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Notre Dame Law Review





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The structure of the legal profession and the nature of law practice have changed dramatically during the past quarter of a century. Indeed, the transformation has been so thorough that it is difficult to say with confidence which of the many developments has had the greatest impact on the culture of law practice. The growth in the number of attorneys and law firms has been exponential; women and minorities comprise increasingly larger percentages of law school graduates, practitioners, and the academic bar; law firms are taking on greater and greater numbers of associates; starting salaries in major firms now approach or surpass judicial salaries; and the list of changes goes on.

These myriad changes to the practice of law are accompanied problems which affect virtually all lawyers. To mention but a few examples: malpractice suits escalate annually; clients concerned about rising attorney fees are more willing to “shop” for legal services; attorneys switch firms and take clients with them; and job-related stress and psychological burnout are common professional maladies.

A potential solution to these problems lies on the cutting edge of change in the legal world. It is an entirely new way of practicing law: temporary lawyering. While some see this as a radical departure from legal tradition, it is more properly viewed as merely the latest step away from the traditional associate-to-partnership career track. Thorough consideration of the advent of temporary lawyering shows that it offers the profession an opportunity to intelligently address pressing individual and institutional needs. Temporary lawyering warrants the support of the profession, limited only by those measures necessary to insure that the interests of clients are faithfully served and that clients are given the maximum opportunity to intelligently decide their own affairs.

Recommended Citation

Vincent R. Johnson and Virginia Coyle, On the Transformation of the Legal Profession: The Advent of Temporary Lawyering, 66 Notre Dame L. Rev. 359 (1990).

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