In an outstanding article, Slate.com reported:
In the past few years, young lawyers faced a glut of competition from other legal professionals; plummeting wages; a reduction in openings in and offers at big law firms; and cripplingly high student-loan debts. When the recession hit, thousands of young lawyers suddenly found themselves trying to work off six figures of debt in pay-per-hour assistant gigs. - Drop in Law-School Admissions - Has the Law School Bubble Finally Burst? - Slate.comThe fact is law school never teaches anything but how to pass the bar exam and once the graduate is in the job market they're on their own. These new lawyers don't know how to do much of anything until taught by another legal professional.
But the biggest reason (i.e., for the decline in applications) may be cultural, not economic. In the past year or two, scads of blogs have committed themselves to exposing law school as a "scam," and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have devoted thousands of words to telling readers why law school is a bad, bad idea if you do not actually want to be a lawyer. Drop in Law-School Admissions - Has the Law School Bubble Finally Burst?- Slate.com
Attorneys Became Legal Word Processors Charging Clients Legal Fees As Typists
I've had a front row seat to all the gluttony that occurred at major law firms for a decade from 1998-2008 and can report attorneys are generally highly wasteful and parasitic in nature. What happens when there are too many lawyers you might ask? They're commonly very intelligent people who know how to play the system and exploit circumstances to keep the money flowing for themselves. When attorneys began typing and formatting their own legal documents I realized they were likely using it as a means to charge the client. They essentially were doing the work I was supposed to be doing as a legal word processor so they could bill their client. The law firms didn't monitor this kind of activity at all.
The Good Ole Days
It used to be that attorneys would dictate tapes I'd transcribe, provide a handwritten or typed document with pencil edits to type or request I format a document. That kind of common sense went out the window when attorneys began to use previously typed "templates" of legal documents to edit for their particular circumstances. Instead of printing out the document and doing their edits in pencil, they ended up simply typing in the edits themselves. As for formatting the document, instead of asking me to format for them, they began asking me how to do their own formatting. I was expected to teach attorneys how to do my job These law firms had no way of knowing when an attorney charged their client for typing and formatting a document versus providing their legal knowledge.
People have no idea all the partying that goes on at some of these major law firms. Every day these lawyers think of themselves as winners and continually celebrate as a reminder. Every day with their successful law firm is a victory for these attorneys. That is, until their law firm implodes from greed and the pink slips get handed out.