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  • Wisconsin Lawyer
    April
    01
    2013

    Briefly

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    Morris DeesQuotable: “The most rewarding cases that I’ve handled are those cases that gave me the riches I could not take to the bank.” – Morris Dees, speaking at the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Annual Convention in 2000

    Morris Dees, founder and chief trial attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., will return to Wisconsin to speak at the State Bar of Wisconsin’s PINNACLE Litigation, Dispute Resolution, and Appellate Practice Institute, May 16-17.

    The son of a cotton farmer, Dees is a civil rights attorney best-known for his legal battles against the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups.

    If you missed our InsideTrack interview with Morris Dees, find it here

    By the Numbers: 25,000

    The estimated number of new, full-time jobs per year in the U.S. that require a law degree, as reported in, “Pop Goes the Law,” an article appearing last month in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    This number is far less than the nearly 45,000 law students graduating from America’s 201 law schools every year. But Northwestern University Law Professor Steven Harper says the law school market is finally catching on, suggesting a so-called “law bubble” is bursting.

    Harper notes that law school applications, which topped nearly 100,000 in 2005, have receded to an anticipated 30-year low.

    As of early March, the Law School Admissions Council reported 46,587 law school applications for the entering 2013 class. There were approximately 68,000 applications in 2012.

    appleGood Ideas: A Teaching Hospital for Law Graduates

    The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is making a bold move to ensure job placement for its graduates: ASU is starting its own nonprofit law firm.

    The Alumni Law Group would employ 30 graduates and charge hourly rates at $125 per hour, the New York Times reported last month. The new lawyers, supervised by experienced attorneys, would provide legal services to Arizona State University students and staff and local residents.

    It’s a “teaching hospital for law school graduates,” said ASU law school Dean Douglas Sylvester.

    This “teaching law firm” addresses two problems: law school graduate unemployment and unmet legal needs for low-income individuals.

    “The ASU idea is an interesting experiment, and it will be fascinating to watch,” U.W. Law School Dean Margaret Raymond told Wisconsin Lawyer. “I’m not sure it would make sense for Wisconsin. At the U.W. Law School, we work to meet unmet legal needs in collaboration, rather than competition, with the community of practicing lawyers.”

    Raymond noted that programs such as U.W’s Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic partner with the private bar to give students practical experience while serving clients who cannot afford to pay for legal services.

    What do you think? Does this idea make the grade? 

    spilled glueTech Tip: A Quick Way to Assemble Documents

    Do you find yourself reusing paragraphs or other text over and over again? How about copying and pasting the same signature block and logo into every document? If so, make your life easier with MS Office Quick Parts.

    Quick Parts help you recycle text, images, list styles, and more. You can save these pieces, called building blocks, using Quick Parts found in MS Word and Outlook 2007 and 2010. Use Quick Parts to insert standard paragraphs into a letter or contract, create a signature block with the firm logo and your social media links, and lists of standard contacts to include in correspondence or documents.

    Essentially, this is document assembly at a scale that is useable by everyone. Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/3ctjf4.

    Source: Nerino Petro, State Bar of Wisconsin practice management advisor

    open doorOn the Radar: Limited License Legal Technicians: On the Horizon?

    In 2014, Washington will be the first state in the nation to license nonlawyers in the limited practice of law.

    Limited License Legal Technicians (LLLTs) cannot represent clients in court proceedings or negotiations, but they can provide limited legal assistance to pro se clients, so long as they meet educational, training, and other requirements necessary to earn a license.

    The Washington Supreme Court, by a 6-3 vote, established a rule allowing LLLTs as a way to make legal help more accessible to the public amid an “ever-growing gap in necessary legal and law-related services for low and moderate income persons.”

    The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) consistently opposed the rule. One concern was that attorneys would be required to underwrite the costs of regulating LLLTs. However, the state supreme court said it was confident the WSBA could help develop a fee-based system to ensure the LLLT program was “cost-neutral.”

    hour glassFrom the Archives: Veteran Justices: Orsamus Cole and Shirley Abrahamson

    In April 2013, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson will overtake Justice Orsamus Cole as the longest-serving justice in Wisconsin Supreme Court history.

    Cole is little known today, but like Chief Justice Abrahamson, he was often at the center of events during turbulent times. As a young man, Cole helped draft the Wisconsin Constitution, served a term in Congress, and was elected to the court in 1855 based on his opposition to federal fugitive slave laws.

    In the 1860s, during hard economic times, Cole helped curb legislative efforts to provide debtor relief and nearly lost his seat as a result. During the 1870s and 1880s, Cole and his colleagues shaped Wisconsin law to meet the needs of an industrializing economy but were more reluctant to accommodate changing roles of women and others in an increasingly diverse society. Cole retired from the court in 1892 and died in 1903.

    Source: Jay Ranney, Madison lawyer and legal historian