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Legal job market still bleak, DLA Piper layoffs, IP PR

Legal education in America — something’s gotta’ give

Sidebar readers have been onto this piece of news for quite some time now — the legal job market is bleak.

MinnLawyerBlog picks up on an article from The Economist, which reaffirms trends we’ve all noticed — students continue to pour into law schools, they continue to graduate with little practical knowledge or skills and they continue to struggle to find jobs. Of course, these days, law grads are not just struggling to find jobs, they’re also struggling because they don’t find jobs. There’s apparently something about forgoing income for three years to go to school, incurring six-figure debt loads and then not landing a job that has left some of them bitter. Go figure.

There’s nothing new in the piece — other than Sidebar’s utter shock that to a significant proportion of the American population, this is still news.

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DLA Piper achieves ‘optimal’ support staff size – for now

More on the bad economy in the legal services sector from Above the Law, which reports that national firm DLA Piper has laid off an undisclosed number of support staff in its Baltimore and Sacramento offices.

Here’s the statement from DLA Piper, courtesy of ATL: “It is important for us at DLA Piper to ensure that our resources, including support staff, are right-sized in order for us to maximize the performance of our firm. We believe we have achieved an optimal level of support staff to assist our lawyers in delivering the world-class legal services for which our clients rely on us.”

OK. Silly me for thinking that it might have been about saving a few bucks.

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With PR, your IP (or other) practice can get known

Duets blog, as many Sidebar readers know, is generally dedicated to IP. But a recent Duets post delved into another important set of initials — PR.

“The light-speed rise of channels like Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites and tools provide excellent avenues for your news, views and achievements if done in sync with your other marketing and PR strategy. Smart PR agencies have either partnered with social media specialists or have brought the discipline in house since demand for it is at an all-time high. Is it a fad? No, the numbers and the powerful viral nature of social media dictate otherwise,” writes guest blogger John McKay, senior account director at Introworks.

Of course the fact that the statement is appearing on a blog shows that some firms do get social media.

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Let the recount litigation begin!

The legal economy may be still down, but there’s never been a better time to be an election lawyer in Minnesota. If eight months of Franken v. Coleman (or was that Coleman v. Franken?) litigation was not enough, we’ve now got a gubernatorial election in overtime and poised to enter the Minnesota court system. We’re still working on what we’ll call this particular sequel — Double Dayton? The Wrath of Emmer?

As usual, I will stay out of any discussion as to who should win this particular horse race, however, MinnPost had a pretty interesting pieceon Tom Emmer’s vow not to employ the court system strictly as a dilatory tactic. Emmer, of course, is the lawyer in the race. Here, ala MinnPost, is Emmer’s statement: “The one thing I will not be involved in is a sham. I will not be involved in something’s that’s purposefully used for delay. I will not be. That’s not what the court system is used for.”

Um, yeah, I would be totally shocked if anybody ever filed something in court to delay something else. Shocked, shocked!

But Emmer’s first court action seems true to his need for speed promise. Emmer and the GOP filed lawsuits against St. Louis and Pine Counties Friday for not providing election-related documents quickly enough.

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Big law firms claim they are being discriminated against

Big law firms are not the most sympathetic complainants, so when they start clamoring they’re being discriminated against, it’s not always easy to take it too seriously.

During his recent trip to India, President Barack Obama did a lot of talking about job creating. One thing he did not talk about — much to the chagrin of some big firm lawyers — was about creating jobs for American lawyers in India. It seems that the Indian government does not let foreign lawyers practice in the country — something the American Bar Association has lobbied to get changed, notes the Wall Street Journal Law blog.

The president, however, apparently believes other items should take priority.

One big firm lawyer who was part of the president’s delegation said that India’s  legal market would likely remain closed until 2015, mostly because Indian businesses didn’t see the benefit in allowing foreign firms to practice locally.

Hmmm. Don’t they watch reruns of “Boston Legal” or “The Practice” over there?

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Sidebar is Minnesota Lawyer’s service providing links to items of interest to the state’s bench and bar on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Today’s installment of “Sidebar” was prepared by Minnesota Lawyer editor Mark Cohen, who can be reached at [email protected], (612) 582-1531.


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