Now and Then
Thumbing through old law review articles, I found Phil Carroll’s “A Look Backwards: An Open Letter to the Arkansas Bar” (UALR Law Rev. Fall 2009, Vol 23:1, p 107). I was privileged to know Mr. Carroll during his lifetime and snuck off to his office to listen to stories every chance I got. I don’t regret a minute of it.
Law students, if I could tell you one thing, it would be to seek out the old-timers and listen to their stories. There’s no education that can replace it.
Here are some of the changes Mr. Carroll mentioned watching over a 59-year law career:
- secretaries who did short hand:
- women lawyers
- billable hours
- lawyer advertising
- copy machines
- carbon paper
- typed bar exams
- price of lawyers increased dramatically
- price of law school increased dramatically
These changes are enormous. I can’t even imagine watching a profession change so much. But, the fact is, I probably will. I first entered the legal profession as a paralegal in 2004. In the 9 years I’ve been working in the law, I’ve seen my fair share of changes too. Here’s my short list:
- the number of women lawyers has decreased
- the bankruptcy code was completely overhauled in 2005
- Arkansas state courts are moving overwhelmingly to e-filing
- You can pull a state court case up on the internet
- lawyers have blogs, facebook, twitter, etc.
- juries are now cautioned not to post or look at social media during a trial
- Attorneys can learn a lot about their jury pools by performing a simple google search
- clients can be emailed from anywhere in the world
- billable hours are becoming less and less status quo
- there are too many lawyers for the legal jobs available
- copyright trolls are being taken to task
- Lexis Nexis no longer sends out disks to update a digital library
- Judges and their staffs can be reached by email
- price of law school increased significantly
- electronic discovery (I beta tested LexisNexis discovery software)
These are just a few of the changes, but it’s clear that I will witness changes nearly as dramatic as those of Mr. Carroll. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
How about you? What changes have you seen?