I absolutely loved the thought provoking presentation about Where the Practice of
Law is Headed delivered by Janet K. Welch, Executive Director of the State Bar of
Michigan, at the Annual Day of Education on May 3, 2013. The information she compiled
was truly ize-opening, to say the least. Here are some highlights:
> Worried about a mistrial? They are on the rise due to jurors using Smart phones
to access data during trial (go figure).
> The average cost of e-discovery for a midsize lawsuit in a Fortune 200 company? $3.5
> The law practice growth that was stunted in 2008 has not yet returned to pre 2008
highs. 50,000 jobs were shed during that period.
> Limited Licence Legal Technicians are a growing classification of non- licensed
attorneys who provide assistance to pro se clients who cannot afford an attorney.
The most common areas include immigration, family, landlord/tenant, and elder law.
> The gap between equity and non-equity partners is growing, with pay spreads increasing
to 7:1 and higher.
> The current demand for lateral associates is greater than new associates.
Welch quoted a number of findings by Richard Susskind, who spoke at the State Bar
of Michigan Leadership Forum on Mackinac Island earlier this year. His somewhat
doomsday approach is a little hard to stomach, but might be a realistic one. (Solo
and small firms will be crushed at the expense of Legal Zoom and Rocket Lawyer. In
2011 more than 20% of California's limited liability companies were formed using
Legal Zoom. Ouch!)
Have the good ole days receded into the not so far behind, pre 2008 past? If so,
where does that leave the lawyers who are still earning a good living on the old
model? Are they becoming antiques that only get better with age? Possibly not in
the long term.
So, where's the profit? It might just be in the ize of the new millennials - their
solo start-ups are likely to be virtualized, mobilized, specialized and systematized.
All ize are on 'em. Let's see where it goze.
The entire presentation can be read in the summer 2013 edition of