Yesterday I was privileged to hear Jordan Furlong, a globally renowned expert on the legal profession, take up this question in addressing Canada’s National Legal Innovator’s Roundtable: How long does it take to make a competent lawyer?
Over the years he’s asked accomplished attorneys just how long it took them to know what they were doing in the courtroom, drafting transaction documents, or counseling businesspeople.
Their consistent answer: 3 to 5 years.
My own answer: Closer to 5.
This is why law firms’ insertion of recent law grads onto lawyer teams is such a bad deal for the corporate client: Not only are they overpriced at the $300 to $600 per hour you pay for their work; shortfalls in their proficiency can make for a quality control question.