Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Paging Andy Kaufman: Here [the Poor] Come To Save the Day!

Here is a thoughtful article about how Suffolk plans to kick ass.  As part of an "overhaul" of how it does business to meet the demands of a changing world, the article highlights five major take-a-ways about legal education is changing, summarized from a recent interview with Suffolk associate dean of academic affairs.

Amidst some nice buzz-wording, the article notes this:
 Underserved markets will save the day: Legal experts estimate that 85 percent of people in the U.S. involved in civil cases are without legal representation. New models for the delivery of services at reasonable rates will change that dynamic. "This is the law. This is what lawyers do ... So that people who need legal representation can have it, and people who have legal training can do meaningful work."
Such dulcet and harmonious breath you utter!

Let's assume - arguendo! - that shoddy statisticians like Matt Leichter are correct and that there is currently an oversupply of attorneys.  Shit, let's assume a 2-1 oversupply.

If, currently, only 15% of the population is hiring attorneys in situations that warrant the hiring of an attorney, an increase to 30% would gainfully employ every attorney and virtually guarantee a shortfall.  An increase to 60% (which will happen when legal services are more reasonable in price) and suddenly we would be underlawyered by a factor of 2!  And that's assuming - arguendo! - that there currently IS an oversupply, which is about as real as saying global warming exists.

A 1-to-2 undersupply of attorneys would mean that greedy lawyers [a redundancy] could charge more, which would make their services again non-cost-effective for the poor and middle class. 

So, in summation, the poor and middle class are going to start purchasing legal services in the future at a higher percentage because of "new models" [models and bottles, indeed!] that will be "dynamic" in bringing about "reasonable rates."  We should err on the side of oversupplying to meet this potentially massive demand.  QED.

It's economics, folks.


  1. The vast majority of pro se litigants are involved with domestic relations cases which means that to get those student loans serviced, you need to plan on a solo practice with a significant part of your client base going through some heavy personal shit and happy to take it out on you. I have friends who have domestic relations practices and they tell me that they have about a 60% payment rate on their bills. I'm not sure what "new models for the delivery of services at reasonable rates" the article is referring to but the rates for your average divorce are beaten down to next to nothing anyway and in many instances you still won't get paid.
    Once again, academics who have never had to develop a legal practice and manage an office are going to teach new models for the delivery of legal services. But since Harvard law School's tuition is $54K and Suffolk's is only $46K, Suffolk is a bargain.

    1. 60% payment rate...and I'm guessing they're not charging the $300/hr+ that would make that more palatable.

    2. I once engaged the services of a lawyer who demanded payment up front. On the other hand, he quoted one price that covered everything.

  2. Suffolk 2014 entering class:

    LSAT*/GPA Median: 146/3.2
    75th percentile: 152/3.43
    25th percentile: 143/2.96

    *Suffolk University Law School uses the highest LSAT score.

  3. Doesn't this NY lawyer write for the Outside the Law School Scam Blog?


    1. Seems like the wrong place to ask this question.

  4. Trendsetting Suffolk will teach its law students that, when they graduate and become lawyers, they should charge less for their services. This is called "new models" or changing the "dynamic," and has simply has not occurred to the 1.25 million currently licensed lawyers who are wedded to the old "ways and means" of inefficient delivery, astronomical fee structures, and non-data driven decision trees.

    I am not sure how lowering the median LSAT score of its entering students by eight points in three years fits into Suffolk Law's revolutionary overhaul of our profession, but that is probably due to my traditional thinking and un-dynamism.

    (Mr. L. Truth, your posts lately have been absurdly good).

  5. 85% of the civil litigants in the US who don't have an attorney have been turned the F down by 100% of attorneys they've consulted with! This is because each one has no case that is worth his time, money, risk or the attorney's time, money or risk to litigate in this expensive ass system! Hail mary pass?!

    Did the denizens of the TTT ask themselves whether every case should be litigated? Ha ha, of course they didn't. How often do pro se litigants win versus parties represented by Suffolk Law graduates?

    1. You should check out recent comments by Brian Leiter that indicate that a certain globe-trotting expert on legal philosophy does indeed think that every case should be litigated. I see it as the jurisprudential equivalent of "shoot first and ask questions later."

      Of course, Brian Leiter has very little practice experience, and an experienced attorney worth his or her fees may think quite differently from Mr. Leiter.