Around the Legal Industry: 5/20 – 5/24

ScalesLaw Schools Offering Master’s Degrees for Non-Lawyers

In the face of declining enrollments on many law school campuses last fall, some schools are pursuing a new market segment: masters degrees. Their target audience: People who need to understand the law, but who don’t need (or want) a full-fledged legal education.

“Law school helps you to look at things from a different side,” said Betsy Hames, among the first students in EmoryLawSchool’s “Juris Master” program. “It’s not easy. But already I’ve noticed that conversations … about contracts make so much more sense,” she added.

Nearly 30 law schools now offer — or are preparing to launch — legal education programs for non-lawyers. Looks like the verdict on this idea is already in…

Source: National Law Journal | Law for Laymen

Words on the Street — and on the Net

Words are the currency of the legal profession, and many a case has turned on what (exactly) a word means. When a word is new, however — or if it comes from “the street” — its precise meaning may not be entirely clear. So what’s a legal professional to do? Many find themselves turning to the resources listed below:

Urban Dictionary has become a popular resource, and one that courts increasingly are calling upon to help clarify the language of the streets. This online reference is readily available, free and (thanks to its many contributors) always up-to-date.  Not everyone, however, thinks it’s a good idea to have these “crowd-sourced” definitions in the courtroom: “Some of the stuff on their site is very good, but there is more chaff than wheat. It is a lazy person’s resource,” said Tom Dalzell, senior editor at the  New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English — a competing product available both in print and online.

Source: New York Times | For the Word on the Street, Courts Call Up an Online Witness

“Law Firms in Transition” Survey Highlights Views of Law Firm Leaders

Legal consulting firm Altman Weil just released its fifth annual “Law Firms in Transition” — a report drawn from a survey sent to law firm managers at 791 firms. Among other things, the 2013 report indicates that the leaders in these firms continue to seek more efficient strategies for delivering legal services. Alternative approaches for project staffing is one such area under review as a way to improve client services:

“Any past stigma associated with contract lawyers clearly is gone. Large majorities of firms are using part-time and contract lawyers in 2013. This is a smart tactic, usually endorsed by clients, which can hold down costs while boosting profitability. Almost 40% of firms report outsourcing some non-lawyer functions – up from 15.7% in 2010 when we first asked the question,” the report said.

Interested in seeing the complete report?  You can download it here.

Source: ABA Journal | Law Firm Leaders Say Industry Shift Permanent…

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