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by Vault Law Editors | September 09, 2009


In-house lawyers’ use of social networks, including LinkedIn, Connected and LegalOnRamp, grew about 50 percent in 2009, according to a survey cited in this article.  The reason?  To share cost-cutting tactics and practices with their peers.   For example, certain Legal OnRamp groups are invitation-only, thereby allowing GCs to trade notes on alternative fee structures and appropriate pricing for specific legal services, thereby exerting some serious downward pressure on all the particiapnts' legal bills. According to the legal theorist Richard Susskind, “Many lawyers believe that social networks are no more than the playthings of their teenage offspring.  I disagree. The business-oriented versions will fundamentally change the way law firms are chosen and the way lawyers work with their clients.”

In contrast to the social networking proponents’ notions of “fundamental change,” David Marcus at The Dealcontends that talk of BigLaw’s impending “fundamental overhaul” is “unwarranted”:

Law firm Cassandras say this downturn is different because clients won't allow their lawyers to gouge them anymore. But companies in most industries must still confront a complex welter of federal, state and local regulation. Well-funded plaintiffs bars in areas from medical malpractice to securities fraud can still bring litigation that companies will have to spend large sums defending against. Companies will still need to raise capital, restructure and combine, all of which require lawyers.  Many law firms will continue to undergo a painful period of restructuring, a process that will be fatal to a relative handful of firms. But law will remain a good business, and law firms will prove far more stable than many of their critics suspect.

                                                    -posted by brian


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