• Dean: There’s No Oversupply Of Lawyers

    Jan. 4 (Bloomberg Law) — The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be 74,000 new lawyer jobs this decade, while American law schools will produce more than 400,000 graduates. Despite those numbers, “it’s not clear to me there’s an oversupply problem at all,” says Case Western Reserve Law School Dean Lawrence Mitchell. With so many legal needs of the poor going unmet, “finding different paths for people who truly want to be lawyers opens up all sorts of possibilities” for law graduates to find jobs, he maintains. “We’re running a business” that’s grown more expensive every year because of clinics and smaller class sizes, he tells Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia. Contrary to popular wisdom, “I don’t turn over a big chunk [of law school tuition dollars] to the university, and I’m not teaching 150 kids in a class,” he says. Mitchell wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in late November, taking to task the many critics of legal education. “The attack on law school disregards … we’re working hard in good faith” to help students find employment, he says. “That’s why I schlep all over the country for two months every summer, like Willie Loman, talking to hiring partners at law firms trying to get my kids jobs.”

  • Grassley: HSBC Should Face Criminal Charges

    Dec. 20 (Bloomberg Law) — United States Senator Charles Grassley (R - Iowa) and Bloomberg Contributing Editor Neil Barofsky talk with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about HSBC’s recent settlement with US authorities over claims the bank engaged in money laundering for drug cartels and terrorist organizations. Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

  • McEntee: Law Schools Should Cut Enrollment 50%

    Nov. 9 (Bloomberg Law) — Kyle McEntee from Law School Transparency talks to Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about the state of legal education in America. McEntee also talks about the LST Score Reports, his organization’s new alternative to the US News & World Report Law School Rankings. McEntee hopes that the new information will help prospective law students make better decisions and “focus on the things that matter.” McEntee feels that while laws schools need to substantially reduce their enrollment, it will probably be a combination of market forces and governmental oversight that will ultimately force legal education to reform itself. McEntee is the co-founder and Executive Director of Law School Transparency, a nonprofit legal education policy organization.

  • Former Regulator: Financial Markets Aren’t Rigged, They’re Broken

    Oct. 19 (Bloomberg Law) — Ralph Ferrara, partner at Proskauer Rose LLP, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about the problems presented by high frequency trading and potential solutions. Ferrara says that certain policy changes made by Congress in the mid-1970’s had the effect of decentralizing financial markets and diminishing the presence of human controls over trading activity. In his opinion, the resultant market fragmentation combined with high frequency trading has led to a broken, two-tiered system that could force retail investors out of the market and fundamentally change the notion of capitalism in the United States. Ferrara served as General Counsel to the Securities & Exchange Commission from 1978 to 1981.

  • “Suicide Prices” & The Coming Crisis At Big Law Firms

    An increasing number of major law firms are quoting “suicide prices” just to get business that will keep their lawyers occupied, even though the firms can’t make money on the work, according to law firm consultant Bruce MacEwen. Those firms may be training clients, like department stores have done with their customers, only to buy when prices are discounted, which could lead to more major firms going out of business, says MacEwen, who writes at Adam Smith, Esq. (http://www.adamsmithesq.com) There are simply too many partners and associates at many firms. Adding to the firms’ economic challenges, the revenues of legal process outsourcers (LPOs) are expected to grow 85 percent in the next few years. The result is more attorney layoffs are likely ahead, he says. Big firms have “avoided the really difficult, awkward conversations” about trimming partner ranks. But “that day is coming, because that’s where the money is,” he says. “Most partners actually don’t understand the firm’s business. It’s not their job. They want to serve their clients. That’s why they made partner. But it presents a tremendous challenge to managing partners” in a time of economic challenges, MacEwen says. Twenty-five years ago, average partner pay at the AmLaw 100 law firms was 11 percent higher than that of the average American worker. Today it is 23 times higher. “You cannot grow that tree to the sky forever,” says MacEwen. “Some firms get it completely; other firms just are hoping they can hold their breath and it will be 2006 again.” MacEwen talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia.

  • Tupac Hologram Creator Sold At Bankruptcy Auction

    Sept. 26 (Bloomberg Law) — Digital Domain, the special effects company founded by film director James Cameron, was sold out of chapter 11 in an auction that saw bids double despite having only ten days to market the company. Digital Domain made the news earlier in the year for producing a hologram of late rapper Tupac Shakur for a performance at the Coachella music festival. Bill also wonders which deceased celebrity Digital Domain will reanimate. Bill also discusses the recent decision by Chief Judge Edith Jones from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to step down from her role as chief judge.

