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A Cost Way Too High to Pay: The New York Times on the Price of Law School Tuition


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                                                                             Jerome Kowalski

                                                                             Kowalski & Associates

                                                                             December, 2011

David Segal of The New York Times today continued with his hard hitting series exposing the continuing crisis in American legal education. In his current piece, entitled “The Price to Play Its Way,” Segal features The Duncan Law School in the Appalachians (why there is a need for a law school in the Appalachians in a grotesquely over-lawyered nation is a separate question. I’ve addressed elsewhere.  I have also covered  Segal’s previous revelations concerning law schools revelations about legal education being akin to the non-existent Emperor’s new clothes elsewhere in this blog.

Segal’s basic premise is that law schools are unnecessarily over priced because of capricious rules and grotesquely unnecessary requirements promulgated by the American Bar Association’s Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. In order  to comply with the ABA’s outmoded requirements, Duncan is required to maintain a fairly bare boned library at an annual cost of $175,000, while in truth, that cost can be eliminated virtually in its entirety through the use of computer terminals and a Wi Fi installation, just as most law firms have done.  The largest expense item for Duncan is maintaining the ABA mandated 16 full time faculty members, along with three adjuncts, which soaks up 75% of Duncan’s budget.  In Segal’s previous installment, Segal described how law school graduates acquire no practical lawyering skills at law schools, largely because they are taught by full time faculty who rarely have spent a nanosecond practicing law.  The result, Segal explained is lowered hiring by law firms and a general refusal by clients to pay for the hours spent during a lawyer’s first two years of employment, during which he or she is largely engaged in the basic skills of lawyering.

Duncan apparently endeavors to run a lean machine, charging tuition of only $28,664 per annum. With housing and other costs, that tab could run to $50,000, Segal reports.

[Update:]  On Tuesday, December 20, 2011, two days the Times article appeared, the ABA withdrew its provisional accreditation of Duncan .

[Update:   On December 22, Duncan sued the ABA claiming antitrust violations. As reported in local media “The lawsuit, according to LMU officials, alleges the American Bar Association denied the Duncan School of Law provisional accreditation as a means of limiting the number of law schools, and therefore attorneys, across the country.” After reading the entire series by David Segal – you can start here – I leave it to the reader to insert an appropriate bon mot ].

Segal’s report comes on the heels of a report issued by Dean Jim Chin of the University of Louisville, in which Dean Chin said, as reported by The National Law Journal:

 “Using the debt standards set by mortgage providers as guidelines, Chen concluded that law graduates need to earn three times their law school tuition annually to enjoy what he termed “adequate” financial viability. That assumes they borrow only the amount of their law school tuition and lack additional debt — a conservative assumption, Chen said.

Thus, graduates of relatively low-cost schools charging annual tuition of $16,000 would need to earn $48,000; graduates of schools charging $32,000 would need to earn $96,000; and graduates of schools charging $48,000 would need to earn $144,000.

To maintain a “good” level of financial viability — meaning they could easily secure loans and would be very financially secure — graduates must earn six times their annual tuition, Chen calculates. That means graduates of $16,000-a-year schools would need to earn $96,000; graduates of $32,000 schools would need to earn $192,000; and graduates of $48,000 schools would need to earn $288,000.

To maintain “marginal” financial viability, graduates of $16,000-a-year schools would need to earn at least $32,000; graduates of $32,000 schools would need to earn $64,000; and graduates of $48,000 schools would need to earn $96,000.

According to the National Association of Law Placement, new law graduates earn, on average, $68,500.”

Thus, using Chen’s algorithm, Duncan graduates would need to earn $144,000 to maintain adequate living standards and $288,000 for better standard of living. Neither one of those numbers appears to be within Duncan Law School’s grasps.  And Duncan is not alone, it only was featured by The Times as this week’s poster child.

Chen’s paper is an interesting follow on to the paper written by Professor Herwig Schlunk of Villanova in 2009, using pre-recession data, in which he included only  pre-recession in which he looked at the value proposition of law school.  The title of Schlunk’s work says it all:  “Mamas: Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Lawyers.”  and since Schlunk wrote his paper, starting salaries for lawyers has decreased by approximately $10,000 and law school tuitions have increased by approximately 10%.

