November 18, 2011 Practice Points

Law Firms Begin Implementing Firm Procedure Programs

By Virginia Sierra

"They teach you contracts, precedents. Then the firm that hires ya, they teach ya the procedure. Or, you could go to court and watch."

—The Official Clio Blog, quoting "My Cousin Vinny"

Traditionally, law school taught prospective lawyers basic contract law, how to rely upon precedents, etc. The hiring law firm taught those same individuals procedure. This system, however, required a large job market for recent law school graduates—a system that does not exist today. The current recession has pushed students into law school that are trying to evade the recession as well as reducing the number of job opportunities for law school graduates altogether. Not only are law schools producing more graduates with fewer positions to fill, but those practicing attorneys who lost their jobs due to the recession are vying for positions as well. And, attorneys who have been in practice already know procedure, making them better candidates for the few available positions.

Law schools have acknowledged this growing problem and are adding programs to teach students procedure, thus equipping them with the tools to start a solo or small-firm practice without the help of large-firm training. The University of New York School of Law has been running an 18-month program that provides pseudo "on the job training" to students in the areas of billing, technology, bookkeeping, and taxes. The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and the University of Maryland School of Law have also implemented solo-and-small-firm incubator programs. All three schools are specifically targeting students desiring to open their own business in the form of a solo or small firm. Other schools are following the lead and plan to implement similar programs.

For more information, see The Official Clio Blog.

Virginia Sierra is with Cohen, Kennedy, Dowd & Quigley in Phoenix, Arizona.

Copyright © 2016, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).