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.



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.


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.




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.




Week Ending October 31, 2014

1. "Paralegals and legal assistants are taking on expanded duties," 11.01.14.
The ABA Journal reports that paralegals are becoming law firms' go-to technology staffers.

2. "Special Report: Big Law's Reality Check," 10.29.14.
The American Lawyer provides an exceptionally good analysis of the current market written by ALM publisher Aric Press and his team at ALM Legal Intelligence.

    a. "Has the BigLaw recovery arrived? Revenue per lawyer is at a low point, when adjusted for inflation," 10.30.14.
    The ABA Journal highlights the Aric Press piece in The American Lawyer.

3. "Thomas Jefferson sells building, claims solid financial footing," 10.29.14.
The National Jurist reports that Thomas Jefferson Law School has sold its building to bond holders as part of a major debt restructuring deal under terms that will have the school renting the building back from its new owners.

    a. "Thomas Jefferson Law Restructures, Slashes Debt by $87M," 10.30.14.
    More on this from The National Law Journal.

4. "Rules for Effective Client Communications," 10.29.14.
A trial lawyer, writing for The Recorder, offers his simple rules for communicating with clients.

5. "Have the Money Talk With Associates," 10.29.14.
The Daily Report offers advice about talking to associates about law firm financials.

6. "Diversity in Academe," 10.29.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has published its annual special report on diversity in higher education, focusing this year on black men, with more than a dozen articles and opinion pieces that take up the topic.

7. "Big Ten and the Next Big Thing: Competency-based education arrives at three major public institutions," 10.28.14.
Inside Higher Ed reports that three Big Ten-affiliated universities are experimenting with competency-based programs — Michigan, Purdue, and Wisconsin have each announced programs that will try a different form of instruction, affirming a new emphasis on student learning outcomes.

8. "Avvo launches service providing on-demand legal advice for a fixed fee," 10.27.14.
The ABA Journal reports that Avvo Inc., has launched a new on-demand legal service that provides legal advice at a fixed rate: "Users of Avvo Advisor pay $39 for a 15-minute conversation with an attorney. Users enter their zip code and the nature of their legal inquiry and...then get a phone call from an attorney within 15 minutes or they get a refund."

9. "LegalZoom products will be sold at a discount through Sam's Club," 10.27.14.
The ABA Journal reports that LegalZoom and Sam's Club have announced a partnership to develop multiple legal solutions for Sam's Club members, including a suite of estate planning products.

10. "Hiring up at law firms, but far from pre-recession levels," 10.26.14.
Crain's Detroit Business reports on the rebounding legal employment market in Detroit.

11. "Survey: Profession Still Struggling for Equal Opportunity," 10.24.14.
The National Law Journal reporting on the publication of the NALP Foundation's After the JD III, notes that "the profession is still struggling to establish race and gender equality."

    a. "Racial and Gender Inequality Still Prevalent in Legal Industry," 10.24.14.
    More on the AJD III study results from JD Journal.

12. "Law School Carnage Enters Its Fifth Year," 10.24.14.
Paul Caron, writing for the TaxProf blog, provides graphics to show just what the dramatic four-year decline (now entering its fifth year) in LSAT test-takers looks like.

    a. "Number of LSAT Takers Continues to Slide," 10.24.14.
    More on this from The Wall Street Journal Law Blog: "test takers are on pace to reach lows that we haven't seen since the late 1990s."

13. "Law School Admissions Officers Guardedly Optimistic," 10.28.14.
Notwithstanding the continuing decline in LSATs being taken, The National Law Journal reports that a Kaplan survey finds law school admission officers optimistic that the downward trend in the number of law school applicants will reverse itself.

    a. "Are Law Schools Getting Less Gloomy About the Future?," 10.27.14.
    And more about the allegedly upbeat attitude at law schools from The Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

14. "What Partners Do That Non-Partners Don't," 10.20.14.
A good blog post from Juliet Aiken, Lori Berman, and Heather Bock, published here on the Talent Think Tank blog, arguing that partners make plans and seek feedback far more regularly than non-partners. (Hat tip to Caren Ulrich Stacy.)

15. "What Law Schools Can Learn from Dental Schools in the 1980s Regarding the Consequences of a Decline in Applications," 10.20.14.
Jerry Organ, writing earlier this month for the Legal Whiteboard Blog, looks to the dental school closings of the 1980s to try to predict what will happen to law schools and his prognosis is not good.




Week Ending October 24, 2014

1. "Major New Research Study on Lawyer Careers Reveals a Changing Profession, but Little Progress on Race and Gender Equality," 10.23.14.
The NALP Foundation and The American Bar Foundation have formally announced the publication of After the JD III: Third Results of a National Study of Legal Careers, a study that examines factors such as legal education, debt, job mobility, race and gender, family formation, and the impact of the Great Recession on a cohort of lawyers who joined the profession in 2000.

