Law Schools Are Finally Starting to Do Their Part

By Brad Blickstein

This summer, we’ve seen story after story about law firms raising associate salaries, but only a bit of public outcry from their clients. That’s likely because many (most?) law departments refuse to pay for first-year associates anyway. They realize that three years of legal theory and not much else leaves new associates ill-prepared to deliver them much value. They refuse to pay bills from first-year associates and they are certainly not going to hire them directly. Their position is clear: New lawyers have just not developed the right skill set to help the law department.

Which begs the question: What if they did? What if new lawyers were appropriately trained? What if they did have the right skills. What if they did provide actual value? What if law departments could hire lawyers with not only practical legal skills, but also a working knowledge of in-house practice, business fundamentals and a good understanding of how to use technology? How many law departments would hire new lawyers then?

To quote Mr. Owl from the old Tootsie Pop commercial, “One, two, three….three.”

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