Monday, February 2, 2015

News Flash, Lemmings: Technological Advances Lead to Less Need for Lawyers

Rise of the Machines: On January 25, 2014, Greenwich Time published a Maggie Gordon article entitled “Trending: Where the lawyers live.” Take a look at this opening:

“Lower Fairfield County has long been a haven for lawyers, with the town of Greenwich employing about three times as many legal professionals per capita as the national average. But the changing nature of the field in an increasingly digital world is disturbing that landscape. 

Suddenly, in about 2008, 2009 and 2010, the market began contracting because fewer people were interested in the traditional attorney-client relationship model," said Mark Dubois, president of the Connecticut Bar Association. 

"Many people thought they could do what they needed to do online, whether it was refinancing their house or with other legal documents. They'll ask them to be emailed to them to sign and then they'll email them back instead of billing all those hours," Dubois said. "So the profession has and is changing." [Emphasis mine]

Imagine that, people! Who would have thought that legal clients would use software and an Internet connection to save money?! If this is happening in small town America, then you can bet your ass that the effect on lawyers in big cities is that much greater – especially when you take doc review into account. A few paragraphs later, the piece continued:

“[Y]oung lawyers are having a hard time finding jobs in a sector of the economy that has been tightening. Back in 2011, the American Bar Association reported 9.2 percent of law school grads were still unemployed nine months after graduation. The following year that figure was up to 10.6 percent, and in 2013 it increased again to 11.2 percent. 

"My practice has changed dramatically over the past five or 10 years, primarily because of the technological advances," said Greenwich resident Glen Canner, who practices law in Stamford. "I'm able to do so much myself now. I read about the challenges new lawyers have finding employment and I compare that to my situation, where these advancements allow me to do a lot of the work myself." 

LegalZoom trumps juniors 

When Canner began his career 35 years ago, young lawyers were needed to review cases, do research and tackle some straightforward cases. But with the efficiencies he's been able to create with document readers and increasingly digital records, that kind of manpower isn't needed anymore. 

"That's good for me," he said. "But for these young lawyers, how do they break into the field? I feel their pain, because they need to get experience to build their careers, but there's just not as much of a need anymore." [Emphasis mine]

Many attorneys are now relying on piecemeal work for the bulk of their business. If you don’t know what that means, then you simply shouldn’t be accepted into a “professional degree” program. Now scroll down to this conclusion:

“[I]n the law field, this is translating to a smaller number of young lawyers. The Connecticut Bar Association tracks the number of lawyers across all age ranges, and while there were 6,154 lawyers in their 30s at last count and 9,211 lawyers in their 40s, there were only 1,290 lawyers in their 20s. 

"There's one way that you can view the story," Dubois said. "What had been a robust market, where you could spend three years going to school and then enjoy a lifetime of reasonable earnings in a recession-proof profession has now been rendered asunder in the new market economics of the 21st century with the advent of technology and the change in how people define legal services or the delivery of legal services." [Emphasis mine]

Other Coverage: On January 25, 2015, “Digitalserf” started a JD Junkyard thread, which was labeled “CT Young lawyers replaced by technology.” Check out this insightful comment from "JohnDoeee," posted on January 26, 2015 at 1:11 am:

“Key phrase: 

"...began his career 35 years ago..."

Nando has been addressing the effects of technology on legal employment for quite some time now on Third Tier Reality. 

In fact, his latest entry comments on commercials for Legal Zoom. 

Technology is a problem but it's not even the main problem. Tuition has far outstripped inflation for many years now. Law is similar to a Ponzi scheme in that people who started 35 years ago, the early investors, did in fact get some return on their investment which was cheaper at that time. As more and more people received JD's, the value of the degree, the investment, was diluted. Year after year. And each year, the investment costs more for less likely and less[e]r returns. 

Law is all but dead for the Winners in the New Guilded Age we live in. In short, the PPC: The Preferred, Protected, and Connected.” [Emphasis mine]

This poster is correct. Those who got in earlier definitely benefited greatly. They essentially paid a small admission fee into the “profession” and competed with fewer attorneys for a large, ignorant potential client base.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, lawyers were once able to access guarded information that was not readily available to clients and the general public. Now, anyone with an Internet connection and a brain stem can view statutes, case law, property records, etc. With the advent of companies such as LegalZoom, those in need of legal services can save tons of money. People can now draft their own wills and file for divorce without the need for some schmuck to bill them a few thousand dollars. 

