Tuesday, March 29, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 5 Changes in the Legal Profession-

Over the last few years, the legal profession has greatly changed.  The economic downturn has been rough on many markets, and law is no exception.  Despite the difficulty the craft has faced, a number of changes, and prospective changes could arguably be for the better.

1. Potential Loss of the LSAT
Over the last few months, we've heard a lot of talk about ABA law schools doing away with the Law School Admissions Test.  For years, this test has been a key component in law school admission.  Many feel it has nothing to do with law school, or what is learned there.  We kinda concur.  Of course there must be a rubric of some sort to make selections, but looking at one's overall resume, personal statement, grades, and all candidates have to offer might be better than a test which leaves everyone puzzled when they leave. 

2. Summer Associate Positions are Fading
Working as a summer associate between law school years was a staple in the law school experience.  Because of the recent economic downturn, we have seen summer associate positions virtually disappear.  For firms still able to have associates, the amount they host and keep after graduation has unfortunately decreased.  Doing more with less, we are seeing much different experiences for today's law students.

3. Innovation of the Satellite Office
All the changes including staff reductions in many law firms are forcing attorneys to think outside the box.  These thoughts have led to "Coffee Shop Lawyers", and various new ways to reach and please clients.  Whether it's video conferencing, or meetings at Starbucks, next generation lawyers are recreating the profession one latte at a time.

4. Volunteering Takes Precedent
Summer associate positions may be on the decline, but volunteer opportunities--and the necessity for them, are on the rise!  These days, we have to find different ways to get to our goals, and volunteering to make solid relationships while getting valuable experience is the perfect way.  Sure attorneys are expected to do their share of pro bono work, but volunteering takes on a whole new light when the pressures of meeting big firm numbers is not there.  If you're having trouble finding work, try volunteering.  The payment will come later!

5. The Per-Project Fee
Lawyers are known for the billable hour, and this is sure to never change.  However, flat rates for projects are becoming more popular.  Despite billable hours being a fixture in the legal profession, other changes in the field are forcing a second look at how work is valued.  Often, an appearance, filing, or form can be done for a flat fee, without the hassle of counting the minutes.  Both sides can come out as winners with project fees.  Will it work for your next assignment?

We hope this post has been helpful to you, whether for insight or suggestions.  If we can offer more help, just let us know!

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