Chances are, if you hire lawyers, you’re more than curious about how to take advantage of the new “Cash For Partners” scrappage program that was included in the latest round of federal bailouts. If so, you’ve been missing out so far: Designed to inject consumer interest into the failing legal services industry, Cash For Partners has been a huge success. With an Aug. 31 deadline approaching, however, you’ll need to know how to take advantage of this lucrative opportunity. We’ll walk you through the basics and get you primed to trade in your aging lawyer for a newer, sleeker, time-efficient model.
Officially known as the Partner Allowance Rebate System of 2010 (PARS), the legislation has already been credited with the hiring of more than 50,000 graduating law students and newly minted attorneys. In a time when many wondered if the U.S. legal system could no longer compete against cheap arbitration firms and foreign doc-review factories, Cash For Partners has helped make a law degree profitable once again.
Here’s the gist of the program: Clients receive up to a $125,000 credit toward legal services when they fire an attorney that is 65 years or older and replace their counsel with a first-year associate. Aging lawyers are often time guzzlers, polluting the corporate environment with their golfing and yachting even as the economy collapses around them. Meanwhile, newer lawyers are more attractive, better at managing precious time resources, and educated right here in the U.S.A. Any incentive to boost graduate hiring would not only benefit consumers, but also the national legal market in general.
The criteria for eligibility is as follows:
– Your new attorney must be no older than 25 years old.
– You must keep your new attorney on retainer for at least five years.
– Your new attorney must bill at least an average of 180 hours a month.
– Your new attorney must be insured.
– Your new attorney must have passed the bar exam.
The value of the partner traded in is set by a productivity equation provided by the Department of Justice. Provisions in the law detail the mandatory disbarring, within 180 days of dismissal, of these partners to ensure that they do not reenter the legal market. Fired partners may still give volunteer counsel through legal-aid programs, however, and certain attorneys have been made ineligible for trade-in, for example, law professors with tenure.
It’s been a resounding success: Within days after passage of the Cash For Partners program, people flocked to law firms to trade-in their worthless partner for an efficient new associate model. And while many in the legal profession have decried the massive layoffs of senior partners that has resulted, it has been shown that these individuals have continued golfing and yachting at unimpeded rates — using their own money. This was an unexpected side effect that many in the profession had not considered, and has mostly quieted the detractors.
The legal profession has received the boost it needed, while harder-working, time-efficient attorneys now populate the industry. As such, there is limited time left to take advantage of the Cash For Partners program, and the federally provided subsidy may not last until the end of the month. So act now, before you’re stuck throwing money at your aging, inefficient partner while more shrewd legal consumers show off their new ambitious, energetic attorneys that only quality American law schools could produce.