By the way, the general public now realizes that attorneys have been robbing them blind. Why should they pay a lawyer $3,000 for easy draftings anf filings? For the common man and woman, this is good news. However, since law school tuition has reached outrageous levels, those seeking to enter the supposed “profession” are the ones taking it on the nose and chin. Don’t worry, “law professor” pigs. Many of you will soon have the chance to practice law and scrape by for a living, too.


  1. Just look at what Google Scholar is doing for legal research. What used to cost a lawyer well over $100 for a Westlaw or Lexis search can be done for free now (it just keeps getting better too). With companies like Legal Zoom making it easier and easier to prepare legal documents, the need for a practicing attorney is just not as great as it once was.

    Couple this with the public's utter disdain for lawyers and the legal profe$$ion as a whole, and you have a clear case as to why over half of America's law schools need to be closed immediately.

    1. Patent/Trademark lawyer here.

      For our patent searchers, we used to pay well over $1K to a patent search firm just to get a list of possible references. For trademarks, we used to subscribe to a trademark search service provided by Westlaw or Lexis, which just looked at the registrations of trademarks.

      Today, a simple google search is all one needs. There is even a google patents that allows individual inventors to do it themselves for free. This service is even better than the patent office's online search service, which itself is wonderful.

  2. State of the Bar Address 2015 Edition:

    In a nutshell, there are not enough paying clients to keep the current roster of licensed attorneys employed. If you can find a Yellow Pages book in your town, go to the lawyers section. Count the pages. Write the number down. I challenge you to find another category in the Yellow Pages that will eclipse the number you wrote down. You won't. For decades, law schools and their nefarious plot of self-aggrandizement, have harmed the bar by pumping out unwanted and unneeded subpar caliber of lawyers. These lawyers are broke, mostly uninsured who charge cheaply for their "services." The problem is there are hardly any clients who want to PAY for legal services. Every court in my state has a website with DIY forms and instructions. Attorneys in my state are practically forced to perform pro bono and we get shaken down for money that goes to fund other pro bono organizations. That's right, after you pass the bar, pay for CLEs and bar dues, my state forces lawyers to pay into a Client Protection Fund to defray the sins of the brethren but really get siphoned into these liberal created pro bono programs. So basically you have to pay to fund your competition. Meanwhile, recently minted lawyers are meeting "clients" in local coffee shops and count their iPhones as their primary office equipment. Want a divorce? A paralawyer (people engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, which law enforcement never enforces) will do it for $299 plus filing fee. Want to file bankruptcy? Go to the local bankruptcy court website and download the forms. Want to file for US residency, a notario will do it for peanuts. Lawyers are going the way of the Dodo bird. The idea of anyone going to law school these days is as ludicrous as buying a horse and buggy in 1930. Except the price of a horse and buggy never bankrupted anyone.

    At this juncture, law school only benefits the Ivory Tower dwellers who never had to hustle or pay dues by practicing the law. The scam is insidious but at this point it is difficult to sympathize with people who fall for the law school option. The word is out. If you refuse to listen or read what is going on with this profession, I only feel sorry for the client who will hire you to file an insurance claim for a bullshit whiplash injury. Even though you won't get paid until the claims settles, the client is getting the short end of the stick by having an idiot for an advocate.

    1. That's right on target. The outdated, overpriced law school model currently benefits only the most outrageous financial and emotional predators in the ivory tower. Those without a conscience, like "Professors" Brian Leiter and Stephen Diamond, along with "deans" like Nicholas Allard and Claudio Grossman. I have it on good authority that one of those individuals actually misrepresented himself as a lawyer in order to humiliate a married woman who refused to comply with his incessant personal demands. All this without being licensed or even qualified to practice law.

      Enough is enough. Cut off the funding for these parasites by refusing to attend their law schools. That's the only way to put an end to their undeserved luxury, their shocking gluttony, and their brutal harassment of women.

