Sunday, April 20, 2008

Duh, why do law firms hire only from law schools?

PatentHawk in a post A New Kind of Patent Boutique? wrote:

But law firms hire only from law schools. Why should that be? State bar exams have little or nothing to do with practicing securities or patent law. The multi-state portion of these exams is based on the common law of England from over 500 years ago! It has to be -- that's the only body of law in English that doesn't change from year to year. The corporations that got Congress to create exceptions for patent agents and CPAs to practice before their respective administrative agencies knew that there was nothing special about law schools a long time ago. When will our profession give up our pretentious game of arguing that law is so different from any other kind of professional practice? The benefits of cross-disciplinary work would more than outstrip the costs of less uniformity in our thinking about legal doctrine. I would love to try the experiment of teaching business students a single class on how to read case law and then sending them off to a firm as summer associates without telling the firm which students were business and which law school students. How many law firms would be able to tell the difference by the end of the summer?

IPBiz is reminded of a certain non-lawyer IP professor who attempted to explain the concept of "prosecution history estoppel" without understanding the concept of estoppel. It was very interesting. IPBiz is also reminded of a certain IP professor (not a patent attorney) who did not know the difference between novelty and obviousness-type double-patenting. One could go on and on. The chief patent counsel of Cisco is not a registered patent attorney. PatentHawk seems to think "reading case law" could make a B-schooler look like a law student. Not that IPBiz thinks that the law school is other than an extension of third grade, but one can sniff out law students from B-schoolers at a kilometer. Among other things, the B-schoolers know more math, and, on average, are more dishonest.

PatentHawk also wrote:

Another reason that was obvious after hearing the panelists is the relatively inelastic supply of talent graduating from law schools every year. That pool of talent hasn't grown much in decades, even as the demand for legal services has exploded.

IPBiz doesn't believe that for a minute.

***See also


Blogger Michael F. Martin said...

The number of JD/LLBs awarded at ABA schools in 1975: 28,729.

The number of JDs/LLBs awarded at ABA law schools in 43,518.

That's about 1.5% per year, far slower than the growth of our economy, much less the demand for legal services (think about globalization), over the same period.

And the problem is even more acute within the elite group.

7:38 AM  

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