2. "Kaye Scholer says goodbye to old offices and 95% of its law books," 10.23.14.
In a sign of the times, the ABA Journal reports that when Kaye Scholer recently moved offices in Manhattan, it got rid of 95% of its library holdings.

3. "Once-booming Boston law firm struggles to survive: Boston's Bingham McCutchen may resort to merger," 10.22.14.
The Boston Globe speaks with Bingham managing partner Steven Browne about the firm's potential merger with Morgan Lewis, and about the less likely prospect of the firm filing for bankruptcy.

    a. "Bingham Faces Internal Battle Amid Uncertain Future With Morgan Lewis," 10.22.14.
    More (much more, actually) on the current state of affairs at Bingham from the Am Law Daily. (With links to this week's Wall Street Journal, ABA Journal, Bloomberg, and other stories related to these developments.)

4. "LSAT test-taker numbers down again in October," 10.22.14.
The Law School Admission Council sent an email to its members on Wednesday reporting that the number of October LSAT test-takers was down 8.1% from last October; the overall number of test-takers has fallen 40% since the 2009-2010 testing year, and test-taker volume for the October test administration, historically the largest test administration of the year, has fallen 50% since the October 2009 test administration (complete and up to date LSAT volume data can be found on the LSAC website).

5. "As fewer law grads become lawyers, the profession shows its age," 10.22.14.
The ABA Journal reviews a blog post by law professor Bill Henderson who argues that even though there have been more law school graduates, it has been harder for them to get absorbed into the legal job market, leading many of them into non-legal jobs, and as a result the median age of practicing lawyers has actually been getting higher. (See Henderson's Legal White Board post here.)

6. "Harvard Law Graduates Top Salary Survey: Alumni Earn More Than Those of Any Other Graduate School by Career Midpoint," 10.22.14.
The Wall Street Journal reports on new salary data from more than 600 graduate schools that show, among other things, that "the midcareer median salary for seven of the top 10 graduate programs were law schools." (Subscription required.)

    a. "Why Huge Salaries Don't Necessarily Make Law Grads Rich," 10.22.14.
    More on the new mid-career salary data for graduate school degree-holders, from Bloomberg Businessweek.

7. "Mentorship: Why You Need It, and Why You Might Have to Work to Get It," 10.22.14.
This piece in the Daily Report argues that mastery of basic lawyer competencies comes much faster to young lawyers with good mentors, and that this happens much more readily at smaller law firms.

8. "Wayne State law school guarantees scholarships to every incoming student," 10.22.14.
The ABA Journal reports that Wayne State University Law School has announced that it will freeze incoming tuition and will guarantee every incoming student a scholarship of at least $4,000 (a figure that amounts to a 14% tuition cut for all incoming students).

9. "Repair or Replace: Essay on the nature of change in education and the media," 10.21.14.
A very interesting piece in Inside Higher Ed on the challenges facing higher education, challenges that are not unlike those, the article argues, that have faced the newspaper and book businesses in recent years.

10. "Where Young College Graduates Are Choosing to Live," 10.20.14.
The New York Times reports on new research that describes a shift in where college-educated people aged 25 to 34 are choosing to live, and while their destinations are mostly urban, some of their choices may surprise you.

11. "Law schools revamp for new era and anemic job market," 10.20.14.
The News & Observer reports on changes that are happening at law schools in North Carolina as they attempt to adapt to falling enrollment and a sluggish demand for new law school graduates.

12. "Elon School of Law Placing Practical Training 'On Steroids'," 10.20.14.
The National Law Journal reports on Elon University School of Law's new program of study for the JD degree, a program that will be shorter in length and focus much more heavily on practical skills training.

13. "Partner Exits Magnify Woes of Destabilized Firms: When Stronger Lawyers Leave, Turnaround Efforts Get Harder," 10.19.14.
The Wall Street Journal takes a hard look at partner departures, noting that while switching firms no longer carries a stigma for lawyers, it can have a terrifically destabilizing effect on law firms. (Subscription required.)

14. "Maryland program seeks connection between HBCUs, law school," 10.19.14.
USA Today reports on a program in Maryland that is preparing students from historically black colleges and universities for law school — the program includes a prelaw bootcamp as well as scholarships to attend law school.

15. "College Brings Opportunity, but Paying for It Offers Challenges, Fed Chair Says," 10.17.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on formal remarks on higher education delivered last week by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who said that while the return on investment in higher education had grown, the growth of the debt burden required of some makes it less attainable than it used to be.

16. "Partner compensation: Start making sense," 10.16.14.
A very thoughtful article on partner compensation by the ever-wise Jordan Furlong, published here in his Law21 blog.



