Weekly News Digest for Legal Career Professionals

Each week NALP provides a summary of news articles of interest to legal career professionals.

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

March 1, 2024

    Top Stories

  1. "Has Big Law Finally Returned to a Point of 'Normalcy'?" 02.26.24.
    The American Lawyer reports, "A return to profit growth and a more normal baseline for other drivers of profitability in 2023, coupled with fresh optimism for a transactional rebound in 2024, have firm leaders and industry observers in recent weeks gesturing toward an idea that's often eluded them since at least the string of COVID shutdowns around this time in 2020: 'normalcy'."

  2. "No Longer Just an HR Matter, DEI Expands to Law Firm Operations," 02.26.24.
    The Legal Intelligencer reports, "the role of DEI professionals in Big Law is growing to include not just concerns surrounding talent but also operations and office space. DEI professionals should be — and are now often asked — to weigh in on multiple facets of firm operations, whether it's office decorations, parking and seating arrangements, legal industry observers say."

  3. Law Schools/Higher Education

  4. "Ahead of the Curve: Dissecting the ABA's Current and Proposed Diversity Standard," 02.29.24.
    In the Law.com Ahead of the Curve column, Christine Charnosky shares her thoughts on the current and proposed ABA Standard 206 on diversity and inclusion.

  5. "Bush: The FTC Needs To Intervene In Law School Rankings," 02.27.24.
    TaxProf blog highlights this blog post from The Sling that argues that the Federal Trade Commission should address the U.S. News law school rankings.

  6. "Bar-Takers See Accommodation Gap For Periods, Lactation," 02.26.24.
    Law360 reports, "As would-be lawyers prepare to take the bar exam, testing accommodations for those who menstruate or lactate will vary by jurisdiction. In recent years, there's been a reckoning on state bar policies that affect women and transgender test-takers, but advocates say there's more to be done." (Subscription required.)

  7. "NCBE Field Tests NextGen Bar Exam, Creates Family Law Content Scope Panel," 02.26.24.
    Law.com reports that the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) recently held its first field test for the NextGen Bar exam.

  8. Law Firms

  9. "As Big Law Moves in, Native Firms Have Advantages in Battle for Clients and Talent," 02.29.24.
    Daily Report discusses the advantages of smaller, local firms in emerging markets, noting, "Despite increasing competition from Big Law firms in emerging markets, native law firms have advantages such as nimbleness and market familiarity if they choose to compete for talent and clients."

  10. "Linklaters Veers Towards 3-Gate Lockstep System in Latest Talent Push," 02.27.24.
    "Linklaters is considering adding a third gate to its lockstep that would enable it to better reward younger top performers," reports Law.com International.

  11. "'Detached': Why Big Law May Rethink Its Focus on Productivity," 02.27.24.
    The American Lawyer reports, "law firm productivity may be evolving with the rise of technology that's allowed (or forced) lawyers to pack more work into less time, a greater openness toward alternative fee arrangements, and a broader profitability push that's improved leverage. Now, there may be even greater emphasis on the profitability of a practice, not just hours."

  12. "An Early Look: The 2024 Am Law 200 Financials," 02.26.24.
    The American Lawyer compiles law firm financial results.

  13. "Small firm hiring deserves greater scrutiny," 02.23.24.
    A law professor writing for ABA Journal shares some of her students' experiences with small law firms and argues that law schools and state bars should monitor smaller firms for dubious hiring and recruiting practices. (Subscription required.)

  14. "3 Common Barriers As Law Firms Embrace Upward Reviews," 02.23.24.
    "Upward reviews, in which associates provide feedback on partners' performance as their managers, have become increasingly popular in the legal industry in recent years, but according to consultants who help implement them, the potential upsides can be muted if firms fail to avoid some common mistakes," according to Law360. (Subscription required.)

  15. "These Are The Hottest Trends In Law Firm Design," 02.23.24.
    From Law360: "Out with the law library and in with Zoom rooms? Law360 Pulse recently talked to architects and legal employers to find out what the biggest trends are in law firm design." (Subscription required.)

  16. "Is BigLaw Ready To Talk About Its Bullying Problem?" 02.20.24.
    Law360 reports, "The legal community exploded into debate recently after a Black associate's lawsuit accusing her former BigLaw employer of discrimination excerpted an excoriating email from a partner that some online deemed unacceptable and bullying, and others said was simply a fact of BigLaw life." (Subscription required.)

  17. Employment Market/Return to Office

  18. "As law firm office space shrinks, natural light is in and 'capacious' corner offices are gone," 02.29.24.
    ABA Journal examines trends in new office spaces, noting, "New offices often emphasize natural light and may incorporate glass doors instead of wood, audio and video technology, plenty of electrical outlets, air filtration, acoustics and better artificial lighting." (Subscription required.)

  19. "Law firm managers struggling to fill roles as demand for lawyers continues: recruiter report," 02.29.24.
    Canadian Lawyer reports, "Law firms are struggling to find skilled talent, and managers say they plan to hire more contractors in 2024, according to the latest data from recruiting agency Robert Half Canada. The report says lawyers and other legal professionals remain in high demand in Canada."

  20. "'Inactive' Junior Lawyers in Redundancy Firing Line, Market Specialists Say," 02.29.24.
    "Industry watchers are predicting that law firms will increasingly examine 'utilisation rates' to identify potential cuts in their junior ranks," reports Law.com International.

