According to the ABA, only 56 percent of nearly 46,000 law school graduates had a job in 2012 requiring bar passage nine months after graduation. And less than 1 in 5 of the legal problems experienced by low-income people are addressed by a private attorney or a legal aid lawyer.
The president of the ABA told the House of Delegates that “‘There are so many examples of real, monumental life issues that could be alleviated with the help of a lawyer…And there is a pool of newly minted lawyers waiting for the chance to help.’”
This is the same problem or challenge that faced the legal profession in 1965 when I became a member. Bar leaders were wringing their hands, then, saying "oh my, oh my, what should we do?" One would think that the brilliance of lawyers, both before and since, could have found a solution to this challenge posed by the laws of economics, supply and demand. Well, the answer is they have.
The ABA president suggested that we should look at programs on the national, state and local levels, citing as examples New York’s legal incubator program aimed at helping new practitioners and South Dakota’s rural practice project, which provides financial incentives to lawyers willing to practice in rural areas. These are not new; examples exist from Coast to Coast. And no new regulations and no involuntary service is required to face and meet the challenges.
But there is no political will to embrace them and expand these options. Perhaps the established Bar is fearful of the results and the impact on the economics of those who have "made it."