Weekly News Digest for Legal Career Professionals

Each week NALP's Executive Director, James Leipold, provides a summary of news articles of interest to legal career professionals. Read past issues here.

For news in the public interest arena, see the news digest from Christina Jackson, NALP's Director of Public Service Initiatives and Fellowships, at www.psjd.org.


July 21, 2017

1. "CLOC: Legal Ops Leaders at the Vanguard of a Movement," 07.20.17.
Corporate Counsel reports that the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) is leading the way as "more legal departments are seizing the opportunity to implement legal operations programs to lower spend and increase efficiency."

2. "The Hottest Field in Law? Ranking the Lawyers," 07.20.17.
Sara Randazzo, writing for The Wall Street Journal, reports that "a proliferation of attorney awards and rankings — more than 1,200 by one count — is inundating law-firm marketing departments." (Subscription required.)

3. "Texas Southern's law school receives ABA public censure after sex discrimination allegations," 07.20.17.
The ABA Journal reports that "Texas Southern Thurgood Marshall School of Law has been publicly censured by the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar after gender discrimination allegations from a female associate dean. Also, the section council found that the law school was out of compliance with standards involving admissions, education programs, academic advising and equal opportunity."

4. "Looking for a Flexible Schedule? Here Are Some Ways to Do It," 07.20.17.
Julie Brush, writing for The Recorder, offers lawyers advice on the best way to find part-time and flexible schedule jobs.

5. "Types of College Grads Nailing the LSAT Aren't Keen on Law School," 07.19.17.
Law.com reports on new research that shows "college grads who major in mathematics, physics and biomedical engineering on average score 160 or higher on the law school entrance exam…[but] don't seem all that interested in going to law school."

6. "Law Schools Are Losing Smart Applicants. How Do They Lure Them Back?," 07.19.17.
With law schools facing disproportionate downturn in top LSAT applicants, Karen Sloan, writing for Law.com, reports on conversations with leaders from the legal academy, the courts, and law firms, about "how law schools can make up those recruiting losses and appeal once again to top prospects."

7. "Issues for Associates to Consider When Changing Firms," 07.19.17.
Two law firm partners, writing for The Recorder, offer advice for associates who are considering changing law firms.

8. "Advice to Hiring Managers: The Less You Know the Better," 07.19.17.
The National Law Journal reports on a panel discussion held Wednesday, hosted by the Practising Law Institute, that gave advice on how to avoid common pitfalls in the hiring process.

9. "Legal Industry Leads in Transgender Policies for Employees," 07.19.17.
Bloomberg reports that "Law firms are often among the highest-rated workplaces for LGBT equality, according to the Human Rights Campaign."

10. "Asian-Americans Face Glass Ceiling in the Law," 07.18.17.
The Recorder reports on the publication of a new study that bills itself as "the first comprehensive look at the career paths of Asian-American law students and lawyers in the United States," and notes that the study finds that while Asian-American lawyers are well represented in the profession, they continue to be absent from the highest ranked positions.

    a. "Law schools are filled with Asian Americans. So why aren't there more Asian judges?," 07.18.17.
    More on this study from The Washington Post.

    b. "Asian-Americans are apparently losing interest in law school; report shows outsize enrollment drop," 07.20.17.
    The ABA Journal, reporting on the same research, notes that "Asian-American enrollment in law school has declined more steeply than that of other racial and ethnic groups."

    c. "Are Asian-Americans Fed Up With Law?," 07.20.17.
    And ALM's Careerist blogger Vivia Chen weighs in with her two cents on this new research.

11. "Major Corporations Teamed Up to Spend $226M in 2016 on Women, Minority-Owned Firms," 07.18.17.
Corporate Counsel reports on an initiative that brings 32 corporations together in an organized commitment to select women- and minority-led firms to provide some portion of their outside legal services.

12. "Law Librarians Being Awesome," 07.18.17.
Above the Law reports on the American Association of Law Libraries annual conference that was held in Austin this week, noting that the association sent letters to local legislators informing them it would be the last time the group meets in Texas because of recent legislation that allows discrimination against vulnerable populations. (Note that the Association of American Law Schools also recently canceled its Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education, that was also set for Austin, for the very same reasons.)

13. "Student Debt May Be Reducing Home Ownership," 07.18.17.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that rising student debt levels are a substantial contributor to the decline in home ownership among young Americans."

14. "Client Call for Greater Diversity at Fever Pitch," 07.17.17.
Caren Ulrich Stacy and Lisa Kirby from Diversity Lab, writing here for Law.com, document current "third generation" corporate legal department diversity initiatives.

15. "A Law Firm Famed for Lean Staffing Gets Leaner," 07.17.17.
The American Lawyer takes a look at Seyfarth's lean legal project management approach and questions whether it is a sure pathway to profitability.

16. "Law Students Say Harvard's Diversity Study Falls Short," 07.17.17.
Karen Sloan, writing for Law.com, reports that students at Harvard Law School are criticizing a task force report on diversity on that campus, challenging some of the recommendations made by the task force appointed to study diversity issues at the law school.

17. "Distance learning standards under consideration by ABA Legal Ed Section," 07.17.17.
The ABA Journal reports that the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is considering revisions to Standard 306, which sets the rules for distance learning.

18. "As Paperwork Goes Missing, Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away," 07.17.17.
In a story that has garnered a lot of attention this week, The New York Times reports that as much as $5 billion in private student loan debt could be uncollectable as judges have repeatedly found that the paperwork documenting the resale of tens of thousands of student loans is missing — the NYT likens the situation to the subprime mortgage crisis.

19. "The DoNotPay Dilemma: Can Chatbots Provide Access to Justice Without a Lawyer?," 07.17.17.
Legaltech News reports on the rise of robot lawyers — in this case a "chatbot" that offers over 1,000 free legal services across practice areas and is hosted, among other places, on Facebook Messenger.

20. "The Lawyer, the Addict," 07.15.17.
The Sunday New York Times has published this chilling but important story about lawyers and drug addiction.

21. "On the Business of Law, We Must Do Much Better," 07.14.17.
This editorial in the New Jersey Law Journal finds much to be anxious about in the most recent Altman Weil "Law Firms in Transition Survey," including the fact that 49 percent of respondents report they have not significantly changed their approach to their delivery of legal services.