  21. "OK, Boomer! Tackling the Attorney Generation Gap," 02.28.24.
    The New Jersey Law Journal Young Lawyers Advisory Board examines differences among the four generations currently in the workplace and offers tips for each generation on working with the others.

  22. "New Group Aims To Help Attys Meet Middle Class Legal Needs," 02.23.24.
    Law360 reports, "For middle-class Americans who may make too much money to qualify for legal aid services, affording an attorney to assist with civil matters like divorces and estate planning can still be a financial impossibility. The recently launched Above The Line Network, however, is on a mission to promote cost-conscious lawyering models to put legal services within economic reach for a big and underserved middle market."

  23. "Career Websites Face Emerging Role as Salary Transparency Cops," 02.23.24.
    Bloomberg Law takes a deep dive into recently enacted laws surrounding wage transparency and what enforcement might look like.

  24. "US Law Firm Leasing on Upswing in 2023, Hitting Highest Mark Since 2019," 02.23.24.
    The American Lawyer reports that U.S. law firm leasing is up and that "regardless of whether firms stayed put or moved with their new lease in 2023, 43.6% expanded their space, compared with 28.5% in 2022. For the year, 56% of leases signed were to stay in place, compared with only 33.9% the year before."

  25. "'Literally Nothing Walkable': Why Gibson Dunn Moved to Downtown Palo Alto," 02.20.24.
    The Recorder examines what lawyers and law firms are looking for in office space and shares what Gibson Dunn has done to lure more lawyers into the office: "With the future of work uncertain amid COVID-19, [firm leaders] began looking for a new location that would both justify the commute and magnify the benefits of in-person collaboration. Must-haves included proximity to public transit as well as restaurants and coffee shops where informal relationships could develop."

  26. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

  27. "Taking Stock of the Gender of Judges on State and Federal Appeals Courts," 02.29.24.
    The AmLaw Litigation Daily takes a deep dive into research on gender diversity in the judiciary.

  28. "We're doing DEI wrong," 02.27.24.
    This op-ed at Business Insider argues, "For decades, most companies have been reactive on DEI, often responding only after some lasting damage had already been done. This approach is rarely sustainable. "

  29. "Mandated Gender Pay Gap Disclosures Just Took Effect For This Nation — Here's What It Means For Law Firms," 02.27.24.
    The American Lawyer examines newly published data on the gender pay gap in Australia, noting that "Women continue to outweigh men in the legal profession but lag in pay."

  30. "SCOTUS Declines to Intervene in Affirmative Action Admissions Case," 02.26.24.
    "It seems the U.S. Supreme Court might be taking a one-and-done approach when it comes to ruling on affirmative action in admissions, but that could be a positive thing for law schools," according to Law.com.

  31. "Anti-DEI Legislation Moves Forward in Alabama," 02.23.24.
    Inside Higher Ed examines the recently-passed Alabama bill that bans "diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at certain public institutions in Alabama — including colleges and universities."

  32. Mental Health/Well-Being

  33. "Strategies for a healthy workplace environment: Proactive measures against bullying," 02.26.24.
    This op-ed at Law360 Canada argues that "Employers have the responsibility of ensuring the safety and well-being of staff, which includes taking proactive steps to address bullying and harassment."

  34. Technology

  35. "Lex Mundi's latest report reveals GenAI's impact on the legal sector," 02.28.24.
    Canadian Lawyer examines a recent Lex Mundi report titled "Opening Pandora's Box: Early Implications of Generative AI for Corporate Legal Management," which "suggests that GenAI heralds a new era of disruption, potentially surpassing previous technological shifts in its impact on legal services delivery and operations."

  36. "Don't Wait Up: Lack of Expertise, Talent Holding Back Generative AI in Legal Industry," 02.29.24.
    Legaltech News reports on a recent survey in which legal professionals from law firms, legal departments, and government agencies responded on which factors are hindering AI adoption in their organizations: "Asked what is preventing them from using generative AI, slightly over 36% of respondents cited their legal teams' limited, or nonexistent, expertise in leveraging the technology, while around 34% pointed to either limited resources or generative AI's potential for hallucinations. What's more, slightly over 27% cited a lack of the 'right tech talent' to support generative AI implementations, while around 20% said either that the risks outweigh the benefits or that they're first waiting for broader industry adoption."

  37. "AI Use in Law Practice Needs Common Sense, Not More Court Rules," 02.28.24.
    Bloomberg Law columnist David Lat argues, "At this early stage, lawyers and judges have only a limited sense of how AI will affect the practice of law or the enterprise of judging. It would therefore be wise to pause and gather more data before taking action."

  38. "Could Generative AI help solve the law's access dilemma?" 02.27.24.
    Jordan Furlong discusses the competing priorities of legal regulators to balance quality and accessibility and asserts that, despite the questions surrounding the technology, "I believe Generative AI is the first legitimate candidate we've ever seen for potentially resolving the accessibility/reliability conundrum in legal services."

  39. "New website will let law clerks judge their judges," 02.24.24.
    The Washington Post reports on a new database that "will allow young lawyers to review the judges they worked for and give law students a way to learn which judges have good — or bad — reputations as employers."

  40. "Hungry for Career Advice, Employees Turn to GenAI for Career Info," 02.23.24.
    SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) shares data on where members of Generation Z are seeking career advice, noting that many are turning to generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) tools in the absence of advice from their managers.

February 23, 2024

    Top Stories

  1. "ABA says law schools still need approval for alternative admissions program," 02.22.24.
    "The American Bar Association on Thursday declined to grant full approval to JD-Next, rejecting a proposal to put the alternative law school admissions program on par with the LSAT and the GRE," reports Reuters.

