Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Empirical Studies of Legal Profession

The editors of the North Carolina Law Review put together a fascinating symposium: Empirical Studies of the Legal Profession: What Do We Know About Lawyers' Lives?, vol. 84, no. 5, June 2006. All of the papers -- by lawyers, sociologists, economists, and others -- are available in PDF. My eye was caught by:

  • Laura Beth Nielsen and Catherine R. Albiston, The Organization of Public Interest Practice: 1975-2004, 84 N.C. L. Rev. 1591-1621 (2006). Themes: bigger organizations, less emphasis on litigation, greater variety in the privately-funded public interest organizations.
  • Richard L. Abel, Practicing Immigration Law in Filene's Basement, 84 N.C. L. Rev. 1449-1500 (2006) "The most common client complaint [in disciplinary cases] is neglect. Through a case study of the representation of Chinese immigrants before the Immigration Court in New York, I seek to explain how and why the neglect occurred and what we might do to prevent it."
  • George P. Baker and Rachel Parkin, The Changing Structure of the Legal Services Industry and the Careers of Lawyers, 84 N.C. L. Rev. 1635-1682 (2006). The abstract summarizes:
    We find evidence consistent with a shift toward a commodity relationship and an increased reliance on business-getting. Specifically, we find some evidence of a disappearance of the midsized firm and strong evidence of a rise in the largest firms and multi-office firms. We find that leverage is increasing, though mostly in the smaller and midsized firms. We find that promotion clocks are increasingly longer and that firms are lessening their use of “up-or-out” promotion policies.
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