Week Ending October 17, 2014

1. "Better Leadership, Better Gender Balance," 10.17.14.
Corporate Counsel reviews an article from the Harvard Business Review that argues that gender imbalance in the workplace is a leadership problem.

2. "Underemployment Hits Recent Graduates the Hardest," 10.17.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that new survey research suggests that "graduates over a broad range of college majors have significant levels of underemployment.... [C]riminal justice, business management, and sociology...have underemployment rates of over 50 percent."

3. "Texas Ethics Committee to Reconsider Opinion 642: The Texas Ethics Committee has agreed to reconsider its prohibition of 'officers' and 'principals' in non-lawyer job titles," 10.16.14.
Law Technology News reports that the Texas Ethics Committee has issued letters saying it will reconsider its ban on C-Suite job titles for non-lawyers.

4. "How Global 100 Firms Rate on Pro Bono Work: Our first survey of pro bono efforts among non-US global law firms," 10.15.14.
The American Lawyer reports on pro bono hours outside of the US, finding that non-US lawyers lag far behind their American peers when it comes to pro bono hours worked.

5. "Albany Law School Dean Says She Will Step Aside," 10.15.14.
The New York Law Journal reports that "Penelope Andrews, the president and dean of Albany Law School, has announced she will resign at the end of the school year, concluding three years in the role."

6. "On Campuses and Beyond, the Job Market for New Graduates Looks Up," 10.14.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that according to new survey research, job growth for new college graduates is expected to increase in double digits during 2014-15, the result of a decade of pent-up demand. ("Why the brighter outlook? The economy is improving, employers are looking ahead, and retirements are starting to trickle out.")

    a. "Job Prospects Are Up for New Graduates," 10.14.14.
    More on this from Inside Higher Ed: "Industries anticipating the most significant growth are information services (up 51 percent over last year) and finance and insurance (up 31 percent)."

7. "Cardozo Law Offers New Technology Programs: Reed Smith's Patrick Burke serves as executive director of the new Cardozo Data Law Initiative," 10.14.14.
Law Technology News reports that Cardozo has announced multiple new programs focused on technology that are "designed to prepare students for legal challenges brought by the rapidly changing tech world."

8. "First-Year Associates Handbook," 10.14.14.
The New York Law Journal has published a special feature for new associates that offers advice for new law firm lawyers from partners, consultants, and senior associates.

9. "Law school applications plummet - at U of L too," 10.14.14.
In a sign of the times, The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that law school applications are down dramatically at all three Kentucky law schools, as they are at most law schools across the US.

10. "Job Hunting? Check out the DOJ App," 10.13.14.
Law Technology News reports that the US Department of Justice has released DOJ Law Jobs, an app that "features listings of current openings for experienced and entry-level lawyers, as well as paid and volunteer internships for law students."

11. "Include White Men in the Conversations About Diversity," 10.13.14.
The director of diversity for the Philadelphia Bar Association, writing here for The Legal Intelligencer, argues that "too often, white men are not included in conversations about diversity and inclusion in the legal profession."

12. "More Small and Midsize Firms Might Be Merging," 10.13.14.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that the small and midsize firm market is likely to continue to be an active area of merger activity "in large part due to the fact that firms are now in a position to start implementing their more long term growth strategy."

13. "Definition Of Big Firms Changing: New players match elites for size, but not pay rates," 10.13.14.
The National Law Journal reports on NALP's release last week of its 2014 Associate Salary Survey findings, noting the diminishing prevalence of $160,000 as a starting salary at large law firms.

    a. "Highest lawyers starting salaries remain at $160,000," 10.14.14.
    More on the NALP associate salary data from Bloomberg.

14. "Neal Gerber Eisenberg's COO Sonia Menon Named to Profiles in Diversity Journal's List of "Women Worth Watching," 10.13.14.
Sonia Menon, former NALP Board officer and current NALP Annual Conference Chair, and more importantly the recently named chief operating officer of Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP, has been named to Profiles in Diversity Journal's 2015 list of "Women Worth Watching" (the annual issue honors 160 executives and organizations that recognize, employ, and promote women in the workforce).

15. "Corporations Drive Drop in Law Firms' Use of Starting Lawyers, Study Finds," 10.10.14.
The New York Times reports that new research confirms that corporations' drive to cut their legal costs has had a direct impact on declining first-year associate billable hours over the last five years.


Week Ending October 10, 2014

1. "Top Salaries for First-Year Associates Remain Flat at $160,000, But Prevalence Shrinks as Large Law Firm Market Becomes Less Homogenous," 10.09.14.
NALP has released its 2014 Associate Salary Report, noting that first-year large law firm salaries of $160,000 are still common, though not nearly as common as they used to be. Read the NALP press release.

    a. "Change in BigLaw ranks leads to shrinking prevalence of $160K starting pay," 10.09.14.
    The ABA Journal reports on the results of NALP's latest associate salary findings.