    1. "JD-Next Exam Garners Comments Raising Concerns Over Validity, Accessibility," 02.21.24.
      If you're interested in reading about the comments that were submitted on this proposal, Law.com reports, "Nearly two dozen comments have been received regarding the JD-Next exam, ranging from concerns about the test's validity and reliability to whether it accommodates examinees with disabilities, but many support its use including numerous Black and Native American professionals."

  2. "Is it a crime?" 02.19.24.
    CBA/ABC National delves into Canada's new law against wage-fixing and what it means for law firms and law students.

  3. Law Schools/Higher Education

  4. "ABA Weighing Diversity Standard Revisions in Light of SCOTUS Ruling," 02.22.24.
    Law.com reports that the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will consider amendments to Standard 206 that "would include changing the standard title from 'Diversity and Inclusion' to 'Access to Legal Education and the Profession,' and shifting the overall focus of the verbiage away from underrepresented groups and more toward providing access to 'all persons.'"

  5. "Universities' Competing Free Speech Obligations Need Untangling," 02.22.24.
    A lawyer writing at Bloomberg Law takes a close look at the conflicting obligations that public universities have to protect free speech and eliminate hostility and discrimination.

  6. "Stanford and Yale Bumped Up OCI in Response to Precruiting, But Big Law Isn't Backing Down From Direct Applications," 02.21.24.
    The American Lawyer has more on the move to earlier OCIs, noting, "the slow and steady decline of OCI could create new problems for law firms. First-generation lawyers, for instance, benefited from the level playing field that OCI provided. Moving the process to direct applications puts the burden on law students to figure out which firms they need to meet with and apply to during their first year of law school."

  7. "Passing the batons: Reform and Reckoning in 2024 Legal Education," 02.17.24.
    Former Northwestern Law Dean Daniel Rodriguez, in this post at PrawfsBlawg, outlines the four key issues he thinks the new ABA and LSAC leaders need to address.

  8. "Students, alums sue to stop Golden Gate University from dropping law degree program," 02.16.24.
    "The alumni association and four current students at Golden Gate University School of Law sued the university and its president on Wednesday in California state court, seeking to stop the planned closure of its juris doctor program," according to Reuters.

  9. "Online law graduates get pathway to take Indiana bar exam," 02.16.24.
    Reuters reports, "Graduates of law schools not accredited by the American Bar Association are eligible to take the bar exam in Indiana following a Thursday rule change by the state's high court, but they will have to go through an individual approval process."

    1. "Students From Non-ABA-Accredited Law Schools Can Sit for Indiana Bar, State Supreme Court Rules," 02.16.24.
      Law.com has more.

  10. Law Firms

  11. "The 2024 American Lawyer Laterals Report," 02.21.24.
    The American Lawyer released its Laterals Report.

    1. "Impactful Laterals Abounded in 2021 and 2022. Have They Found Success?" 02.20.24.
      The American Lawyer revisits some "impactful" lateral hires from the past few years.

  12. "The Game Isn't Over for Associates Who Fall Off the Partner Track," 02.19.24.
    NALP member Rachel Patterson, writing for Bloomberg Law, argues that "A career transition, even if unexpected or disappointing, presents an opportunity for reflection around wants, interests, values, and gifts" and provides tips for associates who learn they are not on the partner track.

  13. "The Law Firm Disrupted: Getting Laterals Right," 02.16.24.
    Law.com's The Law Firm Disrupted column examines how firms should use data on their lateral hires.

  14. "The Risks Junior Lawyers Face by Switching Firms Too Soon, and the Benefits of Staying the Course," 02.16.24.
    This op-ed at Law.com argues that "junior lawyers should focus on what does lie within their control, and that is how they react to the modern challenges of being a lawyer in private practice" and challenges them to "harness discontent as a catalyst for positive change."

  15. Employment Market/Return to Office

  16. "Association of Corporate Counsel unveils results of 2024 Chief Legal Officer survey," 02.21.24.
    Canada's Lexpert reports on a recent ACC study that shows chief legal officers and legal departments "face intense pressure to do more with less."

  17. "My Nonpracticing Law Job: Recruiter," 02.20.24.
    "Self-proclaimed 'Lawyer Doula' Danielle Thompson at Major Lindsey shares how she went from Columbia Law School graduate and BigLaw employment associate to a career in legal recruiting — and discovered a passion for advocacy along the way," at Law360. (Subscription required.)

  18. "Saudi Arabia Lures Big Law Firms to Lucrative New Legal Market," 02.16.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports, "At least 30 multinational law firms have opened branches in Saudi Arabia in the past nine months or have applied for the right to do so, racing to establish a foothold in the oil-rich kingdom now allowing outside legal work."

  19. "How Legal Recruiting (Really) Works," 02.16.24.
    Dan Binstock, writing for The American Lawyer, outlines "some of the very basics that every attorney should know about recruiters."

  20. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

  21. "Legal Forges Ahead With DE&I Efforts, Despite Backlash," 02.22.24.
    The Law.com Barometer newsletter reports, "While DE&I rhetoric may not be as prominent as it was in 2020, efforts to address gender and racial disparities in the legal industry are not only ongoing, but also expanding and maturing."

  22. "Supreme Court Signals It's Done With Affirmative Action for Now," 02.22.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports that, by declining to hear an affirmative action case related to a magnet high school and by not prohibiting West Point from using race as an admissions factor, "The US Supreme Court has signaled it isn't ready to say anything more on affirmative action right now, frustrating conservatives who want the court to enforce and expand its blockbuster college admissions decision from last term."

