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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Big Law Blues

The Wall Street Journal Law blog yesterday reported that Stanford Law’s Andrew Canter (2L) and Craig Holt Segall (3L) -- and about 125 students from the nation’s top law schools — emailed hiring partners and recruiting coordinators at the nation's largest firms.

Their new organization, Law Students Building a Better Legal Profession, wants the country’s biggest law firms to sign-on to principles espousing a saner work environment for lawyers.

“We are writing as a group of over 100 law students to propose a change in the way we all experience our profession,” the email begins. “We are working to ensuring that practicing law does not mean giving up a commitment to family, community, and dedicated service to clients.”

The group asked firms to commit to four principles: Making concrete steps towards a transactional billing system; Reducing maximum billable hour expectations for partnership;
Implementing balanced hours policies that work; and Making work expectations clear.

In return for a better working life, the new group advocates that entry-level associates get a smaller paycheck.

Some of the comments got pretty heated against these two young gentlemen. Here is one of the gentler ones: "I enjoy working, and I bill lots of hours. If these 'kids' want the easy road, they do not need to work in a big firm." And here is another: "Anyone see the irony of law students who, as far as we know never worked a day in their lives in a law firm, spearheading the effort to change law firm life?"

Hmmm. Maybe Big Law firms are not working their lawyers too hard. They apparently have time to blog nasty things. Perhaps they found a way to bill the time?

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