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.




January 23, 2015

1. "Dentons and China's Dacheng Poised for Historic Union," 01.22.15.
The Am Law Daily reports that Dentons and the largest firm in Asia are poised to become the largest global law firm by headcount.

    a. "Dentons, Dacheng Deal Sets Legal Industry Abuzz," 1.22.15.
    The Am Law Daily reports on reactions to the news of the tie-up that will lead to the world's largest law firm.

2. "Law Firm Leader Confidence Improves Again in 4th Quarter," 01.22.15.
The Am Law Daily reports that the latest survey data from Citi Private Bank Law Watch show that law firm leaders' confidence in the legal industry rose again in the fourth quarter of 2014.

    a. "Firms Hesitant To Hire New Associates Despite Work Increase," 01.21.15.
    Law360 reports that the new Citi data show that while more than 80 percent of law firm managing partners are optimistic about growing demand in the market for legal services, there is not a matching confidence in expanding associate hiring and lawyer headcount and managing partners remain cautious about bringing on new associates.

3. "Don't Make These Five Law Firm Merger Mistakes," 01.22.15.
With law firm mergers once again dominating the headlines, three lawyers offer these top five mistakes to avoid when considering potential law firm tie-up deals.

4. "Tough Times for Lawyers on Campus," 01.22.15.
Corporate Counsel provides this inside look at the job of in-house counsel at colleges and universities at a time when legal issues on campuses are multiplying and growing more complex.

5. "Nixon Peabody in Merger Talks With Chicago Firm," 01.21.15.
The Am Law Daily reports that Nixon Peabody is in negotiations to acquire Chicago's Ungaretti & Harris as early as February.

6. "A Partner for Second Time, Lawyer Reflects on Diversity," 01.21.15.
The Blog of Legal Times presents the story of a woman who left Big Law as a partner, raised a family, returned in an administrative role, and is now a Big Law partner once again.

7. "Two Am Law 200 Firms Seek Growth Through Mergers," 01.20.15.
The Am Law Daily reports on two Am Law 200 regional firms that are expanding their footprints by merging with smaller law firms.

8. "Weil Sees 'Strong Rebound Year'," 01.20.15.
In the first wave of reporting on 2014 law firm financial performance, the Am Law Daily reports that "after two consecutive years of profits per equity partner dipping by high single digits, Weil, Gotshal & Manges is reporting a 16.5 percent upswing for 2014, with PPP climbing to $2.4 million from $2.065 million — a level not seen since 2011."

9. "College Students Think They're Ready for the Work Force. Employers Aren't So Sure," 01.20.15.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on new survey research from the Association of American Colleges and Universities that highlights discrepancies between college students' sense of their own job-readiness and the assessment employers make about the job-readiness of recent college grads.

    a. "Well-Prepared in Their Own Eyes," 01.20.15.
    More on this from Inside Higher Ed: "Study finds big gaps between student and employer perceptions about career preparedness."

10. "At Some DC Firms, More Women Than Men Make Partner: Women accounted for half or more of new partners at eight of the largest firms," 01.19.15.
The National Law Journal reports that 14 DC area law firms advanced as many or more women than men to the partner level.

11. "Recovery means bigger bonuses at law firms," 01.17.15.
Crain's Chicago Business reports that "associates at Chicago law firms are enjoying the best bonus season since the recession."

12. "2015: The Year the Law School Crisis Ended (or Not) — Part II," 01.16.15.
Steven J. Harper, writing for the Am Law Daily, concludes his two-part series on why the law school crisis is not over: here he debunks a change in methodology at the Bureau of Labor Statistics that has made it appear as if the demand for new lawyers is about to take care of the jobs problem.

13. "Maine Law Finds Its Next Dean in Hawaii," 01.16.15.
The National Law Journal reports that the University of Maine School of Law has hired Danielle Conway, a professor at the University of Hawaii, to be its new law dean.

14. "Majority of US public school students are in poverty," 01.16.15.
The Washington Post reports that "for the first time in 50 years, a majority of US public school students come from low-income families."

15. "The High Risk of Flat-Fee Billing," 01.15.15.
A small firm lawyer writing for the New Jersey Law Journal provides a cautionary tale for larger firms on some of the downsides of flat-fee billing, something most small firms have used for a long time.



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.



January 16, 2015

1. "Lowering the Bar," 01.16.15.
Inside Higher Ed provides an in depth look at what is happening in law school admissions, reporting that "as the number of students going to law school drops dramatically, law schools are increasingly competing for students with lower undergraduate grades and LSAT scores," and noting that many schools are admitting candidates they may not have admitted in the past.

    a. "Getting Into Law School Is Easier Than It Used to Be, and That's Not Good," 01.06.15.
    More on this from Bloomberg Business Week, and the Tax Prof Blog (01.10.15): "The Troubling Decline of 25th Percentile LSAT Scores at 'Bottom-Feeder' Law Schools."

2. "Fewer and Fewer Students Are Applying to Law School," 01.15.15.
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has taken official notice of the plunging law school applicant pool.

3. "Law prof blasts 'downright predatory' poaching of his school's students; top transfer schools named," 01.15.15.
The ABA Journal reports on a feud that is brewing between a law professor at American University and the law school at GW, a school he accuses of engaging in a predatory and aggressive transfer program (he alleges that GW enrolled 97 transfer students, more than half of whom came from American). For more on the transfer student brouhaha see this Tax Prof Blog post.

4. "The November Jobs Data: Good News for Law Grads (and Law Schools)," 01.15.15.
The Tax Prof Law Blog reports on new BLS JOLTS data that suggest rising job openings for lawyers, but offers plenty of caveats.

5. "Big Law and Me: Aric Press Reflects," 01.14.15.
A very thoughtful and very smart piece from Aric Press as he leaves ALM and The American Lawyer after 16 years at the helm. (Subscription required.)

6. "Come Too Far," 01.14.15.
As we head into the Martin Luther King holiday weekend here, this is a nice Huffington Post piece from Vern? Myers, reflecting on her experience watching the movie Selma: "We must find our own gift, our own sphere of influence and do whatever we can to give voice to those who have none, to agitate, to inspire, to educate, to support, and to work until each piece of this multi-faceted monster of inequality is rendered powerless."

