Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 14

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Students are savvy. They are not
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to be underestimated in their desire
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to be professionally and personally
well equipped for their future
careers as attorneys . . . they want
to be more competitively situated
to achieve their professional and
career goals.
CAMILLE NELSON
Dean, American University
Washington College of Law

"My science education didn't really emphasize business, even though
I found out later that I could use it," says Olah, 25, of his engineering
degree from Johns Hopkins University. "I was feeling the same way
about my legal education. I felt it would be important to understand
the business aspects of the law. I saw my practice management class
as a way to peek behind the curtain and find out what really happens
in the day-to-day operation of a firm."

"My classes are always overbooked," says Michael Spekter, an employment
law attorney and adjunct professor who teaches the law practice management class that Olah took at WCL. "There's a great thirst and hunger in law
schools for the students to be more practice ready. People want to be out
there working on real-life problems, whether they go into a big firm or start
their own firm right out of law school. They aren't satisfied with a traditional
education anymore."

The class was revealing, he says, not only for what it taught him but also for
reinforcing the importance of what he had previously learned. During an
internship with a local law firm, Olah felt frustrated trying to absorb the
nuances of sophisticated time-tracking software.

Separate from trends that have reshaped the legal industry, law schools
have suffered their own aftereffects from the Great Recession. Enrollment
has deteriorated across the board, and fewer graduates, on average, are
passing the bar and finding full-time appointments that mandate bar
passage. Law schools needed to respond, and they did.

"I didn't understand why I was [being] trained on the software," recalls
Olah. "I didn't take it seriously, but I understand now why it's so important.
When you're actually in practice, your most valuable asset is your time.
These kinds of software programs help you optimize your time in the
most effective way."
Olah's experience illustrates the challenges facing many law schools today
as they work to adapt their curriculums to cover both established doctrinal
subjects, such as civil procedure, contracts, and torts, and the business side
of law, focusing on applied knowledge of technology, interpersonal skills,
and law firm operations.
That these curriculum modifications come in direct response to changes
in the legal industry makes them all the more compelling. After a decade
of desperately maneuvering the peaks and troughs of everything from a
global recession to a technological revolution, the legal industry has been
transformed. These dynamics have contributed to a dizzying array of new
conventions: the rise of the virtual office, the demand for work-life balance,
new client billing models, alternative service delivery methods, and a fourgeneration workforce.

14

WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

SEPTEMBER 2019

*

Today, U.S. law schools, despite being firmly rooted in tradition, have
worked purposely to redesign their curriculums to reflect theory, practical
experience, and advanced interpersonal skills. In so doing, they are better
able to meet the needs of students and law firms, as well as to address the
realities of the global legal marketplace now and into the future.

PAIRING LAW WITH TECH
Aside from the global recession of the past decade, no other factor has
arguably done more to alter the practice of law than rapid technological
innovation. Indeed, technology not only has changed the nature of a practice
but also created new areas of the law such as the burgeoning fields of data
privacy and cybersecurity.
Technology also has significantly transformed law firm operations with
the application of algorithms and design thinking, primarily in the area of
e-discovery. With algorithms managing today's discovery work, gone are
the days when law firms were able to bill clients for the countless hours
of discovery done by first- and second-year associates.


https://www.dcbar.org/

Washington Lawyer - September 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - September 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Tomorrow’s Lawyers: Jd + Practice Ready
The Justice Gap & The Rise Of Nonlawyer Legal Providers
D.C. Bar Cle: Keeping Up With The Law
Aba Delegate’s Corner
Member Spotlight
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask The Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
2019 Celebration Of Leadership & Presidents Reception
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Tomorrow’s Lawyers: Jd + Practice Ready
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 14
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 16
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - The Justice Gap & The Rise Of Nonlawyer Legal Providers
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 20
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 22
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 24
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - D.C. Bar Cle: Keeping Up With The Law
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 26
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 27
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Aba Delegate’s Corner
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 29
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 31
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 32
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 33
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 37
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 39
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Ask The Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 43
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 2019 Celebration Of Leadership & Presidents Reception
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 45
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - September 2019 - Cover4
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