Saturday, June 6, 2015
Though many legal practice areas have been in decline since the Great Recession, the demand for eDiscovery services has skyrocketed. This post from Bloomberg's Big Law Business blog says that the law school curriculum needs to likewise evolve by providing more training opportunities that teach the next generation of lawyers these vital practice skills.
In the past decade, the legal profession has gone through an identity crisis of sorts. The recession brought years of bad news, layoffs, and closings; and although the industry is better and some top firms have seen their profits rebound, solo practitioners — the majority of all licensed attorneys — have seen significant decreases in their yearly income topping off at an average of $49,130; down from an inflation adjusted rate of $70,747 in 1988.
There are many reasons for this decline, but none more devastating to small practitioners than a shift in how legal services are offered and consumed through technology. Legal service organizations are turning do-it-yourself law into a reality. Relatively simply processes — the ‘bread and butter’ work for smaller firms — like wills, trusts, and leases can now be done through automated processes at a fraction of a firm’s cost.
Given the rapid growth of these legal service websites, it’s only logical that legal technology within firms has grown at an equally impressive rate. . . .
Even with this staggering growth, it may come as a surprise that eDiscovery and technology are elements that aren’t mainstays of law school curriculum. While many attorneys will agree that the foundation of law school is invaluable, most will also concede that most of the ‘real world’ skills that are essential to success haven’t been taught.
Just as the industry has changed, so must the education process. With law school no longer guaranteeing a six-figure income and the cost of education continuing to rise, schools are now competing for students with many looking at ways to help their graduates differentiate themselves from the mass of attorneys being churned out each year, and technology is a way to achieve that. What may be surprising is that only a handful of schools across the country are teaching students technology subjects that have real world applications. Enter “21st Century Lawyering”, “Technology and the Law”, or simply “eDiscovery” classes.
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Continue reading here.