Monthly Archives: August 2013

Expansion in Legal Jobs Through 2014, Reports Digital Journal

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Cites Job-Posting Firm Agreeing With Cooley Law School’s Assessment

Lawyer hiring will continue to increase in the second half of 2013 and through 2014, notes Digital Journal, citing the jobs-posting firm LawCrossing.com. Based upon detailed job posting data, this positive hiring trend “is well illustrated in the number of jobs continually posted by top recruiters on its web pages.”  And Digital Journal notes how LawCrossing agrees with prior commentary from Cooley’s President and Dean, Don LeDuc:

[LeDuc] claims that the economy will improve, and government agencies will start hiring lawyers once again. This is exactly what LawCrossing also envisages considering that recruiters are constantly posting new openings on its jobsite and increasingly making use of its newly launched employer page. A job search conducted on LawCrossing at the time of this release, showed 966 active legal jobs in Atlanta, above 1,000 legal openings created in Boston, 1577 legal opportunities in Chicago, almost 1,000 chances in Dallas, 957 new legal positions in Houston, 1238 legal postings for Los Angeles, 2952 legal job openings in New York city, 528 legal job listings for Philadelphia, 1,120 chances in San Francisco and 3,093 active openings in Washington D.C.

The job listings show opportunities for both new and seasoned lawyers. “To date there are over 43,000 openings on the jobsite that need to be filled with the right talent.”

 

 

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Growing Our Way Out of It

Nelson P. Miller, Associate Dean for the Grand Rapids Campus and Professor of Law

Nelson P. Miller, Associate Dean for the Grand Rapids Campus and Professor of Law

Lawyers Promoting Entrepreneurship

By Nelson P. Miller

      Economic recovery requires a culture of business growth.  That is the conclusion of a quadrennial report Empowering Entrepreneurship commissioned by the DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, studying job growth in West Michigan.

      The report showed not only that West Michigan added jobs at about double the national rate in the years 2009-2011 following the Great Recession but that the majority of those new jobs—fully 63 percent—were in businesses that did not exist before 2009.    New businesses mean more jobs and stronger recovery.

The report attributes West Michigan’s success to a revived culture of entrepreneurship.  Co-author Paul Isely, a professor at the Seidman College of Business, asserts that the depth and length of the recession made people realize that they could not wait for old jobs to return.  Community leaders realized that to start something new, culture must change first.  Start Garden, ArtPrize, LaughFest, and other local, regional, and statewide initiatives helped to revive West Michigan’s innovation spirit.

Lawyers and their services are critical to successful entrepreneurship.  Students, faculty, and staff at Cooley’s Grand Rapids campus have long maintained a Nonprofit Incorporation Project, helping to form and tax-qualify more than 100 new charitable organizations.  Following the recession, the campus re-focused those efforts on business start-ups.  The campus works through the Grand Rapids Organization for Women (GROW), Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and other community and professional organizations to help entrepreneurs form new businesses.

Working in pairs, students meet the clients, participate with faculty members and outside lawyers in consultations, and prepare business documents under supervision, all as volunteer pro bono service.  Guided assessment helps students discern the program’s educational goals.  Students then take the practice forms and systems into their own future practices.

Students at Cooley’s other campuses promote similar work.  Lansing-campus students offer a Service to Startups program.  Auburn Hills-campus students support a pro bono intellectual-property-law program involving local law firms.  Program administrators at each campus work with one another to develop, support, and coordinate each initiative.

Of course, the work of new lawyers in promoting the local economy goes beyond providing law products and services to new and growing businesses.  New lawyers make their own direct contribution as entrepreneurs in startup practices, leasing offices, purchasing goods and services, and hiring staff.  Though just 10 years old, the Grand Rapids campus already has many graduates in new local law practices, each contributing not only to the welfare of local individuals, families, and businesses, but to the economy itself.

Recessions come and go.  In the end, they have only one solution:  grow our way out of them.  Lawyers will always be at the center of growth efforts.  With the help of its lawyers, West Michigan revived that spirit just in time for an emerging recovery.  We have so much more to do to recover to our full capacity.  Celebrating successes along the way, like those in West Michigan, just might speed that full recovery.

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Discover How to Spend an Entire Semester “Down Under” With Cooley Law School

Luke 1Co0ley’s Great Australia/New Zealand Foreign Study Program

Luke Pears-Dickson was a guest student at Cooley from Seattle University School of Law, attending Cooley’s 2013 Australia/New Zealand Foreign Study Program.  Here is his endorsement of Cooley’s program.

 Studying abroad with the Down Under program was an amazing experience. The guest professors in New Zealand and Australia were intelligent, dynamic, and inspirational. The professional and social events with the program gave us the opportunity to meet politicians, judges, and legal academics from all over the world and took us to some of the most breathtaking places Down Under.

