The economic downturn is hitting the legal world hard. American Lawyer is calling it “the fire this time” and warning that big firms may be hurtling toward “a paradigm-shifting, blood-in-the-suites” future. The Law Shucks blog has a “layoff tracker,” and it is grim reading. Top firms are rapidly thinning their ranks, and several — including Heller Ehrman, a venerable 500-plus-lawyer firm founded in 1890 — have closed.
The writer recommends that law schools prepare students for fields other than the law. Amber Taylor (CMC `02, Harvard Law `05) takes exception to that advice:
Law graduates usually end up in those fields because they didn't like law. This probably means they shouldn't have gone to law school in the first place, not that an already "sometimes-aimless" law school curriculum should be diluted with more cheesy law and ____ classes to cater to people who really ought to be in J-school or an MPP program. These people ought to cross-enroll, or better yet transfer. The idea that law schools should teach more practical legal skills is in direct tension with the idea that they also ought to teach finance and reporting so graduates can use them in non-legal careers.