f/k/a . . . the archives

November 30, 2004

Brainsize & More – lawyer stats

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:59 pm

Surf serendipity sent me from Legal Reader‘s blurb yesterday on lawsuits

in China, to other exotic ports of call, and then back to my neighborhood

Underground cafe, where Evan Schaeffer wonders about the optimal size

of lawyer brains.   Here’s a quick journal of my trip results:


tiny check Civil suits in China increased 7-fold in just two years, while     graph up gray

the number of lawyers in Shanghai grew almost 50%.  Maybe we should

outsource Walter Olson  and Jim Copland to China, where it’s probably

still easy to discipline school kids. (see LATimes via LegalReader)

 

 


tiny check The ABA’s survey of Lawyer Population by State shows that

there were 1,084,504 active lawyers in the USA at the close of 2003.  The

biggest percentage growth was in Virgin Islands, Utah, and Indiana, while

Vermont, South Carolina, Rhode Island, and Maryland had fewer lawyers in

2003 than in 2002.   You can find a lot more lawyer and law school stats 




  • According to Texas U. Professor Stephen Magee, each additional

    lawyer reduces GDP by $250,000 dollars — but, who’s counting?


tiny checkAs of today, about 47% of attorneys answering Findlaw’s Hindsight

& Careers poll, say they wish they had never taken the Bar exam; and,

don’t tell Carolyn, but almost twice as many wish they had gone to a

BigLaw firm than say they would have chosen a smaller firm.

 


tiny check At U. Ill. U/C, I found an essay asking Are There Too Many Lawyers?, which

was presented by the Pre-Law and Law School Admissions office.  If anyone

has a clue what this piece is saying, please let me know.  Meanwhile, I was

edified by this nugget of information (emphasis added).


When asked what skills they expected law school graduates to 

tbring o a firm, hiring coordinators listed in order:


  1. oral communication skills
  2. written communication skills
  3. legal analytic ability
  4. library and computer skills
  5. sensitivity for ethical skills.


Is it any wonder that law firms now need to hire in-house legal counsel, and

that “Lawyers representing lawyers find unique challenges” (see BostonBizJ,  


 

tiny check  Please don’t forget poor old North Carolina, which is suffering from severe LSD —

law school deprivation syndrome — having, according to some sources, too few lawyers and

too few law schools.


 

tiny check  Finally, if he can stand a large dose of bigotry, Evan Schaeffer might want to check out


the Father’s Manifesto website, which has cranial capacity charts galore, along with lots of

standardized test results.  At the site we learn, among many similar tidbits, that 



“The first thing Americans must understand is that, by design, lawyers are STUPID people. 

They score lower on the Graduate Record Exam than most of all other majors, scoring

slightly higher than average score for blacks and slightly lower than the average score

or women, but more than 200 points lower than Asian engineering majors.


“Many lawyers are divorced, are paying “child support” and alimony to ex-wives (or

two or three ex-wives) which makes their ability to understand the Holy Bible or draft

a simple agreement, much less understand human nature, highly suspect.”

ethicalEsq and Prof. Yabut no longer feel bad about anything we’ve ever said about lawyers. As

we never took the GRE nor filed for divorce, we are happy not to have made the statistics any

worse than they are.

 











boom! boom! ka-boom!
so many duds…
fireworks

 

heading for where
hunting birds are few…
the fox
 

 

haiku of Kobayashi ISSA, translated by D.G. Lanoue                                                                                                dunce  j.d.

18 Comments

  1. David,
    I haven’t read the study closely, but actually, I don’t take issue with the results you quoted at all (which are pretty close anyway). For attorneys just starting out, it makes the most sense to go to the largest firm they can. The work may be dull and hours long, but they’ll get great training and make contacts that will serve them throughout their career. And, it’s easier to move from biglaw to small than vice versa (in fact, the only time I’ve heard of a move from small to big is where (a) the firms merged or (b) the attorney left the small firm, when to government and cashed out later at the large firm. At a small firm, attorneys may not receive this same level of guidance, may (depending on the firm), be relegated to doing law by forms before they have substantive knowledge and that’s just a careless way to practice.
    I’m speaking here in generalizations of course. Sure, there are small firms that give the same training – I believe UCL worked for one such place. I’m just saying that the odds of getting good training at a large firm – where you’ll be able to take writing courses, do mock trials, etc…is better than at small. Of course, you reach a point in your career – maybe as soon as 2 years out, where you’ve had enough training and should be able to take a depo, lead a trial, etc…That’s when it’s time to leave biglaw and start your own shop.

    Comment by Carolyn Elefant — December 3, 2004 @ 6:05 pm

  2. David,
    I haven’t read the study closely, but actually, I don’t take issue with the results you quoted at all (which are pretty close anyway). For attorneys just starting out, it makes the most sense to go to the largest firm they can. The work may be dull and hours long, but they’ll get great training and make contacts that will serve them throughout their career. And, it’s easier to move from biglaw to small than vice versa (in fact, the only time I’ve heard of a move from small to big is where (a) the firms merged or (b) the attorney left the small firm, when to government and cashed out later at the large firm. At a small firm, attorneys may not receive this same level of guidance, may (depending on the firm), be relegated to doing law by forms before they have substantive knowledge and that’s just a careless way to practice.
    I’m speaking here in generalizations of course. Sure, there are small firms that give the same training – I believe UCL worked for one such place. I’m just saying that the odds of getting good training at a large firm – where you’ll be able to take writing courses, do mock trials, etc…is better than at small. Of course, you reach a point in your career – maybe as soon as 2 years out, where you’ve had enough training and should be able to take a depo, lead a trial, etc…That’s when it’s time to leave biglaw and start your own shop.

    Comment by Carolyn Elefant — December 3, 2004 @ 6:05 pm

  3. I just wanted to clarify. I was referring primarily to students who are just starting out who don’t want to start firms. I wonder whether the results would reflect differently if the respondents were asked if they would have rather done something else than start a firm. I think that few attorneys regret starting their own practice and are more likely to regret NOT having done son.

    Comment by Carolyn Elefant — December 3, 2004 @ 7:09 pm

  4. I just wanted to clarify. I was referring primarily to students who are just starting out who don’t want to start firms. I wonder whether the results would reflect differently if the respondents were asked if they would have rather done something else than start a firm. I think that few attorneys regret starting their own practice and are more likely to regret NOT having done son.

    Comment by Carolyn Elefant — December 3, 2004 @ 7:09 pm

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