How much has the practice of law changed since, let’s say, a hundred years ago? It is not the fastest changing industry, for sure, but it is not immune from change either. Now we have, in no particular order: Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw, e-mail, internet, law office management software, the SEC filing system EDGAR, legal forms on CDs. The dynamics of the legal practice change as well. Outsourcing Times reports that 79,000 legal jobs will be outsourced by 2015 according to Forrester Research. Unbundled legal services gain momentum. Partnership is like the horizon: you can see it, but you can’t reach it. Bold men are looking from the billboards: Divorce? Bankruptcy? Injured? Arrested?
So-so-so, what do we know? It turns out that the law school does not prepare law students to face the challenges of the modern legal practice. In the New York Law Journal, Thomas Adcock reports on the results of the survey of mid-size law firms conducted by Pace University law school: only 8% of U.S. midsize law firms filled their recruitment needs by hiring law school graduates. The reason is that they do not have the time and resources of big law firms to train the inexperienced associates. Law students do not get enough exposure to the technology that has automated the litigation process. When asked how law schools could improve their curricula, survey respondents emphasized writing (38%), practical skills (24%) and more clinical experience (21%). Law students, take notice!
Are chefs as technology-averse as lawyers? Not the members of an avant-garde culinary movement of “molecular gastronomy”, described in the BusinessWeek article Feed Your Mind by Adrienne Carter. These chefs experiment with cutting-edge scientific processes and tools, such as lasers, enzymes, liquid nitrogen, to produce surprising combinations of flavor and appearance: how about egg whites tasting like a coconut. These innovative products stimulate not just the taste buds but the minds as well. What’s the most avant-garde thing in law right now?