Welcome to LegalRefresh. We’re glad you found us. The idea of this forum is to highlight and discuss what’s innovative, interesting, or occasionally infuriating about our profession. Not just the usual stuff, but some ideas, people, and developments you might not have heard about.
We’ve taken to the Web because everywhere you turn, there’s more bad news for the legal profession. In addition to the countless headlines of law firm layoffs and restructuring, USNews lists Lawyer at #51 of the top 100 Professions of 2014, just behind #49 Nail Technician (as in fingernail). The American Bar Association reports that only 55% of practicing attorneys are satisfied with their work. Careerbliss.com lists attorney as the most unhappy job in America. Of the 44 coolest occupations described in David Rosen’s book What’s That Job and How The Hell Do I Get It?, the only mention of the legal profession is to note that some former lawyers have become clergy. Hardly a wonder then that according to the ABA, law school enrollment is down 24% from its peak in 2010.
These statistics highlight real problems, but we don’t think they tell the whole story. The need for legal services has never been greater, and the legal profession stands to gain as much as any industry from the information technology revolution. With higher demand and lower input costs, the legal profession should be more vibrant and upbeat, not less.
In our posts and those of our guests, we’ll be highlighting innovative people and ideas that can change the practice of law for the better. Like the state bar association that’s taking the pro bono work of their members online to reach many more clients. And we’ll look at things like why it’s often easier to find information on the Web than in the typical law firm, and what you can do about it.
We hope you find it useful and thought provoking. Most of all, we hope you join the conversation. As an American president once observed — ““Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Kevin Harrang & Marty Smith