Law Students

Coalition Seeks to Change Big Law Firms

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Although they haven’t yet graduated from law school, some students are already disillusioned about practicing law at the nation’s major law firms. Worried about tales of long days, unrewarding work and a lack of diversity that prompts many to seek work elsewhere after a few years, they have formed a coalition to promote change.

“What we hear over and over again is that all the law firms are the same,” Andrew Canter, 24, a third-year student at Stanford Law School, tells Legal Times in an article reprinted in New York Lawyer (reg. req.). “They look the same, they make the same glossy brochures, they put on the same receptions and the same fly-back weekends and everything. So we’re trying to do whatever we can to distinguish between them and encourage improvement.”

Others who agree have formed a coalition called Law Students Building a Better Legal Profession, the article explains. Originally made up of Stanford students, it now includes a national membership of students from elite law schools. The group also has a blawg featuring an illustration of grass roots.

By informing law students about optimum situations—and problem practices—at specific law firms, the group hopes to encourage change. However, law students seeking to lobby powerful law firm partners face one major issue: Once they’re working as fledgling associates, it’s much harder to rock the boat.

Canter expects to focus his career on public service, the article notes. But “group members who are employed by major firms aren’t so willing to bite the hand that forks over those fat summer associate paychecks. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one such member concedes that the group’s success will require members going into the private practice to put their names behind the cause.”

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