Nearly 2,000 college students earned J.D.s from Illinois nine law faculties in 2012. Many more were accepted into the legal market via the 14 law schools located in states with contiguous borders. A few will join the more than 100.000 graduates with J.D. degrees. American Bar Association (ABA) statistics show that students are not working in positions that require J.D.s in students in the 2011 class. Just 54.9 per cent of the graduates held jobs that required J.D.s in the first just nine months after graduating. Many will be burdened with staggering levels of debt. The median educational debt for private law school students this year was $125,000. For public schools, the figure was $75,700.
Are these issues real? Yes, and not. A huge amount of educational debt isn’t a problem if it opens the way to a job with enough income to cover the loan. But, it can be an issue if it does not. Getting the J.D. and then choosing to become a businessperson or social worker isn’t an issue if your chosen profession makes you happy. The possibility of getting the J.D. and then becoming a taxi driver or waiter is an issue if your professional ambition is to become an attorney. The data suggest that for many law students, the possibilities aren’t in line with the expenses, which can affect the provision of legal services throughout the country.
What is it that the state bardo to in identifying the solution? Some believe that the best answer is to cut down on the size of law schools, either through cutting class sizes or shutting down law schools. Several law schools have started to cut down on entering classes. Others want to change the legal education curriculum by encouraging the development of skills or initiating similar reforms.
Each of these options, but we believe it is essential to consider all aspects of the legal market embraced by lawyers when considering the various alternatives. These changes are profound. To tackle them, state bar associations and the legal academy will need to take a step that we haven’t done (very effectively) in the past several decades – collaborate to build the profession. The only way to accomplish this is to promote society’s interest.
Accept the magnitude of change.
It is the first thing to comprehend what’s happening in the legal market. There is no temporary slump because of the current financial crisis. While the turmoil in the mortgage market and the euro crisis, and the public sector’s funding problems have sparked several headlines and media attention, the issue of lawyers in the job market is not just an incident that has been caused by the financial crisis of Lehman Brothers, Spain’s banking collapse or Illinois budgetary issues.
Data from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns dataset shows that the Employment of law firms peaked at 1,123,000 amid the height of the real estate bubble and not later. Between 2004 and 2010, the total number of law firms Employment decreased by over 47,000 and more than 4 per cent. This is not a sign of a decrease in demand for legal services. However, it is a reorganization of market demand for legal services.
In the same period that the Employment of law firms decreased, Employment in legal services offered by law firms increased between 9,800 and 23,600. Contrary to traditional law companies, this industry is expanding rapidly.
How are businesses growing? Most likely, they include the operations in the U.S. state of legal process outsourcing companies (LPOs). Furthermore, the figures for foreign Employment are not tracked by is not tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau does not monitor, are likely to increase much more quickly.
As per an article published in the Indian Hindu Business Line newspaper, “legal process outsourcing (LPO) companies are now bagging many graduates.” Rohan Dalal, the Managing Director for Mindcrest, a U.S.-based LPO headquartered in Chicago and with operations in India, has estimated that the LPO sector would see 30 % growth annually. Our market analysis confirms that this is the beginning of a significant trend that will grow in the coming years.
So, even though we could attribute some current chaos in the law sector to the current financial crisis and the recession is also accelerating certain changes that are already taking place, the fundamental shifts that are taking place in the legal industry were already in place long before our current economic challenges surfaced. The direction these changes will affect the legal profession isn’t yet certain, but we’re certain that the legal market will be quite different in the next decade than it is in the present.
The implications of the changes on the market are substantial. Law firms that excelled across all markets assured high-quality services to clients who had trouble evaluating lawyers. They could offer high-end prices. As business owners begin to separate the traditional services provided by big firms, they are figuring out ways to reduce the costs of legal services while maintaining the quality.