Past News Digests


Prior digests for past weeks are provided below for reference; some articles may no longer be offered online or may have moved to different URLs than the links shown here.



July 14, 2017

1. "Number of LSAT Test-takers Surges. Is It a Trump Bump?," 07.13.17.
Law.com reports that "the number of people who took the LSAT in June climbed nearly twenty percent over last year — the largest percentage increase for any individual LSAT administration since September 2009." ("The Council also reported this week that the total number of law school applicants for the fall is down half a percent from the previous year.")

    a. "Number of Students Taking LSAT Jumps," 07.14.17.
    More on this from Inside Higher Ed.

2. "In The LSAT v. GRE Battle, Should The ABA Get Involved?," 07.13.17.
Above the Law reports that this week the ABA held a hearing on a proposed rule change that currently allows law schools to accept alternatives to the LSAT if they can prove another test is valid and reliable.

    a. "Why should law schools have to require LSAT or GRE? Law deans ask the question," 07.13.17.
    And the ABA Journal also reports on the public hearing on Standard 503 that took place Thursday in Chicago.

3. "Credentials or outcomes? What's the fairest way to assess lawyer performance?," 07.13.17.
Paul Lippe, writing for the ABA Journal's Legal Rebels column, makes the argument for more outcomes-oriented metrics for evaluating lawyers.

4. "Are Law Firms Too Sophisticated for Their Own Good?," 07.12.17.
Hugh Simons, a former law firm COO and industry consultant, writing for The American Lawyer, tackles the law firm "problem": "The challenges besetting Big Law are of its own making. The industry overshot the needs of its clients and overlooked the effect of growth on the intensity of competition. The really frightening part? Recent surveys show Big Law is doing nothing to mitigate the threats to its prosperity and much to exacerbate them. A change of course is needed. It will require today's leaders to bring more younger partners into leadership roles and to lead in a very different way."

5. "California Bar Examiners Stripped Of Authority To Determine Passing Score On State Bar Exam," 07.11.17.
Above the Law reports that "the California Supreme Court has decided to strip the Committee of Bar Examiners of its authority to decide the minimum score needed to pass the exam."

    a. "California Supreme Court Strips Authority Of Bar Examiners To Set Cut Score; Lower Cut Score May Apply Retroactively To July Test-Takers," 07.12.17.
    More on this from the TaxProf Blog.

    b. "California Supreme Court asserts its authority to determine passing bar exam grade," 07.12.17.
    And more on this from the ABA Journal.

6. "ABA committee weighs adding gender identity, ethnicity to law school accreditation diversity rules," 07.11.17.
The ABA Journal reports that "proposed revisions to add gender identity and ethnicity to existing rules regarding diversity, nondiscrimination and equal opportunity are being considered by the Standards Review Committee of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar."

7. "Law Firm Leaders' Confidence Grows Despite Demand Jitters," 07.11.17.
The American Lawyer reports that according to the latest Citi Private Bank data, law firm leaders are slowly gaining confidence in the outlook for increased demand for legal services, despite an environment where demand has mostly been stagnant. ("Am Law 1-50 firms in the first quarter saw demand growth of 2.4 percent, compared to a decline in demand of 4.1 percent for the Second Hundred firms.")

8. "An Open Letter From 25 General Counsel," 07.11.17.
Corporate Counsel publishes an open letter from 25 GCs that describes a new industry research project on the relationships between in-house clients and their outside counsel that will aggregate data on outcomes and performance evaluations across institutions.

    a. "The GC Thought Experiment," 07.11.17.
    More on this from Corporate Counsel: "Starting in early 2017, general counsel from over 25 major companies began working with AdvanceLaw staff to measure, across several thousand legal matters, which in-house practices yield better outcomes and relationships."

    b. "GC Data Sharing Plan Is 'Wake-Up Call' for Law Firms," 07.12.17.
    And even more on this from The American Lawyer.

9. "The Legal Industry Is Undergoing More Than a "Dance Around Change'," 07.10.17.
A good piece from Mark Cohen, writing for The American Lawyer, on the change that is around us; he makes a strong case that law firms will be left behind in the race for the delivery of legal services.

10. "The Quantity and Quality of Law School Applicants," 07.10.17.
Paul Caron (Dean, Pepperdine) and Kellye Testy (new President & CEO, LSAC), writing here for the TaxProf Blog, report on the decline in the number of law school applicants and the disproportionately greater decline in the higher LSAT score band, and present two very helpful graphs of official LSAC test-taker data.

11. "Trump Administration Considers Measure to Make Staying in US Harder for Foreign Students," 07.10.17.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "senior officials at the US Department of Homeland Security are reportedly considering a controversial plan to require more than one million international students to reapply annually to stay in the United States."

12. "How Will the Feds Protect Student-Loan Borrowers in the Future? 2 Visions Are Aired," 07.10.17.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that on Monday the Department of Education took comments for nearly seven hours from advocates for students and colleges on the decision to roll-back two Obama-era regulations that were designed to protect student borrowers.

13. "NYLJ 100," 07.10.17.
The New York Law Journal publishes its annual report ranking firms' average number of full-time equivalent attorneys in New York State.

    a. "Big Firms Beef Up, But NYC Government Boasts Largest Law Office," 07.10.17.
    The New York Law Journal reports that "despite flat demand in the legal industry, the biggest law firms overwhelmingly grew their New York offices last year."

    b. "The Largest Firms by Number of Lawyers in New York State,' 07.10.17.
    And the New York Law Journal provides this chart of the 100 largest New York firms by number of lawyers.

14. "How To Slay Your First Semester of Law School," 07.10.17.
Above the Law provides 6 tips for surviving (and thriving) the first semester of law school.

15. "Are There Too Many Law Schools?," 07.07.17.
This editorial in the Connecticut Law Tribune argues some law schools should and will fail, and that this is a good thing.

16. "US Legal Industry Adds Jobs in June," 07.07.17.
Law.com reports that USBLS data show an uptick in legal jobs for the third straight month in June, noting that there are still 50,000 fewer jobs than the industry's pre-recession high in May 2007.

