The NYSBA Taskforce on the Future of the Legal Profession will conduct a thorough examination of the how lawyers are trained. The Taskforce’s goal is to produce a report that will influence fundamental changes in law firm billing structure, improvements in legal education and training, providing better work-life balance and harnessing new technologies. With regards to legal education, the taskforce will explore “how new lawyers can be trained by law schools, law firms and legal employers to ensure a ready and competent workforce.” Academicians on the Taskforce include Dean Rick Matasar, Fordham Law’s Dean of Experiential Program, Pace Law School’s Professor Gary Munneke, chair of a subcommittee on alternative billing and law firm structure, and Albany Law’s Mary Lynch, who is chairing the portion on Training New Lawyers – see description below.
Training and Promoting New Lawyers
Each year thousands of law students graduate and enter the job market insufficiently prepared to practice law. Law firms are expected to give on-the-job training to first and second year associates. Recent trends indicate that more and more clients are refusing to pay for the work of new associates.
Moreover, many associates at large law firms report that they are unhappy with their positions. They want better training, more experience and expanded mentoring opportunities. More than 50 percent of associates leave their law firms before reaching their fifth year, depriving law firms of their talent just when they are becoming profitable. One study estimated that firms lose about $400,000 for every associate who leaves.
A Taskforce subcommittee will explore better ways to train new lawyers, so that they are well prepared to meet the demands of the modern client. The subcommittee will also examine different methods to promote and compensate lawyers so as to improve the lifestyle of associates while ensuring that clients feel confident that the lawyers working on their matters are fully trained.
The Taskforce welcomes advice and input from all law faculty on what reports and resources to review and what recommendations we should consider. Please post your comments here.
See links below for more information about the launching of the taskforce.
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