  23. "The Sweet Spot Between Microaggressions and Empty Words: Threading the Needle on Associate Feedback," 02.20.24.
    The American Lawyer explores how "law firms and partners [can] offer appropriate feedback to associates while keeping diversity, equity, and inclusion standards in mind."

  24. "For Gen Z, a job is just a job," 02.13.24.
    Business Insider reports on the changing priorities of Gen Z employees, noting that "Gen Zers are much less apt to entrust their futures to their employers."

  25. Mental Health/Well-Being

  26. "Big Law Associates Don't Have It Easy Despite Raises, Lower Hours," 02.23.24.
    A recruiter at Major, Lindsey & Africa, writing at Bloomberg Law, offers a rebuttal of a recent Bloomberg piece claiming associates have never had it so good, arguing, "The suggestion that 2023 was a cakewalk for associates because of their high pay and low utilization is misleading, if not incorrect."

  27. "Balancing the Scales: A Young Attorney's Guide to Excelling Personally and Professionally," 02.22.23.
    The Young Lawyer Editorial Board at The Legal Intelligencer offers tips for young lawyers seeking balance in their lives, noting, "success in the legal profession does not need to come at the expense of your well-being and sanity."

  28. "Employers' obligation to protect psychological well-being of workers expanded by Quebec bill," 02.21.24.
    Law360 Canada reports, "The Quebec government, in an initiative welcomed by business and labour, is in the final stages of passing legislation that aims to further prevent and fight psychological harassment and sexual violence in the workplace by adding legal presumptions to make it easier to prove an employment injury or illness stemmed from violence at the hands of a co-worker or employer representative." (Subscription required.)

  29. "Improving Executive Functioning Skills as a Law Student," 02.13.24.
    This episode of JD Supra's Law School Toolbox Podcast addresses "executive functioning skills for law students and new lawyers, in relation to staying organized, managing time effectively, and also studying and working smart."

  30. Technology

  31. "Advocate, advise, and accompany," 02.22.24.
    Jordan Furlong continues to envision what generative AI might mean for the legal profession and concludes that even the best-case scenario "will require a massive overhaul of our legal habits and institutions."

  32. "Law Firms, Legal Departments Are Investing in Gen AI, but for Different Purposes," 02.21.24.
    Legaltech News examines data on law firm and corporate use of generative artificial intelligence (gen AI) to report on how much they are using the tool and how much they are planning to invest in it.

  33. "How generative AI could alter the staffing mix in legal departments," 02.20.24.
    Legal Dive reports, "If legal departments want to deploy generative AI technology effectively, they will need to carefully steward the reams of data they possess. This required emphasis on data management will likely prompt in-house legal teams to shift how they staff their departments, according to Stuart Fuller, global head of legal services at KPMG International."

  34. "How to Keep People From Dozing Off During Online Meetings," 02.15.24.
    The Wall Street Journal has tips for making your online meetings more engaging.

February 16, 2024

    Top Stories

  1. "Colleges, students and states reeling from FAFSA setbacks," 02.11.24.
    The Washington Post reports on the issues surrounding the release of the new FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), including technical glitches with the form, delays in sending data to schools, and the possibility that the new data will be incompatible with the schools' software.

    1. "Some D.C.-area colleges push back deadlines to commit after FAFSA delays," 02.15.24.
      The Washington Post reports that several area colleges and universities "are giving prospective students more time to weigh admissions offers as schools wait for the Education Department to send critical financial aid data."

  2. "An Early Look: The 2024 Am Law 200 Financials," 02.13.24.
    The American Lawyer has this running compilation of articles about law firm financials.

  3. Law Schools/Higher Education

  4. "ABA-Approved Online Law Schools Make Becoming A Lawyer Easier And More Affordable," 02.15.24.
    TaxProf Blog highlights this article that asserts, "As the ABA allows law schools to implement a distance education program for legal education, opportunities for potential lawyers will grow due to numerous factors, including lower costs and more versatility of when and how they complete their education."

  5. "The Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting An LLM Program," 02.15.24.
    An LL.M. candidate writes at Above the Law about things she wishes she had known before starting her program.

  6. "Yale, Stanford yield to summer associate recruitment 'creep'. Other top law schools resist, for now," 02.14.24.
    Reuters picks up on last week's story about earlier OCIs.

  7. "Is Shifting Away From Rankings Opening Up New Opportunities for Need-Based JD Scholarships?" 02.14.24.
    Law.com reports that the University of Michigan Law School has joined the list of law schools offering tuition-free need-based scholarships for law school and notes, "the U.S. News ranking methodology works against law schools' commitments to enhance the socioeconomic diversity of classes and to allocating financial aid to students based on need."

  8. "New ABA Rule Is a Step Forward for Free Speech at Law Schools," 02.14.24.
    David Lat, writing for Bloomberg Law, spoke with law students and school administrators to see how they feel about the ABA's new rule on freedom of speech and concludes, "At the end of the day, while Standard 208 is a commendable step forward, free speech and academic freedom are ultimately about culture. Law schools must instill a culture of free speech and academic freedom, one in which people tolerate and even affirmatively seek out opposing viewpoints. And that can't be done by rules and standards alone; it needs to be done by changing hearts and minds."

  9. "Two-Thirds Through Fall 2024 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Up +4.3%, With Smallest Increase In White Males," 02.12.24.
    TaxProf Blog explores LSAC admissions data.

