The business of law continues to evolve post-Great Recession. Law firms are dealing with clients who are trimming legal budgets, shunning expensive hourly billing rates and subsidized training of associates, and opting for smaller and more cost-sensitive legal options.
These trends have had a ripple effect. The job market for lawyers—while showing signs of improvement in small pockets—remains depressed, resulting in intense critiques of legal education, downward-trending law school applications, and law schools adapting or closing. Presumably, law students and new lawyers notice these trends and are strategizing accordingly, thinking commercially and entrepreneurially about their careers, and seeking the best legal experience and ROI in a rough macro legal market.
Entrepreneurs recognize these trends and a few startups—UpCounsel, Lawdingo, Priori Legal, and LawTrades—are riding a robust tech (and derivative branding) wave to disrupt the increasingly vulnerable legal industry. Each (i) strives to provide a frictionless and transparent platform for cost-conscious clients to quickly acquire legal services, and (ii) offers lawyers an alternative avenue to monetize their degrees free of typical infrastructural and administrative burdens of solo or small practice. This new crop of startups has earned the label “the Uber of law.” What is their value proposition for lawyers? Are they truly Uber-like providers of legal services, or is that just opportunistic branding? Should lawyers care?
* Lawyers from top New York City firms like Skadden, Proskauer, Stikeman, Weil Gotshal, Kaye Scholer, and Bailey Duquette took to the ice to compete for the Lawyers’ Cup. The team with Canadian imports won, obviously. [Forbes]
* Andre Bouchard was nominated to replace Judge Leo Strine as Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery. We can only hope he’ll be as outspoken as his predecessor. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* UNC Law has been receiving fewer applications, and perhaps that’s the reason why its acceptance rates have gone up, up, up — from 36 percent to 45 percent — in the last year alone. Yikes. [Daily Tar Heel]
* A woman alleges her Uber driver “fondled [her] legs, groin area and breasts” as she tried to give him directions. That extra customer service is what makes it cost more during peak times. [Chicago Tribune]
* A watch repairman was so pissed about this Yelp review he sicced his lawyer on the man who handed out the two-star report. Of course his lawyer’s one-paragraph demand letter barely makes sense. [Gawker]
Mayor Michael Bloomberg takes a lot of heat. From the smoking ban, to the soda limit, to the bike share program, it seems like nothing he supports can avoid polarizing the public. I’m not defending every idea that the diminutive Mayor Tyrion proposes, just noting that every idea gets a lot of flack.
Bloomberg is so opposed in some corners that a Biglaw firm has taken directly contradictory positions against the city just to stick it to Bloomberg. And like many of Bloomberg’s rivals, the firm got smacked down by the courts.
It didn’t help the anti-Bloomberg brigade to submit a filing complete with some embarrassing typos…
If you don’t live on one of the coasts, you probably don’t know what Uber is.
If you do live on one of the coasts, but don’t know what Uber is, you are probably a poor who takes the subway everywhere and “walks” or something.
But if you do know what Uber is… it’s freaking awesome, isn’t it?
For the uninitiated, Uber is a smartphone app that allows you to call for a prepaid car to your immediate location. If this sounds like it’s not a big deal, then you’ve never tried to get a cab to get you the hell out of Brooklyn at 3:00 a.m. on a Saturday night.
I was first introduced to Uber by Mark Britton, the founder and CEO of Avvo. After meeting him for drinks, I was locked in the black-person hell of not being able to hail a cab and wondering if it was because of race, but trying not to look like I was wondering that in front of a white person. While I’m contemplating hurling an IED at the next on-duty cabbie who doesn’t stop, Britton calmly pulls out his phone and explains that with Uber, a livery cab will be sent to our location in minutes. We’ll be able to track our car with GPS and the whole thing is automatically paid for, including tip, through the phone.
Oh brave new world with such applications in it.
Now, Uber is trying to move from livery cars to yellow taxi cabs. It should be great, if not for all the pesky legal issues….
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Things have changed recently in Korea – a few of our US and UK client firms are looking, very selectively, for a lateral US associate hire. Until just recently, there was not much hiring like this going on in Korea, since US and UK firms started opening offices there. We have already placed two US associates in Korea in the past month at top firms. Most of the hiring partners we work with in Korea do not actively work with other recruiters.
If you are a Korean fluent US associate in London, New York or another major US market, 2nd to 6th year, at a top 20 firm, with cap markets or M&A focus (or mix), or project finance background, and you are interested in lateraling to Korea to a top US or UK firm, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Our head of Asia, Evan Jowers, was just in Korea recently, and Evan and Robert Kinney will be in Korea in a few weeks. We are in the process of helping several firms open new offices in Korea (a number of which are interviewing our partner level candidates) and also helping existing offices there fill openings.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
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For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
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