7. "William Mitchell launches new law school hybrid, welcomes 85 students for 1 week of on-campus class," 01.14.15.
The ABA Journal reports that William Mitchell College of Law has opened the classroom doors to the first part-time JD program in the country that will mostly be conducted online (the law school received a special variance from the ABA to experiment with this new model).

    a. "First Day of Class for Hybrid JD," 01.13.15,
    More on this from Inside Higher Ed.

8. "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Lawyers," 01.13.15.
And here's another Huffington Post piece, from a family lawyer, entrepreneur and mother of two, who recounts the tough plight of many recent law school grads but ultimately concludes it is still the right career path for some.

9. "5 once-prestigious jobs that are now B-list," 01.13.15.
Lawyers top this MarketWatch list of jobs that were once brass ring but have since lost their luster.

10. "Low pay blamed for high turnover among public defenders: State commission says meager salaries for Mass. Prosecutors and public defenders waste lots of money," 01.13.15.
The Boston Globe reports on a new report from the Massachusetts Bar Association that finds that public defenders in the state are paid the lowest salaries in the country, and that as a result high turnover brings the state the added costs of constantly searching for replacements.

11. "California Incubator Grants Put Young Lawyers to Work," 01.13.15.
The National Law Journal reports that the California Commission on Access to justice has announced $185,000 in grants to help law graduates jumpstart their careers while providing low-cost legal help to those who cannot otherwise afford to hire a lawyer.

12. "In 2015, Law Practice Will Change but the Risks Remain," 01.12.15.
Two law firm partners, writing for the Daily Report, identify some of the primary risks facing law firms in 2015, including cyberattacks, increasingly complex conflicts of interest due to high lateral mobility, changes in the malpractice insurance marketplace, ongoing merger and consolidation activity, and ongoing upheaval wrought by rapidly changing technology.

13. "Firms Seeking to Increase Diversity Should Look to Public Sector," 01.12.15.
A lawyer writing for The Legal Intelligencer makes the case that if Big Law really wants to make diversity inroads it should hire midlevel and senior lawyers from the public sector.

14. "At Georgetown Law, efforts to close gap between law, tech," 01.11.15.
The Washington Post reports that Georgetown Law Center is partnering with MIT "to create a pipeline of future policymakers that are well versed in both law and technology," through coursework that pairs law students with engineering students to find solutions for complex policy problems.

15. "Latham, Littler Launch Back Office Operations," 01.09.15.
The Am Law Daily reports that two additional Big Law firms have announced plans to open back office operation centers in low cost locales: Latham will open a business services office in Manchester, England, and Littler will open a global services center in Kansas City.

    a. "To Cut Expenses, More Firms Are Opening Back Offices," 01.05.15.
    The American Lawyer reports that dozens of large law firms either have already or will soon open operation centers in low cost regions, often receiving local tax credits and other financial incentives along the way.

16. "Legal Sector Shows Modest Job Gain for December," 01.09.15.
The Am Law Daily parses the BLS labor statistics for December and finds that the legal sector added 500 jobs for the month, but since the start of the year the legal sector has lost 2,500 jobs.

17. "2015: The Year the Law School Crisis Ended (or Not) — Part I," 01.09.15.
Steven J. Harper, writing for the Am Law Daily, argues that law schools are not yet out of the woods — in fact they are anything but despite recent assurances that the worst has now passed schools by.

18. "Chinese-Speaking Attorneys In Demand for US Work," 01.09.15.
Today's General Counsel reports that an increase in Chinese investment in the US has led to an increase in demand for US attorneys with Chinese language skills. And see this related story from Crain's Chicago Business (01.03.15), "Why Chicago law firms are learning Mandarin."

19. "Law Firms Must Find 'Where the Puck is Going to Be,' Study Says," 01.09.15.
The Blog of Legal Times reports on the publication of the Georgetown Law Center for the Study of the Legal Profession/Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor 2015 Report on State of the Legal Market, noting that while profits are generally up, the legal market is still stagnant. You can read the full report here.

20. "Indiana University law professor William Henderson named 'most influential' person in legal ed," 01.08.15.
The ABA Journal reports that the National Jurist magazine has named Bill Henderson as the year's most influential person in legal education.

21. "What Ruth Bader Ginsburg Taught Me About Being a Stay-at-Home Dad: A young lawyer puts his former boss's ideals into practice," 01.08.15.
A lovely article by a former SCOTUS clerk in this month's The Atlantic chronicling his decision to take a stint as a stay-at-home dad.


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.



January 9, 2015

1. "Higher-Ed Groups Seek a More-Complete Picture of Post-College Outcomes," 01.09.15.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that three major higher-education groups have launched the Post-Collegiate Outcomes Initiative, a project that seeks to guide public discussions of the value of a college education.

    a. "Measuring Substance," 01.09.15.
    More on this from Inside Higher Ed: "the framework attempts to lay out which areas matter most in determining what students get out of attending college."

2. "Patent Litigation Is Down, But Trolls Take a Big Share," 01.09.15.
Corporate Counsel reports that patent litigation fell 29 percent in 2014 from the previous year, with the high tech sector accounting for 63.3 percent of all patent litigation (the medical field, the next highest sector, accounted for 15.9 percent).

3. "Skadden Once Again Steals the Show in M&A Rankings," 01.08.15.
The Am Law Daily reports that Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has placed first in three separate year-end global M&A rankings.

4. "A Glimpse Into Wachtell's Mysterious Billing Structure," 01.08.15.
The Am Law Daily provides a fascinating look at the unique billing practices of M&A giant Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

5. "UNLV Law Betting on First Gambling Industry LL.M.," 01.08.15.
The National Law Journal reports that the first masters program in gambling law will debut in the fall at the William S. Boyd School of Law in Las Vegas.

6. "Access to Justice: The Rural Lawyer Gap," 01.08.15.
The Daily Report provides this special report on the absence of lawyers in rural Georgia.