17. "Law school turns to crowdfunding for bar stipends," 07.07.17.
The ABA Journal reports that Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law in North Carolina has turned to a crowdfunding campaign on the internet to help graduates pay for bar preparation.



July 7, 2017

1. "What Technology Will Do to Law Practice (And It's Not What You Think)," 07.07.17.
A good column in Slaw (the third in a series) that challenges some of our assumptions about technology and its impact on the practice of law.

2. "Law Firm Merger Activity Abroad Highlights First Half Frenzy," 07.06.17.
Law.com reports on the latest Altman Weil law firm merger report, noting that there have been 52 law firm combinations so far in 2017, eleven of which have been cross-border deals.

    a. "Law Firm Mergers Continue at Strong Pace in 2017," 07.05.17.
    And Bloomberg Law also reports on the Altman Weil law firm merger data: "The number of law firm combinations dipped slightly in the second quarter compared to last year's Q2 figures, but merger activity is on track for a strong year."

3. "Generalizing about Clients," 07.06.17.
The latest from Bill Henderson in his new blog Legal Evolution: "The nature of legal work among the nation's largest corporate clients is simultaneously changing significantly and not at all."

4. "18 States Sue Education Dept. Over Rollback of Borrower-Defense Rule," 07.06.17.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a coalition of states is suing the department of education over its decision to roll-back regulations designed to protect student loan borrowers.

5. "Assessing the Travel Ban: What New Data on Overseas Recruitment Does — and Doesn't — Tell Us," 07.06.17.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on three new reports that attempt to assess the impact of the travel ban on enrollments from abroad, noting that half of graduate-school deans have reported substantial falloffs in foreign student enrollments.

6. "This Year, Fewer but Better-Paid Summer Associates," 07.05.17.
The American Lawyer reports that "summer hires decreased an average of 2.02 percent at the 92 Am Law 200 firms participating in our Summer Associates Survey." (This news is consistent with NALP research that showed 50% of law firms reported making fewer fall 2016 offers for summer 2017 spots compared to the previous year. The article also reports that a recent Altman Weil survey showed that 46% of law firms expect to have the same number of associates or fewer over the next five years.)

7. "Confused About Your Career? Try Your Firm's Career Coach," 07.05.17.
Law.com takes a look at the evolving role of internal law firm career coaches and career development offices.

8. "For-profit Florida Coastal tightens admissions standards and reduces class offerings," 07.05.17.
The ABA Journal reports that Florida Coastal School of Law plans to raise its minimum LSAT score by seven points and eliminate some elective classes to focus more on bar preparation.

9. "How to Reject a Job Offer Like a Pro," 07.05.17.
Julie Brush, writing for The Recorder, provides a nine-point roadmap for rejecting a job offer without burning bridges.

10. "Cravath Inks Deal With AI Company Part-Owned by Top UK Firms," 07.05.17.
Legaltech News reports that "Cravath, Swaine & Moore has joined the growing ranks of elite law firms turning to artificial intelligence in an attempt to cut costs and improve efficiency."

11. "Blakes to Offer Subsidized Legal Services to Canadian Startups," 07.03.17.
Legaltech News reports that "Canadian law firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon…is setting aside CA$1 million in subsidized legal services for startups emerging from the country's Toronto-Waterloo corridor."

12. "Why Associates Leave and How You Can Get Them to Stay," 07.03.17.
The American Lawyer (via the Law Firm Partnership & Benefits Report), citing NALP Foundation data, tackles the problem of associate attrition and provides guidance on what firms can do to get their top associates to stay.

13. "Building Latino Male Achievement," 07.02.17.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a mentoring program at the University of Texas that is designed to get more Latino males into and through college: "The program, which pairs undergraduates with middle- and high-school students and graduate students with undergrads, has sent more than 50 mentors into Austin public schools this year." (Subscription required.)

14. "3 Things Law Firms Must Understand To Increase Gender Diversity," 06.30.17.
Above the Law reports on new research by the Boston Consulting Group that found three things law firms should do to increase gender diversity in the workplace.

15. "Legal Profession Starts Facing Facts About Mental Health Challenges," 06.27.17.
ALM publishes a collection of articles on the current state of mental health problems among lawyers.




June 30, 2017

1. "Chadbourne Is No More as Deal With Norton Rose Fulbright Goes Live," 06.30.17.
The American Lawyer reports that "Global giant Norton Rose Fulbright and Manhattan-based Chadbourne & Parke finalized their merger Friday, ending Chadbourne's 115-year run as an independent firm."

    a. "Chadbourne & Parke Is Dead," 06.30.17.
    More from Above the Law.

2. "College vs. the Great Recession," 06.30.17.
Inside Higher Ed reports that new research from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that "millennials who graduated college just as the 2008 recession was unfolding fared better economically than their peers did, despite facing increased prospects of underemployment and carrying student loans."

3. "Do Lawyers and Law Students Have the Technical Skills to Meet the Needs of Future Legal Jobs?," 06.29.17.
A good column in Slaw that explores the question of whether lawyers and law students have the technical skills to meet the needs of future legal jobs.

4. "Law Librarian? Try Chief Knowledge Officer," 06.29.17.
The American Lawyer reports on the evolving and expanded roles that law librarians occupy in firms today.

5. "It's a Stretch, But Law Students Could Get Subsidized Loans Again," 06.29.17.
Karen Sloan, writing for Law.com, reports on a lobbying effort to restore subsidized Stafford loans for law students (the subsidized student loans went away in 2011 — restoration would decrease typical federal student loan bills by about $4,000).

6. "Law School Dean Dismissed Amid 'Hostile Work Environment' Accusations," 06.29.17.
Above the Law reports that "Eric Dannenmaier has resigned as dean of Northern Illinois University College of Law."

7. "The Top 10 Most Family-Friendly Law Firms (2017)," 06.29.17.
Above the Law reports on the Yale Law Women's annual release of its list of Top 10 Family Friendly Firms.

    a. "Shakeup marks top 10 family-friendly law firms for 2017," 06.29.17.
    And the ABA Journal also reports on the Yale Law Women list of top 10 family-friendly law firms.