2. "Before You Go To Law School," 10.09.14.
A thoughtful essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education about whether or not to go to law school.

3. "Should Firms Use Personality Tests?," 10.09.14.
The ALM's Careerist blogger Vivia Chen says "law firms are dinosaurs in the way they hire newbie associates."

4. "New City Bar Program Offers Assistance to New Graduates," 10.09.14.
The New York Law Journal reports that the New York City Bar Association has launched a training and mentoring program.

5. "Elon Law to cut total tuition by nearly $14K and offer law degree in 2.5 years for all," 10.09.14.
The ABA Journal reports that Elon Law School has announced a new seven-trimester curriculum that will allow students to graduate in 2.5 years, and at the same time announced that it will be lowering its tuition.

6. "$2M Gift Fuels Tulane Energy Law Center Campaign," 10.08.14.
The National Law Journal reports that Tulane University Law School has received a $2 million gift to create an endowed faculty chair in energy law.

7. "'US News' Says 2 Colleges Misreported Rankings Data," 10.08.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on more (seemingly pretty minor) bad data reporting to US News.

8. "Good Intentions and Rhetoric Won't Suffice," 10.08.14.
A good blog post on law firm diversity (or lack thereof) in Canada, appearing here on Slaw, Canada's online legal magazine, and spurred by the publication of Data and Diversity In the Canadian Justice System, a paper that calls for the collection of more robust diversity data from law firms in Canada.

9. "Cooley law school plans to close its Ann Arbor campus at year's end," 10.08.14.
The ABA Journal reports that Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School intends to close its Ann Arbor campus at the end of December (according to the ABA Journal, in 2010 enrollment at Cooley across all of its campuses was about 4,000, but by 2013 the number had fallen to 2,477).

10. "Millennials like government work, but don't stay long, survey finds," 10.08.14.
The Washington Post reports that employees born after 1980 now make up 16% of the federal workforce, but that on average they intend to stay only 3.8 years.

11. "How debt loads are changing for young and old consumers," 10.08.14.
The Washington Post reports that new research shows that for people in their twenties, the share of debt from student loans has tripled while mortgage debt has shrunk from 2005 to 2014.

12. "New Rules For Law Students' Legal Work in DC," 10.07.14.
The Legal Times reports that the DC Court of Appeals has approved new rules for certifying students to participate in law school clinics, modernizing what many had complained was an archaic and convoluted process.

13. "Court System Seeks Comment on Adopting Uniform Bar Exam," 10.07.14.
The New York Law Journal reports that the state court system of New York is seeking comment as it considers whether to adopt the uniform bar exam: "New York would become the largest and most influential state to use the Uniform Bar Exam."

14. "Grant Allows Case Western to Expand IP Law Clinic," 10.07.14.
The National Law Journal reports that Case Western University School of Law has received $679.400 to expand its intellectual property law clinic.

15. "Flat SAT Scores," 10.07.14.
Inside Higher Ed reports that average SAT scores for the Class of 2014 were mostly flat while score gaps between students from different socioeconomic and ethnic groups remained high.

16. "Number of Job Openings Hits 13-year High," 10.07.14.
The Wall Street Journal reports that August data from the Department of Labor indicate that US employers had 4.84 million jobs open in August, the most since 2001. (Subscription required.)

17. "As Autumn Leaves Fall, So Too Do Legal Sector Jobs," 10.03.14.
Meanwhile, the Am Law Daily reports that September Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show that the legal sector lost 4,600 jobs for the month, the biggest monthly drop so far this year. (Cute headline.)

    a. "Legal Services Jobs Drop Sharply in September," 10.03.14.
    The Wall Street Journal Law Blog also reports on the new BLS numbers, noting that legal sector employment numbers are about 46,000 jobs below pre-recession levels set in 2007.

    b. "Legal Sector loses 4,600 jobs in September," 10.06.14.
    More on this from the ABA Journal.

18. "Law Firms: Cut Costs, Attract Clients, Boost Profits," 10.06.14.
A consultant, writing for Law Technology News, offers a four step plan for law firms to lower operational costs, improve processes, and as a result attract and maintain clients.

19. "Law Firm Mergers Continue Their Record Pace," 10.03.14.
The Am Law Daily reports that Altman Weil has reported that law firm mergers are on pace to surpass last year's record setting number of firm consolidations.

20. "Student Loans, Moral Hazard and a Law School Mess — Conclusion," 10.03.14.
Steven J. Harper concludes his three-part series for the Am Law Daily, singling out law schools with high average student debt and low employment rates for this week's disapprobation.


