Elizabeth Olson and David Segal focus one-third of their coverage of law school enrollment in The New York Times to the plummeting numbers. The rest of the article deals with the structural changes in the legal sector and law schools' slow reponse.
Those two parts are, of course, the story - at least now in December 2014. No, they just don't merely slice and dice the statistics documenting the decline. And, yes, they contrast that foot-dragging to what a business would do. That's the provocative issue.
When I was employed full-time at a food company, sales of packaged powered Jello were going down. The brass put their best people on the problem. Soon enough, there were individual packets of ready-to-eat diet and regular Jello in the refrigerated section of the supermarket. More innovations were in the pipeline. Of course, an established brand like Jello wasn't going to be allowed to die.
Currently, those observing law schools are expecting the same kind of radical transformation. After all, the business world does that all the time. Otherwise IBM would have died amidst mainframes. When a public company doesn't do that fast and well, activist shareholders parachute in.
What kinds of entities should be parachuting into law schools to jump-start the process of radical transformation?
Associates at BigLaw should be pleased to receive nice-sized bonuses. For example, seven-year ones at Simpson Thacher, which represented Alibaba, got $100,000, double what was given last year.
However, warns The Economist, there is no justification for even mild euphoria. Since this was configured as variable compensation, not a boost in basic compensation, the size of the bonuses should not be intepreted as a signal that better days are ahead for associates.
In fact, The Economist sums up the legal industry as "on the brink of disruption." It goes through the usual laundry list of why associates should be wary about their futures. Corporations are engaging in less litigation. Clients balk at new associates on their accounts. There is continual client churn. Routine tasks are automated and outsourced.
But even more significant change could be introduced in the future in the B2B legal market. Perhaps BigLaw "ain't seen nothing yet." The whole edifice could blow up as had print publishing.
Associates would be wise to use their bonus money to pay off debt, not take on new debt such as purchasing a larger house or a boat.
So, why isn't Uber screening its drivers for criminal records and traffic violations? The pressure to do that is escalating around the world.
The latest incident, reports Janelle Lawrence in Bloomberg, has occurred in Boston. Uber driver Alejandro Done has been charged with raping a Boston female.
From the media coverage, it seems that he was not officially on-duty at the time. It is conjectured that he obtained information that she was waiting for an Uber pick-up from being in the loop as a driver.
Uber is banned from operating in India because of an alleged rape in New Delhi. The alleged rapist had a previous record for rape and had spent seven months in police custody. The case was eventually not brought to trial because there was not enough evidence.
The puzzling business question is why isn't Uber caving on pre-hiring screening?
After insurance companies got saddled paying out billions post-9/11, Congress came to their aid. That was the Terror Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). That program, explains Cheyenne Hopkins in Bloomberg, "backstops insurance companies' losses from acts of terrorism." The Senate ended this year's session without extending it.
Of course, at this time when terrorists are on the warpath about what Sony has been up to, not having that backstop is scary. When the current program ends January 1, 2015, insurance companies can cancel terrorism insurance.
However, closer to the heart and soul of Americana is the possibility that the Super Bowl, a major terrorist target, will not be played next month. What entity will assume the liability if terrorism does occur?
The NFL has gone on record as declaring the game will take place as a live event attended by spectators, as scheduled. Time will tell. The alternative is a closed event, broadcast/live-streamed only. However, that also could be off the table when one considers terrorists could pose as whatever or activate a device and that could be the end of two teams, as well as a stadium.
"Sony Pictures Entertainment is leaning on Rubenstein Communications as it faces the unprecedented cyber attack and publication of its internal communications and intellectual property." - Greg Hazley in Odwyerpr.com. Here is the coverage.
Attacked from all sides, Sony Pictures needs a heavyweight in public relations.
Ironically, though, one of its key problems it caused itself. Through the Boies, Schiller & Flexner law firm it retained, it sent a high-handed letter to brandname media such as The New York Times and Bloomberg that they had no right to continue publishing the hacked email. Many legal experts either dercried that or rolled their eyes since it violated the First Amendments.