7. "Dentons Snags First Tie-Up of 2015 After Another Active Year for Firm Mergers," 01.07.15.
The Am Law Daily reports on 2014 year-end law firm merger data and analysis released this week by the consultancy Altman Weil: "combinations were off 7 percent from their record-setting mark in 2013....last year saw 82 tie-ups — mostly among smaller to mid-sized firms — to record the second-highest annual total for mergers to date."

8. "Cardozo's Diller to Become New Dean of Fordham Law," 01.06.15.
The New York Law Journal reports that Matthew Diller, dean at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, will become the next dean at Fordham Law School.

9. "USC Law Hires Berkeley Professor Guzman as Its Next Dean," 01.06.15.
The National Law Journal reports that the University of Southern California Gould School of Law has named Andrew Guzman, a professor and associate dean at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, as its new dean.

10. "Study Looks At How to Get a Law Degree For Less," 01.06.15.
Karen Sloan, writing for The National Law Journal, reports on research on law school net costs presented Monday at the AALS conference by St. Thomas law professor Jerry Organ, including new empirical support for the long-standing critique that students with lower LSAT scores often pay more for their legal education in order to subsidize scholarships for students with higher LSAT scores.

    a. "Law Schools in Bidding Wars for Students," 01.08.15.
    And ALM's Careerist blogger Vivia Chen weighs in on some of the implications of Jerry Organ's research.

11. "Ginsburg — and Reform — Highlight Law School Gathering," 01.05.15.
The National Law Journal reviews highlights from the four-day AALS annual meeting that concluded on Monday, including an appearance by US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and sessions designed to address legal education's current challenges.

12. "Hiring a New Partner Is Just the Start With Laterals," 01.06.15.
Writing for The Recorder, a consultant provides a primer on successful lateral partner integration.

13. "Billing Rates Rise, Discounts Abound: A 10 percent increase is offset by price cuts," 01.05.15.
The National Law Journal reports on its latest law firm billing data, and provides this chart (subscription required) with the 50 firms that charged the highest average hourly rates for partners.

14. "How Bingham Failed: The Inside Story," 01.05.15.
The American Lawyer provides insight into the failure of Bingham McCutchen, noting that a colossal failure of management was compounded by "the limits of acquisition as a growth strategy; the danger of overreliance on countercyclical practices; [and] the cutthroat nature of the lateral market." (Subscription required.)

15. "Pro Bono Hot List," 01.05.15.
The National Law Journal publishes its annual hot list of ten firms that made exemplary contributions in providing access to justice.

16. "The Big Boys Make $10 Million — How About You?," 01.05.14.
The American Lawyer looks at the growing divide between equity partners at Am Law 100 firms who make $10 million or more a year and those who do not.

17. "For Six Am Law Firms, New Leadership; For Their Outgoing Leaders, New Chapters," 01.05.15.
The Am Law Daily reports on leadership changes taking effect at six Am Law 100 firms with the beginning of the new year.

18. "Perceptions of Race at a Glance: A MacArthur Grant Winner Tries to Unearth Biases to Aid Criminal Justice," 01.05.15.
The New York Times reports on the work of Jennifer Eberhardt, an associate professor of psychology at Stanford University, who studies the effects of unconscious bias on the criminal justice system.

19. "Racial Bias, Even When We Have Good Intentions," 01.03.15.
A social scientist at Harvard, writing for The New York Times, looks at "an impressive body of research" that supports the proposition that "widespread discrimination is not necessarily a sign of conscious prejudice."

20. "Finding Hybrids in the Legal Industry," 01.02.15.
Law Technology Today reports on the emergence of lawyer-entrepreneurs and predicts they are the future.

21. "Washington state moves around UPL, using legal technicians to help close the justice gap," 01.01.15.
The January issue of the ABA Journal takes a look at some of the first graduates of Washington State's Limited License Legal Technicians — non-law school graduates who will be allowed to practice law in limited ways — initially in family law — and the impact that this new program (and possibly others like it) might eventually have on helping to close the justice gap.



December 31, 2014

This is the last NALP news roundup of the year and our normal weekly Friday publication schedule will resume on January 9.

1. "Does the UK know something we don't about alternative business structures?," 01.01.15.
The ABA Journal takes a look at the impact alternative business structures are having on the delivery of legal services in the UK, and speculates about what that might mean for the US. For more on this take a look at this ABA Journal infographic, "The UK's alternative firms are reshaping legal services," that shows among other things that 33.5% of all personal injury claims in the UK are now handled by ABS.

2. "Pricing it Right: Restructuring Billing," 12.31.14.
Law Technology News takes this year-end look at the billing challenges facing law firms: "Big Law mints new professionals and yearns for technology to solve billing woes."

3. "Death Penalty Expert Entzeroth Named Dean at Tulsa," 12.30.14.
The National Law Journal reports that the University of Tulsa College of Law has named Lyn Entzeroth as its next dean.

4. "How can I get on the path to making partner?," 12.30.14.
The Recorder's Lawyer Whisperer Julie Brush talks with a Big Law staff attorney who wants to get on the partnership track.

5. "Legal Educators Gathering to Set the Agenda for 2015," 12.29.14.
The National Law Journal speaks with incoming AALS President and dean of George Washington University Law School Blake Morant about the association's upcoming annual conference taking place later this week in Washington, DC.

6. "Asian-American Lawyers: Doing Great — and Unhappy," 12.29.14.
Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, looks at the plight of Asian-American lawyers who are ostensibly succeeding in the profession yet reporting low levels of satisfaction.

7. "Law Schools: Growth, Retrenchment," 12.29.14.
The National Law Journal provides this year-in-review look back at law school news, including declining enrollment, the growth of new law school buildings, and the updated ABA standards for the approval of law schools.

8. "Why law school enrollment is way down," 12.26.14.
NPR's Marketplace spotlights falling US law school enrollment.

9. "The Best Lawyers Money Can Buy," 12.25.14.
This Christmas Day editorial from The New York Times Editorial Board argues that as US Supreme Court cases are increasingly handled by a shrinking group of elite lawyers, "justice at the highest court in the land becomes less accessible every day."

