Monday, May 19, 2008

Philly Magazine--Death of the Philly Lawyer

Hey Everyone,

Sorry that I haven't been around much lately. While I want to provide you with a little information and the best materials possible, I also have to pay the bills, and I have been a bit preoccupied with that lately.

Here are some comments that I was preparing last month for the Philadelphia Magazine Article that came out at that time (April Edition). I know it is a little late, and most people have moved on from this, but i included the link. An interesting article to be sure.

I have heard many people talking about the Philadelphia Magazine article about the death of the Philadelphia Lawyer. Here is a link to the article:

After having read the article, I have a couple of observations.

First, the idea that only 20 or so firms will handle the major corporate accounts worldwide is absurd. The corporations would not let it get that far because at some point before that businesses would act like businesses and find the lowest rate for the right quality. To get it down to only 20 mega firms worldwide, there would have to be some kind of price fixing at hand at some point. Of course, on the other hand, I believe the accounting world has gone this way (oligarchy that is) with the big 4 (Price Waterhouse, KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst and Young).

Second, this article purports to talk about the death of the Philadelphia Lawyer in the tradition of Andrew Hamilton. Here is the thing, what a lawyer is has changed a lot from the time of Hamilton even before now. This article really talks about the death of the traditional law firm, and what I believe is a downturn in the professionalism in the field of law.

Third, the article only talks about Big Law. It does not actually deign to discuss what is happening with the small or mid-size firms which is all that they had in the time of Hamilton. They are still alive and well, though pay much more modest salaries. They are were a lawyer like Hamilton would come from.


Anyway, what does any of this have to do with contractors? Well, one thing is that if it goes the way the article suggests, Philly might not be the place that the top 20 firms choose to locate their Document reviews, and thus the market for large scale contract work will dry up.

Also, I think that we will be facing a greater disparity in pay and hiring then we do even now. After, a consolidation like this, those types of law that are not practiced on the major firm scale are going to be for small sized firms and they will pay shitty. So, the middle class jobs in law will disappear, and it will truly become a sink or swim profession.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this article, or my comments.

The Black Sheep


Anonymous said...

Hey I was the one who first mentioned this article in a post a while back. I disagree that Philly isn't going to be sought-after for doc review. Isn't it the case already that they seek Philly doc reviews/coders because it's cheaper than other cities such as NY and DC? I think MORE temp jobs will move into Philly...whether that's a good thing or not is up to you.

However, I agree with the crux of the article...Philly law, particularly biglaw, is dying or shrinking is a better way to put it. Small firms, where most people from the local schools end up, can't handle the number of graduating law students. At New Jerz CLE yesterday, the civil law practitioner mentioned that he found out that there were roughly 89,000 attorneys practicing in the great state of Jerz, roughly 1 lawyer for every 116 citizens or so...even he agreed that this was a little absurd!

The question is, where do we go from here, or where are we supposed to go? Some choose other cities with expanding markets (which seems questionable considering this article is pretty much saying that there will only be a few major international markets) which is near impossible to do given state bar requirements and funding, while others choose to repurpose themselves into god knows what at this point (even more money sunk).

Thus, the conclusion again is that we're in QUITE a quandry.

Anonymous said...

Law is clearly a dying profession with a hugely oversaturated job market thoughout the USA. A few plumb biglaw and govt jobs are doled out every year and the rest of the scraps are up for grabs for everyone else. If you have no debt and connections it's possible, for everyone else it is pure fools gold. Tell everyone, don't go to law school. Consolidation will only lead to more layoffs and offshoring. There has been no real growth in the legal job market since the 1908's and won't be any for the foreseeable future and yet more freshly minted grads are thrown into this market every year.

Law is just another business now, with little or no added benefit for its practicioners. Get out while you're young!

Anonymous said...

So after all, it looks like we'll be at 2 Logan for a while longer. We've been trained on Vytorin, and I'm mentoring a new person. They are raising the cap on hours from 40 to 50-- yay!

On the other hand, it means I'll have to put up with the asshole staff attorneys and semi-retarded QCers for a while longer. And after 3 years, I wonder if I ever will have a job where I actually can take a phone call or check my e-mail.

Anonymous said...

This blog has been pretty quiet for the past few weeks. Does the Black Sheep have any news for the Philly market?

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