Law school professors seem to be doing considerably better.  Their median pay is $120,000 to $150,000; with some “superstars” earning more than $300,000.   By any measure, that’s not bad pay for teaching three courses a week, writing the occasional hour and taking on unlimited clients for private gigs and getting to charge those clients premium fees, after all a “professor” skilled or not, gets to bill at the highest end of the food chain.

Segal suggests that this entire exercise is part of the ABA’s guild system, creating artificial barriers to entry, while forcing law firms to bill young associates at $300 an hour, so that they can get paid a sufficiently high salary in order to pay off their artificially high student loans.  The real problem with this circular reasoning is that the music seems to have stopped playing and there are way too few seats for the players to pounce upon. NALP reported that only 60% of 2010 law school graduates actually found jobs requiring a law degree and, as noted, their median salary was only $68,500. It’s highly unlikely that universities will do the right thing by closing down their law schools since law schools and medical schools are second only to athletic programs in bringing the cash home to universities. Law professors are most unlikely to blow the whistles on their own safe perches, with but a few notable exceptions, such as Brian Tamahana.

Professor Larry Ribstein of the University of  Illinois School of Law, never a big fan of Segal, is a proponent for simply deregulating the practice of law. Ribstein got up even earlier than I did today and, read Segal’s piece and quickly posted at length on his sensational blog, “Truth on the Market” as follows:

 The NYT article typically fails to articulate the causes and cures of our over-priced legal system beyond the commonplace that the ABA somehow manages to restrict competition. Segal blames the law professors, finding comfort in the scam-bloggers’ simple-minded denunciation of high-priced legal scholarship. But since Segal doesn’t explain how a bunch of eggheads sitting around writing useless articles came to control the ABA, he sounds like he’s blaming the mosquitoes for banning DDT. This narrow focus isn’t surprising given Segal’s mission, which not to analyze or educate, but to entertain with simplistic narratives and pithy quotes.

So what’s really happening? The cause of the current situation, as I make clear in my Practicing Theory, is obviously the practicing bar, a powerful lawyer interest group with an incentive to keep the price of legal services high. Lawyers operate not only through the ABA but also local bar associations. Legal educators (law professors, law school and university administrators) come into the picture because they manage the key instrument for doing so — the academic institutions that keep the price of entry high. If the lawyers really wanted to make law school cheaper and more “practical” they could do it in an instant.

Gillian Hadfield’s suggestion to Segal of alternative accrediting bodies is one possible future world, but there are others. The route to all of these worlds isn’t simply changing the law school accreditation system (accreditation is pervasive throughout the education world), but changing the system of lawyer licensing which maintains the current one-size-fits-all approach. But how to do that when the powerful lawyers’ guild has maintained its grip on the process for almost a century?

As I have discussed (Practicing Theory, Law’s Information Revolution, Delawyering the Corporation, Death of Big Law) the answer lies in the current rise of technology and global competition, which are combining with the soaring costs of legal services to crack the foundations of the current regulatory system. Systemic changes such as changing the choice of law rules regulation of the structure of law practice and changing the intellectual property rules governing legal information products (Law’s Information Revolution, Law as a Byproduct) could hasten this process.

Reform of law school accreditation ultimately will come along with significant changes to lawyer licensing whether lawyers and law professors like it or not. Regulation of legal services will be unbundled, with only core legal services (however that comes to be defined) subject to anything like the current level of regulation, and other areas regulated at different levels or deregulated altogether. [Emphasis supplied]

Both Segal and Ribstein have, in my opinion, missed the train.  The market abhors guild type rules. That’s why even in tightly controlled economies, there are always black markets.

As I have suggested a number of times, the market for providing legal services is already widely deregulated. The Duncans of this world have only a very short half life and even top tier law schools will continue to suffer serious body blows as the demand for BigLaw associates will continue to wane.  Duncan-type law school graduates will largely be competing at a distinct competitive disadvantage with thoroughly unregulated Internet based providers of legal services, which do not need to post their bar admission certificates on their web sites. At the same time, BigLaw will be competing, again to its competitive disadvantage, with offshore unregulated alternative providers of legal services, which are continuing to grab sizeable market share and are indifferent to the requirements of having an ABA sanctioned law degree or even an American bar admission. The market – consumers of legal services – large and small are equally indifferent as to whether these providers of legal services have an ABA accredited education or even a bar admission.