10. "MBA Programs Start to Follow Silicon Valley Into the Data Age," 12.25.14.
The New York Times reports that business schools, under the gun to make changes to the curriculum, have started to take some of their cues from Silicon Valley, noting that "graduate business schools have picked up the digital ethos of experimentation and new ventures."

11. "Law Firm Leaders See Jumps, Bumps in 2015," 12.24.14.
The Recorder reports that for 2015 "law firm leaders and consultants project a fat year for transactional work and a lean one for litigation."

12. "Cooley law school seeks to sell a building in downtown Lansing," 12.24.14.
The ABA Journal reports that Western Michigan University's Thomas M. Cooley Law School is trying to sell a building in Lansing that last hosted law school classes in 2008 (the Journal reports that in 2010 Cooley had enrollment of about 4,000 students but that 2013 enrollment had fallen below 2,500 [and to just 1,754 this fall]).

13. "Don't Look Now, but There's a Startup Frenzy Up North: Swamped (as always) by flashier goings-on in the US, Canada's new companies are making waves," 12.24.14.
Corporate Counsel provides this market report on Canada's resurgent tech industry.

14. "For Recent Black College Graduates, a Tougher Road to Employment," 12.24.14.
The New York Times reports that black college graduates are suffering a far higher unemployment rate that their white peers: "Among recent graduates ages 22 to 27, the jobless rate for blacks last year was 12.4 percent versus 4.9 percent for whites....this 7.5 percentage point difference was far greater that before the recession."

15. "Law school faculty numbers shrink 11 percent since 2010; which schools shed the most full-timers?," 12.22.14.
The ABA Journal reports on Matt Leichter's presentation and analysis of shrinking law faculty numbers school by school, noting that several are down by more than 50%. Leichter's original 12/18 blog post can be found here. For even more on this from Paul Campos go here.

16. "New Leaders at law firm Pillsbury Winthrop experiment with changes to business model," 12.21.14.
The Washington Post reports on some of the ways that the newly merged firm is experimenting in order to make the firm more efficient and productive, including by hiring more staff attorneys, sending more lawyers to its back office operations center in Nashville, and by hiring more non-lawyer professionals.



Week Ending December 19, 2014

1. "Law Schools Firing Up Marijuana Law Classes," 12.22.14.
The National Law Journal reports on the rapid growth of new law school classes on marijuana law and policy.

2. "Bonus babies: Why big end-of-year payouts for junior attorneys are a double-edged sword," 12.20.14.
The Economist weighs in on the latest round of law firm associate bonuses, noting that salaries have been flat since 2007 and that by shifting the balance toward more variable pay, partners are sharing more of the risk with associates. ("Even after this year's boost, bonuses for first-years are just a third of what they were in 2007. That reflects their declining value: clients who once subsidized junior associates' on-the-job training now refuse to pay for rote work that can be automated or outsourced.")

3. "The Women Partner Watch Honor Roll," 12.17.14.
The American Lawyer publishes its honor roll lists of law firms whose new partner classes were at least 30% women in each of the last two or three years, noting that while the percentage of women being promoted to partner has increased, law firms still have a "spotty" record on this issue.

4. "Can a new breed of firms solve the attrition problem for women in the legal industry?," 12.17.14.
The ABA Journal's Legal Rebels column asks whether the emerging new model law firms might create more hospitable work environments for women.

5. "McDermott Opens Shanghai Data Center," 12.17.14.
In a sign of the times, Law Technology News reports that McDermott Will and Emery has opened a data center in Shanghai that will provide legal and technical discovery services in China.

6. "5 Things We Know About College Students in 2014," 12.17.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights some new survey research about what current college students are really like.

7. Lawyer Career Coach Highlights 'Positivity'," 12.17.14.
The Daily Report takes note of consultant Debby Stone's session on lawyer well-being and performance at NALP's 2014 Professional Development Institute, held earlier this month in Washington, DC.

8. "Law School Enrollment Continues Historic Decline," 12.16.14.
The National Law Journal reports on the fall law school enrollment figures released by the ABA this week, noting that "the fall 2014 entering class is the smallest since 1973. That statistic is even more striking considering there are 204 ABA-accredited law schools now compared with 151 in 1974. Similarly, the total number of JD students nationwide is the lowest since 1987, when there were only 175 law schools."

    a. "1L enrollment drops nearly 30 percent from 2010 high; when were figures last so low?," 12.16.14.
    More on this from the ABA Journal. Read the ABA Press Release here.

    b. "A Steep Slide in Law School Enrollment Accelerates," 12.17.14.
    The New York Times reports on the ABA law school enrollment figures, noting that "the 37,924 full- and part-time students who started classes in 2014 represent a 30 percent decline from just four years ago, when enrollment peaked at 52,488."

    c. The Chronicle of Higher Education ("Enrollment at Law Schools Continues Downward Slide," 12.16.14) and Inside Higher Ed ("Law School Enrollments Continue Their Free Fall," 12.17.14) take note of the decline in law school enrollment.

    d. "Law School Got Real Unpopular Real Fast," 12.17.14.
    Even Gawker jumped on the new ABA enrollment numbers.

9. "Delaying Exams Is Not a Request from 'Coddled Millennials'," 12.15.14.
A third-year Harvard law student writing for The National Law Journal argues that requests for exam extensions from students as a result of the difficult grand jury decisions in New York and Missouri "are not being made from a position of weakness, but rather from one of strength and critical awareness."

    a. "Stop Babying Law Students," 12.15.14.
    And a New York attorney, writing for the New York Law Journal, offers a counterpoint.

10. "Law Firms' Profit Projected to Grow by 5% in 2015," 12.15.14.
In case you missed it last week, The Wall Street Journal Law Blog covers the highlights of the latest client advisory by Citi Private Bank and Hildebrandt Consulting. (A PDF copy of the full Citi/Hildebrandt client advisory can be found here.)

11. "Millennials exit the federal workforce as government jobs lose their allure," 12.15.14.
The Washington Post reports that "the share of the federal workforce under the age of 30 dropped to 7 percent this year, the lowest figure in nearly a decade....overall, about a quarter of the American labor force is younger than 30, more than three times the proportion that works for the federal government."

