According to the article, the old model of having firms teach associates how to practice may be permanently broken:
... for decades, clients have essentially underwritten the training of new lawyers, paying as much as $300 an hour for the time of associates learning on the job. But the downturn in the economy, and long-running efforts to rethink legal fees, have prompted more and more of those clients to send a simple message to law firms: Teach new hires on your own dime.Clients just won't stand on having an unqualified attorney handle any part of their case:
Last year, a survey by American Lawyer found that 47 percent of law firms had a client say, in effect, “We don’t want to see the names of first- or second-year associates on our bills.” Other clients are demanding that law firms charge flat fees.Readers of this blog may recall a recent post about value billing. This is a direct result of this kind of client attitude and the need to measure the client's reaction to the firm's rate structure.
The net result? Again, from the article:
The legal services market has shrunk for three consecutive years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Altogether, the top 250 firms — which hired 27 percent of graduates from the top 50 law schools last year — have lost nearly 10,000 jobs since 2008, according to an April survey by The National Law Journal.This is all part of a discussion that may actually result in some positive change in favor of a more practice oriented curriculum.