General counsel exert an outsized influence on the legal market. Through the open letter below, some of them are taking the long view by trying to influence the health and vitality of the legal talent supply chain. They are looking for other general counsel to join them.
Want to make a difference? Encourage your general counsel colleagues to support this effort.
OPEN LETTER SUPPORTED BY GENERAL COUNSEL
IMPROVING THE LEGAL TALENT SUPPLY CHAIN
Many young lawyers enter our profession undertrained and heavily in debt. This state of affairs can and should be corrected. We believe we can strengthen the legal profession by clearly stating our preferences for newly trained lawyers, and by broadening our outside counsel and in-house hiring practices to support these preferences.
What do we want?
More diversity. We want a diverse legal workforce that will enrich the legal services we provide to our clients.
Better training. In addition to an excellent substantive legal and communication skills, we want our workforce to have foundational training in allied disciplines that are essential in the modern practice of law, including data analytics, process/project management, technology, design principles, business operations, teamwork and leadership.
Less Debt. We want more educational and training options for law students that enable them to reduce or avoid crushing law school debt.
To achieve our goals of more diverse, better trained talent who are less encumbered by debt, we will look to hire – both in-house and as outside counsel – candidates who have training in these allied disciplines. We will also recognize in our hiring the value of internship models that combine-high quality work experience with pay and academic credit. And we will look to graduates of institutions which have changed their educational practices to support technology training and meaningful internship opportunities that meet our needs. By widening our search in these ways, we think we can also improve diversity of talent.
Finally, we will support other organizations that seek to accomplish these changes in education and hiring. For instance, the Institute for the Future of Law Practice, a 501(c)(3) education nonprofit that combines sophisticated training in modern law practice with paid internships for law students, has an outstanding record on training and diversity. [see, e.g., Post 118.] A growing number of IFLP member law schools are providing academic credit for IFLP training and paid field placements with IFLP employers. Thus, we encourage other portions of the legal supply chain, including our direct suppliers, to explore ways to support and grow this valuable resource.
Through creative and thoughtful buying and hiring practices, we can create a better trained and more diverse legal workforce at a lower overall net cost. This is good for clients, good for society, and good for the next generation of legal professionals.
For current signatories, see Open Letter Supported by General Counsel on IFLP website.
For additional information on this effort, including adding your name to the list of general counsel, please send an inquiry to this link.