If you are still applying to law school, you might be an idiot. The title of this Above the Law article made me laugh out loud. Law schools have been taking a beating in the press lately as people are questioning the value of a law degree in today’s business world. The Above the Law piece discusses a recent Atlantic article about the recent drop in the number of law school applicants with high entrance exam scores and the much lower drop in applicants with low scores. Hat tip to Bradley Clark who tweets under the handle @BradleyBClark and blogs at the Texas Law Blog.
Supreme Court arbitration recap. The problem with thinking and writing about contract law (besides the fact that a few outliers might find it to be a tad dry, complicated, and uninteresting) is that there’s hardly ever anything new. Contract law’s been around for a while and it’s not as dynamic as, say, patent law. One exception is the law involving arbitration, which has been undergoing huge changes as the Supreme Court kicks cases back to the lower courts in the wake of a series of decisions that make it a lot harder for people to get out of binding arbitration agreements. I’ve blogged about a few important cases (for example, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion: Is Class Arbitration Dead?, Dear Ninth Circuit: We Like Arbitration — Signed, The Supreme Court, and Supreme Court Holds Federal Arbitration Act Preempts Public Policy of West Virginia). Lawyers from Spilman Thomas & Battle published an excellent, detailed piece last week called How will the West Virginia court rule in the wake of Concepcion and Marmet?, which provides a discussion of recent arbitration cases. It’s well worth a read.
Fun with checklists. Ever since I heard a radio interview of Atul Guwanda discussing his book The Checklist Manifesto a year or two ago, I’ve been intrigued by the use of checklists in transactional lawyering. So when I stumbled upon Elizabeth Goldstein’s recent article in The Legal Intelligencer Blog Using Checklists to Get Things Right, I was interested. It’s a good piece and I’m looking forward to future articles in her checklist series.
M&A at a high school level. Although I don’t succeed as often as I’d like, I try to make what I write easy to read. Of course, most of what I write concerns the law and contracts, which aren’t exactly simple topics. But I was quite proud to discover that my recent guest post Avoiding Unwanted Liabilities When You Buy a Business came in with a Flesh-Kincaid grade level of 11. Sadly, some of my documents — and especially my contracts — are rated at grade levels in the post-doc range. (This post is a 9.6!)
Law firms’ clients are their biggest competitors. I’ve long said that our own clients (along with new technology) are private law firms’ biggest competitors. Companies are increasingly bringing work in-house, as well as conducting legal triage and deciding that some work isn’t worth the cost. Patrick Lamb’s post this week Make v. Buy decisions by clients should worry outside counsel further confirms my view. It’ll be interesting to see how things change in the next few years, but I’m certain that the legal landscape will be much different.