Regulators are largely indifferent to the Internet based providers of legal services. Forty-eight of the fifty states have greeted ubiquitous ads by these Internet providers with a gaping yawn. The State of Washington early on began a proceeding against LegalZom.com, which was settled by requiring Legal Zoom.com to include a disclaimer on its advertising that it does not provide advice [sic].  That little side step. Stands in sharp contrast to a Missouri court’s holding. After submission of evidence from both sides, the court found that LegalZom.com is in fact actively practicing law.  LegalZoom.com got out from under that ruling by another two step:  The Missouri case was brought by several class action firms, which promptly settled with LegalZoom.com, under an arrangement in which LegalZoom will make some small changes in its advertising and operations and, presumably, the class action plaintiffs’ counsel will cash a check for legal fees. LegalZoom.com is now doing battle with North Carolina in order to obtain approval for a prepaid legal serviced plan, not unlike that being offered by competing Rocketlawyer.com.

The academies won’t solve their problems by opening branches abroad.  India already has over 900 law schools.

As John Kennedy famously said in 1961 in accepting personal blame for the Cuban Bay of Pigs fiasco, “Victory has a thousand fathers; defeat is an orphan.”  The law school tuition crisis, say the law schools, is the fault of the profession, which needs to charge high hourly rates to sustain the BigLaw model.  Academics point a finger at the ABA.  Law firms seem pretty indifferent; they are just cutting back on new hires and starting salaries, for those lucky enough to grab the brass ring, don’t support tuition loan amortization, food and shelter.

© Jerome Kowalski, December, 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

 

Jerry Kowalski, who provides consulting services to law firms, is also a dynamic (and often humorous) speaker on topics of interest to the profession and can be reached at jkowalski@kowalskiassociates.com .

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Creating Better Law Firm Leaders: What Law Firms Can Learn from Google


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Jerome Kowalski

Kowalski & Associates

March, 2011

I recently attended a conference of managing partners in which one of the topics under discussion was “How many hats does a managing partner need to wear?”  The discussion was animated and the clear consensus was that an MP needs to wear them all: manager, strategic thinker, leader, psychologist, economist, parental figure, marketer, promoter, consensus builder, team builder, peace maker, visionary, piñata, the Harry Truman “buck stops here” hat, huckster, Indian chief, CEO,COO, CMO CIO,  and on and on.

As I relaxed in my easy chair on Saturday catching up on my reading, a piece in the New York Times about work performed within Google (clearly one of the greatest companies on the planet) to create better managers.  The piece, entitled “The Quest to Build a Better Boss,” describes Google’s detailed analyses and data mining to identify the definitive qualities of effective managers.  Remarkably, Google’s list is short and sweet. It identified “Eight Habits of Highly Effective Google Manager” and “Three Pitfalls of Managers.”

Among the reasons Google’s simple principles struck me is that they appeared as Bob Ruyback was being pilloried for his failed stewardship at Howrey by, among others, Professor Steve Harper and minions of anonymous Howrey staffers and lawyers on  a blog entitled “It’s Howrey Doody Time.” At the time of this writing,  that Howrey blog, which has been in existence for only a couple of months, seems to have received an astounding 262,000 hits.  And at the same time, Mr. Ruyback is also being criticized by his former partners (whom he said “abandoned him”) for putting them is serious  long term financial jeopardy.

Mr. Ruyack’s contentions, among other things was that partners jumped ship because they “had little tolerance for change” and the new free agency mindset of Big Law partners induced them to leave when there was a dip in revenues. Yes, lawyers do resist change, as I previously reported.  But that innate resistance to change must be overcome by leadership and sound management skills.

And in every study ever done on why people seek alternative employment, compensation factors rank at the bottom of the list.  Always at the top of the list for reasons for voluntarily leaving a job is a lack of job satisfaction.  I also previously wrote about how important it is for law firm leadership to concern itself with associate job satisfaction, even in an era when the supply of lawyers so far exceeds demand.  Certainly, the same principles of maintaining adequate job satisfaction is all the more critical at the partner level.  Maintaining job satisfaction is a critical function of management.

My own personal view, based on long tears of observation, is that successful law firm leadership is predicated on fairly few  building a team, developing consensus, avoiding hubris, and keeping lines of communication open and honest, giving deference and weight to all of a law firm’s stakeholders. Here, then is Google’s Rules, as reported by The Times.

