Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stanford Law Launches Another Study of the Legal Profession. YAWN.

Does anyone believe that Stanford Law School with research support from the Sidley Austin Foundation will produce anything that will rock the boat in the legal profession? Here is a description for our non-lawyer readers who have never heard of Sidley Austin and its foundation (i.e. tax relief and marketing tool) :

About the Sidley Austin Foundation

In 2006, the international law firm Sidley Austin LLP formed the Sidley Austin Foundation. The Foundation was created to provide organizations in need with the means to support their philanthropic goals. Since the creation of the Foundation, the Foundation has made donations to such organizations as Legal Aid Society, Equal Justice Initiative, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, among other legal interest charitable organizations. The Foundation also supports a range of nonprofit activities throughout the nation.

Back to the what they plan to learn from the study:
The objective of the multi-year study is to describe and understand the state of the profession, including trends and emerging developments. The study will seek to develop policy recommendations to help law firms adapt their business models to better meet the needs of their clients and of a rapidly changing legal market. It will also consider the implications of these changes for legal education.
This sounds like another biased Biglaw study in conjunction with a top 3 law school to look for ways where Biglaw firms and top law schools can adapt (i.e. continue to make their millions while ignoring deferred and laid off lawyers with $200k student loans) to the imploding legal market rather than find solutions to stop the bleeding. Their findings will likely not reflect the broader legal market, the offshoring of legal jobs, and the implications the changing market will have for the thousands of unemployed attorneys, current law schools students, and recent graduates.

Some of our unemployed readers may also be all too familiar with Sidley Austin as they laid off 229 of their employees last year. Sure sounds like a great firm to trust to produce unbiased, statistically accurate numbers and recommendations to build a better business model, right?


  1. My guess is that the study will not recommend discontinuing either a) off shore document review or b) opening another law school.

    Offshore doc review is a profitable exercise for SA. And opening another law school is another place to put their h/y/s associates who don't want to bill all the hours any longer, but who SA doesn't want to piss off.

  2. "The American legal profession is facing unprecedented challenges that urgently need attention from leading experts in the field. Stanford’s center is uniquely positioned to provide cutting edge research on matters of profound professional and public concern.”

    If I'm not mistaken, the "leading experts" at places like Stanford and Sidley Austin are some of the people who got us into the mess of facing these "unprecedented challenges."

  3. Charlie Says:

    I uuuh weendt tuuu uhh luuh scuul aaand it waaas good that i do that
    buut now i hafta bee uh poor guy wiith no muuny
    i uuh owe three huuundreeed thoouuusendds of dullers aaand thhhats not guud beeecuse noow imm reely sad annd crazy over it.
    Algernon lives annd eets better than me now.
    Ahhnd thuh guvurnmunt saaays that I'm thuh rat tu owe the guvunrnment lots and lots of munny

  4. Hard not to mistrust the motives here, but on the other hand pressure from outside of the academy is really the only thing that has a shot at forcing some reform of law school structure and methods (by demanding more effective preparation for practice.) But that's probably just going to get lip service in this study, given the school and sponsor.



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