8. "Counting the Hours: Pro Bono and Big Law," 06.28.17.
The American Lawyer publishes its annual law firm pro bono roundup, with a variety of feature stories and its annual ranking of the Am Law 200 firms by their pro bono scores.

    a. "Big Law's Pro Bono Hours Tick Upward," 07.01.17.
    The American Lawyer provides these key findings from its latest Pro Bono Survey results.

    b. "Ranking the Firms," 06.28.17.
    Jenner & Block tops The American Lawyer's annual ranking of firms by average pro bono hours worked per lawyer and by the breadth of their commitment.

9. "Two Tie-Ups Reshape Indiana Market as Midwest Merger Trend Continues," 06.28.17.
The American Lawyer reports that "of the 50 mergers tallied so far this year by legal consultancy Altman Weil Inc.'s MergerLine, 11 of the firms being scooped up have been based in Midwest states."

10. "New Kirkland Program Gets Lawyers Thinking About Career Goals, Going In-House," 06.28.17.
Corporate Counsel profiles a Kirkland program that is "designed to help Kirkland attorneys gain insight into their clients' needs and perspectives and to prepare lawyers for a potential future career in-house."

11. "Hiring, Not Firing, Is a New Focus in Age Discrimination Suits," 06.28.17.
The National Law Journal reports that federal regulators and anti-discrimination groups have shifted scrutiny to hiring rather than firing when it comes to protections for aging workers.

12. "Presenting the Summer Associate Morale-Booster Kit," 06.28.17.
Leigh Jones, writing for The American Lawyer, provides this somewhat tongue-in-cheek "tool kit" for flailing summer associates.

13. "The Best Law Firms To Work For In America," 06.27.17.
Above the Law reports on the results of Vault's Top 10 Best Law Firms to Work For.

14. "Asian Law Students' Experiences Vary Widely Depending on Nation of Origin," 06.27.17.
Law.com reports on new research that shows that "students from different Asian subgroups studying in the United States have varied experiences when it comes to taking the Law School Admission Test, landing scholarships, and interacting with classmates."

15. "Steptoe & Johnson Accused of Discriminating Against Female Lawyers," 06.27.17.
Law.com reports that "Steptoe & Johnson on Tuesday became the latest major law firm to face accusations that it discriminates against women lawyers." (Chadbourne & Parke, Proskauer Rose, LeClairRyan, and Sedgwick are also defendants in gender discrimination lawsuits.)

16. "Top-Down Diversity: The Role of Management, the Client and the Bench," 06.27.17.
This piece in The Legal Intelligencer argues for a top-down approach to solving the legal profession's diversity problem.

17. "The NLJ 500: Our Annual Survey of the Nation's Largest Law Firms," 06.26.17.
The National Law Journal publishes its annual report on the 500 largest US-centric law firms.

    a. "Volatility Abounds in Large Law Firms," 06.26.17.
    The National Law Journal reports that growth among the largest firms has been volatile, with some growing and some shrinking their footprint during the last year.

    b. "The NLJ 500: Our Rankings of The Nation's Largest Law Firms," 06.26.17.
    The National Law Journal publishes an interactive chart that rank's the 500 largest US-centric law firms.

    c. "The NLJ 500: Which 5 Cities Have the Most Lawyers?," 06.28.17.
    The National Law Journal examines "how the five largest legal markets in the US are growing and changing, with Los Angeles surging forward and New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, and Boston holding steady."

    d. "Where Women Lawyers Succeed: NLJ Scorecard Reveals Which Firms Make the Grade," 06.27.17. 06.27.17.
    The National Law Journal publishes its annual Women's Scorecard with data on gender diversity for the 350 largest firms in the NLJ 500.

18. "Film About Women Leaving Law Airs Nationwide Starting Next Month," 06.26.17.
The Daily Report reports that in July public television will begin airing a documentary that "delves into how discrimination against women lawyers has changed over the years, why female lawyers currently are leaving the legal profession en masse, and which cultural biases about work and childcare are still impacting women lawyers."

19. "Legal Departments Keep Huge Percentage of Work In-House. Here's Why.," 06.26.17.
Corporate Counsel reports on new survey research that shows "nearly 75 percent of work for legal departments is handled internally," and attempts to explain why that is.

20. "50 Companies Tell Court Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Bad For Business," 06.26.17.
The National Law Journal reports that 50 major companies have joined an amicus brief in a case pending before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit arguing that "discrimination against gay and lesbian workers 'takes a heavy toll' on bottom lines."

21. "Amazon's GC on 'No-Lose' Talent Program in Legal Department," 06.23.17.
Corporate Counsel reports that Amazon's legal department is the first legal department to implement the OnRamp Fellowship, a program that helps women attorneys re-enter the workforce after taking time off.



June 23, 2017

1. "Teetering Charlotte School of Law Takes Another Hit," 06.22.17.
Karen Sloan, writing for Law.com, reports that "higher education officials in North Carolina on Wednesday…gave the school until August to shape up or lose its license to operate."

    a. "Charlotte School of Law receives state license restrictions; some say end may be near," 06.22.17.
    The ABA Journal reports that Charlotte Law School has received notice that it is not in compliance with state standards in North Carolina, and it has been directed to admit no new students.

2. "Sleepless Nights for GCs Caused by Regulations and Crisis Management," 06.22.17.
Corporate Counsel reports that a new report from ALM Intelligence and Morrison & Foerster reveals that the most pressing challenges facing general counsel today are regulations and enforcement, privacy and data security, risk and crisis management, litigation, and intellectual property, with regulations and enforcement, and privacy and data security topping the list.

3. "'I Can't Get No Satisfaction' — Or Can I?," 06.22.17.
The American Lawyer reprints an article from the Law Firm Partnership & Benefits Report that takes a look at how lawyers can find job satisfaction.

4. "Hiring Misfires Show Need for Tougher Law Firm Vetting," 06.22.17.
The American Lawyer reports on the fact that "in less than a year, Big Law has seen at least three lateral hires go seriously — even criminally — awry," and suggests that law firms need to do a much better job of vetting their lateral lawyer hires.

    a. "The Case for Lateral Partner Due Diligence," 06.20.17.
    The founder of a global investigations firm, writing for The American Lawyer, makes the case that law firms need to do a better job of thoroughly vetting lateral partner hires in order to safeguard a law firm's assets, reputation, and client trust.

