Monday, August 6, 2012

ABA Considering Doing Something to Benefit Young, Unemployed Lawyers It Wishes Didn't Exist

OK, that's probably not really fair. I mean ... there might be some (unpaid) interns working at the ABA that really do care. Anyway, hundreds of news stories about the undeniable shit storm facing law school grads for the last few years appear to have been taken into consideration.

via ABA Journal:

ABA House to Consider Ethics Rule Changes to Help Young and Mobile Lawyers
The measure would amend the ABA Model Rule on Admission by Motion to say that lawyers seeking to practice in a new jurisdiction through this procedure need to have actively practiced law for only three of the past five years. The previous version of the rule required active practice for five of the last seven years. 
Another new model ethics rule would allow lawyers moving to a new jurisdiction to practice there for up to a year, subject to some restrictions, while seeking admission to the bar.
As a recent grad, I welcome this change in the ethical rules. The limitations imposed by the outdated model of parochial bar associations in every state make very little sense in our increasingly global economy. In the current job market (read: desolate wasteland) for new law grads, being forced to choose one jurisdiction before you even begin practicing law leads to a severe limitation of potential jobs. Even when I do see a job that looks perfect for me, I won't be able to apply if it's out of state.

This makes no sense.

But wait! Don't individual states have an interest in making sure that lawyers practicing in that state know the laws of that state?!?!? Well, sure. But I can tell you this: most of the law that you learn for the bar is forgotten by the time you get your results. The only way to be competent in a particular area of practice is to practice in that particular area. Studying a BARBRI outline might get you through the MBE or an essay, but it's not enough to prevent you from committing malpractice.

Now, with jobs, particularly in certain markets (San Francisco comes immediately to mind), being hard to find, this change to the ABA Model Rules on Admission by Motion is a step in the right direction. This will increase mobility and help grease the gears of the legal industry, leading to fewer attorneys languishing in tight job markets when their skills could be put to use in other regions.

UPDATE: The revision has passed!

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