Clients Refuse To Pay For What Law Schools Churn Out
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You take three years out of your life to slave over books in law school. Then you spend over a hundred thousand dollars on getting that education. After that you take a difficult entrance exam to prove that you are qualified to practice law. You would think that after all that trouble and hard work, you would be able to convince sophisticated clients of your value as a lawyer.

But, of course, if you thought that, you would be wrong.


The Wall Street Journal has recently said in a report that over 20% of corporate clients simply refuse to pay for the first- or second- year associate work on some matters.

And today’s report isn’t telling us anything new. The clients have been quite reluctant to pay the bills for junior attorneys since the very start of the recession. They have also been openly willing to talk about the ”worthlessness” of junior attorneys for some time.

We will just say that the fact that this prejudice against junior attorneys is kind of stupid. At most of the Biglaw firms, first- and second-year attorneys are given only the work that a conscientious high school student could preform. While it definitely seems outrageous to pay the large billing rates for the first-year associate to put together a ”hot docs” binder, because clients would probably want to pay a fifth-year to do that work, I’m sure that law firms would definitely be accommodating.

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But that doesn’t matter, law firms will adjust and in a free market, clients are free to spend their money however they so please.

The sad part about this story is the absolute lack of reaction from American law schools. Again, the Wall Street Journal’s report is not entirely new information. Law schools have know this, and had years to digest the information that clients think recent law school graduates are ill-prepared to advise them on their legal issues. Because whether you go to a great school or one that gets sued over allegedly misleading employment statistics, clients will still say that you are way underprepared to do what they need you to do.

Which is actually really sad when you consider that you’ve spent the past three years of you life, and six figures to learn skills that people are allegedly willing to pay for. What are law school actually doing if they aren’t pumping out people who can convince clients to pay for their work.

Some may argue that the American legal profession needs to move to an apprenticeship system, like the one that they have in the U.K. Which could be very interesting.

Law schools remain totally oblivious to reality. All they keep doing is charging money, and putting poor kids through an education that is increasingly out of touch with what the market demands.


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