Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End Of Year, Decade, Top, Best Of, Stuff About The Legal Profession

Everyone seems to be writing some end of year, end of decade, Top 10, Best of, my predictions, list. So because the term "follower" is now no longer a criticism, but a part of the fabric of our lives, I'll play along.

This is my end of the year, decade, top, best, things I wanted to predict, comment on, and mention regarding the legal profession.

Seems as if the lawyers among us are eagerly awaiting "next year, "2010," which is better defined as "next week."

Love the optimism and hope, but let's be real. Next year is basically Monday. "Change" was last year's term.

So here we go:

[1] I said, to the "please don't say that" masses, that Big Law had collapsed. It did, and it's not coming back, ever.

The gig's up folks (cue the "you're just jealous" comments). The ponzi scheme that was BigLaw is over. Clients aren't paying for the marble floors, embossed coffee mugs, and research that was done for another client and is just sitting in a file. Clients have become smarter, BigLaw has been exposed as nothing more than a practice of giving a client four lawyers when one, and a paralegal will do.

Sure, big companies will still need lots of lawyers, but they're not paying for the BigLaw lifestyle. Most of BigLaw is buried in debt, and will remain so.

Solos and small firms need to continue to prepare for more business that used to only go to BigLaw.

[2] Bar Associations will continue to step all over themselves trying to control social media, and miserably fail.

Every State Bar that enacts rules regarding Facebook, twitter, and any other social media site, needs to be dragged into federal court and reminded about the Constitution. As much as State Bars want to protect the consumer from us big bad lawyers, they are embarrassing themselves by trying to control every word that comes out of every lawyer's mouth.


Speaking of enough....

[3] All social media "experts" roaming the internet need to be fully vetted by those young or out of work, or desperate for business, lawyers

Social media experts are the new late night infomercial. People claiming to have the "secrets" to using the internet, preying on the unknowing and desperate lawyer that needs business. The private responses to my writing on this topic of "I had no idea," is stunning.

That a lawyer would believe a social media expert gave up a million dollar practice to teach others how to make a million dollars, is beyond pathetic. That a lawyer would believe another lawyer left the profession to teach blogging, is embarrassing. That a lawyer would believe that a first year lawyer is an "experienced corporate lawyer," is sad. That a lawyer wouldn't take 30 seconds and check to see if someone who claims to be an attorney at law, actually is, demeans our profession.

Wake up people. You still have time.

[4] Martindale-Hubbell will continue to fall into irrelevancy.

Martindale was the standard. now they're just trying to remain relevant. is kicking along, but Martindale has spent most of the year defending themselves.

The "AV" rating, once the pristine symbol that lawyers coveted, is still something you are awarded, but now you have to pay $50 for Martindale to display on-line.

Martindale's response my question of "why," was to tell me that I didn't understand, and that the accolade was still free.

So now lawyers that go to are only told a lawyer is "AV" rated if they paid the money. My request to have Martindale state on that many lawyers are "AV" rated but only those who paid the money are listed as "AV," went unanswered.

Martindale is still living in a world where they were the only game in town. That's their loss, and will continue to plague their existence.

[5] Law schools will continue to ignore the need to teach students about real world practice.

I don't even engage in this debate.

I remember being in law school and learning that the law review faculty were trying to get the school to put less effort into the trial team because law review was more important to the future of the students. Why teach students how to try a case when you can teach them to research and write? That is, of course, what BigLaw wants. The enemy of BigLaw is the student that wants to practice law.

Well BigLaw is dead, more students are "going solo" out of law school, or joining small firms that want real lawyers from day one.

But the law schools stand firm, arms folded, ignoring reality.

It won't change.

So that's my 5 things. Not 10. Sorry if I didn't conform.

See you next year.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit



South Florida Lawyers said...

Happy New Year!

Johnny B said...

I don't know. When the fourth-tier schools that are focusing on practice start getting better placement than the schools ranked above them, we might see prospective students ignore the rankings in favor of a better shot at a job. When the schools lose enrollment, then they'll change. But not until. Lawyers can complain about graduates' lack of preparation, but until it affects enrollment, change is not coming.