Why I don’t really need a professional lawyer

I receive mail from my parents which can contain anything from comics to Wallstreet Journal articles.  This time, dad included an article titled “Why I’m Not Looking to Hire Computer Science Majors” by Daniel Gelernter in the Wallstreet Journal, I decided that this is a completely fresh way to look at jobs and the job hiring process.

His article can be summarized into a number of valid points.

  1. startups have to compete with well funded established players for people
  2. college programs 10 years behind current state of the art
  3. colleges have no courses on current technology (iphone or android development)
  4. his development staff do not IT degrees, rather degrees in a different fields of study, but still get the job done

Just doing a satirical thought experiment, why don’t we try to start up a new law firm. We don’t have any clients at this point just a mission statement.

Commitment to our client to provide the maximum value to our clients locally, internationally and galactically. Commitment to support our community in providing public service. Commitment to our members by offering career opportunities to help them grow and expand.

It is possible to get some seed capital but we really need to get the law firm running is a partner or two. We have decide to specialize in space law as the earth is a finite size and already has quite a bit of competition and after all space is the next great frontier.

We just recently spoke to a summer intern at a large law firm who was recruited at $10,000 per month. Even a simple first year associate can expect to make $100 thousand per year with a $100 thousand signing bonus and $200 thousand in additional incentives. I have even read a story from one of my law journals about how it was not possible to hire one of the top lawyers from the number one law firm in North America for $500k because he was already earning approximately $3 million a year in cash and other incentives.

Considering the state of the current legal programs, I have decided to no longer look for law school graduates. The schools teach civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts criminal law, property law and torts just to get started. Quite a few example cases discussed are from decades ago. Not a single course on space law, alien culture, alien politics or any cutting edge topics.

This ridiculous situation makes it impossible for me to hire any reasonable candidates to our firm. Based on what I have heard from some of my interviewees, there are two different types of law students. The first are going to law school with the hope of getting a well paying job and the second group are the law nerds. The law nerds go to court in their spare time, talk with attorneys and generally live the law. It is my belief that this second group tend to make the best attorneys because of their dedication and general love of the topic.

To make the process better we are going to hire people with a love of the law, who have developed their skills on their own without any studies of these “sub-standard” law programs that are so common. We have hired a few attorneys and neither of them have an actual law degree. They somehow seem to get the job done.

So, considering this particular situation, there is an opportunity for some up and coming institution to train people directly in space law, alien culture and alien politics. It wouldn’t need to be an accredited four year program, and it would be opportunity to increase the number of qualified space attorneys. This would be perfect for small inter-planetary law startups and would provide some competition to the more traditional trained legal professionals and would help to keep prices down. It would be extremely beneficial for us if such a program would exist, it would ensure that there is a larger pool of candidates for us and we wouldn’t have to pay them as much.  It might even convince the colleges to up their game.

Back in the real world.

Despite everything I have said so far I do personally find that people who have a passion for IT and computers are definitely the best developers.  Why?  Because it isn’t just a job but something they love.  People who love their work will probably pay more attention to the details and may work harder – regardless of the profession.  Passion might not be enough to overcome some of the common issues that have been experienced over the years and because of this is covered in the theory in the general curriculum.

The original articles is behind a paywall.  You may find a summary of it with Google.

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