Tough times for lawyers, too

How long could the United States continue to crank out lawyers at the rate it has? About this long, according to a story in the Washington Post.

The recession has taken its toll on the industry that once was — and still is, really — synonymous with a way to make a ton of money.

But corporations no longer have a ton of money to spend on lawyers, the big law firm model is failing, and even “globalization” is hitting the business.

“We have 300 people in India. We’ve added 50 people” in recent months, said Michael J. Dolan, chief executive of the Tusker Group in Austin. Dolan said his lawyers charge $25 an hour, compared with $150 to $300 an hour billed by paralegals and associates doing the same work at law firms. “We’re in the process of adding another 30 people.”

Across the country, lawyers are being axed from law firms in favor of either lower-priced offshore lawyers, or those graduating from law school who’ll work for cheap. “Cheap” in the business, however, is about $130,000 a year.

“Everything you hear is a horror story [but] it’s hard to grasp how bad it is,” John McBeain, a student at William Mitchell College of Law told Minnesota Lawyer last month.

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