Week Ending October 3, 2014

1. "Survey Finds Modest but Slowing Increase in Legal Spending," 10.02.14.
The Am Law Daily reports that new survey results suggest that for the third year in a row, corporations have reported a modest increase in their legal spending, but at a slower rate than in the past, growing at just two percent over two years.

2. "Albany Law School Master Plan Might Include Affiliation," 10.02.14.
The National Law Journal reports that Albany Law School's board of trustees is considering whether to affiliate with the University at Albany, a SUNY school (under the proposal the law school would remain private).

3. "Law Firm Tech Adoption Sluggish," 10.02.14.
Law Technology News reports that new survey results show legal tech spending has been relatively stagnant in the last four years.

4. "Overcoming the Odds Against You as a Young Lawyer," 10.02.14.
An associate, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, provides advice about overcoming some of the challenges that face new practitioners.

5. "LinkedIn ranks colleges by whether their graduates get 'desirable' job: Networking company joins crowded market with real-world data on career success," 10.01.14.
The Hechinger Report writes that LinkedIn is using its vast data collection to determine which colleges send students to the most desirable jobs, loosely defined as jobs with companies with low turnover.

6. "In rural America, there are job opportunities and a need for lawyers," 10.01.14.
The ABA Journal's cover story for October explores the growing dearth of lawyers in rural America, noting that 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas, though just 2 percent of lawyers practice in those areas and many of those lawyers are poised for retirement.

7. "KPMG gains legal services license," 10.01.14.
The Financial Times reports that KPMG has received a license to deliver legal services in the UK, "the latest of the 'big four' to take advantage of legislation aimed at opening up the market for legal services. (Subscription required.)

8. "Fox Rothschild acquires Dallas boutique firm," 10.01.14.
The ABA Journal reports that Fox Rothschild has established a presence in Texas by acquiring the 18-lawyer Dallas-based law firm David & Goodman.

9. "Widener Law Asks Marketing Firm to Assess Possible Name Change," 10.01.14.
The Delaware Law Weekly reports that Widener University School of Law has retained a marketing and public relations firm to consult about a name change in anticipation of the proposed split between its Harrisburg and Wilmington campuses.

10. "Game Change: The ABA and Self-Help Legal Shops Seek Common Ground: The American Bar Association turns to an unexpected player to help consumers get affordable legal services and lawyers get business," 10.01.14.
Law Technology News takes a look at the nascent collaboration between Rocket Lawyer and the ABA, as they seek solutions to the vexing problem of providing access to legal services to the up to 80 percent of Americans who cannot afford to hire a lawyer, while also providing access to work for solo and small law offices, all through the application of new technologies and online tools.

11. "How This Lawyer Ended Up With $350,000 In Debt And Near Poverty-Level Income," 09.30.14.
In the feel-good story of the week, Forbes profiles a 2009 law school grad working in a small law office and relying on food stamps to feed her family. (This is one half of a two-part story by Forbes on whether graduate school is worth it. The companion piece is called "Is Grad School Worth It? 7 Steps To Calculating The ROI.")

12. "Groundbreaking for New Campus at South Carolina Law," 09.30.14.
The National Law Journal reports that the University of South Carolina School of Law has broken ground on a new $80 million law school facility that will open in 2017.

13. "Does Law School Ignore Technology and Efficiency?," 09.30.14.
Law Technology News rehashes a blog post that suggests law school teaches concepts of law but ignores legal processes and technology.

14. "Setting the bar: Is law school the right move for you?," 09.30.14.
USA Today takes a look at the decision about whether or not to apply to law school at a time when the job market is recovering and the number of law school applicants is continuing to decline.

15. "Changes to Law School Standards Eliminate Waste," 09.30.14.
Matt Leichter, writing for the Am Law Daily, takes a look at the ABA's recent revision to the standards for the accreditation of law schools to see which changes have the potential for reducing waste and ultimately saving students money.

16. "2014 Global 100: Top-Grossing Law Firms in the World," 09.29.14.
The American Lawyer has released its annual Global 100 report on the top hundred grossing law firms in the world, along with all of the requisite charts, analyses, and commentary.

    a. "A Year of Slow But Solid Growth for Global 100 Firms: A surge in dealmaking boosted the top and bottom lines," 09.29.14.
    The American Lawyer provides this summary analysis of the continuing "tentative post-recession recovery" for the Global 100, noting 4.3% aggregate growth for the firms on the list, to a record $88.7 billion.

    b. "The Global 100: Most Revenue," 09.29.14.
    The 2014 American Lawyer list of the world's 100 highest-grossing law firms can be found here. (Subscription required.)

    "Revenue at Biggest 100 Law Firms Rose 4.3% in 2013," 09.29.14.
    And The New York Times Dealbook reviews the American Lawyer numbers for the Global 100.

