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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of August 6, 2013

LawBiz(r) newsletter

As I write this note to you, I was told that a long-time colleague, Ross Kodner of Wisconsin, died of a heart attack. He was a leader in the technology field for sole & small firm practitioners; he is given credit for coining the phrase, "the paperless office." He was an active member of local and national bars, and a frequent speaker all over the country. He will be missed. And his passing highlights the importance of taking a serious look at your definition of success and your definition of a balanced life. Stay healthy, not only for yourself but for those near and dear to you.

ABA Journal has just opened it's 100 best legal blog list.
This is an annual list, compiled on the basis of votes by readers, of the best blogs that lawyers should know about. If you enjoy my blawg, please follow this link to nominate it! (Deadline: August 9th) Of course, you can also vote for other blog authors too, but please consider voting for mine, and let the editors know why you appreciate it!

Join me for breakfast in SF:
There is still time, but you must act NOW if you want to join me for breakfast this Thursday at 7:30 a.m. in San Francisco. Send an email to and I'll reply with the particulars.
Ed signature

Is Law School Necessary?

The standard for competence is generally considered to be passing a test. If this is true and if you can pass the State Bar exam, why should you be required to spend three years in law school? Law school classes, as we've written here many times, are not aimed at giving lawyers the skills to manage their practices and provide good client service. The system of 200-plus law schools merely puts new book-trained lawyers into the marketplace; clients are the ones who determine whether those lawyers will be successful, based on the client service they provide.

It has become increasingly clear that this reality that is catching up to law schools. According to The New York Times, law school admissions for the upcoming 2013 academic year are headed for a 30-year low (down 20 percent from last year and 38 percent from 2010), a decline driven by student worries about rising tuition, equally soaring debt load and the prospect of unemployment after graduation.[1] A follow-up story in that same newspaper said that some are calling for radical changes to the legal education system, including cutting the curriculum, requiring far more on-the-ground training and licensing technicians who are not full lawyers. But this same story points out the real reason for the problem: "the vested interests of tenured professors tied to an antiquated system."[2]

The dynamic between law schools and bar associations to maintain the profession's status quo suggests that tweaking tuition or curriculum is likely all the change that can be expected from the law school side in the near term. But the free market will likely determine how much change the law school system will undergo - because fewer law students will no longer tolerate the cost. A law school education is so expensive that fewer and fewer people can go to law school because it takes five to ten years to pay off the student debt accumulated while going to school. And in today's economy, with so many licensed lawyers unable to find work, these debts may stay on the books for a very long time with devastating psychological impact.

We may ultimately reach the point that those who want to become lawyers will rebel at the cost of law firm and undertake legal education as a personal responsibility, not a function of having a certificate that proclaims one to be a J.D. If they can then pass a state's bar exam, who is to say they should not enter practice? After all, such a path was the one followed by a very good lawyer ... by the name of Lincoln.

[1] Law School Applications Fall as Costs Rise and Jobs Are Cut
[2] A Call for Drastic Changes in Educating New Lawyers

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Is Law School Necessary?

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What Clients Are Saying:

"Ed educated me on how to implement a plan for the management of my law offices, which I have set up in Santa Monica. With his help, I was able to conceive and put into effect a business plan which promises not only to simplify my business, but to make it more profitable as well. He readily pinpointed my needs and offered sage advice on what I could do to rectify the problems that I have been facing. For this, I am forever grateful and will highly recommend him to anyone who asks."

Santa Monica, CA

"I decided to "go solo" and start my own practice after being a senior associate at a large national law firm. I started in temporary office space with a secretary and one associate attorney. I retained Ed Poll to provide comprehensive consulting and guidance in establishing my permanent office. He knew from day one how to re-shape my thinking from being a day-to-day lawyer into being in charge of a business. Ed knew the right questions to make me answer. Ed has taught me virtually everything I know about formation, planning, and now management of a successful law firm. I would enthusiastically recommend Ed Poll for retention as a consultant in connection with any aspect of law practice management."

Los Angeles, CA

Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |
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