In the end, it is a threat to the traditional business model. It isn’t just that they have “too many lawyers.” Brookings Institute research suggests that the “extra” profits in law by excluding the competition – untrained solo practitioners and well-funded technology companies – are approximately $70,000 per lawyer. This is a significant prize that is now drawing the attention of competitors who are new to the field.
Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter developed Michael Porter’s “5 forces” model for studying the potential of businesses to sustain long-term profits. These forces are barriers to entry, internal rivalry, supplier power, buyer power, and substitutes/complements. If you apply Porter’s model, it suggests that law firms have suffered a significant loss of protection against competition, and the massive profits that they made in the past times may not be able to return.
The competition’s success in law firms is not a surprise since businesspeople can be competitive and modify processes to remove efficiency, at least in highly competitive fields where efficiency is required for survival. However, acquiring these capabilities has never been a primary element of legal education. In addition, business acumen isn’t included in the standard legal firm’s hiring criteria. In the future, the expertise of the top lawyers is likely to grow larger, in particular with regards to managing costs as well as designing new products and services.
Even in the top strata of the corporate bar, competition pressures are increasing. The problems faced by Dewey & Leboeuf included taking loans to pay for salary and other expenses, which one could attribute to the necessity to recruit high-profile partners who are not competing with competitors. Companies are removing partners who do not meet their goals for profit, a phenomenon not even a few years prior. Competition for client business is becoming more fierce since the power of bargaining for clients has increased. One positive aspect for law firms within the Porter Five factors is that their supply chain – law schools are less able than law firms.
The effect of changes on the legal education
The American educational system for lawyers has seen unprecedented growth over the last two decades. There are more law schools accredited by the ABA now than in history. Despite recent reductions in the size of classes in a handful of colleges, the total number of spaces in law schools is close to the record high. Additionally, at the same that law schools grew their student body in the past, they also increased their faculties and decreased teaching load, and created ever-expanding curriculums with more concentration on academic subjects and less practice-oriented courses.
The shift to “bar courses” has resulted from the growing scope of academic research on legal issues. This is a significant allocation of money. Hofstra University Law Professor Richard Neumann estimated that every law review article written by a tenured, well-paying professor at the top law school was worth an investment of $100,000 by the school. Even an article written by an assistant professor at a less prestigious school accounted for $25,000 in expenses. It is possible to question Neumann’s numbers, but his overall conclusion is well-supported that law schools are spending massive amounts of funds on creating legal scholarships.
This could be a negative thing. A legal scholarship could be beneficial. However, a lot of academic legal research has moved away from subjects of interest to the bench and bar and has shifted towards research relevant to the law school. In 2006 Ohio State University Professor Larry Garvin published The Strange Death of Academic Commercial Law, which detailed the demise of research in the practice of this entire area. Our analysis of the long-term trend of legal scholarship has shown significant shifts away from subjects like commercial law, bankruptcy and torts, contracts, criminal law, property, and towards legal theory, constitutional law and interdisciplinary research across every level of the law academy.
The options for the second type of research have risen. Yale currently offers 14 law journals available to students, with over 600. We think that few professionals regularly read or subscribe to one of them. The number of law journal subscriptions has dropped significantly. The most popular law journal, The Harvard Law Review, has paid its subscriptions to drop from 10,000 in the 1970s to 1,896 by 2011.
Scholarship in the more practice-oriented fields has shifted to speciality journals, which furthers its decline in the academy. Faculty value publication in top-ranked schools’ general law reviews over practitioner-oriented work in making hiring decisions.
Law schools also have been for the past 20 years in a ranking arms race, where they vie for position at the end of the year in U.S. News rankings. Though nearly every law school in America will be adamant about U.S. News, this doesn’t hinder schools from promoting positive changes. Even if you leave aside the recent ranking scandals at Villanova and the University of Illinois, this competition has led several institutions to take part in questionable academic conduct.
