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2006.01.04

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» Is The Greatest American Lawyer Onto Something? from What About Clients?
First, let me explain something. I'm not only a lawyer but in some respects I'm a professional stereotype. From time to time, this combination may have stifled my ability to think clearly, logically or creatively. After college and law school,... [Read More]

Comments

a

The problem is the corporate faascists still control the insurance companies--the worst criminals of all. How am I to provide health care for my daughter? Her doctor is also a [best-of-the-best talent] slave to a corporate insurance/mega-hospital system.

We are slaves, just like the characters in Braveheart in the 1200s in Scotland.

It is the nature of things.

Funke

As a solo attorney by choice and not circumstance, I of course revel in your thoughts that the days of the large law firm are over. Unfortunately, the market since the 1960's has led us to ever larger law firms. A mere 40 years ago a large law firm had 5 to 10 attorneys. Now firms have over a thousand associates. The practice of law appears to have changed dramatically. My personal opinion is that the practice of law has become exceedingly complex and only an army of attorneys can even begin to understand what needs to be done. For example, imagine a timber company opening a saw-mill. In the 1950's a 2 man law firm could have handled the required permits. Today an army of a 100 attorneys is needed to understand the various state, city and federal requirements - from zoning to environmental review. In fact, just figuring out which agencies have jurisdiction over such a project can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Thus, large companies have no choice but to hire a large firm. A small company cannot know everything that needs to be done.
On the "not so sophisticated" end of things, such as residential real estate transactions, there no longer is a need for an attorney (at least in the state where I practice). Title Insurance Companies handle title review and real estate agents complete all the forms from a residential transaction. This has probably created value to the consumer (although I question whether the commission earned by real estate agents is cheaper than an attorney's service). However, the errosion of the legal profession's "guild" status on the "not so sophisticated" end of the legal spectrum leaves more and more solo practitioners struggling. This may be good for the consumer, but not necessarily good for the solo attorney.
The increased sophistication and complexity of the legal world also has lead to an increase in Legal Malpractice cases, especially against smaller law firms. The solo attorney ventures into an area of law that 40 years ago was simple, but today is fraught with complications - thus exposing the small firm to greater risk.
I don't believe that large law firms will always rule the world, but I think the trend is away from solo practice. Life today as a solo is tough - the freedom is worth the effort, but it certainly is no walk in the park.

Comments to my comment are appreciated.

Sean Woodruff

Some points to consider...

1. Companies do not appear out of dust.

2. It takes talent to build a company that hires talent.

3. In the U.S. worker's are not "forced" to work for a company.

4. Power is given TO people and companies by others, not used BY people and companies on others.

5. If a company or individual is not focused on the customer, they will never realize any market success with or without talent.

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