5. "It's Lonely at the Top for Atlanta First-Year Associates Making $180K," 06.21.17.
The Daily Report in Atlanta reports on the NALP 2017 Associate Salary Report findings, noting the range of starting associate salaries in that city.

6. "Ex-Big Law Associate Sells Experience With Legal Startup," 06.21.17.
The American Lawyer profiles a former Big Law associate who has funneled 15 years of legal experience into a legal technology startup.

7. "As Litigators Depart, Sedgwick Sheds Staffers," 06.20.17.
The American Lawyer reports that San Francisco-based Sedgwick has lost eight additional partners, and has begun to "shed some staffers" as well.

    a. "Sedgwick confirms some staff layoffs after more partner departures," 06.21.17.
    And the ABA Journal also reports on this story.

8. "BYU Law School Announces Creation of LawX Legal Design Lab," 06.19.17.
Legaltech News reports that "on June 19, BYU Law School announced the creation of LawX, a legal design lab that will seek to create solutions, through software and other means, to address pressing issues relating to access to legal services."

    a. "Law School's New A2J Design Lab Will Put Students In Shoes Of Entrepreneurs," 06.19.17.
    More on this BYU development from Above the Law.

9. "Will Technology's Role in Legal Services Reshape How Law Is Practiced?," 06.19.17.
Legaltech News, reporting on Thomson Reuters' 7th annual Law Firm CFO/CIO/COO Forum in New York, notes that "as technology gets better, legal professionals are increasingly divided on the implications for their profession."

    a. "Experts to Firm Leaders: Cybersecurity is the Biggest Public and Private Sector Threat," 06.16.17.
    Law.com reports on the state of law firms' cyber security risks based on proceedings at another panel at the June 15 Thomson Reuters' CFO/CIO/COO Forum, where a panel "looked at what happens in a breach, how law firms have and should respond, and challenges to pushing forward with security initiatives."

10. "Law Firm Talent Execs Get a Seat at the Table," 06.19.17.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that "more law firms are putting talent management leaders in the c-suite to drive comprehensive growth strategies." (Shout out to NALP members Molly Peckman and Jean Durling.)

11. "Orrick Ushers in New Parental Leave Policy," 06.18.17.
The American Lawyer reports that Orrick has announced changes to its parental leave policy, making it among the most generous and progressive in the industry — including the expansion of paid parental leave for non-primary caregivers.

12. "World Class Innovation and Efficiency, Billed by the Hour," 06.18.17.
The latest from Bill Henderson on his new blog Legal Evolution, in which he reflects on managed services and the billable hour. (See also his related article in the June issue of the ABA Journal magazine, "How managed services are building systems for corporate legal work," where he takes a look at how innovative managed legal services firms are building factories to handle high volume, repetitive legal work, at considerable profit.)

13. "Weil Launches App to Connect Clients, Firm Alumni," 06.16.17.
The American Lawyer reports that Weil has launched an app that connects its alumni and alerts their former lawyers when clients are looking to fill an in-house job.



June 16, 2017

1. "Many In-House Counsel Still Unhappy, Though Salaries Are Up," 06.15.17.
Corporate Counsel reports on the results of the 2017 In-House Counsel Compensation Report that show in-house salaries are up again but 40 percent of respondents believe that they are paid less than their peers.

2. "'Dramatic' Gender Pay Gap Plagues In-House Counsel, Survey Finds," 06.15.17.
New survey research from ACC shows that "a higher percentage of women than men occupy lower-level categories when it comes to in-house salaries."

3. "Trump Signs Order to Ease Federal Restrictions on Apprenticeships," 06.15.17.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the President has signed an executive order that eases restrictions on apprenticeship programs.

    a. "Trump Move on Job Training Brings 'Skills Gap' Debate to the Fore," 06.15.17.
    More on this from The New York Times.

4. "How Can Law Firms Meet Needs of 21st Century Legal Clients?," 06.15.17.
This Above the Law post argues that lawyers need to take greater advantage of the opportunities presented by technology to create efficiencies and cost-savings for clients.

5. "86 percent of low-income Americans' civil legal issues get inadequate or no legal help, study says," 06.14.17.
The ABA Journal reports on new research from the Legal Services Corp, which shows that "86 percent of civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans in the past year were not addressed with adequate or professional help."

6. "The Present and Future of Analytics at Today's Law Firms," 06.14.17.
Legaltech News reports on the proceedings at Legalweek West, where a panel of law firm attorneys discussed how data analytics can help law firms gain a competitive advantage.

7. "Law Firm Apps Designed to Impress Clients — and to Win Them," 06.13.17.
The American Lawyer reports on the explosion of law firm apps, and notes that firms are increasingly tailoring tehcnology to woo clients by providing apps that help clients solve problems.

8. "Can You Open a Law Firm Right Out Of Law School?," 06.13.17.
Above the Law provides some practical advice for would-be solo practitioners.

9. "Fewer Law School Applicants in Line for Upcoming School Year," 06.12.17.
Law.com reports that "the number of law school applicants has dropped for the upcoming academic year, according to new data released by the Law School Admission Council."

    a. "Those with good LSAT scores may be choosing to forgo law school, data indicates," 06.13.17.
    The ABA Journal reports that "law schools have been seeing fewer applicants with LSAT scores of at least 160, while there has been an increase in students with scores between 140 and 159."

10. "Is Big Law Hurting Itself by Being Too Soft With Clients?," 06.12.17.
This piece in The American Lawyer argues that law firms working for clients under alternative fee agreements should not also be providing detailed billing data and information.

11. "Artificial Intelligence And Its Impact On Legal Technology (Part I)," 06.12.17.
Above the Law explores the impact of artificial intelligence on the legal profession: "Much like email changed the way we do business every day, AI will become ubiquitous — an indispensable assistant to every lawyer. Those who do not adopt and embrace the change will get left behind."

12. "Where Should Firms Draw Line on Contract Lawyers?," 06.09.17.
The American Lawyer takes up the question of whether law firms should be upcharging clients for contract lawyers — most do, except in a small number of jurisdictions where it is barred on ethical grounds.