      Some day Brian Lieter could thank you for refusing to go into debt for a Chicago law degree. If he got laid off, he might be forced to eat normally again, which could save his life.

  3. This is happening to quite a few professions. It isn't just law, but law seems to be one of the most (if not THE most) expensive profession to enter that has become outdated.

    We will always need lawyers, but we will need maybe 1/6 as many as there are now.

    1. Even if there were no new lawyers for 10 years, I still think we wouldn't get through the surplus.

  4. Also people spent more time on the internet at home in a safe environment either for fun or for work. This new social and working behavior incurs less accidents, less incidents, less fights, less death, less transportation and so forth and consequently less law suits.

  5. What are you people complaining about? Those law school tuition dollars are being wisely spent by boosting other sectors in the economy. Take for example the former Dean of Southern Methodist U. Law School. He is using his hard earned money to keep the red light district going by putting food on hoes' tables:

  6. What the fuck is going on at Tulane Law School? Apparently there have been 4 suicides and 1 murder at that school involving students within the past year. I suppose since Tulane already admitted a convicted murderer, they have lowered their admissions standards and now admit mentally unstable/deficient student loan conduits:

    I feel terrible for the female student that was murdered by her boyfriend. At the same time I wonder what services Tulane provided for these troubled students. Or are the administrators only interested in counting tuition dollars?

    1. I understand that at Tulane there's huge gap, perhaps uniquely huge, between naive perceptions of "prestige" and the brutal realities of the job market. If you promise someone that you can get a good job coming out of Tulane, you're almost guaranteed to disappoint them.

  7. Everybody with a brain knows when the party is over.... this party is over.

  8. Well, everyone knows that law schools are scum bags. Law professors have large amounts of time to research, write, and do whatever else they please. Law student tuition subsidizes this leisurely group of faculty that maybe teaches 2-4 hours a week, with summers off, and paid sabbaticals(why do they need a paid break?). You would think with all that time that there would be some leadership in improving legal education. Instead, they follow the same tired formula year after year. They teach the same old lecture material, increase enrollment, and raise tuition. Law school is the abacus of technology. It is anachronistic and should be taken behind a barn and shot. It is too expensive, inefficient, and does a terrible job of preparing someone to practice law. The Bar Exam is another outdated item.

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    1. Get out of here, you racist piece of excrement.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    3. Filthy hypocrite. You're the one who tries to defend the law schools by attacking their victims. You're a parasite, trying to hijack Nando's hard-earned credibility to spread yur own racist poison. It makes you look like the pathetic fool you are, so there's that.

    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    7. We all write against the law school scam except for you, racist parasite. And you're trying to discredit the reform movement with your racist perversions. Normal people despise that kind of thing. Ever tried to be normal, you sick racist bastard?

    8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Hey Nando, where did you get the picture for this post? It looks like a young Scotty Bullock aka L4L aka Skadden Farts, being choked by one of his former pro bono 18b "clients" during an arraignment.

  11. I had absurd aspirations to become a "Tax Attorney" after receiving my accountong B.A. and passing the CPA exam, but fortunately a practicing attorney talked me out of it and showed me the truth. Plus, my financial knowledge made realize that a $100,000 loan was insanity! This was in 2008, I owe this attorney for saving my life.

    1. The pigs are in fact right when they say there is some nobility in the legal profession.... they just don't know the irony of it.


    Back on October 12, 2014, Cockroach William Henderson wrote an entry labeled “Is the Legal Profession Showing Its Age?” Look at the following excerpt:

    “The figure below suggests that a growing number of students are attending law school but not going on to become lawyers. This conclusion requires some explanation, which I will supply below. Alternative explanations are also welcome, as I’d like to find a plausible narrative that foreshadows a brighter future for the licensed bar.

    I generated this figure based on data from various editions of The Lawyer Statistical Report, which is periodically compiled by the American Bar Foundation (ABF). The ABF's gets the underlying data from Martindale-Hubbell, which is a comprehensive directory of the licensed bar. As of 2005, the sample was roughly 1 million lawyers who work in law firms, solo practice, in-house legal departments, government, and the judiciary.

