April 5, 2009
In an op-ed in the New York Times, Adam Cohen believes that with the recent economic problems facing the legal profession (deferred starts to newly associates, firm closings and the rising costs of law student debt), it may be time to re-configure the profession for the 21st century.
Mr. Cohen believes that the on-going economic problems could force the profession to look at a lot of different professional issues they have not looked at in quite a while, namely salaries and they way clients are billed.
Law schools, too, may realize that reform is necessary. “For years, law school tuition rose along with big-firm salaries. Between 1990 and 2003, the cost of private law schools rose at nearly three times the rate of consumer prices. The average graduate now leaves with more than $80,000 in debt. In one survey, 66 percent of students said debt prevented them from considering government or public-interest jobs.”
While no change is imminent Mr. Cohen conveyed a need to guide the legal profession into a new direction for the future. “Law school deans, bar association leaders and firm managers should follow Rahm Emanuel’s advice about never allowing a crisis to go to waste and start planning for what comes next.”