There’s so much going on in the legal world these days, it’s hard to keep up. Here are some updates on topics we’ve covered recently.
In connection with our entry Bringing the Hospitality Mind-Set to the Law is this recent inquiry into what makes a small hotel with no designer touches or fancy perks like restaurants or fitness centers the best rated hotel in New York City:
The staff, selected for personality over experience, is constantly drilled in the fine art of looking a guest in the eye and inquiring after her comfort. The pièce de résistance? No pesky fees. Mr. Kallan says he doesn’t claim to run the best hotels in the city, but he delivers what he promises: "There are no surprises." Doesn’t sound like much, but in New York, decency and courtesy make a big impression—and allow for premium pricing.
Note both the importance of hiring for attitude over experience (see our discussion of Hiring for Attitude), eschewing add-ons, delivering on a basic promise and once again the direct link to premium pricing that such service allows.
With Australia and the UK wading deeply into Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) that allow some degree of non-lawyer ownership of law firms (see our The Commencement of the UK Tsunami), back in the USA a federal judge a week ago rejected a constitutional challenge to New York’s ban on non-lawyer equity ownership of law firms, and the New York State Bar ethics committee followed that up by opining that an attorney employed by an out-of-state firm with non-lawyer owners may not practice in NY.
It is, let us say on the record, only a matter of time before those decisions, which create distinct marketing disadvantages for US lawyers, are reversed.
Law School Hell
While plans are afoot for 20 more law schools (in addition to the outstanding 14) to be sued in class actions alleging fraud in connection with schools’ data on graduates’ success, at least New York Law School is breathing a sign of relief. A suit by 9 graduates contending that NYLS had misled them about post-grad job prospects and seeking $225 million in damages, representing the difference between the perceived inflated tuition and the "true value" of their degrees, was dismissed last week by New York Supreme Court Judge Melvin Schweitzer, who noted: "The court does not view these postgraduate employment statistics to be misleading in a material way for a reasonable consumer acting reasonably."
Which arguably makes those law students look pretty weak in the judgment department. Others, though, are voting with their feet–applications to law school have been decreasing and now are down over 15% nationally, with the largest drop in those applicants with the best credentials.
The ABA’s response last week to demands for more transparency with regard to law school graduate info? Well, there’s one thing they won’t be requiring be disclosed any time soon: law graduates’ salaries. Maybe all the better, since the average is not going up any time soon either.
Stay tuned for our look at the evolving Dewey & LeBoeuf debacle crowding the media–how DEWEY not?