12. "Uncle Sam's Getting Stingy With Lawyers: At $500M, contract work continues to decline," 12.15.14.
In a special report, The National Law Journal documents that the overall federal government spend with legal services contractors generally and with law firms specifically continues to decline, with the 2014 spend reaching levels not seen since 2008 (spending with law firms dropped 33.3% from 2013).

13. "Grad's $10M Gift is Santa Clara Law's Largest on Record," 12.15.14.
The National Law Journal reports that "Santa Clara University School of Law has received $10 million from alumnus and Cisco Systems Inc. senior vice president Howard Charney and his wife, Alida."

14. "The Rise and Fall of a Rainmaker," 12.12.15.
The New York Times provides a harrowing and riveting cautionary tale as it reports on the personal bankruptcy filing of former Dewey partner John J. Altorelli, who, the WSJ reports, was responsible for $33 million dollars in annual revenue at Dewey, earned $6 million in compensation in 2011, and was offered a contract in 2011 promising $5 million a year for the next three years.

15. "Four Charts That Explain Why America Has Too Many Law Schools," 12.12.15.
Bloomberg Businessweek is on the case. (And they are not wrong — the bar passage graphic is sobering.)

16. "The Bingham Case Study: Part II," 12.12.14.
Steven J. Harper, writing for the Am Law Daily, completes his post-mortem on the Bingham dissolution.

17. "British Columbia Rejects Christian University's Bid to Create Law School," 12.12.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the government of British Columbia has revoked its approval of Trinity Western University's bid to create a law school ("students and faculty there must sign an agreement to refrain from sexual relationships that violate the 'sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman'"). The government had approved the new school but rescinded approval after the Law Society of British Columbia said it would deny the school accreditation. (Read more on this at CBC News: "School cannot enroll students in planned law program, mired in controversy over stance on homosexuality.")

18. "How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them," November, 2014.
From TED: "Our biases can be dangerous, even deadly — as we've seen in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, in Staten Island, New York. Diversity advocate Vern? Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups. She makes a plea to all people: Acknowledge your biases. Then move toward, not away from, the groups that make you uncomfortable. In a funny, impassioned, important talk, she shows us how."



Week Ending December 12, 2014

1. "Report: Legal Market Stabilizes, Poised for Growth in 2015," 12.11.4.
The Am Law Daily reports on the content of the 2015 Client Advisory issued by Citi Private Bank, a report that finds the demand for legal services is likely to increase modestly in the coming years, but warns that law firms will face continued competition from nontraditional legal services providers.

2. "Sullivan & Cromwell, Cleary Meet Davis Polk on Associate Bonuses," 12.11.14.
The Am Law Daily report that "the associate bonus frenzy continues," noting that Sullivan & Cromwell and Cleary have now matched associate bonus levels announced previously by current market leader Davis Polk & Wardwell.

3. "Study Gauges the Stress of Waiting for Bar Exam Results," 12.11.14.
The National Law Journal reports that a pair of psychologists at the University of California have released a study of the emotional states of law graduates waiting for the California Bar Exam results.

4. "Big Law Still Makes Too Few Women Partners," 12.10.14.
The American Lawyer documents the slow (albeit slowly improving) progress in making women partners in the Am Law 200, and Aric Press says it is not enough.

5. "ABA OKs First Outpost of Legal Academia in Alaska," 12.10.14.
The National Law Journal reports that the ABA has signed off on Seattle University School of Law's plans to open a satellite campus at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage (only third-year students will be eligible to take classes in Anchorage during the spring and fall semesters, although first- and second-years may study there over the summer).

6. "2016 Grads Shouldn't Take Comfort in New Jobs Projection Approach," 12.10.14.
Matt Leichter, writing here for the Am Law Daily, argues that students should not take comfort in the Bureau of Labor Statistics new more aggressive methodology for calculating lawyer job creation based on lawyer turnover and anticipated vacancies.

7. "Managing Partner Confidence in Legal Industry Slowly Grows," 12.09.14.
The Am Law Daily reports on the latest survey by the Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group, noting that law firm managing partners showed slightly more confidence in the legal industry in the third quarter compared with the previous quarter.

8. "Duncan School of Law Wins Provisional ABA Accreditation," 12.09.14.
The National Law Journal reports that "Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law has won provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association."

    a. "Tennessee University's Law School Wins Long-Sought Accreditation," 12.09.14.
    More on this from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

9. "Columbia's Law School Lets Students Postpone Exams Due to Grand Jury Decisions," 12.08.14.
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports that "Columbia University Law School is allowing its students to reschedule their exams if they feel traumatized by the recent grand jury decisions in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases."

    a. "Columbia Law Students Get Exam Flexibility for Trauma on Grand Juries," 12.09.14.
    More on this from Inside Higher Ed.

    b. "Minority Push to Delay Finals Spreads to Georgetown Law," 12.09.14.
    The National Law Journal reports that "a group called Students of Color at Georgetown University Law Center on Monday issued a call for diversity-related reforms and requested exam extensions" for students who have been "psychologically affected by recent events."

    c. "Harvard Law Students Join Drive to Delay Final Exams," 12.09.14.
    The National Law Journal reports that law students at Harvard and Georgetown are also pushing to delay law school final examinations in light of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.

    d. "Law Students Speak Out Against Grand Jury Decisions," 12.09.14.
    The New York Law Journal reports that "law students and faculty across the state are speaking out against the recent grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers involved in the deaths of unarmed black men in New York and Missouri."

10. "A Targeted Approach to Adding Women Partners: The number of female equity holders is woefully low and requires law firms to articulate set goals," 12.08.14.
The chief diversity officer at Norton Rose, writing for The National Law Journal, talks about the importance of setting specific targets for leadership representation by women, and about the importance of making those goals public: Norton Rose has announced "global diversity and inclusion targets of 30 percent female partners and 30 percent female partners on all board and management committees globally by 2020."

11. "InfiLaw's Acquisition of Charleston Law Hits Snag at ABA," 12.08.14.
The National Law Journal reports that at its meeting earlier this week, the ABA's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar deferred action on InfiLaw's request for its acquiescence in its proposed purchase of the Charleston Law School, leaving the deal in limbo until the venture capital-backed corporation can secure the approval of state regulators.