    The big surprise here is that the proportion of young lawyers (under age 35) has been declining for several decades. And not by a little, but by a lot. During this period, the median age went from 39 in 1980, to 41 in 1991, to 45 in 2000, to 49 in 2005. See ABA Market Research Department.

    I would be tempted to attribute a demographic shift of this magnitude to a computational error. But that is unlikely because the underlying data were calculated at four different points in time, yet the results come together to produce a single, steady trendline -- a trendline that shows a licensed bar that is steadily aging.”

    Yes, TONS of recent grads never practice law due to the glut, you academic ass-hat. Great discovery, you piece of trash. You need to get out of the Ivory Tower more often.

    “Theory 2: Slowing Absorption of Younger Lawyers

    It is important to keep in mind the magnitude of the overall slide in younger lawyers -- from 36% in 1980 to 13% in 2005. One would think the trendline would be moving in the exact opposite direction -- that larger graduating classes would be replacing the much smaller number of law school graduates from 40 years earlier who were retiring or passing away. But such a youth movement does not appear to be happening, at least based on data through 2005.

    I think the most likely explanation is that the rate of absorption of law school graduates into the licensed bar has been steadily declining over time. This explanation, which would affect men and women equally, is directionally consistent with the percentage of entry-level jobs in private practice, which has been declining since in the late 1980s.”

    In sum, the cost of admi$$ion and attendance has SKYROCKETED, the field has become even more GLUTTED, and fewer recent graduates are entering and remaining in the “profession.” Who knew that one plus one equals two?!?!

  13. @8:24 pm:

    The picture features a criminal piece of garbage punching out Public Defender Doug Crickmer. Who wouldn't want to represent these lying, thieving bastards for peanuts?!?! Here is a still shot of the damage.

    This is one more reason not to attend law school and enter practice. By the way, these positions usually start out around $40K per year. Plus, they typically go to those with several years of experience, i.e. newly-minted lawyers are not in the running.

    Lastly, I have removed some entries above because they are not pertinent to the discussion of this entry or the law school scam. Again, the troll is trying to attack someone who is not a "law professor" or administrator. Furthermore, it has been established that the person he is referring to has worked constantly since law school - and typically in non-law and menial jobs that do not require a college degree, let alone a JD. How the hell does that equate to "lazy"?!?!

    1. The troll knows the jig is up, but there are some people who refuse to be wrong, no matter how much evidence stacks up against them. For these people, their self-worth is based upon being "right", so everything is always "someone else's fault." Always. Otherwise, their persona crumbles and they don't know who they are anymore, which leads to inreasingly brash behavior as despiration sets in.

      Plus, the potential loss of a sweet, no-work paycheck probably makes the troll extremely nervious.

    2. Hey Nando, you forget to mention just how difficult it is to get one of these coveted public defender jobs.

      In most cities, you would normally need a law school GPA of at least 3.5 to even be considered for one of these low paying jobs (not to mention some degree of Spanish fluency depending on the city). The same high GPA is required for most legal aid offices, where you essentially pay THEM to be allowed to work there.

      Note: most law schools grade on a 3.0 curve or lower. This means you have to graduate cum laude just to get a low paying job.

    3. Apparently public defenders getting punched in the face by their clients are not an uncommon occurrence. I saw this other liberal "do-gooder" get smacked down by his client:

      Imagine all the lemmings who want to "save the world" going in hock for over $100K in non-dischargeable student loans just to earn a meager public defender's salary and still worry about getting assaulted by your client. Well, at least you are covered by workman's compensation in the event you get shanked by the social fuck-ups you want to obtain "justice" for.

      By the way Nando, google law professors and child pornography or prostitution. Somehow I was not surprised to see how many law professors out there have been charged with pedophilia crimes and solicitation. Somehow these beacons of integrity and ethics only get a slap on the wrist.

    4. I suspect the malicious troll is just too lazy to come up with a good argument, so he throws the word "lazy" around like a water balloon. Not too convincing, if you ask me. I hope he can work himself out of the moral vacuum he's in, but that occurs only rarely in cases as far advanced as his.

