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Best Lawyers Talk Law Schools and the Good Life In-House

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  • Best Lawyers Talk Law Schools and the Good Life In-House

    Law Blog

    WSJ on the cases, trends and personalities of interest to the business community.

    The news prompted one lawyer in the audience to bust out with this: “You’re producing a product that very few people want. Firms have hiring freezes. Why not stop producing the product—or create new markets for what you’re producing?”

    Richard Matazar, the dean at New York Law School, said that some law schools likely will go out of business, and others will simply have to provide a legal education at a lower cost. But Matazar said law schools are hamstrung by requirements of the American Bar Association, which accredits them.

    We spent a good part of last week on vacation in a part of the country we’d never before visited — the Gulf Coast of the Florida Panhandle. We had a great time sunning and catching up with old friends, don’t get us wrong, but the tiniest part of us wishes we’d had a little extra time to attend a conference held in Atlanta by the Best Lawyers of America.

    The meeting was held in order to mark the 25th anniversary of the Best Lawyers ratings organization. All of the lawyers been voted “Best Lawyers” by their peers for each of the past 25 years.

    The writeup on the conference, from the Fulton County Daily Report, is chock full of good stuff, most of which came out of two panel discussions, one on the future of the profession, the other on the future of legal education. We don’t have the room here to tackle all of it, but let’s hit two high points.

    Anxious Alums: For starters, perhaps not surprisingly, it appears that law-school deans are getting an increasing number of calls from alumni, asking for help. (At least Both David Van Zandt of Northwestern and David Partlett of Emory admitted to this.)

    The news prompted one lawyer in the audience to bust out with this: “You’re producing a product that very few people want. Firms have hiring freezes. Why not stop producing the product—or create new markets for what you’re producing?”

    Richard Matazar, the dean at New York Law School, said that some law schools likely will go out of business, and others will simply have to provide a legal education at a lower cost. But Matazar said law schools are hamstrung by requirements of the American Bar Association, which accredits them.

    The In-House Itch: Oh, how times have changed. Once upon a time, as conventional wisdom goes, in-house legal departments were where you went if you didn’t make partner at a big law firm. In-house, the hours were better and the benefits (stock options!) were good, but the work was largely administrative, farming out work to the law firms and negotiating with those same firms over price.

    Not so anymore — at least says Daniel Cooperman, the GC at Apple. Cooperman pointed out that the sophistication of in-house work and salaries have increased making large in-house law departments more like a law firm serving a single client—but with no billable hours requirements.

    Furthermore, In-house lawyers are closer to their client and often more involved in business decisions, he said. Added Cooperman: “In-house lawyers have supplanted outside counsel in being the trusted adviser to C-level executives.”
    Welcome to our discussion forum!

  • #2
    Re: ?Best Lawyers? Talk Law Schools and the Good Life In-House

    Comments

    3:43 pm April 28, 2009
    Jimbo wrote:
    What’s a “C-level executive” ?


    4:13 pm April 28, 2009
    Matasar not Matazar wrote:
    New York Law School :: Richard A. Matasar


    4:18 pm April 28, 2009
    Blackstone_MN wrote:
    Went in-house from BigLaw about 10 years ago and have never regretted it.


    4:20 pm April 28, 2009
    Chuckles wrote:
    The problem with being an in-house lawyer is that you can be the best lawyer in the world at what you do for the company, but if that company’s fortunes take a nosedive, so does your legal career. I’ve been in-house at a big steel company and at a computer company and have been subjected to the vagaries of the commercial market, not the legal market. They cut lawyers, too. In fact, if there is any reluctance on the part of management to cut lawyers the operations folks get pretty vocal about it.


    4:27 pm April 28, 2009
    Guffaw wrote:
    Difference between cost and revenue centers.


    4:32 pm April 28, 2009
    Just Askin' wrote:
    Does Matasar’s comments mean that NYLS will be closing or reducing tuition from the $43,600 they charged for the current year?

    See more comments:
    ‘Best Lawyers’ Talk Law Schools and the Good Life In-House - Law Blog - WSJ
    Welcome to our discussion forum!

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