  • Senate Gets Ready To Talk About Robots Trading Stocks

    Senator Jack Reed, Democrat from Rhode Island, talks to Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about an upcoming hearing in front of a subcommittee for the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on how high speed computerized trading impacts the broader economy. Senator Reed will chair the hearing which seeks to examine the role high frequency trading systems have played in recent market disruptions such as the so-called ‘flash crash’ from May 2010, the failed BATS Gloabal Markets IPO, problems with the Facebook IPO and recent glitches plaguing trading firm Knight Capital.

  • Attorney: Student Debt Crisis Could Spur New Lawsuits

    Larry Eagel, partner at Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about how the student debt crisis has opened up new opportunities for lawyers to represent borrowers burdened by their loans. Larry recently filed a case against a loan servicer for allegedly failing to apply a debtor’s early payments on her student loans to her principal. Larry notes that while the worsening student debt problem has led to an increased interest among borrowers to bring claims against banks and servicers, it remains to be whether it will generate a significant wave of litigation.

  • Newspapers: As Useful As Buggy Whips?

    Newspaper publisher Journal Register Company’s second trip into Chapter 11 raises real questions for Bloomberg News bankruptcy columnist Bill Rochelle whether it will survive, even if it emerges from bankruptcy court intact. He also talks to Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about the latest developments in another newspaper bankruptcy of Tribune Company and whether newspapers as an industry are likely to see more filings ahead.

  • Law Firm Revenues & Profits Dropping, Layoffs Ahead

    Kent Zimmermann, consultant to law firms for the Zeughauser Group, talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia about the prospects for the legal services industry in 2013. Kent says that law firms have seen such a steep decline in demand for corporate work in the last six months, that many large law firms will face serious economic turbulence going into 2013. Work is even off in Silicon Valley, thanks to the less-than-stellar Facebook IPO. As a result, Kent says law firms plan to “get lean” by reducing headcount over coming months. Kent also notes that unless the economy improves by mid-2013, three to five AMLaw 200 law firms could go out of business.

  • Why Dumping Student Debt In Bankruptcy Is Good For Lenders

    If law school graduates were able to discharge in bankruptcy court their student loans from private lenders — something Congress has prohibited since 2005 — it might be good for the lenders and the profession, according to Steven J. Harper, an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Banks would be less inclined to lend to students who aren’t serious about becoming lawyers, and fewer people would go to law school without thinking through their career plans, he tells Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia.

  • Is It Still Safe To Invest In The USA?

    There are numerous examples of the federal government suspending or ignoring settled rules of law in order to quickly and effectively respond to particular problems created by the broader financial crisis starting in 2008. UPenn Law Professor, David Skeel, says that the federal government’s inability to revert to the long established principles associated with rule of law in the United States is beginning to have a profoundly negative impact on the national economy. He talks with Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia.

  • Ex-Partner: $1M Salaries Should Satisfy BigLaw Partners

    Many partners at America’s biggest law firms are simply making too much money, according to former Kirkland & Ellis partner Steven J. Harper, who is now an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law. A “revolution of rising expectations” has led partners to expect much more money than that, leading to instability in law firms as they chase highly paid lateral hires, he tells Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia. “You have a hard time explaining or defending why a million dollars a year isn’t enough,” he says.

  • Election Lawyer Fraternity Crushes Fees In Campaign Season

    Spending on lawyers by the presidential campaigns, political parties and PACs has quadrupled since 2000, with just five law firms that specialize in election law earning $10 million so far during this election cycle. Bloomberg News reporter Jonathan Salant tells Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia what’s driving the increase, and what kinds of changes in election law the lawyers are seeking now.

  • Barofsky: Government Complicity Provides Libor Defense

    The world’s biggest banks are likely to defend lawsuits alleging they manipulated the Libor interest rate by saying the federal government knew it and did nothing, according to Neil Barofsky, former Inspector General for TARP. Rather than put maximum pressure on the banks by suing them individually, the government is likely to try to sidestep arguments it was complicit in the Libor mess by seeking a global settlement, he tells Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia.

  • Can We Fix The Student Debt Crisis With Bankruptcy Reform?

    Congressman Steve Cohen wants to change the bankruptcy laws to allow individuals to get rid of burdensome private student loans for the first time since 2005. Considering that private student loans only account for a fraction of the total outstanding student debt, just how far will this change go towards solving the broader problem?

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