13. "Inside the C-Suite: Firms Drill Down on Selling Services," 06.09.17.
The Legal Intelligencer takes a look at the growing influence of business development professionals in law firms: "The chief marketing officer role has become widespread as law firm C-suites grow, and those professionals are gaining influence at their firms."




June 9, 2017

1. "Susman Godfrey Offers $25K Signing Bonus to Entice Recruits," 06.08.17.
Texas Lawyer reports that Houston's Susman Godfrey will offer a $25,000 signing bonus to new associates: "The bonuses are effective immediately and all new associates this fall will receive them, even those who accepted Susman's offer prior to the announcement of the new inducement."

2. "Do you suffer from 'commoditization blindness'? If others can do your work for less, open your eyes," 06.08.17.
The ABA Journal's Legal Rebels column tackles commoditization: "Because of its eroding effect on profit, commoditization might well be the single-most disruptive factor in the legal sector today."

3. "Dispute Resolution of the Future: 24 Hour Access, No Set Dress Code," 06.08.17.
This piece in Slaw reports that "British Columbia is now at the forefront of delivering public dispute resolution services on-line."

4. "Legal Departments See More Operations Staff, Emphasis on Predictive Reporting," 06.07.17.
Legaltech News reports that "a Thomson Reuters report finds that legal operations teams are now a hallmark of over half of corporate legal departments."

    a. "New report finds corporate legal departments are awash in work and concerned about costs," 06.07.17.
    And the ABA Journal also reports on the new Thomson Reuters research on in-house legal departments.

5. "'Mansfield Rule' Eyes a Big Law Diversity Breakthrough," 06.07.17.
The American Lawyer reports that 30 large law firms have signed on to pilot the Mansfield Rule initiative — an idea that sprang from last year's Women in Law Hackathon — that "states that at least 30 percent of a law firms' candidate pools for any leadership or governance position, including equity partnership promotions and lateral positions, must be comprised of women or minorities."

    a. "A Rooney Rule for Law Firms? Project Aims to Promote More Women," 06.07.17.
    More on this from The Wall Street Journal Law Blog. (Subscription required.)

    b. "Law Firms Adopt Policy to Promote Women and Minorities," 06.07.17.
    And Bloomberg also reports on this development.

6. "Norton Rose Fulbright to Vote on Merger With Australia's Henry Davis York," 06.07.17.
The American Lawyer reports that "Norton Rose Fulbright has confirmed it is in later-stage merger talks with Australian firm Henry Davis York."

7. "Duke Law Dean Stepping Down," 06.06.17.
Above the Law reports that Dean David Levi has announced that he will be stepping down as dean of Duke Law School at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

8. "ABA Inches Toward Overhaul of Law School Accreditation Process," 06.06.17.
Leigh Jones, writing for Law.com, reports that the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is considering a detailed proposal to cut costs, streamline operations, and adopt procedures that would allow it to respond to "problem schools" more quickly.

9. "Law school previously flagged by ABA receives provisional accreditation," 06.06.17.
The ABA Journal reports that the University of North Texas College of Law has received provisional accreditation from the ABA.

    a. "The ABA Is Giving Us A New Law School," 06.07.17.
    More on this from Above the Law.

10. "ABA to ask law schools how tightening bar passage standards could impact accreditation compliance," 06.06.17.
The ABA Journal reports that the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will send a questionnaire to law schools that asks about the proposed revisions to the bar passage standard: "The questionnaire will ask law schools how the revised standard, if implemented, might change their ability to be in compliance with the rule."

11. "Fewer entry-level law profs hired for tenure-track jobs this year, according to self-reported data," 06.05.17.
The ABA Journal reports that "entry-level law school hiring for tenure-track positions appears to be at its lowest point since…2006."

12. "Does California make it too difficult to pass the bar? Two profs link low scores to ethics issues," 06.05.17.
The ABA Journal reports that two Pepperdine University law professors have done research that has led them to conclude that "California lawyers with lower bar exam scores were more likely to face disciplinary action by the state bar."

13. "Womble Deal With UK's Bond Dickinson Creates Mega-Middle-Market Firm," 06.02.17. T
The American Lawyer reports that Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and UK firm Bond Dickinson have announced that they will merge.

14. "Is Your Law Firm Fulfilling Its Purpose?," 06.02.17.
A good Slaw blog post by Jordan Furlong: "I have yet to encounter a law firm, from the most modest solo to the largest global monolith, that measures one particular thing: whether and to what extent the firm has delivered the outcome the client paid for."

15. "The Real Reasons for Big Law's Mental Health Problem," 06.02.17.
Steven J. Harper, writing for The American Lawyer, reflecting on a May WSJ article on lawyer stress and depression, tries to get at some of the underlying reasons that law stands apart.

    a. "Law Firms Finally Say It's OK to See a Therapist," 05.24.17.
    And here is the underlying WSJ article from last month — sorry that I missed it the first time around: "Some US law firms are tackling mental-health issues head-on. They're offering on-site psychologists, training staff to spot problems and incorporating mental-health support alongside other wellness initiatives." (Subscription required.)

16. And finally here are a few more stories from the end of last week that report on the release of NALP's 2017 Associate Salary Survey:

    a. "Median pay for new associates doesn't budge from 2015," 06.02.17. (ABA Journal)

    b. "Top pay for new lawyers in Pittsburgh $165K, but still lags US rate," 06.02.17. (Pittsburgh Business Times)

    c. "Newly Minted Lawyers Can Find Sweet Spots in US Labor Market," 06.02.17. (Bloomberg)




June 2, 2017

1. "Despite Jump to $180K for Big Law Associates, Median Salary Stalls," 06.01.17.
Karen Sloan, writing for The American Lawyer, reports on the release of NALP's 2017 Associate Salary Survey.

    a. "Associate Salaries Rise in Some Markets, But National Median Remains Unchanged," 06.01.17.
    You can read the NALP press release about the 2017 Associate Salary Survey here.

    b. "Landing BigLaw Pay Means Fishing A Small Pond," 06.01.17.
    Law360 reports on the NALP 2017 Associate Salary Survey: "While first-year associates at major-market BigLaw firms in 2016 saw starting annual salaries as high as $180,000, most of the country will have a long way to go to keep pace with such pay."

    c. "Pay Hikes Leave Some NY Lawyers on the Sidelines," 06.01.17.
    And the New York Law Journal reports on NALP's latest associate salary findings.