12. "Legal Sector Jobs Hold Steady in November," 12.05.14.
The Am Law Daily reports that based on the latest USBLS numbers, the number of jobs in the legal sector remained flat in November, maintaining its net loss of 3,000 jobs for the year.

13. "Gowlings ends billable hours bonus for associates," 12.04.14.
The Financial Post reports that "Gowling Lafleur Henderson will no longer provide bonuses for associates based on their billable hours...part of an overall effort to focus on value and alternative billing arrangements to satisfy client demand."

14. "The Bingham Case Study — Part I," 12.04.14.
The first part of a two-part post-mortem on Bingham by the irrepressible Steven J. Harper, writing here for the Am Law Daily.




Week Ending December 5, 2014

1. "Three Law Schools Reap Gifts Galore," 12.04.14.
The National Law Journal reports that the law schools at William and Mary, Duke, and Arizona State have each received gifts of more than $1 million.

2. "Boutique Firms and Millennial Attorneys Join Forces," 12.04.14.
The Daily Business Review argues that boutique law firms are poised to provide unique value to corporate law departments by "providing strategic legal services at reasonable prices with multigenerational talent."

3. "Hiring Laterals With an Eye on Business Prospects," 12.04.14.
A consultant, writing here for The Recorder, writes about the increasing role that business development experts are playing in vetting lateral candidates.

4. "Firms Predict Modest 2014, But Layoffs Less of a Threat," 12.02.14.
The Legal Intelligencer reports on the results of its 19th annual Managing Partners Survey, finding that law firm leaders are predicting a more tempered end to 2014 (compared to a "surprisingly" strong finish in 2013).

5. "Regulatory Work Strong in 2014, Law Firm Leaders Say," 12.02.14.
The Legal Times reports that law firm leaders gathered at the National Law Journal's Regulatory Summit agreed that regulatory work continues to be a growth area for law firms right now, despite Congressional gridlock.

6. "HRC's LGBT Rankings Tout Top Firms, But Still No Boies Schiller," 12.02.14.
More analysis from The American Lawyer of the latest HRC law firm ratings in the 2015 Corporate Quality Index.

7. "Law School Is Buyer's Market, With Top Students in Demand," 12.01.14.
The New York Times reports that amidst plummeting law school applications, law schools are in "hand to hand combat" with each other for students.

8. "Law School's 3Ls Ineligible To Take July Bar Exam," 12.01.14.
The National Law Journal reports that "the inaugural class of students at the Concordia University School of Law [in Idaho]...won't be able to sit for the July 2015 bar exam because the school has not yet been accredited by the American Bar Association."

9. "Locke Lord, Edwards Wildman Partners Approve Merger," 12.01.14.
The Am Law Daily reports that partners at Locke Lord and Edwards Wildman Palmer voted last week to form a 1,000-lawyer law firm that will have annual gross revenue of $675 million.

10. "Law Firm Billing Gets Smart With Tech," 12.01.14.
Law Technology News takes a look at the latest developments in law firm billing software, noting that "billing data and technology at law firms support smart pitches to clients and alternative fee arrangements."

11. "Pricing It Right: Restructuring Billing," 12.01.12.
More on the changes happening in the law firm billing world from Law Technology News.

12. "IBM's Watson Coming to a Firm Near You," 12.01.14.
Law Technology News also reports that IBM is deploying resources to rollout law-facing Watson applications — utilizing its "cognitive platform" to deliver everything from automated associates to predictive analytics.

13. "2014 What's Hot and Not in the Legal Profession," 12.01.14.
Attorney at Work delivers Robert Denny's 26th annual trends report on what's hot in law practice: red hot practice areas include intellectual property, federal false claims, labor & employment, and technology; hot areas include anti-corruption, litigation, inversion, environmental, energy, white-collar crime, health care, and IPOs; and the getting hot list includes elder law, gay marriage rights, and immigration.

14. "Even Among Harvard Graduates, Women Fall Short of Their Work Expectations," 11.28.14.
The New York Times Upshot column looks at a new study of Harvard Business School alumni that found that men's careers continue to take precedence over women's careers even when women have the same high expectations as men.

15. "Bar Pass Rate Plummets to 10-Year Low," 11.24.14.
The Recorder reports that the bar pass rate in California for the most recent July exam was just 48.6%, representing a 10-year low.

16. "Is Harvard Unfair to Asian-Americans?," 11.24.14.
A teacher at Harvard, writing for The New York Times, takes a look at the numbers behind the most recent legal challenge to affirmative action, concluding that in order to get into top schools, Asian-Americans need SAT scores that are about 140 points higher than those of their white peers.

17. "Law School President Quits After Just 8 Days," 11.24.14.
The National Law Journal reports that "the newly appointed president of the Charleston School of Law has resigned after eight days, apparently as a result of infighting among the school's three owners and uncertainty over its potential sale."

18. "Making Law School a Place for People Who Know What They Want to Do," 11.24.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education recaps its conversation with the new dean at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law.

19. "Are 2016 law grads in luck? New stats say lawyer jobs will exceed graduates that year," 11.19.14.
The ABA Journal reports that "the Bureau of Labor Statistics has changed the way it calculates job openings in the legal profession, producing a rosy outlook for law grads in 2016."

