Friday, May 27, 2011

The new world of legal practice: a second track for associates

Big law is changing the way it does business. Outsourcing is here - only this time, it's not to India, but to out-of-the-way cities in the U.S.

The New York Times reports on the trend for major law firms to have a second track for associates, a "non-partner" track.

The nation’s biggest law firms are creating a second tier of workers, stripping pay and prestige from one of the most coveted jobs in the business world.

Make no mistake: These are full-fledged lawyers, not paralegals, and they do the same work traditional legal associates do. But they earn less than half the pay of their counterparts — usually around $60,000 — and they know from the outset they will never make partner.

These career associates are being moved out from the major metropolitan centers of big law.

Orrick moved its back-office operations to a former metal-stamping factory here in 2002, and in late 2009 began hiring career associates. Costs of living are much cheaper in Wheeling than in San Francisco, Tokyo or its 21 other locations, saving $6 million to $10 million annually, according to Will A. Turani, Wheeling’s director of operations.

“It’s our version of outsourcing,” said Ralph Baxter, Orrick’s chief executive. “Except we’re staying within the United States.”

This is not necessarily a bad thing except in the sense that a lot of attorneys who hoped for big law jobs aren't getting what they planned on. But this new efficiency helps employ people; it's the market at work.

As I noted before on this blog, these changes in the legal profession will increase the pressure on law schools to take measures that will increase the value they offer to students. I believe this will lead to more schools explore non-traditional methods of education - like that which OBCL is pursuing.

Friday, May 6, 2011

SAVE THE DATE! Tahoe scheduled for Sept. 9-11, 2011

The Board of the OBCL Alumni Association is happy to announce the dates for this year's annual General Meeting and Retreat Friday-Sunday, September 9-11, 2011. All alumni and students—along with their families—are invited to attend.

Once again, the retreat will take place in scenic South Lake Tahoe, on the border of California and Nevada.

Here is a tentative schedule for the weekend:
Fri., Sept. 9: evening open house in alumni cabin
Sat., Sept. 10 (morning): 2011 General Meeting at Forest Suites Resort
Sat., Sept. 10 (afternoon): fellowship, site-seeing, and enjoying the beauty of Tahoe
Sat., Sept. 10 (evening): BBQ and fellowship in alumni cabin
Sun., Sept. 11: morning worship and fellowship time

Be on the lookout for further details and registration in the next few weeks!

Each year, the annual retreat proves a wonderful opportunity to be refreshed and encouraged—and informed about how to impact the future success of Oak Brook College and its alumni. Whether you've never missed a meeting or are debating coming for the first time, come out and help make the 2011 retreat our best yet!

Questions? We are happy to help! Email any questions to Emily Younger ( or Mark Bigger (

See you there!

(photos courtesy of Heidi Miller)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The debate over law school scholarships

The legal blogosphere has been buzzing with discussion of a recent New York Times article about the use and abuse of law school scholarships. A good roundup of the discussions is available here.