June 6, 2013

Where are you seeing growth right now? Construction is turning around. Healthcare law is sounding like it’s going to be a big issue. In what other areas are you seeing growth?

PINEGAR: Our transaction people are busier now than they were a year or two years ago. A lot more deals being made and acquisitions. We’re also seeing real estate pick up. Litigation has been strong.

HARMAN: We’re seeing a lot of growth with some of our energy funds, oil and gas, really picking up the acquisitions and a lot more transactions than we’ve seen over the last few years.

BARKER: Our IP work has significantly increased in the last year or so as well.

FILLMORE: In Utah County, even during the recession, it’s never slowed down. We’re in a hot bed of technology spinoffs from either the U or BYU. It’s ramping up again—but it never really slowed down, they just had a hard time getting financing. So they look for us to be more creative on the fee arrangements.   

WILLIAMS: We’re seeing a lot of work that’s tied to the fact that this area is a good transportation hub for rail and track. There’s all kinds of businesses who have huge warehouse and distribution operations here for national and international firms.

ANDERSON: We do a lot of adjudicatory work in regulatory agencies; that’s picked up. A lot of the regulatory agencies have been a lot more aggressive.

How well do you think our schools are doing in preparing our graduates? Those of you who are hiring summer associates and summer clerks, how are they integrated? Are they being well trained?

CATAXINOS: For us, it’s a little bit of a challenge because we specialize in patent law. So there’s only so much training you get out of students. They’re trained as lawyers, and that’s typically not a problem. But, really, they may have taken a handful of courses dealing with IP law. After that, it’s up to the firms to train them. So it’s really an in-house process more than what the product is coming out of law school, at least for our practice area.

LORIMER: When I was in law school, nobody hired first-year clerks unless you were summa cum laude or something. And now we are hiring more and more first-year clerks for the simple reason that we get them trained earlier, particularly in patent prosecution. Because if you come straight out of law school to an IP practice, you’ve got a lot of red ink staring you in the face. You’ve got to train them earlier, before they actually get there.

BABCOCK: It’s the same type of thing in construction. We look more to their technical background from their undergraduate or their work experience. Law school teaches the law, but we’re looking for people that have the expertise and we don’t have to teach them about the construction site. If they can hit the ground running on that, then we can tie in the law and how it all works together.

POS: Up at the University of Utah, and it may be the case at BYU, too, there’s a lot more adjunct professors. So students are getting exposed to real practitioners. When I was in law school, there were no adjunct professors. It was full-time professors, many of whom never had a practice. They went right from law school to becoming professors at law schools, and they didn’t have that real-world experience. The adjunct professors provide an opportunity for the students to get a little bit more exposure to the real world.

WILLIAMS: There was an article in the New York Times this morning about how law schools are moving in the direction of medical schools, where you have clinicals as you go through the process toward a specialization area or focus.

BABCOCK: They should have civil trial practice be mandatory in law school. That’s where all of a sudden it started to make sense.

LEITHEAD: It’s being driven in large part by the students themselves. The feedback I’m getting when I teach is that they want more practical exercises in the class, they want more challenge.

CLYDE: I also taught as an adjunct for about 10 years at the U. My experience there is that the average age of the law student is increasingly higher, that they’re not coming straight from their graduate school, that they also have had other advanced degrees or have been working in other career paths before they came to law school. So they’re coming in with a little different experience and different expectations.

LARSON: Because of the competitiveness in the world right now, these law students are building their resumes from the first year forward. So they’re taking the initiative to be out in the real world, working to get externships or internships to get that experience to try to set themselves apart from their colleagues. Because it’s becoming more and more difficult to find that first job. That’s been something that we all can take advantage of.

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