Building a Better Legal Profession :: The Old Blog

Dear Stanford Law Students: by refirm2007
September 30, 2007, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Job Search Tools, Law reform

Welcome. Thanks for taking the time to check out our website.

Building a Better Legal Profession seeks to harness the market power of law students to encourage reform at large private law firms. We think the current model at large firms — one based on high salaries, but higher billable hour expectations — isn’t just bad for young lawyers, it’s bad for the profession.

Billable hours keep going up. Which makes it harder to do pro bono. Harder to live your own life outside of the office. And harder to have a family. Firms lose some of their best young lawyers — female AND male associates — when they fail to accommodate their employees’ need to balance work and family. That hurts their bottom line.

But firms won’t change on their own.

That’s where we come in. Law students are in a special position. We are in high demand. We can afford to be a little choosy about where we work after graduation. By opting for firms with more realistic billable hour requirements, higher pro bono participation rates, and higher retention rates for women and other minority lawyers, not only will we have a better employment experience, we will also send a powerful message to all firms that these metrics matter.

The information we posted all around school (about billable hours, pro bono participation, transparency, and diversity) is one way to show major distinctions between law firms. All of this information is publicly available, but, before this project, no one had ever bothered to display it in a useful format. You can use your market power to exploit these distinctions. You’re a valuable commodity, for better or for worse.

We’re not alone in believing that the billable hour could use some rethinking. See our posts below for articles about billables, their effect on a balanced work and life, and a few law firms that are doing things differently.

Want to hear more? Join our organization by emailing us at refirmation (at) We can use your help in expanding this to more markets (including the Bay Area, yes) and to cover additional metrics you’d find useful.


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