This recent NY Times article focuses on the fact that law students are largely being taught theory, as opposed to lawyering. The final three paragraphs of the article touch on the state of the industry and the additional need to teach client development to law students:
“While most of law schools’ professoriate still happily dwell in the uppermost floors of the ivory tower, the view from the ground for new graduates is growing uglier. It’s not just that the market is now awash with castoffs from Big Law, and that clients can now retain graduates from elite schools and pay them $25 or $50 an hour, on contract. The nature of legal work itself is evolving, and the days when corporations buy billable hours, instead of results, are numbered.
To succeed in this environment, graduates will need entrepreneurial skills, management ability and some expertise in landing clients. They will need to know less about Contracts and more about contracts.
“Where do these students go?” says Michael Roster, a former chairman of the Association of Corporate Counsel and a lecturer at the University of California Gould School of Law.
“There are virtually no openings. They can’t hang a shingle and start on their own. Many of them are now asking their schools, ‘Why didn’t you teach me how to practice law?’”
Clearly, a much larger percentage of law students than ever before will be forced to put up shingles of their own.
If that’s the case, the question should probably be, “Why didn’t you teach me how to develop clients — AND how to practice law once I land those clients?”
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