Did Obama Become President to Make Jobs For Lawyers?

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By: David W. Harper, Jr., Staff Member

President Obama is doing his best to help the legal market. Plainly, the demand for Administrative lawyers is on the rise. While George Orwell would disprove of Obama’s 1984-esque legislation, attorneys should rejoice. With each new piece of convoluted, highly regulatory legislation comes high demand for legal advice.[1] Just as securities lawyers joked that the implementation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was kind of like the Full Employment Act for securities lawyers, the Affordable Care Act can be seen as the Full Employment Act for health care lawyers.[2] Will the possible amendment to the Ethanol Mandate be the next source of boom for the legal market?

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, there appears to be an increase in demand for health care lawyers to help navigate the lengthy, confusing provisions. In fact, some estimate a 20 percent increase in health care specialists in the legal field by 2018—that is approximately 600 new health care lawyers.[3] In addition to health lawyers, the Affordable Care Act could spark an increase in divorce lawyers. An unintended consequence of Obamacare is that a couple could avoid paying thousands of dollars in federal taxes and health premiums if they divorced; this has been labeled the “wedding tax.”[4] Should a couple choose economics over morality, divorce lawyers would be in high demand as well.[5]

Just as the Sarbanes-Oaxley Act sparked demand for securities lawyers and the Affordable Care Act has sparked demand for health care lawyers, will revisions to the current Ethanol mandate spark a demand for environmental litigators and administrative lawyers? The Environmental Protection Agency is debating reducing the amount of renewable fuel that the oil industry must use.[6] In response, ethanol backers are threatening to file a lawsuit if the EPA indeed decides to scale back the mandate.[7] Ethanol backers would certainly include farmers, as roughly 40 percent of America’s corn crop goes to support ethanol product.[8] Therefore, should the EPA decide to reduce the amount of required ethanol the oil industry must use, many may seek legal help—for instance, the oil industries for oversight and compliance issues and ethanol backers for litigation—creating another “demand-through-legislation” for lawyers. Different from the Sarbanes-Oaxley Act and Obamacare, the Ethanol mandate could spark a broader demand for attorneys as actors will seek legal help for a variety of reasons (compliance and litigation, among others). At a time where the legal market is arguably over-saturated and depressed, it appears President Obama is trying hard to help his former profession prosper.
[1] Catherine Hollander, Obamacare Is Creating Jobs—Yes, Really (Sept. 26, 2013), http://www.nationaljournal.com/magazine/obamacare-is-creating-jobs-yes-really-20130936.
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Jacqueline Leo, Why Divorce Lawyers Will Love Obamacare (Oct. 2, 2013), http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2013/10/02/Why-Divorce-Attorneys-Will-Love-Obamacare.
[5] Id.
[6] Ryan Tracy, EPA Revisits Ethanol Mandate as Fuel Use Slips (Aug. 8, 2013), http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323968704578652011231792732
[7] Darren Goode, Will President Obama slash ethanol mandate? (Nov. 11, 2013), http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=CB1F5D72-3B88-4516-B105-E64E55E043DD.
[8] Christopher Helman, Attention Fracktivists: Corn Ethanol Is The Real Enviornmental Culprit (Nov. 11, 2013), http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2013/11/11/attention-fracktivists-corn-ethanol-is-the-real-environmental-culprit/.