    5. @1243,

      Message Discipline Troll, WTF are you TALKING about? Whose "fault" is it that the Roach got himself into debt? Mine? Did I, like, trick it into signing the fucking papers?

      Would you tell me more about that no-work paycheck, Message Discipline Troll? Actually, I *do* have a sweet no-work paycheck. I call it a "dividend."

    6. I think the troll invented a fictitious entity to attack everyone as. The troll has attacked several comments claiming they are that fictitious entity, and had been doing it for weeks. Thank you for finally silencing him, and let's hope he moves on. I got sick of his act a long time ago. There's a very good chance he's one of the law school cartel scammers, who used to be quite prevalent on the law scam blogs but disappeared over time.

      Also I agree with the other comment on how hard it is to even get these jobs. Law is the only profession I know of where graduates have advanced schooling and licensing requirements only to compete heavily for $40k a year jobs. Not just DA positions, but also county attorney positions pay atrociously but can still demand elite candidates, because the field is so glutted.

      Other fields may be struggling now as well, but they don't have nearly the debt loads or education requirements, and not nearly the same level of competition. If you are an elite grade in other fields you will get paid. No county or city office can justify shortchanging doctors or nurses or even IT personnel or bankers or any of those positions. Because there are less people to choose from, and those jobs all have greater identifiable worth.

      If there was any type of scarcity for licensed attorneys, the salaries would have no choice but to go up. But as it is, it's the perfect storm. Broke, desperate, indebted grads up the wazoo. It's like having H1-b visa slave contracts with even more desperation in your employees.

    7. Based on the troll's language, style, and obsessive fixations, I suspect we were dealing with someone in the collection industry. Also someone who was er, ah, "between jobs" at the time. That would explain the projection of his own self-hatred onto people who couldn't find good jobs.

      The collections industry is full of sociopathic characters who enjoy tormenting debtors, harassing their elderly relatives, using abusive language, violating federal laws, illegally pretending to be attorneys, and so forth. It's quite likely that this particular character was merely pretending to be a law school scammer, in order to act out a deeply pathological conflict within his own mind. It's a cruel irony of our society that most collectors have terrible credit, and their hypocrisy actually helps them not to sympathize with their victims.

      It's a horrible situation this guy is in, and cutting him off from his favorite psychological outlet of verbally abusing others could actually induce him to seek job counseling and proper treatment for his obvious substance abuse. Nando's policy of deleting his hateful comments, hopefully to be continued well into the future, is a profoundly compassionate intervention in a sick, miserable, and destructive life.

  14. Since I practice in Connecticut as a solo, I would like to concur with Attorney Dubois.

    The rich who engage in complex transactions will always have the money to hire lawyers. However the internet allows the middle class to attempt their own legal work with varying results.

    This mostly harms the economic interests of solos like myself rather then larger firms who often serve better healed clients.

    The problem with self help is that anyone can download a form from a website, sometimes they don't have the ability to pick the appropriate course of action from a number of different choices that such forms suggest.

    I'll provide one example. I had a client who wanted to buy a piece of property from an elderly man, and give him a life estate. In Connecticut life estates can be attached by health care providers which would encumber the property once the individual in question was placed in a nursing home.

    I advised the client to buy the property and offer the man a rental agreement something he would have never learned from buying a form.

    The client could have simply downloaded the paperwork for a life estate and had the seller sign off, but fortunately he came to me first.

    But it is seemingly impossible to convince many, if not most, pro-se's that they should pay to consult a lawyer when they can obtain the form, so if we get paid, its for cleaning up the mess after the fact when it is much more expensive. Some banks that sell foreclosed property are even offering free title searches and title insurance to buyers who agree to accept these services. I don't think you could pay me to trust a title search or a title opinion by a seller who simply wants to get rid of a foreclosed property and it means I can't also a title insurance policy to my own clients which cuts my income from that closing in half.

    I am a realist and believe that legal zoom presently one of the waves of the future for small clients. However, it and other such developments will keep the legal market economically stagnant in our state.

  15. Technology is killing lots of jobs, not just law jobs.

  16. "What had been a robust market, where you could spend three years going to school and then enjoy a lifetime of reasonable earnings in a recession-proof profession has now been rendered asunder in the new market economics of the 21st century with the advent of technology and the change in how people define legal services or the delivery of legal services."