 Google’s Rules – NYTimes.com

As I said, Google is a great company and we, as a profession, should build on these principles to create better law firm managers, practice group leaders, office leaders and lawyers heading up particular engagements.

© Jerome Kowalski, March 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

Lawyers Beware: Your Job May be Replaced by a Computer


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                                                                             Jerome Kowalski

                                                                             Kowalski & Associates

                                                                             March, 2011

“Watson, come here! I need you!” Alexander Graham Bell, October 9, 1876

Oh my goodness!  The wailing and donning of sackcloth and ash as word of The New York Times article of March 6, 2011 which reported that “Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Softwarecurrently permeates every quarter of the profession. The vast foot soldiers of lawyers who routinely analyzed millions of documents in a case at a client cost in the many millions of dollars now can be performed by a computer software program at a client cost of less than $100,000.  The Times’ reporter concludes

        Quantifying the employment impact of these new technologies is difficult. Mike Lynch, the founder of Autonomy, is convinced that “legal is a sector that will likely employ fewer, not more, people in the U.S. in the future.” He estimated that the shift from manual document discovery to e-discovery would lead to a manpower reduction in which one lawyer would suffice for work that once required 500 and that the newest generation of software, which can detect duplicates and find clusters of important documents on a particular topic, could cut the head count by another 50 percent.

The actual comparative numbers for document review: humans = $1.23 per document; computers = $.067 per document; that’s a nickel compared to a buck and a quarter.  And the computers do a much better job.  Which path are you and your clients going to pursue?

     The Times also quoted one corporate consumer of document review services in a quote which will be doubtless long remembered:

“From a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out,” said Bill Herr, who as a lawyer at a major chemical company used to muster auditoriums of lawyers to read documents for weeks on end. “People get bored, people get headaches. Computers don’t.”  [Emphasis added].

The Times’ conclusion comes on the heels of an article by IBM general counsel Robert Webber of February 14, 2011, published just before Watson’s stunning performance on TV’s Jeopardy, in which Mr. Webber crows that the software powering Watson could replace armies of associates, with far greater efficiency, accuracy and skill, at some quite substantial savings in cost.

We previously wrote about the different castes of associates that law firms are now deploying.  Ostensibly, the document review software will slash mercilessly at the hordes of staff or temp lawyers at the bottom of the food chain who spend their days and nights reviewing documents at $1.23 per.  Watson and its progeny will slash at the two higher ranks.

All of this needs to be analyzed through several prisms.  The first is the vast current unemployment and underemployment in the legal profession. The second is that even before the advent of these two new technologies and the onset of The Great Recession, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projected in 2008 that net projected increase in jobs available for lawyers between 2008 and 2018 would be 98,500, of which 50,300 will be employed by law firms, 29,400 are projected to be employed by government and 9,800 will be self employed. At the same time, one also must consider that our nation’s law schools relentlessly produce 45,000 new law school graduates each year, while continuing to build new law schools and creating larger law school classes, as we previously discussed.  Against this backdrop, the same New York Times asked but a few weeks earlier whether attending law school was a losing proposition. In all fairness, as an aside, kudos should now be extended to Albany Law School and Touro Law School for recently announcing that they were intended to reduce the sizes of their law school classes as being the “moral” thing to do.  The ultimate bottom line remains the same:  The BLS, projected, at a time when we were all flush and The Great Recession unforeseeable, that over the next decade, the legal profession would absorb fewer than 100,000 new lawyers.  To meet this new demand, law schools planned on graduating 500,000 new graduates.

Emerging from this bedlam is the Times’ Nobel Laureate, Economist Paul Krugman, made a number of astute and perhaps shocking observations in today’s Times.  For me, Krugman’s most astute observation, now clearly borne out by the facts is that providing enhanced education alone simply does not create prosperity. Indeed, as witnessed by the thousands of unemployed and underemployed law school graduates each bearing hundreds of thousands of student loan debt, advanced education actually can and has created real poverty.

