City Bar Report Pushes for Training of Young Lawyers
After an exhaustive look at the dismal state of employment for young lawyers in New York, a New York City Bar task force has recommended additional avenues of training and support for new graduates, a shift in focus from large law jobs to providing services to the middle class, and continued experimentation with law school curricula and changes to the bar exam (see related article).
In addition, the New York City Bar's Task Force on New Lawyers in a Changing Profession announced the launch of several pilot projects designed to address gaps in training and education.
Carey Dunne, president of the city bar and a partner at Davis, Polk & Wardwell who convened the task force said the city bar hopes these are "longterm projects that will stick."
More law school graduates, unable to find legal employment, are forming solo and small firm practices where training of practical skills is not available, the task force said.
Dunne said new graduates need to continue education and apprenticeship "even after they step out of law school and into the profession," especially those who aren't hired in large firms and public service agencies. "In that respect, many new lawyers are not getting that," he said.
The report released Wednesday also laid out shortcomings in legal education, such as a failure to teach lawyering skills, and recommended areas where schools could better prepare students for their professional life.
But while there is great interest in reforming law school education, a parallel emphasis has emerged on assimilating underemployed law graduates, said James Moliterno, a professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law who teaches legal ethics and writes frequently on the legal profession.
Bar groups and law schools are "focusing more and more attention on this group of underemployed," he said.
To that end, the New Lawyer Institute, a city bar initiative, is designed as a year-long program offering law graduates practical skills training, career support and mentoring.