The most recent numbers we have reveals that there are approximately 1.2 million lawyers in the United States. That is one lawyer for every 200 adults. At the same time, there have been great increases in the number of students entering and graduating from almost 200 law schools, resulting in a virtually unprecedented high percentage of unemployed recent law school graduates. The New York Times reports that in 2009 twice as many people passed the bar as there were job openings. What should we be doing as a profession and as a society? We cannot seem to stem the tide of applicants even though the recent recession has put somewhat of a damper on the attraction of lawyering. We also are deeply concerned about the deflation in hourly rates. Most private practitioners had assumed by now that their hourly fees would be in the $700 to $800 range; instead, many of them are working at hourly rates equal to or less than their neighborhood auto mechanics. This has got to stop and there is only one way to do it.
The key to solving this problem is amortization. We need to amortize the number of lawyers over time through an orderly, random selection. We respectfully propose that we must align the number of lawyers with the real needs and demands of society to ensure the very highest hourly rates so that those who remain will be able to reasonably afford multiple homes, multiple spouses (seriatim), multiple cars and early retirements. The 60-hour work week for lawyers has got to end. We need to go back to the more leisurely 20- to 30-hour week that will enable our brothers and sisters to get out on the golf course and to have guiltless afternoons and even whole days at spas.
Amortization, the elimination of many lawyers over time with an orderly phase out, can accomplish our goals. Based on the selection of Lotto numbers on some future date to be determined by the Connecticut General Assembly, each year for the next five years we will select lawyers with a Social Security number ending in the digit which is the last digit of the third ball selected on the chosen Lotto Pick Five day. Those lawyers will be required to wind down their practice and leave the profession within five years. With the program continuing for a mere five years we will be able to reduce the number of lawyers by 50 percent with the first real effect realized five years hence and the full effect in just one decade.
Even though we are protected by our anonymity on this board and never reveal who actually proposes what editorial, who votes for it, who votes against it, who even cares about it, we remain concerned about the other editorial writers in this newspaper. We know that Norm Pattis will split a gut over this idea, argue there is some type of grievous constitutional violation inherent in all this, and suggest that all of the bench and bar is out to get him. Mark Dubois will likely see some ethical violation no else ever even thought of. Dan Krisch will write something in response that we simply can’t understand. Our greatest concern is for Karen Lee Torre, who is likely to attack us with such invective and flaming rhetoric that we will all be able to make s’mores over what is left in the burning ashes of our Connecticut Law Tribune newspaper.
Have a nice day.
All the members of the board recused themselves from writing and voting on this editorial.