As soon to be Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is fond of saying, “never miss the chance to create an opportunity out of a crisis.” The opportunity here is one in which to radically overhaul legal education.  As countless commissions sponsored by the ABA, the American association of Law Schools, state bar associations and other stakeholders have spent the last year or so and intend on spending the foreseeable future studying the future of legal education in America, one solution seems painfully obvious:  As the market and technology have combined to create computers and software to provide cheaper and more efficient legal services, law schools should focus substantial parts of its curricula to train its students on how to program these new computers, marrying both classical legal training and computer software training.  If legal academia does nothing, as may be likely, the bulk of legal services to be rendered in the future will be produced by universities’ computer science departments.  And, aspiring lawyers must be trained to analyze computer output, whether produced by Watson or document analysis programs, and maximize their efficiency and advance the cause of providing high quality legal services without necessarily being immersed in the holding in Shelley’s case.

Mature, seasoned and productive lawyers, with years of experience can then use the skills and good judgment they acquired to the best and highest use.

The profession and, more importantly, legal academia stand at an important crossroads right now. The wrong path chosen can lead to disastrous consequences.

Let’s not delude ourselves in to thinking that either legal academia or the profession is too big to fail. Recent history has created a trash pile of major industries that failed because they failed to appreciate to adequately embrace technology or appreciate its consequences.  The retail recording industry lies in shambles because it ignored the revolution of MP3 players. Blockbusters and Hollywood Video are both breathing their last because of their failure to embrace video on line rentals.  The minicomputer industry is gone, replaced by the more robust and ubiquitous laptop.  The nation’s entire retail industry is under attack by online sellers.

In 2008, Richard Susskind, OBE, published a prophetic and widely read (certainly in England) opus entitled “The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services” in which Sir Richard prophesied the virtual Armageddon the legal profession and the legal academic community now face. To survive, we all must understand and appreciate the changes wrought upon us and embrace the dramatic changes technology has wrought.  Failure to do so may result in failure.

© Jerome Kowalski, March 2011.  All rights reserved.

Do Law Firms Really Need to Occupy Tens of Million Square Feet of Office Space?


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Jerome Kowalski

Kowalski & Associates

January, 2011

 We’ve been shedding support staff and lawyers.  Is it time to slough off real estate?

              Why do we daily breathlessly rush off  to the office, fending rush hour traffic each morning, to meet client demands?  And why do we spend so much time rushing off to and attending face to face meetings?  Why do we allow ourselves to suffer the indignities of modern air travel?

There are perhaps a thousand answers to these questions. But, I’m just not sure any of them are correct any longer.

Offices are so essential to the fabric of law firms, I don’t believe we’ve adequately stopped to think about why we are paying so much money for real estate, nor why we need so much real estate.   I’m not just addressing space now under lease which is not being used because of either trimmed down staffs or diminished expansion.

These questions came to the fore as I recently worked with a client law firm which is seriously contemplating obtaining a new communication device, which is pretty breathtaking.  Watching the video presentation of the product sucked the wind out of all of us. (No, we don’t sell the product nor are we in any way compensated to promote it). Just a few days later, The New York Times reported that computers are increasingly replacing desktop telephone appliances.

Add to this a few small factors to our equation, such as cloud computing, paperless offices, the cost of real estate, the cost and inconvenience of travel, the time wasted in commuting, and you really must ponder whether we really need tens of millions of square feet of real estate in which we spend most of our working time.

There is no big mystery about how lawyers spend most of their days:  Meeting with clients, colleagues and adversaries, preparing legal documents, conducting negotiations, reviewing files, and, I guess thinking (interestingly, most often not a billable exercise).

Clearly with the advent of this new technology, which can be used anyplace with an Internet connection, your meetings and negotiations can still be face to face (albeit through the ether), your library of legal documents and forms are sitting in a server in Nebraska, not in your file room. You already use Nexis and Westlaw.  And, since all of your office files are paperless, time wasted in looking for files simply disappears. In fact, you can pull down a file from a server at the same time that your colleague is using the same file for some other purpose. And you can grab a file or a document in a nanosecond while you are in the midst of a telephone conference to either peruse privately or share with the other attendees.

Another neat aspect of all of these technologies is that recording of time devoted to client matters is simply accomplished by toggling on and off an electronic timekeeper, as we spend time in each activity.  No more timesheets, no more reconstructed time sheets and no more slavish devotion to six minute increments.

Great thought has been given by so many to the model of the Twenty-first Century Law Firm, but, I wonder, if adequate thought has been given to the bricks and mortar of the new era law firm.

