Advocates for Starving Advocates

UPDATE: DLA Piper is NOT hiring 400 New Lawyers

Puffer Legal — No!SORRY, WE WERE APRIL FOOLING

It is our sad duty to inform you that DLA Piper, widely considered the world’s largest law firm, is not hiring 400 junior associates to staff a new division called “Puffer Legal.” Further, to the best of our knowledge, Piper is not in the midst of developing a new wing to deliver quality legal services to middle-class clients (which is too bad).

As many careful readers probably discerned for themselves, our post about Piper’s impending hiring binge was an April Fool’s Day prank. We sincerely hope that we didn’t toy with anyone’s emotions or stir false hopes about the future of the legal industry. If you’re a new attorney who read our story and rushed a resume to Piper HR, then we’re sorry we put you to such trouble. However, we’re nonetheless glad that you did send that resume, because we think Piper should see it, and we hope they hire you anyway. In fact, everyone go ahead and send Piper a resume, even if the firm has no public plans to hire a glut of junior associates. The world’s largest law firm should know that all of you exist.

We have received surprisingly little outrage (basically none) in response to this story, which we believe means one of two things: 1. Most readers followed our trail of breadcrumbs and discerned for themselves that this was indeed a joke and granted us immunity under the terms of April Fool’s Treaty. 2. Most people haven’t sorted this out yet and a wave of outrage is forthcoming.

In the event that outrage is indeed on its way, we hope you’ll consider the intentions behind “Puffer Legal.” First, we felt like poking a little fun at Piper, an organization that has brought some negative attention to the legal industry recently. Second, we wanted to use some fiction to show a little truth. Our hope was to make Puffer Legal sound as plausible as possible, because even though that firm is fictional, the Justice Gap problem is very real. And at the same time people are struggling to find affordable lawyers, 10.6 percent of the JD Class of 2012 is still unemployed. And only 54.9 percent have full-time (long-term) legal jobs. In our view, these numbers alone make a compelling case for a market-based solution to the Justice Gap. Puffer Legal is one embodiment of how something like that might work.

If nothing else we hope we incepted this idea into the minds of many readers, so that perhaps in the near future there will be law firms delivering affordable legal services to people who are struggling to access justice.

Although we bow to the skill and wit that pulled off “Google Nose” and “YouTube Shutdown,” we had fun participating in the April Fool’s Day festivities this year and we’re glad to see that some people enjoyed it. Although one new attorney remarked, “This is either very exciting or an incredibly well-thought out April Fools prank for which no one will ever forgive you,” we also had a favorable response from a partner in a Boston firm, who said, “When I got to the managing partner’s quote, you knocked ‘Google Smell’ off the top of my favorites list so far this year (and I can tell you, as the parent of two school-age kids, we take April 1 pretty seriously).”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dave Brown is a Boston Business Lawyer, and a founding partner of Boston MicroLaw, LLP. He is also an experienced prankster who once convinced his Entertainment Law professor that Vincent Chase was a Northeastern Law student enrolled in that professor’s class.