Creighton Law Review
A brief item in the Hearsay section of the June 2017 ABA Journal was headlined "2%." This number indicated an increase in the percentage of lawyers, from 2012 to 2016, "who worked remotely within the legal industry." Making one's "office" a location other than the physical space leased or owned by oneself or by an employer is hardly news, even as applied to the work of lawyers. Lawyers know as well as anyone that technology allows one to work almost anywhere and, unfortunately, almost any time. What is striking in this brief news item is the use by the flagship magazine of the American Bar Association ("ABA") of the phrase "legal industry."
Characterizing the work of lawyers as part of an industry is relatively new, particularly in legal publications. No definition of "legal industry" is found in the tenth edition of Black's Law Dictionary, published in 2014, nor is one found in the latest (2012) edition of the Bouvier Law Dictionary. Only one published case, issued in 2012, has used "legal industry" as a synonym for legal practice or legal profession. That decision was written by the New York Supreme Court, a state trial court, on the issue of a claim of fraud in the published employment data of the defendant law school's graduates. Outside of a 1976 law review article, references in law reviews to the work of lawyers as part of an "industry" rather than a profession, a service, or a practice are rare before the turn of the millennium.
Michael Ariens, Ethics in the Legal Industry, 51 Creighton L. Rev. 673 (2018).