20. Associate Bonus headline roundup:

    a. "Once Again, Boies Schiller Showers Associates With Extra Cash," 12.03.14. (The Am Law Daily)

    b. "Boies Schiller to pay as much as $350K to associates in end-of-year bonuses," 12.03.14. (ABA Journal)

    c. "Big Law Firms Bring Back Hefty Bonuses for Associates," 12.02.14. (New York Times)

    d. "Davis Polk ups bonus ante for midlevel associates by $10K as more firms follow Simpson's lead," 12.01.14. (ABA Journal)

    e. "More firms, including Cravath, jump on BigLaw bonus bandwagon; Skadden says some will get $110K," 11.25.14. (ABA Journal)

    f. "Skadden's Senior Associate Bonuses Top the Market — For Now," 11.25.14. (Am Law Daily)

    g. "More BigLaw firms match Simpson bonuses of $15K to $100K," 11.24.14. (ABA Journal)

    h. "Simpson Thacher Sets High Bar With Associate Bonuses," 11.21.14. (Am Law Daily)

21. Bingham/Morgan Lewis headline roundup:

    a. "Morgan-Bingham Deal Takes Hold in California," 12.01.14. (The Recorder)

    b. "Morgan Lewis Finalizes Bingham Deal, Adds 510 Lawyers," 11.25.14. (The Legal Intelligencer)

    c. "More than 750 Bingham partners, lawyers and staffers are going to Morgan Lewis," 11.24.14. (ABA Journal)

    d. "Morgan Lewis Finalizes Bingham McCutchen Deal," 11.24.14. (The Am Law Daily)

    e. "Morgan Lewis Offers 300 Bingham Professionals Full-Time Jobs," 11.21.14. (The Legal Intelligencer)

    f. "Bingham's Kentucky Staffers Face Layoffs, Uncertain Future," 11.20.14. (Am Law Daily)



Week Ending November 14, 2014

1. "Revenues, Hours and Profits Rise at Largest Firms," 11.13.14.
The Am Law Daily reports that third quarter Wells Fargo data show law firm revenues and demand increasing over the first nine months of the year.

2. "Deal Work Gives Midsized Firms Hope for Strong 2014 Finish," 11.13.14.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that "many midsized firms are reporting steady year-over-year growth as fiscal year 2014 begins to wrap up."

3. "Seven Career Paths for Lawyers in the New Norm," 11.13.14.
The Recorder looks at emerging careers for those trained as lawyers, looking at everything from virtual lawyering to the new and developing law firm roles of pricing director and information governance.

4. "Financial Pressures Ease on Students, Studies Say," 11.13.14.
The New York Times reports that new research suggests that "after years of steep increases in college prices and student debt...the real costs of college and student borrowing have leveled off."

    a. "Tuition and Borrowing Growth Slows," 11.13.14.
    More on this from Inside Higher Ed.

5. "Average Debt at Graduation Rises Again," 11.13.14.
Meanwhile, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the average debt at graduation rose 2 percent for the Class of 2013 compared to the previous graduating class.

    a. "Student Debt Rises Again," 11.13.14.
    And more on this from Inside Higher Ed.

6. "Court of Appeals Delays Adoption of New Bar Exam," 11.13.14.
The New York Law Journal reports that New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has announced that the decision about whether or not to adopt the Uniform Bar Exam in New York will be delayed past the initial July 2015 target for rollout. (Note that the NALP Board of Directors submitted a comment in favor of NY's adoption of the UBE because it makes the law license of new attorneys portable; the comment period has now been extended to March 1, 2015.)

7. "Closing the Law School Gender Gap," 11.12.14.
Inside Higher Ed reports on a new article in the Journal of Legal Education that suggests "common professional school pedagogies, such as the Socratic and adversarial methods, may put women at a disadvantage when class sizes are big."

8. "In Bingham McCutchen Deal, the Ball Rests in Morgan Lewis's Court," 11.11.14.
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports that partners at Bingham have voted to approve the proposed merger with Morgan, and that the timing of a vote by Morgan's partners is uncertain.

    a. "Morgan Lewis trying to lock in Bingham rainmakers before agreeing to merger," 11.12.14.
    More on this from the Philadelphia Business Journal.

    b. "Bingham Malpractice Accord Smoothed Way for Morgan Lewis Talks," 11.12.14.
    And even more analysis of the potential Bingham/Morgan tie-up from the Am Law Daily.

9. "Supreme Court Is Last Hope for Affirmative-Action Critics in 'Fisher' Case," 11.12.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has denied an en banc rehearing of the Fisher affirmative action case, paving a possible pathway back to the US Supreme Court.

    a. "Texas Affirmative Action Case Could Return to High Court," 11.12.13.
    More on this from Law.com.

10. "Elevated Level of Part-Time Employment: Post-Recession Norm?," 11.12.14.
The Wall Street Journal suggests that the increased level of "involuntary part time work" — those who would prefer to work more than 34 hours a week but are stuck in a part-time job — may be a relatively permanent feature of the post-recession economy. (Subscription required.)

11. "UGA Selects New Law School Dean," 11.12.14.
The Recorder reports that "the University of Georgia has named Peter "Bo" Rutledge as its new dean of the School of Law."

12. "Job Outlook: US College Hiring to Increase 8.3 Percent," 11.12.13.
NACE reports that according to their recent survey results, "employers plan to hire 8.3 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2015 for their US operations than they did from the Class of 2014."

13. "Job Outlook: Two-Thirds of Employers Plan to Increase Starting Salaries for Class of 2015 Grads," 11.12.14.
More good news from NACE for bachelor degree holding job-seekers: "nearly two-thirds of employers — an all-time high — are planning to increase starting salaries to bachelor's degree graduates from the Class of 2015."

14. "Career Fair Planned For Lawyers in Military Careers," 11.11.14.
The Blog of Legal Times reports that "Washington will host a first-of-its-kind legal career fair for military veterans next year." (The program will be sponsored by Microsoft, the American Legion, Morgan Stanley, Shearman & Sterling, Orrick, and the DC Diverse Partners Network.)

15. "Drop in nationwide bar exam scores is likely due to 'less able' test takers, memo says," 11.11.14.
The ABA Journal reports on the nationwide drop in bar exam scores from the July 2014 test administration.

    a. "Deans Dismayed by Declines in Bar-Pass Rates," 11.13.14.
    The New York Law Journal reports on the fallout in New York from the overall lower bar passage rates recorded for the July examination.

    b. "Decline in Bar Exam Scores Sparks War of Words," 11.10.14.
    More on this from The Wall Street Journal.

16. "GCs Don't Like Law Firm Service Delivery Model, Survey Shows," 11.11.14.
The Legal Intelligencer reports on the results of Altman Weil's 15th annual Chief Legal Officer Survey, noting that only four percent of respondents said they were satisfied with the way law firms traditionally provide legal services.

    a. "Study of chief legal officers finds more bad news for law firms," 11.10.14.
    The ABA Journal reports on the results of Altman Weil's 2014 Chief Legal Officer Survey, noting that respondents report keeping more legal matter in house and demanding heavy discounts for the work they send outside, two post-recession trends that seem to be continuing unabated in 2014.

