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by Vault Law Editors | November 23, 2009


It’s time for a reality check:

·   Layoffs continue
·   Firms are slashing associate salaries
·   Bonuses are down
·   A “surge of outsourcing associate work” is predicted
·   And “those 2009 financials are going to be ugly.”

Nevertheless, “the number of people taking the Law School Admission Test is at an unprecedented high.” Which prompts WSJ Law Blogger Ashby Jones to offer some useful advice to starry-eyed (or “directionless”) lawyer-wannabes: “I’d encourage you to ask yourselves, LSAT-takers, is there anything else you’d rather be? Try that first. Law school will always be there.“

Law school might always be there, but it’s questionable whether BigLaw (at least in its current form) will be. In “Secrets of the Stars,” one of the latest additions to the future-of-law series, professor Pat Chew and management consultant Robert Kelley argue that, “like every other enterprise hit by the meltdown, law firms need to rethink their entire business model.” Among their suggestions:

·   Move away from the leveraged, “high-priced associate model,” which is not in the client’s interest.
·   Consider whether “the cost of making your firm a more humane place to work through a better life/work balance … [might] be offset by lower turnover, higher morale and greater productivity.”
·   “Instead of firing less productive partners, teach them how to become star performers.”

(But according to one law firm coach, those who shoot for the stars are not aiming high enough; one should strive for superstardom.)

- posted by vera


Filed Under: Law