The Seamless Web Legal Economy

Posted in Uncategorized on July 7th, 2010 by bl1y

Lawyers are destroying the American economy.  The same way Seamless Web expands associate asses, the legal industry is expanding by putting on nothing but pure fat.

PhilaLawyer recently wrote this excellent piece about the Fattened Middle.  The Fattened Middle are generally middle and upper-middle class white collar workers (with a few lower-middles and lower-uppers in the mix) that don’t really contribute anything in their jobs, but constitute a huge portion of our economy.

They’re the HR personnel, middle managers, and people with titles like “senior computer analyst” who can never adequately explain what it is they do at their job.

Well, look, I already told you. I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don’t have to! I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can’t you understand that?! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!

Their lives primarily consist of planning meetings to discuss plans to plan for a pre-meeting to the main meeting, and moving papers from one desk to another, or if they’re really effective in their jobs, moving papers from several desks to an even larger number of desks.

SERVE:

RE: ACME Co. Release

From: _______@______.com (Me)

To: bcarter@_____.com

Bob,

Here’s the release in the ACME matter. Let me know if this is OK.

RETURN:

RE: RE: ACME Co. Release

From: bcarter@____.com

To: ________@_______.com

Has Tim Perkins OK’d this? He’s got final say on these matters.

VOLLEY:

FW: RE: RE: ACME Co. Release

From: ________@______.com

To: tperkins@____.com

Tim,

Bob tells me you have final say on the release in the ACME case. Tell me if this is OK. We are obligated under court order to finalize it by Monday.

Thanks,

_________

- – – – – – – – – – – – – -

RE: FW: RE: RE: ACME Co. Release

From: tperkins@_____.com

To: ________@________.com

Actually, this release involves possible tax issues. Best to run this past Katherine.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – -

RE: RE: FW: RE: RE: ACME Co. Release

From: ________@_______.com

To: tperkins@____.com; bcarter@____.com

CC: korourke@_____.com

Tim/Bob,

I’ve already had this blessed by Katherine. So if its good with you two, its ready to go.

Let me know.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

RE: RE: RE: RE: FW: RE: ACME Co. Release

From: bcarter@____.com

To: _____@_____.com; tperkins@____.com; _______@______.com

Tim,

Are you good with this?

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

RE: RE: RE: RE: FW: RE: ACME Co. Release

From: tperkins@____.com

To: bcarter@_____.com; ______@_____.com; korourke@_____.com;

______@_______.com

We’ve all seen this sort of nonsense.  Even if your job is not a completely unproductive waste, dealing with the system will still eat up a lot of your time.  And sure, sometimes a few of these jobs need to exist.  You need people in payroll, but payroll shouldn’t be so big that you have a separate person who serves only as the payroll supervisor, who then needs a secretary, which creates more need for people in HR, which in turn creates even more need for people in the payroll department.  All these departments are connected, and the growth of one spirals upward into the growth of the others.  We might call this job growth, but it’s not economic growth.  Except for the people who handle HR and payroll for the tip top managers and the guys at the bottom doing substantive work, these people produce nothing.  Yet, they’re probably the biggest sector of our economy.  No wonder we’re going in the toilet.

The legal industry is headed the same way.  Fluster Cucked has provided some excellent stats on the number of lawyers per capita over the years.  No surprise, it’s skyrocketing.  In 1963 there was 1 lawyer for every 491 people.  In 2009 there was 1 lawyer for every 174 people.  While the lawyers per capita has nearly tripled, has the demand for lawyers also gone up?

Okay, not a fair question.  Let me try again.  …The present economic meltdown aside, has the demand for lawyers gone up as fast as the number?  The answer is, surprisingly, yes.  The reason is increased regulation.  As much as you’ll hear about how de-regulated Wall St. is, regulations keep getting stacked up and up and up.  Increased regulation happens every time three or more Congressmen are in the same room for more than twenty minutes.  Deregulation is extremely rare.  And, all these new regulations mean more lawyers are needed to help clients navigate them.

So what’s the problem?

This is the same inorganic, contrived job growth that we see with middle managers.  There isn’t an increased need for the typical roles for lawyers, like criminal defense, or writing wills.  The increased demand is purely a creature of our own making.  Interpreting environmental regulations and filing paperwork with the SEC does result in job growth for lawyers.  But, it does not translate into economic growth for our country.

We may be increasing the number of jobs there are, but we’re not increasing what we produce.  All that’s changed is it now takes more people to produce the exact same thing.  The rise of regulatory lawyers, like the rise of the fattened middle, is an almost certain sign that our economy has a lot further into the toilet to go.  Look out U-bend, here we come.

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