17. "For GCs, Law Dept. Role No Longer Straightforward," 11.11.14.
Corporate Counsel reports on the proceedings of a recent conference in the UK where a panel of GCs talked about the key challenges facing general counsel today.

18. "Can the Big4 succeed in law this time?," 11.11.14.
For those interested in learning more about what the deregulation of the delivery of legal services has meant in the UK, this Beaton Capital blog post looks at how the UK's big four accounting firms are positioning themselves in this new legal services market.

19. "Am Law Firms See Slowing Demand for Hours But Higher Fees," 11.10.14.
Aric Press, writing for the Am Law Daily, reports that the latest analysis of TyMetrix billing data shows that hours of legal services purchased were down 4.4% in the first half of 2014, while overall fees paid were up by 2.9%.

20. "Law schools vie to attract more transfer students," 11.09.14.
The Washington Post reports on rising transfer law student volumes at DC area law schools.

    a. "Top Law Schools Now Welcoming Transfer Students," 11.11.14.
    And ALM Careerist blogger Vivia Chen jumps all over this story.

21. "Legal Sector Sees Upswing in Jobs for October," 11.07.14.
The Am Law Daily reports that USBLS data for October show a small gain of just 300 legal sector jobs in October.

    a. "Legal Services Sector Down 2,000 jobs Since January," 11.07.14.
    The Wall Street Journal Law Blog, reporting on the same data, notes that the legal sector is down a net of 2,000 jobs for the year.

22. "Law firm ownership and lawyer independence," 11.07.14.
A good blog post on Law 21 from Jordan Furlong on the changes contemplated by the Canadian Bar Association's recent futures report.




Week Ending November 7, 2014

1. "Are We Forgiving Too Much Student-Loan Debt?," 11.07.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at whether or not Congress should cap the total amount of loan forgiveness available under the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, enacted as part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, and the first bills for which will be due in 2017 when the ten-year window has run for the first borrowers eligible for loan forgiveness under the program. (Subscription required.)

2. "The Legal One Percent," 11.06.14.
Jeffrey Toobin, writing for The New Yorker, argues that most law students "are getting the legal-education equivalent of the subprime loans that helped sink the national economy."

3. "Citi Report: Third Quarter Results (Almost) All Good for Law Firms," 11.05.14.
Dan DiPietro and Gretta Rusanow, writing here for The American Lawyer, offer their insights into the third quarter Citi law firm financial data: they see increased dispersion and segmentation within the market, and, in their words, "happy firms and worried firms."

    a. "Citi Survey: Time for Firms to Send out the Bills," 11.07.14.
    The Legal Intelligencer looks at the third quarter Citi report and concludes that how the year ends for many law firms will depend on collections between now and the end of the year.

4. "Seven More Supreme Court Clerks Join Jones Day," 11.05.14.
The Blog of Legal Times reports that Jones Day has once again hired the lion's share of US Supreme Court law clerks (six in 2012, six in 2013, and now seven in 2014, for a total of 19 over three years), noting that "Jones Day has kept up with the marketplace...offering former Supreme Court clerks hiring bonuses of $300,000."

5. "New on Campus: The 3-Year Degree — Students Can Cut College Costs, Get Out Sooner, but Some Regret Compromise," 11.05.14.
The Wall Street Journal reports that a number of colleges and universities have begun offering three-year bachelor's degrees, including Purdue University, the University of Iowa, and the University of South Carolina. (Subscription required.)

6. "Creditors Keep Troubled Law Schools on Life Support," 11.04.14.
The New York Times Dealbook column takes a look at the recent debt restructuring at Thomas Jefferson Law School in San Diego: "A troubled law school is like Dracula: hard to kill."

7. "Bingham Partner Retreat Canceled as Morgan Lewis Deadline Looms," 11.04.13.
The Am Law Daily provides this update on the evolving circumstances at Bingham.

    a. "Bingham, Edwards Wildman Slim Down Ahead of Potential Mergers," 11.06.14.
    The Am Law Daily reports that these two Boston-based law firms continue to see falling lawyer headcounts ahead of proposed mergers.

8. "Canadian Law School Loses Recognition Over Anti-Gay Policy," 11.04.14.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "the British Columbia Law Society...has revoked recognition of the new law school at Trinity Western University [over its] ban on students and faculty members having sexual relationships outside of heterosexual marriage." (More on this from The Globe and Mail.)

9. "Understand LinkedIn's Pitfalls for Lawyers: Know how your information will be used by LinkedIn and how you can opt out of functions," 11.04.14.
Law Technology News provides this helpful article summarizing LinkedIn's privacy policy and user agreement, and what they mean for lawyers.

10. "Don't Rush Adoption of New Bar Exam, State Bar Cautions," 11.04.14.
The New York Law Journal reports that the New York State Bar Association is trying to forestall the adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam in New York.

    a. "Lippman to Meet With Deans About Bar Exam Proposal," 11.05.14.
    More on the NY UBE debate from the New York Law Journal, reporting here that Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman was to meet with the deans of the New York law schools this week to talk about the proposal.

11. "Business Development Questions All Laterals Should Ask," 11.04.14.
A consultant, writing for The Recorder, describes the kinds of questions that laterals should ask a prospective new law firm about business development.

12. "NYLS Starts Public Interest Law Center and Externship," 11.04.14.
The New York Law Journal reports that New York Law School has launched the Impact Center for Public Interest Law.

13. "US student debt burden falling more on top earners, easing bubble fears," 11.03.14.
Reuters reports that its analysis of Federal Reserve Data shows that high-income earners own a disproportionate share of student loan debt, refuting the idea that there is a student loan bubble.

14. "Driving Student Borrowers Into Default," 11.03.14.
The New York Times Editorial Board calls on Congress to further regulate private student loan lenders so that borrowers would receive the same consumer protections they do with federal student loans.

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