17. "The World's Best Legal Brands: These firms, with good reputations among global clients, have lessons to teach all firms," 09.29.14.
Aric Press, writing for The American Lawyer, reviews the results of the latest Global Elite Law Firm Brand Index from Acritas, noting that "14 firms have placed in the top 20 on their global brand index for the last five years."

18. "Women Find a Way Back Into Big Law Careers: One-third of OnRamp Fellowship participants belong to minority groups," 09.29.14.
The National Law Journal reports on some of the early success of Caren Ulrich Stacy's OnRamp Fellowship program, an on-ramp program that places women who have been out of the profession for at least three years into positions at large law firms.

    a. "Area Firms Join Program for Women Reentering Practice," 09.26.14.
    The Legal Intelligencer reports that two Pennsylvania law firms are among the 15 firms that have agreed to hire fellows as part of the OnRamp Fellowship.

    b. "Firms Hiring Women Returning to Practice" Business of Law," 09.25.14.
    Bloomberg Business Week reports on the growth of the OnRamp Fellowship program.

    c. "OnRamp Program Adds More Destinations," 09.22.14.
    The Recorder also reports on the OnRamp growth, noting the California law firms that will be participating in the current fellowship cycle.

19. "Dismissal of Fraud Claims Against Law Schools Affirmed," 09.29.14.
The National Law Journal reports that "a three-judge panel of the Illinois Appellate Court's First District has affirmed the dismissal of consumer fraud class actions against DePaul University College of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and The John Marshall Law School."

20. "The Changing Definition of Value: What Matters Most to In-House," 09.29.14.
Tim Corcoran, writing for the blog Talent Think Tank, waxes thoughtful on "the evolving definition of value and what matters most to in-house counsel."

21. "How to Build a Better Law Professor," 09.29.14.
Inspired by a new book that attempts to identify top law teachers, The National Law Journal has published a special report that reviews the book and spotlights some of the teachers profiled in the book. (The special report contains 7 articles, only two of which are collected here.)

    a. "Professor Kingsfield Couldn't Cut It Today: A four-year study discovers a blueprint for teaching in a fast-changing environment," 09.29.14.
    Karen Sloan, writing for The National Law Journal, reviews the new book What the Best Law Teachers Do, and takes a look at the current state of law teaching.

22. "Fighting the Law Firm 'Motherhood Penalty'," 09.26.14.
A law firm partner from Irvine, writing for The Recorder, tells her story of BigLaw success, departure from the practice of law to raise a family, and return to practice as a partner with a smaller firm.

23. "Student Loans, Moral Hazard and a Law School Mess, Part II," 09.26.14.
More from Steven J. Harper in the Am Law Daily, taking a skeptical look at some of the new law school buildings that have been built with the hopes that the new facilities will attract more students at this time of shrinking law school enrollment.

24. "White & Case Opens Back Office in Tampa," 09.26.14.
The Am Law Daily reports that White & Case "has moved 45 back-office staff positions to Tampa" noting that the firm is the latest large firm in recent years to set up a back office in a low cost locale in order to reduce costs.

25. "The Exponential Law Firm: An exploration of the technological practice of law," September 2014.
Ryan McLead from 3 Geeks and a Law Blog has published a very good piece on technology and the practice of law. (Free registration required.)


Week Ending September 26, 2014

1. "$10M Gift Will Help Build ASU Law's New Phoenix Campus," 09.25.14.
The National Law Journal reports that Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law has received a gift of $10 million that will go toward the construction of the school's new downtown Phoenix campus.

2. "Law Student to Westlaw: There, I Fixed That For You," 09.25.14.
The Recorder reports that a Berkeley law student has designed and released Bestlaw, a Chrome browser extension that allows users to generate citations with one click.

3. "CUNY Law Announces Part-Time JD Program," 09.25.14.
The New York Law Journal reports that the City University of New York School of Law will begin offering a part-time JD program that will allow students to complete their degree in four years.

4. "If Unchanged, Legal Education Will Remain a Business in Decline," 09.25.14.
A provocative editorial by the Young Lawyers Editorial Board for The Legal Intelligencer, arguing that law schools have failed to adapt their business and education models quickly enough to continue to thrive (and maybe even to survive).

5. "US College Enrollment Drops for 2nd Year in a Row Census Bureau Reports," 09.25.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that according to new Census Bureau data, overall college enrollment has dropped ten percent over the last two years.

6. "As Law School Struggles to Stay Open, Some See 'a Canary in the Coal Mine'," 09.24.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education suggests that the financial crisis facing Thomas Jefferson School of Law may portend the future of things to come for other law schools struggling to make financial ends meet in an environment of dramatically declining law school enrollment. (Subscription required.)