In previous work, we reported an increase of 10 years in “part-time” programs at law schools. Why? Because they were not eligible from the median school’s LSAT scores – an important factor to the U.S. News ranking formula. While the magazine has since closed the loophole, the ranking arms race has resulted in an unprecedented increase in the number of transfer applicants. These students are also not included in the U.S. News rankings calculations.
After nearly ten years of analysis and analysis of issues relating to rankings, we’ve discovered that many law schools report their rankings with a determination that matches and sometimes exceeds those who are the most aggressive tax attorney. But there’s been virtually zero educational gain for law students paying to compete with the schools’ exaggerations.
In contrast, there was an expense. Since most U.S. law schools are heavily dependent on tuition to generate a vast amount of their income, the expansion and shift were financed primarily by increasing tuition. The cost of law school has increased nearly twice as fast as inflation for more than two decades. In the past 20 years, law students have had to pay for the transformation of the U.S. legal academy into an ineffective, less competitive and less valuable industry that has done poorly in training lawyers in the legal profession in an extremely competitive business environment.
There aren’t a lot of lawyers?
There are definitely “too many” lawyers with huge debts to their education who are looking for BigLaw jobs with the hopes of repaying the student loan debt. There are many gaps in the legal system of our society. In 2005 The Report the report Legal Aid Safety Net concluded that “The legal aid system in Illinois was able to address only a small fraction of the civil legal problems encountered by low-income Illinoisans in 2003” and”the “safety net” offered by the legal aid system was “clearly inadequate to meet this challenge.” Over the past few years, the situation has not changed. Also, middle-income individuals are frequently left off from legal services since they can’t afford legal assistance.
The financial aspects of legal education might not cause unmet legal needs in society, but the escalating student debt contributes to the issue. The main issue isn’t restricting the number of attorneys available but ensuring that legal assistance is accessible to everyone at a cost that everyone can afford.
Technology will play a key role in this regard by cutting down on the costs of education and generating innovative ways to efficiently meet the legal requirements of the majority of citizens. To address this issue of productivity, law schools must redirect some of the time focused on traditional legal education to studying how technology can be utilized to enhance legal education and provide legal services and products.
The bar’s role
The changes described in this article apply equally to lawyers practising and legal educators. In the postwar era of prosperity, America pursued its paths. In retrospect, this was an error. Instead of dividing blame, a better option is collaboration in the area of the productivity imperative – higher quality for less.
Lawyers practising in the field require more advanced and improved skills to compete in a rapidly changing market, and law schools have to develop the ability to impart this broad array of abilities. Bar associations can play an important part in this change by establishing relationships through conclaves, conclaves or apprenticeships – with innovative legal education and law schools. The advantages that result are sure to ensure that many more lawyers and law schools are followed.
The difficulties facing law school education are not less serious. Law schools of both private and public schools are provided with a valuable source of information by rules restricting access to the bar exam only to graduates of accredited law schools. A “Spiderman rule” applies here that with immense power comes the responsibility of a great deal. To meet our obligations to society and our legal profession itself, the law school has to reduce legal education costs. This is a difficult process that requires a significant overhaul of the largely uniform law school model that focuses on research and academics. While expenses must be reduced in the curriculum, the content of the courses and teaching methods must be revised and improved.
The change will not occur, but if legal employers – made up of members of local and state bar associations are prone to favour applicants from the top-ranked law schools. Choose the best candidates to be certain. However, you must take the time to gather the information needed to make well-informed and accurate hiring choices.
The widespread belief that top schools produce the most qualified candidates significantly limits innovation in law schools and secures the status of the art. Legal education can take three years and is usually paid for with loans. It can be accomplished properly or poorly. Employers must value the asset that costs such a large amount properly. In this absence, no market is thriving for top-quality legal training.
The legal employment market in Illinois might not be big enough to support the nine law schools within the state and 23 across the entire region. If they do, they mustn’t follow the same pattern shortly. In many ways, lawyers, Illinois State Bar Association and legal educators must work together to resolve each other’s issues facing the rapidly evolving legal market.