I never had the chance to study abroad in undergrad, so this experience was truly eye-opening and life changing for me — I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in gaining a more diversified understanding of global legal systems and a deeper insight into themselves. Travel truly makes you a better person.

Luke 2

Luke 1

Luke 4

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Now There’s a Thought: Disrupting Inefficient Markets with Better Law Practice

Nelson P. Miller, Associate Dean for the Grand Rapids Campus and Professor of Law

Nelson P. Miller, Associate Dean for the Grand Rapids Campus and Professor of Law

By Nelson P. Miller

Much has been written lately, and much said, about challenges facing law’s practitioners, those who provide daily routine law services.  Corporate clients complain about high and hidden costs.  Individuals complain about access and affordability while bar leaders report that 80% of civil legal needs go unmet.  Commentators perceive inefficiencies in the way that lawyers deliver law products and services.  High costs and low access fuel calls for reform.

We need not wring hands with clients and critics, nor condemn or dispute them.  Rather, their concerns direct us to important responsibilities and opportunities.

Lawyers do not study their processes like their corporate clients study theirs.  Lawyers know little of project management, error rates, quality control, price transparency, and other packaging, pricing, and delivery issues.  Corporate clients, whether product or service providers, make those important subjects their standard fare.  Lawyers research and know law but do not use those same analytic and process skills on their own craft, leaving management, development, and process-improvement research untapped.  What self-respecting lawyer talks of Malcolm Baldridge, process studies, and kaizen teams?  Entire management movements skip right over law firms as lawyers continue to ply their musty craft.

Sophisticated, traditional clients get what they need and want through incremental improvements.  Yet market disruption occurs at the bottom.  While firms add bells and whistles to standard products and services, they overlook dominant new market entrants.  Traditional products and services do not reach vast new client populations spawned by social and demographic.  Underwater homeowners, aging founders transferring small family businesses to the next generation, returning servicemembers, and other new clients go without service.  Traditional practices also fail to serve traditional clients in a newly global, technical, and regulatory environment.  Vast numbers of parties stumble their way unrepresented through family, probate, misdemeanor, landlord-tenant, and other local courts.

When traditional firms fail to serve growing markets, innovative firms disrupt those markets from the bottom with newly affordable law products and services.  New law graduates use new management, marketing, development, systems, finance, and technology tools to construct virtual, mobile, site-based, and other innovative law practices.  These savvy new lawyers simultaneously inspire instructional reform.  Cooley Law School has always addressed practice through its practitioner faculty, and skills and clinical courses.  The school has long offered Law Office Management.  Yet the school is creating and offering additional electives focusing on the enterprise of practice.  Those new Law Practice courses include Business Development, Finance for Lawyers, and Technology.

Through whatever delivery model lawyers provide their services, law practice remains essentially entrepreneurial.  Effective service to clients depends not only on comprehensive knowledge, adroit skill, and solid ethics.  It also depends on recognizing new client populations while designing, pricing, and delivering affordable and accessible law products and services that meet their lawful objectives.  Practice involves finding the under-served and then serving them through sustainable systems.  We have no reason to decry market disruption when it presents an opportunity for more and better service.

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Things Work Differently Here

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Professor Victoria Vuletich teaches Professional Responsibility at Cooley Law School.  She is chairperson of the ABA’s Center for Professional Responsibility Continuing Legal Education Committee. Before joining Cooley’s faculty in 2008, Professor Vuletich was Deputy Division Director of the State Bar of Michigan Professional Standard’s Division, where she advised attorneys regarding ethical dilemmas and practical issues they were facing.  She also served as staff counsel to the State Bar of Michigan Client Protection and Unauthorized Practice of Law programs and developed and managed the Practice Management Resource Center.

When I was in law school, my professors rarely had time for me.  Only one or two actively conversed with me.  Some grudgingly set appointments and the others, well, they simply ignored me.  Little wonder I hated law school.

So when I came to Cooley to teach, I had an agenda.  I was determined to do my darn best to help students make their stay at Cooley as pleasant and as meaningful as possible.  Lucky me to find a faculty chock full of kindred souls!

Dean Amy Timmer is full of great ideas – and – she invites me to play in the sandbox with her and her ideas!  She had the great idea of nominating a student we both share and treasure, Angela Shade, for the National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Student Award.    Although Angie is smart and hard working, what makes her stand out is her heart.  She always has a smile on her face, a bounce in her step, and she is the first to lend a helping hand.

Amy pounded out a draft of the nominating letter and sent it to me.  I revised it, signed it for both of us, and sent it away.  I think we were just as thrilled as Angie was upon learning she had received the award! Congratulations Angie!

If you don’t believe that last statement, check out the picture, which speaks for itself.

Angie and Amy (1)

There’s a lot of affection and respect going on there.  And there’s a lot more of that going on at Cooley between other faculty and students. . . . Things work differently here!

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