These Five by Five come from reader Russel Trust:
1. Law Firms should be limited to no more than 100
lawyers. Why have law firms turned into corporations?
Maybe because law firms don’t look like law firms,
they look like corporations. There is no collegiality
when partners don’t even know each others names; there
is no professionalism when a law firm needs a CEO. If
law wants to stay a separate, distinct manner of
business, it has to stop doing business like any other
People hate corporations. People had the anomie, the
isolation, the inhumanity of it. Sure, it’s useful,
but only to a point. Why do so many lawyers leave the
practice? Perhaps in part because they can’t stand
True, 100 is still too large a firm size, but at least
it is a start.
2. Abolish All Mediocre Law Schools. One of the
reasons the practice of law is so troubled, is that
law firms can always find another monkey to do their
document review/boring research/etc. There is no
excuse for a Stanford Law graduate to have to look for
a job when a Georgetown grad has a job. The flood of
lawyers that the sub-par schools deluges the
profession with keeps salaries down and partnership
Thus, we should permanently close all sub-par law
schools. I’m not just talking about Hastings and New
York Law School, I mean American University, Fordham
Law, Duke Law, et cetera. Don’t try to tell me
there’s a “top 14″ these days. Face it–there are
good reasons you were rejected by Harvard Law. You
just are not that smart.
3. Increase Pay of Government Attorneys. Big time;
you want the best, you gotta pay for the best. A lot
of lawyers would love to do work for the public
interest instead of helping some big company avoid
paying its taxes. Those lawyers who do that should be
4. Fully Fund the Public Defender System At All
Levels. Ineffective assistance for poor people will
lead to a fundamental undermining of the legal system.
5. Cap Billable Hours At 1850. In the 1950s, the ABA
said that billable hours per year should be about
1300. And now, with Lexis, Westlaw and the internet,
billable hours are supposed to be longer? You’ve got
to be kidding me.
Working longer still does not equal working better.
The money-hungry part of the profession must be
capped, lest it drain out any joy. Being a lawyer
does not mean being rich; it used to mean being a
member of one’s community, of playing a vital role in
society. Just because asshole corporate lawyers have
perverted the practice, doesn’t mean we’ve lost
forever the lawyer-statesman.