As further proof that ScamDeans and LawProfs are highly insulated from the workings of the actual marketplace (so far) and truly have no idea what legal practitioners and law graduates are actually facing, I submit yet another Exhibit: GOAL - the Global Outsourcing Association of Lawyers.
GOAL’s mission is to promote the welfare, interests, education, and professional development of all parties involved in today’s legal process outsourcing (LPO) industry. We aim to advance awareness for LPO solutions in the global legal community, and to help the market recognize the myriad benefits that LPO models offer. As a trade association, GOAL seeks to provide the most influential knowledge sourcing and networking platforms in the field of legal outsourcing.
The "speakers" and "mentors" list is long and varied, but one theme continues to shine through - the board is made up of senior in-house counsels at large corporations, law firm partners, directors, vice-presidents, government, etc. They all seem really excited about the prospect of finding low-cost legal solutions to business problems.
Hey, look at these stats! That 2016 recovery in the legal sector for law graduates must be just around the corner! Or not.
The Legal Business survey also revealed that LPOs have a large role to play in helping companies tackle large data and help companies mitigate risk. Highlights of the survey include:
80% of respondents say they expect to see the LPO industry expand and improve its services over the next five years.
58% of respondents say that LPOs and law firms need to work together on compliance and risk matters.
37% of in-house lawyers say that LPOs are better equipped than law firms to use advanced technology and to use data and risk analytics. In-house counsel are using LPOs primarily for investigations and due diligence exercises; general litigation support and eDiscovery are close seconds.
The UK LPO market is less developed than the US: 38% of UK-based respondents say they have used LPOs for legal work, compared to 50% in the US.
An increase in the level of civil litigation is seen as the biggest driver behind rising legal costs. Greater scrutiny from regulators is close behind.
Check out a "success story":
Dell - ‘Why should I pay £200 an hour for a three-year qualified UK lawyer if the quality is not significantly better than a seven-year qualified lawyer in India who I am paying at £40 an hour?’ says Bruce Macmillan, Dell EMEA in an interview to the International Bar Association. Dell, along with Eversheds and MIndcrest, in order to demonstrate optimal cost benefits started tepidly focusing on large scale, standard form contracts involving reviewing changes proposed by other parties. Having tasted success in this delivery model, Dell is also examining other areas where LPO could be used, such as reviews of routine advertising material – to ensure compliance with different countries’ regulations – and the administration of some of its internal legal databases. However, Macmillan at Dell is still sceptical about using LPO for anything that requires a high level of briefing per activity. “The more non-transactional it is, the higher the investment cost in getting it briefed up in the first place and the more checking and validation you need to do to make sure you have got comfort that it’s being done properly’, he argues.
Some detractors may say, "well, this is all about IP, M&A, and corporate business deals. This won't affect me as I want to be a prosecutor/public defender/family law practitioner/wills, trusts, and estates practitioner." Possibly, although I wouldn't count on it. BigLaw is consolidating due to market pressure, and many of the smiling faces on GOAL's website are BigLaw partners. BigLaw is in actuality rushing to partner with corporations and government so as to maintain some piece of a shrinking pie. Of late, the only jobs worth the enormous sticker cost of law school have been BigLaw jobs, at least in terms of ROI, and if GOAL is any indication those jobs continue to disappear fast. With no place to go, those let-go lawyers will be appearing in a smaller-town shop or government office near you, and/or working longer instead of retiring, despite the protestations of the Law School Cartel to the contrary. And because of market forces and other pressures, those government jobs aren't easy to come by in and of themselves, even as a seasoned practitioner.
The overall point is that the legal market has drastically changed from decades ago and will continue to do so, but you won't hear that from the academy. Just as technology has advanced the scamblog movement and torn away the veil on dismal law graduate outcomes, that same technology is contributing to the globalization of legal services. In the face of these headwinds, instead of expressing genuine concern and actually counseling their students, ScamDeans and LawProfs will say whatever they need to say to get prospective 0Ls with their sub-145 LSATs to buy into the "million dollar law degree" at ever-skyrocketing tuition costs.
But, as we all know, cushy, academic jobs with high salaries have always been the primary GOAL of the Law School Cartel. Let the scammed graduates deal with global outsourcing, those icky market forces, and the consequences of decisions that were based on Cartel half-truths.