Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Someone arguing "too few lawyers"; say it's not so!

The blog PatentHawk (through Michael Martin) wrote:

That pool of talent hasn't grown much in decades, even as the demand for legal services has exploded.

In further support of this, there was a comment:

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.

IPBiz notes from Google Answers :

According to the American Bar Association, there are 1,049,751
currently practicing lawyers in the US as of the end of 2002.

This is up from 1,048,903 in 2001.

This information was sourced from the following American Bar
Association document, which has a breakdown per state:

American Bar Association Market Research Department

Unfortunately, both the American Bar Association and American Bar
Foundation are unaware of non-practicing lawyer statistics. This
statistic is a tough one to come by. A rep from Forbes magazine who
does a lot of the legal writing for the magazine agrees with this,
citing that the definitions of "non-practicing" could be ambiguous and
difficult to nail to a demographic.

Here's a brief excerpt on the topic, for what it's worth:
"Forbes magazine reports that in California the number of inactive
attorneys has risen by 50% from a decade ago and in Massachusetts the
number of inactive attorneys grew 3% in three years. Further, Forbes
says, a full 38% of attorneys say that they somewhat regret their
career choice. Additionally, Harvard Law School counselors estimate
that 20% to 30% of active attorneys are considering another career."

The Google site also notes:
This 1996 publication says there were 720,000 lawyers practicing in
the U.S. at that time
, and 25,000 new graduates per year

As rough numbers, IPBiz notes 25 X 103 / 106 =0.025. The number of law school grads
in any year is a tiny fraction of "all" lawyers, and there seem to be a lot of lawyers leaving
the profession every year.

As additional data that might be accumulated, one might think back to the "massacre" of
patent attorneys that took place after the "dot com" bubble broke. One could also contemplate

A lot more can be said about this. It's not difficult to find "underemployed" patent attorneys to hire.

Variants of Martin's argument are found in the science area. Think back to the Hale-Bopp comet saga.

This is not unrelated to the scam perpetrated by IT companies pertaining to immigration visas. There's
nobody in the U.S., so let's hire more foreign nationals.

This author (LBE) had an inadvertent involvement in one DOL case (available somewhere on the internet).
To see how the pathetic the "there's nobody in the U.S. to hire" arguments are, when actually countered by someone,
that case is instructive.

Returning to "too few lawyers" argument, perhaps there's some underemployed patent attorney who might comment.
But then again, they are probably not reading blogs.

*** As a separate, unrelated point -->

footnote 158 of 16 Tex. Intell. Prop. L.J. 151 (YouTube or YouLose: Can YouTube Survive a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit?) :

17 U.S.C. ß 512(g)(2)(C) (2006). The NFL has provided an interesting example of how content providers can abuse this takedown provision if a service like YouTube does not adhere to this requirement. After a video clip of the Super Bowl was removed following proper notification, YouTube reposted the video after the poster claimed educational fair use in his counter-notification. Mike Masnick, NFL Continues to Help Professor Demonstrate How Copyright Owners Abuse the DMCA, Techdirt (Mar. 20, 2007), The NFL filed another DMCA takedown notice, at which time the video was removed again. Id. Under the DMCA, the video should have remained posted and the courts should have decided the ultimate outcome. Id. The Masnick article calls into question whether the fair use defense has any traction in preventing video removal.


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