7. "Law school gets $759K federal agriculture grant," 09.24.14.
Vermont Law School has received a grant of $759,000 from the US Department of Agriculture that will fund a three-year partnership between the school's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems and the USDA's National Agriculture Library.

8. "Dear Associate: Resist the Temptation to Be Nasty," 09.24.14.
A law firm partner, writing for the Daily Report, has advice on civility for young associates.

9. "Six Steps to Extraordinary Communication Skills," 09.24.14.
A consultant writing for the New Jersey Law Journal provides advice about effective professional communication for lawyers.

10. "Solving legal problems will take multidisciplinary help, says Richard Susskind," 09.23.14.
The ABA Journal reports on remarks made by author Richard Susskind at the Clio Cloud Conference 2014 this week, where he told participants that in the future business's legal problems will have to be solved by teams of multi-disciplinary professionals of which lawyers make up just a part.

11. "Life After Law School: An Intern-Associate Interview," 09.23.14.
In this Legal Intelligencer feature, a third-year law student asks a third-year associate questions about success.

12. "Veteran Law Deans To Step Down at Buffalo, Tulsa," 09.23.14.
The National Law Journal reports that Deans at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School and the University of Tulsa College of Law have announced plans to step down.

13. "Law Schools Continue to Build Out: New facilities designed with an eye on the future," 09.22.14.
The National Law Journal reports that despite the slowdown in law school enrollment, US law schools continue to plan and open large new state of the art law centers.

14. "In-house Counsel Head Back to School at Colorado Law," 09.22.14.
Corporate Counsel profiles the University of Colorado Law School's Corporate Counsel Intensive Institute, a program that "will provide in-house attorneys...an immersive opportunity to learn about legal department best practices from seven Fortune 500 in-house leaders."

15. "Blacks and LGBT's (More than Women) Want to Be Leaders," 09.22.14.
ALM's The Careerist blogger Vivia Chen writes about new survey results from the job site Career Builder that show "women have the least desire to pursue leadership positions compared to minorities, gays and the disabled."

16. "Bingham, Morgan Lewis Strike Tentative Deal to Merge," 09.21.14.
The Am Law Daily reports that "Bingham McCutchen's management has announced to its partnership a plan to merge with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius."

    a. "Morgan Lewis Merger With Bingham a 'Strategic Change'," 09.23.14.
    The Legal Intelligencer reports that the proposed merger with Bingham would be a departure for Morgan, a firm that has grown by acquiring small groups of lawyers from other law firms.

17. "In Tough Times, Law Schools Focus on Jobs, Skills Training," 09.19.14.
The Recorder spoke with leaders at a variety of California law schools to find out what they are doing to cope with the crises facing legal education, noting that "schools are simultaneously under pressure to offer new programs and cut the cost of attendance."



Week Ending September 19, 2014

1. “Legal Diversity Council’s Efforts Showing Promise,” 09.18.14.
The National Law Journal reports that new survey research seems to confirm that the programs of the Leadership Council for Legal Diversity are making a difference in reducing attrition among diverse associates and increasing the trajectory of their career paths.

2. “Drexel Renames Law School After Kline Donates $50 Mil,” 09.18.14.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that “Drexel University’s law school is to be renamed the Thomas R. Kline School of Law in honor of the Philadelphia litigator’s $50 million donation to the university.”

3. “Three Steps for Finding an Ideal Job Fresh Out of Law School,” 09.18.14.
An associate in Pittsburgh, writing here for the Legal Intelligencer, provides job-seeking advice for new law school graduates.

4. “So Your College Offers Students an ‘Employment Guarantee’?,” 09.18.14.
The Chronicle of Higher Education takes a look at the growing practice among undergraduate schools that are marketing their colleges with an ‘employment guarantee’: “A closer look reveals that such guarantees are largely a way to motivate students to make themselves more employable. To qualify for the guarantee’s benefits, students often must observe a long list of requirements, such as participating in a career-planning program, holding internships, or earning certain grades.”

5. “Orrick Hires Five Former Supreme Court Clerks,” 09.17.14.
The Supreme Court Brief reports that Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has hired five US Supreme Court clerks into its growing Supreme Court and appellate practice.

6. “Law school misses bond payment, seeks to restructure obligations,” 09.17.14.
The ABA Journal reports that Thomas Jefferson School of Law has defaulted on its $133 million debt.

    a. “A Troubled Law School,” 09.19.14. More on Thomas Jefferson’s financial problems from Inside Higher Ed, detailing the debts the law school has accumulated.

7. “Bingham Loses Bulk of London, Frankfurt Office to Akin,” 09.17.14.
The Am Law Daily reports that Bingham has lost 22 partners from its London, Frankfurt, and Hong Kong offices to Akin Gump.