2. "Harvard Law Names New Dean," 06.01.17.
Law.com reports that John F. Manning has been named the next dean of Harvard Law School.

3. "LSAT Increasing Test Dates to Six Times Per Year," 06.01.17.
Law.com reports that the LSAC has announced that it will increase the number of times the LSAT is offered each year from four to six.

4. "On-demand lawyering is our future: What will it look like?," 06.01.17.
Dan Lear, the director of industry relations at Avvo, and writing here for the ABA Journal, contemplates a world where the practice of law looks more like Uber and less like a law firm: "leveraging technology really means to outsource those functions that others can do better, so lawyers can focus on using their highly tuned legal skill set in the most cost-effective manner."

5. "At least half of the lawyers in these nine states and jurisdictions aren't working as lawyers," 06.01.17.
The ABA Journal reports on analyses by Matt Leichter, who used ABA data to calculate a list of states and jurisdictions with the highest percentage of lawyers who aren't employed as attorneys. (See Leichter's blog post here.)

6. "Overhaul Proposed for How ABA Governs Law Schools," 05.31.17.
Law.com reports that the ABA is considering a reorganization under which "the duties of the existing Standards Review Committee and the law school Accreditation Committee would be transferred to the 21-member Council."

    a. "ABA Legal Ed Section exploring a reorganization that would save time and money," 06.01.17.
    More on this from the ABA Journal.

7. "California's Tough Bar Exam, Long a Point of Pride, Faces Pushback," 05.31.17.
Sara Randazzo, writing for The Wall Street Journal, reports that "with passing rates hitting historic lows, the state's law schools are pushing for a controversial change: lowering the score required to pass." (Subscription required.)

    a. "February Bar Exam by the Numbers: How Schools Fared," 05.31.17.
    The Recorder reports on the range of pass rates by California law schools for the February bar exam.

8. "The problem with value pricing," 05.31.17.
The latest from Jordan Furlong at Law21: "The billable hour is not hanging around because it is a brilliant pricing mechanism. It's hanging around because we haven't come up with anything equally simple but markedly better."

    a. "The rise of market pricing," 06.01.17.
    A follow-up post from Jordan Furlong at Law21: "I would argue that the legal sector has not been a functional 'market' in the traditional sense for most of its history."

9. "A High-Tech Helping Hand: The Marriage of Pro Bono and Technology," 05.31.17.
Legaltech News reports that "bar associations across the country are seeking technology platforms to help mobilize attorneys and create a more resilient legal assistance community."

10. "For Law Students with a Startup Streak, Cornell Is an Island Unto Itself," 05.31.17.
The New York Law Journal reports on the inaugural cohort of Cornell's LLM in law, technology, and entrepreneurship, the school's Manhattan-based technology program — "a first-of-its kind program designed to not only prepare lawyers to advise startup clients, but to gain experience building their own startups."

11. "The Law Schools Where The Most Graduates Got Government & Public Interest Jobs (2016)," 05.31.17.
Above the Law lists the top ten law schools that sent the highest percentage of their most recent graduating class into government and public interest work.

    a. "The Law Schools Where The Most Graduates Got State Clerkships (2016)," 06.01.17.
    And Above the Law lists the top ten law schools that sent the highest percentage of their graduating class into state clerkships.

12. "Chatting with Fish & Richardson's New D&I Chief," 05.31.17.
Bloomberg Law chats with NALP member (and chair of NALP's D&I section) Kia Scipio, the new diversity manager at Fish & Richardson.

13. "Judge Won't Halt Philadelphia's Salary History Law," 05.31.17.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that "a federal judge has denied a regional chamber of commerce's request to block a Philadelphia city ordinance banning employers from asking job applicants about their wage history."

14. "Northwestern considering GRE scores as an alternative to the LSAT," 05.30.17.
The ABA Journal reports that Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law is conducting a national study about the GRE's validity with ETS.

15. "Paternity-Leave Stigma at Law Firms Lifting, Ever So Slowly," 05.30.17.
Law.com reports that "in recent years, a number of big law firms…have beefed up their parental leave policies, in an effort to attract and retain top talent…at the leading edge of the trend…[firms] offered the same time regardless of gender or status as primary or secondary caregiver."

16. "Why UK Law Firms Are Still Caught Between Lockstep and a Hard Place," 05.30.17.
The American Lawyer reports that the presence of US firms operating in the UK continues to put pressure on Magic Circle firms to tinker with their lockstep compensation systems.

17. "The Legal Profession's 'Last Mile Problem'," 05.26.17.
Bill Henderson, writing for ALM in Law.com, tries to tackle the business problem facing law firms and corporate legal departments — finding "business models that will reliably reward lawyers and their organizations for quantum leaps in legal productivity."

18. "What Makes a Standout Law Firm Website? 3 Lessons From the Webbys," 05.26.17.
Legaltech News reports on the Webby Awards that went to the best designed law-based websites, and notes the three things that all of the winners have in common.

19. "As class sizes shrank, the number of ABA-accredited law schools remained mostly flat," 05.25.17.
The ABA Journal reports that according to analyses done by Bill Henderson, the average law school first-year class size has dropped from 262 in 2010 to just 182 in 2016, a 31 percent drop, and yet the number of ABA-accredited law schools has barely changed.

20. "The Assault on Colleges — and the American Dream," 05.25.17.
David Leonhardt, in an op-ed for The New York Times, writes that "the country's most powerful engine of upward mobility is under assault" as states continue to cut support for higher education and as a result, "public universities have responded by enrolling fewer poor and middle-class students — and replacing them with affluent students who can afford the tuition."

    a. "Top Colleges Doing the Most for the American Dream," 05.25.17.
    The New York Times publishes its third annual College Access Index based on institutions' commitment to economic diversity, with the top five spots going to University of California campuses.

    b. "Princeton — Yes, Princeton — Takes On the Class Divide," 05.30.17.
    More from David Leonhardt in The New York Times reporting on the rapid and dramatic strides Princeton has made to admit and support qualified low-income high school students.

