"Young lawyers want to work at home in their pajamas, looking at their fish tanks and listening to their iPods," said Gordon Davidson, Partner and Chairman, Fenwick & West LLP. Although his statement is tongue-in-cheek, it captures the "play ethic" embodied in younger generations.
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According to some lawyers who post on FindLaw's Greedy Associates, the current state of the profession is so unfulfilling that there is a distinct career path for attorneys, from "BigLaw through to non-legal employment." Essentially, the professional life of an attorney is a progression from money to self-fulfillment.
. . ."The law firm that cracks the lifestyle
dilemma will be the most successful law firm of the future."Click to read the whole article. Click to read "The State of the Legal Profession, Part 1 - Client Driven Innovation."
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"The legal profession didn't have to buy into profit-per-partner charts," said panelist Jamienne S. Studley, a former attorney with the Clinton Administration and President of Policy Advocates, Inc. "Once people resort to profit-per-partner statistics, it's hard not to compete," [James D.] Holzhauer added.
Larry Kramer, panel moderator and Dean of Stanford Law School, stated that he does not believe young attorneys go to the large firms for the money. "They go for the prestige." Young over-achieving students are looking for the "next gold star."
Rebecca Love Kourlis, former Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court and Executive Director, Institute for the Advancement of the Legal System at the University of Denver, believes that the legal profession itself is to blame. When the legal profession upholds high salaries as the paragon, students will naturally follow. "Who are we holding up as the leaders?" Love Kourlis asked, "Can we change the profession by upholding different people?"
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While other professional schools - medical, dental and business - offer much in the way of hands-on training, new lawyers may wonder why they didn't receive more vocational training in law school. Recognizing this need, most law schools now offer clinical programs in a variety of practice areas.
Dean Kramer commented that while he understands how such offerings are a good strategy for second and third-tier school, Stanford has no intention of moving in the direction of providing vocational training.
Holzhauer agreed. "I don't think top law schools should move in the direction of offering on-the job training. They should be turning out strong, broad-minded students."
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"Healthy structures lead to healthy behaviors," Love Kourlis commented. "The legal profession needs to address problems on a structural level. Adhering to the same old structures will never fully solve the dilemmas."
Dean Kramer noted that there are too few alternatives to traditional firms. "Why isn't there a flowering of alternatives?"