8. “Why You Should Consider Associates to be ‘Partners in Training’,” 09.17.14.
A big law associate, writing here for the Daily Report, offers both partners and associates advice for ensuring that associate careers thrive.

9. “Firm Size a Driver in Higher Billing Rates, Report Finds,” 09.16.14.
The New York Law Journal reports that according to new survey research, “law firm size is the most influential factor in determining attorney billing rates.”

10. “Bringing ‘Moneyball’ Stats to Employment Strategy,” 09.16.14.
Corporate Counsel looks at the pros and cons of applying a Moneyball statistical methodology to professional services hiring.

11. “Ohio Law School Cuts Tuition to Stay Competitive,” 09.16.14.
The Daily Report reports that the University of Toledo’s law school has announced that it will cut in-state tuition by thirteen percent in order to stay competitive in an environment where law school application volume continues to shrink.

12. “Should partners lose their couches and corner offices? Paul Hastings considers changes,” 09.16.14.
The ABA Journal reports that “Paul Hastings plans to shrink its Manhattan office space by about 25 percent when it moves into a new location in 2016, despite plans to add lawyers to its roster.”

13. “Choate Hall, Foley Hoag Bask in Summer Associate Glow,” 09.15.14.
The American Lawyer has released the results of its annual Summer Associates Survey (3,645 summer associates from 135 firms completed the survey).

14. “Falling Down: Florida Law School Applications Tanking,” 09.15.14.
The Daily Business Review reports that applications are down at most Florida law schools, even as some schools resort to Candy Crush to try to find new applicants.

15. “University of Maryland Puts Science in Law Program: Francis King Carey School of Law will start a new Masters of Science in Law program next year,” 09.15.14.
Law Technology News reports that the law school at the University of Maryland will begin offering a new MSL program for non-lawyers that will focus on three areas of study – health care law, environmental law, and crisis management.

16. “Valley Is Peak for Partner Compensation,” 09.15.14.
The Recorder reports that “partners in Silicon Valley are the highest-paid in the nation, with partners in the region reporting an average total compensation of $1,167 million in 2013.”

17. “$3M Gift Means Growth for Case Western’s IP Law Center,” 09.15.14.
The National Law Journal reports that Case Western Reserve University School of Law has received a $3 million gift that will support its intellectual property law center.

18. “Xerox legal ‘leans’ on law firms for diversity statistics,” 09.15.14.
Canadian Lawyer Magazine reports on remarks made by Xerox GC Don Liu at the law school at the University of Toronto, where Liu talked about the diversity survey completion that Xerox requires of its outside counsel and noted the consequences for failure to meet diversity benchmarks.

19. “Pay Gap Increases Between Equity and Nonequity Partners,” 09.15.14.
The Am Law Daily reports that according to new research by Major, Lindsey & Africa, “the compensation gap between equity partners and nonequity partners at the nation’s largest law firms is growing.”

20. “Tips for Successfully Launching Your Legal Career,” 09.15.14.
Law Practice Today provides some good advice for entry-level associates.

21. “Law Firms Face New Competition – Their Own Clients,” 09.15.14.
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports that many companies are cutting back on their use of outside law firms, and instead are growing the talent pool in their own offices to allow them to handle more matters internally.

22. “Singapore Law Students to Face Tough Job Market,” 09.15.14.
The Asian Lawyer reports that law schools in Singapore will soon be producing too many lawyers for the limited legal job market in Singapore.

23. “Law Firm, Chase Bank Join Forces on Trainee Program,” 09.14.14.
The Wall Street Journal reports on a joint venture between the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, and its client JP Morgan Chase, to train young associates is a collaborative variation on the traditional secondment.

24. “Law Firm Tech Spending Up,” 09.12.14.
Law Technology News reports that a joint survey from ILTA and InsideLegal shows that tech spending is up at both large and small law firms.

25. “A Bingham-Morgan Merger Would Be Big in California,” 09.12.14.
The Recorder speculates on a potential merger between Bingham and Morgan Lewis, “a combined firm that would instantly be a major player in the California legal market.”

26. “Young Households Are Losing Ground in Income, Despite Education,” 09.12.14.
The New York Times reports that new research from the Federal Reserve Board shows that median family income is falling in inflation-adjusted dollars and the differential between those with higher education and those without is shrinking.

27. “Student Loans, Moral Hazard and a Law School Mess,” 09.11.14.
Steven J. Harper, writing for the Am Law Daily, discourses on the naked politics behind Congressional gridlock on student loan issues and the particular moral hazard fazing law schools as a result.

28. “Schooled, Indebt, Struggling & Broke: There Are Too Many Lawyers. What’s One Law School Dean to Do?” 09.09.14.
SF Weekly provides a fascinating look at one dean’s struggle to meet the challenges of running a law school in the new normal. (Dean Wu fans this is for you.)

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