter wrote, noting that John’s pre-law-school professional background would be the sole reason the firm might reconsider in the future. “We’ll pass.”

John’s experience is far from isolated. Decades after graduation, elite law school degrees continue to open doors closed to graduates of less-favored schools. Prestige drives a huge proportion of law firm hiring, judicial clerkships, and coveted positions at the U.S. Department of Justice and within the legal academy.

The Law School Bubble: How Long Will It Last if Law Grads Can’t Pay Bills?

For Andrea, a past decision to ensure her future in law has left her in a stressed and distressful present. Concerned over how it might affect her job prospects, she would not allow use of her real name. And there is reason for concern: She’s been laid off twice since her 2009 law school graduation, including from a position where she earned $20 an hour at a small firm practicing as a licensed attorney. For the 29-year-old, who’s supported herself since college, the financial repercussions of law school may amount to the worst investment of her life, despite a degree from a second-tier school and a resumé that boasts a position on law review and coveted summer associate positions.

“I deferred my loans because of economic hardship the first time,” says Andrea, who borrowed nearly $110,000 to finance her education. “After that,” she falters, “they might be in forbearance … accruing interest … I just don’t know.”

Andrea’s situation is far from unique. In 2010, 85 percent of law graduates from ABA-accredited schools boasted an average debt load of $98,500, according to data collected from law schools by U.S. News & World Report. At 29 schools, that amount exceeded $120,000. In contrast, only 68 percent of those grads reported employment in positions that require a JD nine months after commencement. Less than 51 percent found employment in private law firms.

The influx of so many law school graduates—44,258 in 2010 alone, according to the ABA—into a declining job market creates serious repercussions that will reverberate for decades to come.

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