  10. Law Firms

  11. "Fenwick & West Laying Off Nearly 10% of Attorneys, Staff," 02.13.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports, "Fenwick & West is laying off nearly 10% of its attorneys and staff as the tech-focused firm faces fallout from stalled transactional markets."

    1. "Fenwick Layoffs Show Pressure on Firms Tied to Silicon Valley," 02.15.24.
      Bloomberg Law has additional analysis of the employment market.

  12. "Impressive Gains at Quinn Emanuel, Hogan Lovells, Milbank Suggest a Healthy 2023 for Am Law 100," 02.13.24.
    "Early 2023 financial reports from Am Law 100 firms reveal impressive gains that reversed past setbacks, paced by preliminary indications of roughly a 30% jump in revenue at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and double-digit increases to the top line at Hogan Lovells and Milbank," according to The American Lawyer.

  13. "Aren't non-equity partners really just glorified associates?" 02.12.24.
    This op-ed at Law360 Canada examines the difference between various categories of lawyers. (Subscription required.)

  14. "As Associate Pay Raises Divide the Market, Several Law Firms Match, Others Hold Off," 02.12.24.
    "Several large law firms based in Washington, D.C. have matched the latest associate compensation scale of top firms, but others have stopped short of announcing changes, as salary hikes continue to divide the industry," reports The National Law Journal.

  15. "White Box vs. Black Box Compensation Systems," 02.09.24.
    The author of this opinion piece at Law.com argues that "a 'black box' partner compensation system is the worst compensation system a law firm can have" and outlines the components of a successful partner compensation system.

  16. Employment Market/Return to Office

  17. "Employers Risk Bias Suits in Targeting Remote Staff for Layoffs," 02.16.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports on data that shows that remote workers, who are "more likely to be women, people of color, and those with disability accommodations" are also more likely to be laid off.

  18. "Choosing the Right Path: Selecting Your Practice Area as a New Lawyer," 02.15.24.
    Two lawyers writing at The Legal Intelligencer advise young lawyers to be intentional in choosing a practice area, noting, "Regardless of the pathway to your practice area, it should ultimately be your choice, one that you make deliberately, and one that will lead you down a path of personal career fulfillment."

  19. "Lawyers Need Proper HR Training to Be Better Supervisors and to Reduce Risk," 02.15.24.
    This op-ed in The Legal Intelligencer reflects on recent discrimination cases against law firms and argues, "most firms should use these cases as opportunities to reassess their internal coaching, mentoring, and supervising policies for attorneys and staff."

  20. "Lofty-Sounding 'Chief Legal Officer' Title Becomes Bargaining Chip in Talent Hunt," 02.14.24.
    Corporate Counsel reports that more corporations are starting to rename their general counsel to "the loftier-sounding chief legal officer."

  21. "Latest Big Law Layoffs Illustrate Inconsistency in Market as Some 'Still Haven't Seen That Bounce Back'," 02.14.24.
    "Despite impressive gains at the top of the Am Law 200 charts and a mindset geared more toward growth, layoffs and cuts continue to rattle the industry," according to The American Lawyer.

  22. "Have Transactional Demand Levels Slowed Lateral Partner Hiring?" 02.14.24.
    The American Lawyer examines lateral hiring data and reports, "Amid the downslide in merger and acquisition deals last year and the uptick in corporate layoffs, the lateral hiring boom in Big Law that's characterized much of the post-pandemic era for the legal industry finally began slowing down."

    1. "Chasing Higher Performance, Top Firms Are Refreshing Comp Systems to Court Laterals," 02.15.24.
      The American Lawyer explores changes that law firms are making to their compensation systems, "widening the ratio in pay for the highest and lowest-paid partners in order to better recruit and retain high performers."

  23. "AI and Hospitality: Transforming Law Firm Workplaces for the Future," 02.13.24.
    This op-ed at Law.com examines workplace experience as a driver for return-to-office and argues, "AI isn't merely about automating tasks; it's the linchpin in redefining the workplace experience, enabling organizations to provide unprecedented, personalized experiences and customized interactions."

  24. "Pre-Hire Personality Tests Set Legal Challenges for Employers," 02.12.24.
    Two lawyers writing for Bloomberg Law examine the use of personality tests in the recruiting process and outline considerations of how to implement such tests.

  25. "Law firms' profits rebounded in late 2023 amid robust rate growth," 02.12.24.
    Reuters reports, "Fueled largely by rate growth and increased demand for countercyclical work, profits rose year-over-year among both large and midsize law firms in the fourth quarter following a dismal 2022, according to the latest Thomson Reuters Law Firm Financial Index."

    1. "Aggressive Rate Hikes, Head Count Management Helped Am Law 50 Squeeze Profits From Sluggish Demand in Q4," 02.12.24.
      The American Lawyer notes that, despite a drop in demand, "the Am Law 50 saw nearly as much of an increase in overall fees worked — nearly 8% — compared to respective increases of roughly 11% and 9% for the Am Law 51-100 and Second Hundred."

    2. "Hours Down. Revenues Up. What Gives?" 02.14.24.
      The AmLaw Litigation Daily summarizes findings from the Thomson Reuters report.

  26. "Law Firms Witnessed a 'Return to Profit Growth' in 2023," 02.09.24.
    The American Lawyer reports, "The legal industry saw profitability resume its growth in 2023, with law firms increasing average revenues by 6.1% in the last year, outpacing expense growth of 5.6%. Ultimately, profits per equity partner grew by 6.6%, according to researchers at Citi's Global Wealth at Work Law Firm Group."