    Respectfully, are you just going to let this comment go unchallenged, Nando? When was this 'robust market' he speaks of? The 1970's?

    There are articles stretching back decades that contest his claim.

  17. It was funny, they did a study of pay in the courthouse and they found out the janitors made more than prosecutors. Court reporters were making more than twice what the prosecutors were paid. Some commission is trying to raise salaries. I say, let supply and demand figure it out. As long as large numbers of people will shell out a quarter million dollars in tuition to land these kind of jobs, janitors will have more more bargaining power. The government may be able to get jobless law grads to work for free as prosecutors.


    On January 29, 2015, at 9:57 pm, a JDU denizen using the handle “um1l” started a thread entitled “Median Attorney age way up from 1980.” Look at his original post:

    “36% age 35 or below in 1980 and 13% in 2005! This does not even account for the drop from 2008-on. It is probably around 8-10% now! Can't wait until bar associations shut down because no one is there to fund them after we have dropped out of the profession!”

    Old fart lawyers hang on well into their 70s and 80s. After all, this is not backbreaking work. Plus, the old bastards want to maintain their lifestyle – and they cannot do so on SSI. Now scroll down to this response from “chicagojoe,” from January 30, 2015 7:20 am:

    “What this shows is that when they leave, *we need not replace them.* You hear this crap from law professors about needing to pump out more lawyers to replace the ones that leave. They're either oblivious to, or lying about, the fact that a 1-to-1 replacement ratio does not work in this industry. Older attorneys in BigLaw bequeath their clients to other BigLaw partners. Small-time lawyers usually let their practices dry up, and there's no way those clients are going to jump to a new lawyer.

    The "buy my practice, young whippersnapper, so I can retire" ads read like a cherry on top of a scam sundae. The best thing that can happen to the legal market is for the boomer hang-ons to die/leave and not be replaced by a new entrant. The practice will get younger over time simply because we won't be as top-heavy with older attorneys who sailed through the 60s/70s/80s after getting C grades at Valpo.”

    User “adamb” then dropped this knowledge on January 30, 2015 at 8:33 am:

    “I am going to have to work the phrase "cherry on top of a scam sundae" into my next conversation.

    I have noticed at my calendar calls that many of the supervising attorneys that still represent clients for Legal Aid and other conflict defenders skew older, like 55 - 65. I also have seen 60-80 year old solos at most calendar calls. Many have gigantic hearing aids from 1987 and still say "what" a lot.

    I have a feeling that even if these people retire/die, it will do me no good. The private organizations, which provide cushy paychecks for the boomers, always will be insular. And with less tax dollars, wages will remain stagnant at these government funded organizations. Maybe there will be less competition in my field if only half of the 8-10% of the under 35 crowd survive in the long term...but even that may be a fool's hope.”

    Adam nailed it perfectly. I remember seeing old-ass, decrepit solo attorneys in Des Moines struggling to make the brief walk from the parking lot to the courthouse. Hell, MANY of these fossils were driving busted up cars, and shuffling by in their orthopedic shoes. I also recall seeing many of these rodents wearing gigantic hearing aids and Coke-bottle eyeglasses. During a hearing, I laughed my off ass off to myself in the back row as one licensed dinosaur couldn’t get up from his seat – despite several, strenuous efforts - when the bailiff called the dung pit to order.

    1. I usually agree with Nando but not this time. I think these geezers hang on because they can't afford to retire. The truth is that the lawyer glut has been around for quite a while. It just took the internet to have the law skrewals bogus salary and employment stats called out. My dad was a small town lawyer and complained about competition in the 80's and he told me in the 90's when I went that it would only get worse. Wish I had listened.

  19. Nando, get a load of this:

    The Dept. of Education did not run a profit for 2014; instead it was a 21.8 billion dollar loss!

    Did the bubble just burst?

  20. "To summarize the paper’s key finding: there is no statistical relationship between law school opportunities for skills training and JD employment outcomes. In contrast, employment outcomes do seem to be strongly related to law school prestige."


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