“The Uber model could inspire a similar overhaul of the legal profession.”
– Monica Zent, an attorney writing for the Huffington Post, referring to a “tech-driven vehicle for connecting clients with lawyers.” Uber, as most people know by now, uses an app to connect people with private taxi drivers.
“While some lawyers will be proactive about cultivating a network and social media presence, others will assume that business will not really change,” Zent writes in “An Uber for Lawyers? Here’s Why it Makes Sense.”
“While no one knows for sure, make no mistake, an ‘Uber for Lawyers’ is coming. The sooner the legal market realizes this, the better. In fact, savvy lawyers should make every effort to keep tabs on when such a product or service emerges. The future is coming. As local fights against Uber have demonstrated, you can only fight it for so long,” Zent wrote.
By the Numbers
– Percentage change in law school applications nationally, from 2010 to 2015.
In Wisconsin, Marquette Law School had 2,301 applications in 2010, and 1,107 in 2015, a 52% decline. U.W. Law School had 2,829 applications in 2010 and 1,295 applications in 2015, a decline of 54%.
An associate dean at U.W. Law School said application declines in Wisconsin are similar to declines at other law schools within the Great Lakes Region, much higher than the national average.
Sources: Harpers Magazine; Law School Admissions Council; U.W. Law School; M.U. Law School.
Football and Texting: Beware of Your Phone’s Auto-address Feature
Football season is right around the corner. So let’s learn a lesson from one football lawyer who inadvertently texted the Associated Press (AP) confidential information about his client, Johnny Manziel (formerly known as “Johnny Football”).
Manziel is a former standout from Texas A&M, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 2012 as a freshman quarterback. The Cleveland Browns drafted him in 2014, but off-field issues have derailed his career.
According to Yahoo! Sports, one of Manziel’s lawyers sent the AP a text message, meant for another attorney, “that appeared to be a precursor to a plea bargain in Manziel’s domestic violence assault case in Texas.” [The lawyer expressed concern about Manziel’s ability to stay clean in the text.]
The blog Ethics Alarms reported the mistake “appears to be the result of an auto-address feature that assumed whom [the lawyer] wanted to communicate with based on the first few letters he typed.”
Three takeaways here: 1) Don’t list the AP in your phone contact list; 2) disable the auto-address feature; and 3) do not text confidential information.
On the Radar
The Law Store Hits Walmart in Missouri
We saw this coming. In 2014, Briefly reported on Canadian lawyers who were offering legal services at Walmart stores in Ontario. Now lawyers in Missouri are doing the same thing, through a law firm called “The Law Store.”
The Law Store is located inside two Walmart locations, in Joplin and Neosho. The firm is premised on affordable and accessible legal services. It offers same-day and walk-in appointments, stays open late on weekdays, holds weekend hours, and is located near mass transit stations.
“The Law Store has recognized that there are large numbers of people who are choosing to go without legal services because they are unsure of the cost, not sure where to go, or they cannot miss work to meet with a lawyer,” the firm’s website notes. “With this in mind, The Law Store has modeled its business based on the needs of the client. We work around your life, so you can get the legal help that you need.”
The Daily Grind: Hey, That Latte Looks Underfilled
In June, a federal district judge in San Francisco ruled that a class action lawsuit against Starbucks may proceed.
The plaintiff customers say Starbucks systematically overcharges customers by underfilling lattes.
“This is not a case where the alleged deception is simply implausible as a matter of law,” the judge wrote. “The court finds it probable that a significant portion of the latte-consuming public could believe that a ‘Grande’ contains 16 ounces of fluid.”
Activity Intelligence: A Time-tracking Tech Tool
Last month, Briefly reported that Milwaukee firm von Briesen & Roper is now using ROSS Intelligence – artificial intelligence, or cognitive computing – for legal research.
This month, we highlight an “activity intelligence” technology that helps lawyers track time. It’s called Smokeball AI.
“Every time you draft a document or even an email, it times it for you,” said Mary Redzic, who reviews legal tech tools for the Disrupt Legal blog.
“Keeping track of your billables is a huge hassle and oftentimes you forget to record every phone call, every email, and every minute you spend on a document. So the tool is really useful because it integrates with Word and Outlook and does all the tracking for you.”
Source: Above the Law