21. "Law Firms & Diversity: A Continuing Struggle," 05.24.17.
The American Lawyer publishes its 2017 Diversity Scorecard, noting that "diversity among more than 200 of the largest firms in the country remained nearly flat between 2015 and 2016."

    a. "Meet the GCs Who May Finally Move the Needle on Diversity," 05.24.17.
    The American Lawyer reports that in 2016 "there was no change in the total percentage of African-American attorneys across all levels," and takes a look at some of the initiatives general counsel have taken in recent months to try to combat the stagnation in law firm diversity.

    b. "The Diversity Scorecard: The Rankings," 05.24.17.
    The American Lawyer reports that "for the fourth year in a row, White & Case has topped our annual Diversity Scorecard."

    c. "Law Firm Minority Demographics, Firm by Firm," 05.24.17.
    The American Lawyer publishes charts that show the percentages of African American, Asian-American, Hispanic and multiracial attorneys at top firms.

    d. "African-American lawyers don't share in BigLaw's diversity gains," 05.31.17.
    And the ABA Journal reports on the American Lawyer's Diversity Scorecard findings.

22. "Dechert Lets Multiple Associates Go After Performance Reviews," 05.24.17.
Above the Law reports that Dechert has laid off a number of attorneys across several offices.



May 26, 2017

1. "ABA seeks summary judgment in suit over lawyers dropped from loan forgiveness program," 05.25.17.
The ABA Journal reports that "the ABA filed a motion for summary judgment on Wednesday in its lawsuit against the US Department of Education for its decision to drop some lawyers from the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program."

2. "Millennials generation 'ushers in era of demanding clients and responsive lawyers'," 05.25.17.
Legal Futures talks to Jordan Furlong about what it will look like as millennial lawyers take over the leadership of law firms from retiring baby boomers.

3. "Exclusive Report: The 2017 Am Law 200," 05.24.17.
The American Lawyer publishes the numbers for the second hundred law firms ranked by gross revenue.

    a. "Profits Per Partner," 05.24.17.
    The American Lawyer reports that the Second Hundred grew PPP at 1.5 percent in 2016, compared to the 3 percent growth of the Am Law 100, and presents a ranking of all 200 firms by PPP.

    b. "The Am Law 200's 'Hollow Middle'," 05.24.17.
    The American Lawyer describes the precariously slow growth of the middle of the pack in the Am Law second hundred.

    c. "Am Law 200 Rankings Bring Bad News for Some NY Firms," 05.24.17.
    The New York Law Journal reports that "in contrast to the double-digit growth enjoyed by many top Wall Street firms, most New York firms in the bottom half of the Am Law 200 saw little to no expansion last year."

4. "One of Canada's Largest Firms Heads to New York," 05.24.17.
The American Lawyer reports that Toronto-based McCarthy Tétrault will open an office in New York "in an effort to capitalize on US clients looking to do business in Canada."

5. "Wanna Raise? Top Silicon Valley Counsel Give 8 Tips for Women Lawyers," 05.24.17.
The Recorder reports on the proceedings at an industry event in Silicon Valley that was focused on women and compensation in the legal industry, including "panelists' best tips for negotiating pay when either asking for a raise or jumping to a new job."

6. "Hoge Fenton Introduces Student Loan Repayment Benefit for Associates," 05.24.17.
According to a firm press release, this Silicon Valley firm will begin providing financial assistance with student loans for their associates through a third-party provider.

7. "The Law Firm Secondment: Thomson Reuters Explores a New Client Strategy," 05.24.17.
Legaltech News reports that Thomson Reuters has implemented a secondment program for the company's project and implementation managers: "intended as short-term, free of charge commitment, the goal would be similar to secondment programs for law firms with their corporate legal department clients."

8. "Trump's Bid to Axe Public Service Loan Forgiveness Would Sever Lifeline, Opponents Say," 05.24.17.
Karen Sloan, writing for Law.com, reports on reactions in the profession to the President's budget proposal that would "axe the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program."

9. "The New Short-Term Solution: Inside the Growing Legal Gig Economy," 05.23.17.
Legaltech News reports on the "Online Marketplace" model in the legal services industry, noting that "legal contract and temporary work has exploded as attorneys face layoffs and a desire for flexibility, but not all is rosy for startups in the space."

10. "US Companies Are Biggest Spenders on Legal Services Globally," 05.23.17.
Corporate Counsel reports on new market research that shows "companies in the United States spend 166 percent more on legal services per dollar of revenue compared to companies in other parts of the world."

11. "Saul Ewing, Arnstein & Lehr in Merger Talks," 05.23.17.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that "Philadelphia-based Saul Ewing and Chicago-based Arnstein & Lehr are in talks to combine."

12. "Managing Partners Frustrated by Slow Pace of Big Law Change, Survey Says," 05.23.17.
The American Lawyer reports on the findings of the ninth annual Altman Weil Law Firms in Transition Survey, noting that 65 percent of managing partners reported that resistance to change by their partners was one reason that firms are not doing more to respond to changes demanded by clients (that number was 44 percent just two years ago).

    a. "Law firm leaders report lawyer oversupply and 'chronically underperforming lawyers'," 05.24.17.
    More on the Altman Weil survey from the ABA Journal: 52% of respondents said their equity partners are not busy enough, and 25% said their associates do not have enough work.

13. "With New Lobbyists, Charlotte Law Disperses Federal Student Loans as School Year Ends," 05.22.17.
The National Law Journal reports that the US Department of Education has released federal loan money to some students at Charlotte School of Law.

    a. "Some Charlotte School of Law students receive federal loan money," 05.22.17.
    More on this from the ABA Journal.

14. "Trump Turmoil Tempers Law Firm Business Forecasts," 05.22.17.
The New York Law Journal reports that after cautious optimism following the elections in November, law firm leaders are increasingly pessimistic about the business climate and the demand for legal services as the potential for getting things done deteriorates in Washington.

15. "Inside the C-Suite: With Expanded Roles, COOs Gain Influence," 05.19.17.
The Legal Intelligencer reports on the rise of the law firm chief operating officer: "The future of law firms may lie in the hands of nonlawyers as experienced chief operating officers gain stature at firms of all sizes."


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