    1. "Law Firms Prioritized Nonequity Partner Growth In 2023," 02.12.24.
      Law360 reports, "Even as demand lagged and expenses went up last year, law firms took an aggressive approach to expanding their non-equity partner headcounts, according to the results of a survey by Citi Global's Wealth at Work Law Firm Group." (Subscription required.)

  27. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

  28. "Research Finds Surprise in Women Lawyers' Deal Work: Progress," 02.15.24.
    Roy Strom at Bloomberg Law explores the results of new research that shows "78% of deal leadership teams announced in 2023 included at least one woman, up from 42% in 2013. Overall, women made up 31% of deal teams in 2023 compared to 19% a decade earlier. The numbers don't show women are close to men in deal team representation, but they indicate women are getting an equal or better shot at working on deal teams relative to their representation inside law firms."

  29. "What's In a Name? After Texas banned DEI, a campus space for LGBTQ students got an overhaul," 02.12.24.
    "Well over a dozen states are considering bills this year that would ban diversity, equity, and inclusion programming. To understand exactly what that means for a campus, take a look at Texas, where lawmakers passed such a ban last year," at The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Subscription required.)

  30. "Gender Results Framework: A new data table on workplace harassment," 02.12.24.
    Statistics Canada has released a new data table based on its 2020 Survey on Sexual Misconduct at Work which shows, among other statistics, "31% of men and 47% of women reported ever experiencing some form of harassment or sexual assault in the workplace."

  31. "AccessLex Grant Program Keeps Focus on Race, Ethnicity Despite Affirmative Action Ruling," 02.12.24.
    Law.com reports, "The AccessLex Institute has been providing Diversity Pathway Intervention grants to institutions for 10 years, and last summer's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action has not altered the program."

  32. "Courtroom Diversity Orders From 2020 Probed by GOP Senators," 02.09.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports, "Two Republican senators are probing a trio of orders issued by three Illinois federal judges indicating they would be more likely to grant oral argument if the arguing attorney is newer, a woman, or a person of color."

  33. Mental Health/Well-Being

  34. "How Legal Work Can Feed Attorneys' Suicidal Thoughts," 02.13.24.
    Law360 reports, "Studies show time and again that attorneys are at greater risk for suicide and suicidal ideation than peers in other industries. Law360 spoke with eight attorneys who shared their personal stories about how the legal profession encourages behavior that can lead to suicidal ideation and how they found help." (Subscription required.)

  35. "Best Friends at Work: Can They Transform the Legal Workplace?" February 2024.
    The February issue of the Institute for Well-Being in Law Catalyst newsletter has this article from Michael Ellenhorn reporting on friendships at work, with data from Gallup that shows that having a "'best friend at work' is a key determinant of high vs. low performing teams and engaged vs. disengaged employees" and provides some tips for how employers can encourage work friendships.

  36. Technology

  37. "How could generative AI radically transform the legal industry?" 02.15.24.
    ABA Journal reports on a panel at the ABA Techshow where "Panelists maintained that generative AI could lead to all sorts of sea changes, including helping to bridge the access-to-justice gap; forcing courts and lawyers to guard against deepfakes and other false evidence; and, most notably, killing the billable hour." (Subscription required.)

  38. "AI Might Kill Off the Billable Hour Someday, But It Will Be a Slow Death," 02.14.24.
    Legaltech News shares a new report from Lex Mundi that indicates "The legal industry's deeply entrenched pricing model — the billable hour — isn't going away any time soon, though generative AI may chip away at its dominance for certain types of work."

  39. "Why this time it's different: How generative AI may finally kill the billable hour," 02.09.24.
    This op-ed at Canadian Lawyer argues, "Hourly billing will survive, but it may soon cease to be the dominant pricing arrangement between law firms and clients. This time, it's different."

February 9, 2024

Top Stories

  1. "Pay is top reason associates stay at their law firms, study finds," 02.06.24.
    Reuters reports on new research from the NALP Foundation showing that "Compensation is the main reason associates stay at their law firms, followed by work-life balance and opportunities for advancement."

    1. "This is the No. 1 reason associates stay at their law firms, new study says," 02.08.24. (ABA Journal — Subscription required)

    2. "Compensation, Work-Life Balance Among Top Drivers of Associate Satisfaction," 02.07.24. (The American Lawyer)

    3. "Compensation, Work-Life Balance Keep Associates At Firms," 02.06.24. (Law360 — Subscription required)

  2. Law Schools/Higher Education

  3. "Harvard Law School Mentor Shares Essential Student Tips," 02.08.24.
    The Legal Intelligencer talks with lawyer and Harvard alum Michael J. Epstein, who "offers law students six key tips that come from his decades of experience as a lawyer and his work as a Harvard Law mentor."

  4. "Yale and Stanford Law Schools Move Virtual Interviews to June," 02.08.24.
    "Yale and Stanford Law Schools have moved up virtual recruiting to June this year, ahead of the formal on-campus interviews (OCI) that are held in late summer, to better align the hiring timeline," according to Law.com.

  5. "ABA Vote Requires Law Schools to Prohibit Disruptive Protests," 02.05.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports, "The American Bar Association's policy-making body has passed a measure requiring law schools to adopt written 'academic freedom' policies that protect speech, including for those who express unpopular or controversial ideas."

    1. "Free speech and academic freedom standards will now be part of ABA accreditation process," 02.05.24.
      More from ABA Journal. (Subscription required.)

