Remaking the Legal Industry
Jordan Furlong has an interesting look at the current economic malaise in the legal industry. He’s convinced the downturn is part of a “regeneration” of law,
People will always need lawyers, and lawyers will still be here to do what we do best: counsel, advise, advocate, analyze, facilitate and connect. The legal profession will be transformed, but if we do this right — and I know we can — the transformation will be a regeneration: stripping away the obsolete and counterproductive and elevating the best of what the law and lawyers hold at their heart: service to clients, the community, and the greater good.
I don’t know if that’s how things will turn out at the end of the day, but there is definitely something going on. Firms with over century of history suddenly going belly-up? Associates, not to mention non-lawyer staff getting cut by the hundreds at others? This isn’t just a downturn in the economy, this is something larger. I haven’t been in the legal world long enough to really know what it is, but I suspect we are seeing a change in the way many other industries work, as Jordan states in the post, I don’t see why the law should be any different.
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No mystery. It’s BigLaw imploding.
Mark, it is BigLaw imploding, but it’s also hitting many smaller firms as well. Firms that aren’t charging the rates you mention nor up to their armpits in debt are still seeing quite a slow down in revenues, and making cuts. They might not be as drastic, or newsworthy, but they’re being made all across the legal industry. As the cost of litigation has risen, and electronic discovery is a part of those costs just as associate salaries, and firm debt are a part as well, clients will adjust their behavior. I think we’re seeing that, and that’s why all law firms, from solo to BigLaw are going to have to adjust to what the clients are doing.