The Death of Big Law

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Re: The Death of Big Law

Postby brickman » Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:22 am

It actually has an optimistic feel to it, so long as radical restructuring occurs.

Also on this subject, and certainly worth a read: An Empirical Analysis of Lateral Lawyer Trends from 2000 to 2007: The Emerging Equilibrium for Corporate Law Firms

link: ... id=1407051

excerpts from article:
"Part III puts forward three observations on the marketplace for corporate legal services: (1) a large proportion of large firms have converged on the same business model—a large geographic platform in major national and global markets and a greater emphasis on premium, price-insensitive work; (2) due to the sheer size and geographic dispersion of many law firm partnerships, there is an internal economic logic that significantly undermines firms’ ability to aggressively pursue alternative business models; and (3) when pursued simultaneously by a large proportion of firms, the resulting emphasis on higher PPP tends to produce inefficient and bloated market behavior that hold little attraction for young lawyers and clients."

"Although it is possible to identify strategic mistakes in the firms that have imploded in recent years, our primary thesis is that the structural problems that plagued these firms are actually endemic to many (and perhaps most) Am Law 200 firms. Indeed, one of the fundamental ironies of the convergence on a single business model, and the instability it produces, is that it flows from an inherently conservative business impulse."

"with so many firms converging on a similar business model, the demand for elite law school graduates has outstripped supply. Further, the ensuing associate salary wars have produced cost structures for entry level lawyers that many clients are no longer willing to absorb."

"The implicit assumption, it would seem, is that credentials are more important than motivation and organization fit. Yet, the end result is a high cost, high attrition model in which partners read snarky comments about their firm on the “Above the Law” website and clients proclaim they are no longer willing to have first- or second-year associates working on their matters. These dynamics do nothing to increase the prestige of the legal profession."

"it is likely that we may observe an overcapacity that will undermine the financial stability of a large number of firms. For better or worse, this dynamic props open the door to a new wave of boutique and regional law firms with a lower cost-structure and a more innovative, cooperative, and client-centric ethos. So goes the creative destruction of capitalism."


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