  6. "Rape Questions Could Be Next Focus Of Bar App Reforms," 02.05.24.
    Law360 reports, "New Jersey will change its character and fitness questionnaire to ask less invasive questions of sexual assault survivors, after a Law360 inquiry about the form. With nearly every state asking would-be lawyers questions that could dredge up sexual traumas, some attorneys are calling for other states to do the same." (Subscription required.)

  7. "How a Law School Student at N.Y.U. Spends Her Sundays," 02.03.24.
    The New York Times has the profile of how one NYU law student spends her Sundays.

  8. "17 of the Top 20 Law Schools Have More Women Enrolled," 02.02.24.
    Law.com's Christine Charnosky looks at enrollment data from the ABA and discusses changes and challenges in tracking this information over time.

  9. "Harvard Law to offer low-income scholarships, joining Yale and Stanford," 02.02.24.
    Reuters reports, "Harvard Law School will this fall begin offering full-tuition scholarships to some lower-income students, following similar moves at Yale and Stanford."

    1. "Harvard Is Fourth Law School To Go Tuition-Free For Students In Need, Joining Yale, Stanford, And WashU," 02.05.24.
      TaxProf Blog also has this story and links to stories on the other three tuition-free programs.

  10. "Helping Law Students Define and Pursue Success," 01.29.24.
    On the Indisputably blog, Professor John Lande (University of Missouri Law) shares a collection of articles to help students manage career expectations, prepare for practice, and define success.

  11. Law Firms

  12. "Mid-sized firms excel at billing, struggling with collecting, says Clio report," 02.05.24.
    Canadian Lawyer looks at data from Clio that "revealed several trends impacting mid-sized firms," including an increase in billable hours but a lag in collecting.

    1. "Mid-Sized Firms Working Harder, Making More... And STILL Leaving More Money On The Table Than Other Firms," 02.07.24.
      Joe Patrice at Above the Law explores the Clio data further.

  13. "How to be the leader your law firm needs," 02.07.24.
    Jordan Furlong explores the difference between management and leadership and examines the role mid-career lawyers have in bridging the gap "between older partners who've made great sacrifices and expect others to do the same, and younger lawyers for whom the costs of those sacrifices wildly exceed the benefits."

  14. "Midsize Firms Use Bonuses, Culture to Compete for Talent After High Payouts for Associates," 02.05.24.
    Law.com Pro Mid-Market reports, "From extra bonus pay to free dog walking services, midsize firms are employing financial and non-financial means of competing for talent in the wake of the latest associate wage scale increases by the nation's largest firms."

  15. "Cravath Enters Modern Era of Big Law Amid Regular Rate of Partner Exits," 02.02.24.
    The American Lawyer looks at changes in the culture at Cravath.

  16. Employment Market/Return to Office

  17. "'You Want to Be Oxygen': How Legal Departments Can Fix Their Isolation Problem," 02.06.24.
    Corporate Counsel examines the isolation felt by many in-house attorneys and provides some possible remedies.

  18. "US legal jobs dip following record high, Labor Dept says," 02.02.24.
    Reuters reports, "The U.S. legal services sector lost 4,400 jobs in January after reaching an all-time employment high last year, according to Labor Department data released on Friday."

  19. "Bridging the Divide in Hybrid Work Models: Adapting the Apprenticeship Model and Shifting Measurement Focus," 02.02.24.
    The final installment in last week's Law.com series outlines ways law firms can provide effective training and development in a hybrid work environment, as well as metrics for measuring engagement and new approaches to evaluating success.

  20. "HR Pros Share Best Practices for Hybrid Work Models," 01.30.24.
    The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shares how some corporations are implementing hybrid work, measuring performance, and addressing challenges related to employee engagement.

  21. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

  22. "Judges in the Hot Seat Over Oral Argument Diversity Policies," 02.09.24.
    Law.com examines issues around America First Legal's lawsuit accusing judges in Illinois of "unlawfully discriminating and showing judicial bias in violation of the judicial code of conduct."

  23. "Diversity Twice as Important to Associates than Partners, Survey Finds," 02.09.24.
    Law.com International reports on a recent U.K. survey by Major, Lindsey & Africa that showed "41% of associates want law firms to promote diversity more, compared to just 24% of partners."

  24. "Black DOJ Enforcers Call on Minority Law Students to Prosecute," 02.07.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports, "Senior Black Justice Department prosecutors made an impassioned pitch to minority law students to overcome reservations of enlisting in an institution they may not trust."

  25. "Championing Black excellence: Fostering workplace diversity during Black History Month," 02.07.24.
    Law360 Canada provides tips for employers that want to celebrate Black History Month.

  26. "As Black Women Still Face Hurdles in the Legal World, Mentorship Remains Critical to Success," 02.07.24.
    Daily Business Review examines ABA diversity data and speaks with three lawyers about their experiences and the importance of representation and mentorship to increase the numbers of Black women in the legal industry.

  27. "UC Berkeley cites First Amendment in bid to end antisemitism lawsuit," 02.06.24.
    "The University of California, at Berkeley argued on Monday that a lawsuit claiming its campus and law school are rife with antisemitism should be thrown out because the First Amendment bars administrators from punishing student organizations for political speech," according to Reuters.

  28. "Corporate America Tweaks Diversity Initiatives Amid Pushback," 02.05.24.
    The Wall Street Journal reports, "Businesses are trying to fashion programs that foster inclusion without running afoul of the law and potentially bringing costly consequences, according to lawyers and corporate advisers working on such policies. That means some are abandoning the most legally risky and potentially discriminatory practices, such as numerical targets that can be seen as 'quotas' or the use of unconscious bias training that casts blame."

