Caption: Brian Iverson examines a witness as part of Bass Berry & Sims litigation training.
Brian Iverson examines a witness as part of Bass Berry & Sims litigation training. 

LItigation training

From: NPR Economic Training Project
Length: 04:07

One law firm in Nashville is training its younger, less expensive attorneys to take on trial work as clients look for ways to cut costs.

Brian-iverson-video-screenshot_small The economic downturn hasn’t spared professionals like attorneys, and one firm in Nashville is going to new lengths to push trial work from high-dollar senior partners down to the firm’s associate attorneys with far cheaper hourly billing rates. Following the lead of much larger firm’s in the country’s financial centers, Bass Berry & Sims has just finished an in-house litigation program because law schools aren’t putting out trial-ready graduates. The American Bar Association is even considering changes in its accreditation standards as part of a 3-year review. The question for today’s more cost conscious clients is whether saving thousands in legal fees is worth rolling the dice on an attorney who hasn’t won before.

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Piece Description

The economic downturn hasn’t spared professionals like attorneys, and one firm in Nashville is going to new lengths to push trial work from high-dollar senior partners down to the firm’s associate attorneys with far cheaper hourly billing rates. Following the lead of much larger firm’s in the country’s financial centers, Bass Berry & Sims has just finished an in-house litigation program because law schools aren’t putting out trial-ready graduates. The American Bar Association is even considering changes in its accreditation standards as part of a 3-year review. The question for today’s more cost conscious clients is whether saving thousands in legal fees is worth rolling the dice on an attorney who hasn’t won before.

Transcript

Firm Trains Cheaper Lawyers to Take on Trial Work
10/26/09
Blake Farmer

The economic downturn hasn’t spared professionals like attorneys. Law school grads have been forced to defer start dates. Struggling firms have merged. And even lawyers have been downsized. Nashville’s Bass Berry & Sims cut 32 employees this year, including 10 attorneys. In an effort to cut costs for clients, the law firm is now training less-experienced attorneys to take on trial work for cheap. WPLN’s Blake Farmer reports.


For a young attorney, the hardest thing about going to court for the first time is that he can’t let anyone there know it’s his first time.

DAGLEY: “You really have to act like you own the place. Well, how can you do that if you’ve never been there before?”

Mike Dagley is a partner at Bass Berry & Sims. He’s an experienced litigator, and he’s trying to impart some wisdom on the...
Read the full transcript