Do we really need to rent 75,000 square feet in the center of town to house 100 lawyers?  Or would a 15,000 or 20,000 square foot conference and administrative center more than adequately serve the needs of a law firm and its clients?  This facility would not include back office functions which are already more commonly housed in less pricey quarters, often in distant cities with lower labor costs.

Of course, these very concepts require a wildly radical and de novo re-examination of (a) the underlying premise for the very existence of a suite of offices for a law firm or a branch office of a law firm and (b) the maximization of revenue on a per square foot basis, as is the rule in the retail business. I’ve spent 35 years strolling through law firm offices throughout the world. A typical walk through always shows some 20 to 35% of the offices vacant.  Some office occupants are out of the office on client matters, some offices are reserved for visiting partners.  Some offices remain vacant awaiting growth and expansion. In a purely theoretical sense, then, a firm is paying rent on nearly a third of its office space which in the aggregate and on a rolling basis is not occupied.  Similarly, in the same theoretical sense, a law office ought not simply be a space to store your “stuff”, as the late George Carlin described in a different context.

There is no doubt that the collaborative process is essential to the practice.  But, as you stroll down your own offices, you will witness that collaborative process taking place in conference rooms, in snack or dining areas; indeed, even in the corridors.

Much of the rest of the professional world has managed extremely well with less real estate. An accounting firm could easily house over 250 professionals in that same 75,000 square feet.  An investment bank could accommodate a staff of perhaps 350.  A software firm would double that number.  Each are comprised of professionals and each require a great deal of collaboration.

Inevitably, a visionary law firm will experiment with and refine this model. And, equally inevitably, others will follow suit.

              Of course, these very concepts require a wildly radical and de novo re-examination of (a) the underlying premise for the very existence of a suite of offices for a law firm or a branch office of a law firm and (b) the maximization of revenue on a per square foot basis, as is the rule in the retail business. I’ve spent 35 years strolling through law firm offices throughout the world. A typical walk through always shows some 20 to 35% of the offices vacant.  Some office occupants are out of the office on client matters, some offices are reserved for visiting partners.  Some offices remain vacant awaiting growth and expansion. In a purely theoretical sense, then, a firm is paying rent on nearly a third of its office space which in the aggregate and on a rolling basis is not occupied.  Similarly, in the same theoretical sense, a law office ought not simply be a space to store your “stuff”, as the late George Carlin described in a different context.

 

            There is no doubt that the collaborative process is essential to the practice.  But, as you stroll down your own offices, you will witness that collaborative process taking place in conference rooms, in snack or dining areas; indeed, even in the corridors.       

            Much of the rest of the professional world has managed extremely well with less real estate. An accounting firm could easily house over 250 professionals in that same 75,000 square feet.  An investment bank could accommodate a staff of perhaps 350.  A software firm would double that number.  Each are comprised of professionals and each require a great deal of collaboration.

 

            Inevitably, a visionary law firm will experiment with and refine this model. And, equally inevitably, others will follow suit.

Yes, I suppose some lawyers, young and old, might need physical distance from kids, active households, roommates, pets and even the simple discipline of physically getting dressed and “going to the office.”

But, that office can quite easily be in suburban locations rented on a full time basis or used by the hour or day on a contract basis.

Let’s also add to this calculus the fact that the number of lawyers working part time has increased by almost a third in the last several years.  Law firms certainly do not need full time space for its part time work force.

When my client originally called me to ask me to look at the new telephone technology, she said “you’ve got to come see this.  Telephones as we know them are about to be dinosaurs.”

We’ve all seen so much thrown on the ash heap of historic law practice:  Telexes, Cables, telegrams, Selectric typewriters, Dictaphones, carbon paper, dot matrix printers, law libraries, written telephone messages, fax centers, word processing centers, and on and on.

Will the desk top telephone appliance soon be added to this pile?

More significantly, will your own office in the center of town soon be a distant memory?

The more intense and global question is how diminished demand for commercial office space will affect the economy at large.  The Internet is vigorously competing with brick and mortar retail sellers and the effect of this robust competition is causing real challenges to real estate investors and financiers.  Will the power of the Internet land a body blow to owners and developers of commercial office buildings?

© Jerome Kowalski, January 2011.   All Rights Reserved.

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