  29. "Attorneys Who Argue Before Supreme Court Skew Male, Ivy League," 02.05.24.
    Adam Feldman of the Empirical SCOTUS blog, writing for Bloomberg Law, analyzes data on the attorneys who argue before the Supreme Court showing, "There is significant homogeneity among this group, with the most common profile a male who graduated with a law degree from Harvard, Yale, or Stanford and who clerked at a federal appeals court and then the Supreme Court."

  30. "Supreme Court refuses to stop West Point's race-conscious admissions policy," 02.02.24.
    The Washington Post reports, "The Supreme Court on Friday refused to immediately force the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to change its race-conscious admissions policies, less than a year after the court's conservative majority rejected similar programs at other colleges and universities."

    1. "Justices Deny Request to Halt Race-Conscious Admissions at West Point Pending Appeal," 02.02.24.
      More from The National Law Journal.

  31. "Utah Bans D.E.I. Programs, Joining Other States," 02.01.24.
    The New York Times reports on the latest DEI ban, which "prohibits any program, office or initiative that has 'diversity, equity and inclusion' in its name or 'asserts that meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist.' It also requires student support services to be open to all students, outlawing efforts that focus on students of certain races or genders."

  32. "ABA looks to oppose laws that ban teaching about race," 02.01.24.
    "The American Bar Association's policymaking body is poised to take a public stand on Monday against laws that bar teaching about race or gender, as well as bans on books that cover those subjects," reports Reuters.

  33. "O'Melveny DEI Head On How Language Can Foster Belonging," 01.31.24.
    At Law360, "O'Melveny & Myers LLP's director of diversity and engagement, Bendita Malakia, talks about how language plays a critical role in DEI efforts and improving a sense of belonging at law firms." (Subscription required.)

  34. Mental Health/Well-Being

  35. "Erin Durant on speaking up about mental health and the importance of sponsorship for women lawyers," 02.06.24.
    Canadian Lawyer's CL Talk podcast speaks with lawyer and author Erin Durant about her book, her experiences with mental health struggles, and the role that mentorship can play in improving mental health.

  36. "Pushing back against stigma surrounding mental health," 01.25.24.
    CBA/ABC National examines data from the 2022 National Study on the Psychological Health Determinants for Canadian Legal Professionals and shares "small steps we can each take to reduce perceived stigma in the legal profession."

  37. Technology

  38. "Can Big Law Extract the Maximum Value of AI?" 02.08.24.
    The Barometer newsletter at Law.com reports on discussions at Legalweek NYC around how law firms will adapt to and use generative AI tools, noting the irony that big law firms can easily afford the expense of purchasing the technology but that "it would be much harder for Big Law to adjust to the implications of heavy AI use given the significant structural changes it would force to staffing, hiring and pricing, whereas [smaller firms] would be able to benefit from the scale gen AI would offer and could more easily adapt to its impact on the business model."

  39. "Mid-Sized Firms Have Lagged Behind In Tech... But Why?" 02.08.24.
    Joe Patrice at Above the Law examines data on law firm technology adoption from the 2024 U.S. Midsize Law Firm Priorities Report and concludes, "there is a palpable fear among a lot of mid-sized firms owing to the real or perceived concern that tech investments won't be backed up by partners who will leave lawyers struggling to figure out what the tech does."

  40. "Gen AI Could Force Lawyers, Clients to Talk Differently About Billable Hour, Legal Pricing," 02.07.24.
    Legaltech News discusses the impact of generative AI, calling it "a technology…that is unlike many past innovations, reviving not only the potential to hamper the billable hour, but also the impetus for legal teams to better communicate with their clients about pricing dynamics."

February 2, 2024

    Top Stories

  1. "Hiring slowdown keeps growth in check at biggest US law firms," 01.30.24.
    Reuters shares results from this year's Wells Fargo Legal Specialty Group survey that shows law firms "have responded to relatively flat client demand and a still-cool dealmaking environment by reducing hiring and increasing billing rates."

    1. "Less Work, More Money: Big Law Associates Never Had It Better," 02.01.24.
      In his Big Law Business column, Bloomberg Law's Roy Strom takes a dive into the data and asserts, "associates have never had it better than they do right now," noting that the average hours worked (at top firms) is at its lowest point ever, while associate salaries keep climbing.

    2. "After Moderate Revenue Gains, Law Firms Plan for Growth in Both Deals and Litigation," 01.30.24.
      The American Lawyer has more.

    3. "Top Law Firms' Revenue Rose 6% on Higher Rates, Wells Fargo Says," 01.30.24.
      Bloomberg Law also has the story.

    4. "Rate Hikes Helped Law Firms Boost Profits By 6% In 2023," 01.30.24.
      Law360 reports, "Law firm billing rate increases of 8.3% across the industry drove profits upward by almost 6% in 2023, even as demand remained nearly flat, according to the results of a year-end survey of 130 law firms by Wells Fargo's Legal Specialty Group." (Subscription required.)

  2. Law Schools/Higher Education

  3. "Does Finding the Bar Difficult Make You Less Competent? Some Lawyers Think So," 02.01.24.
    Law.com's Christine Charnosky reports on a recent survey that shows lawyers have some opinions on the bar exam and apprenticeship programs — mostly in favor of the former and against the latter.

  4. "Harvard Law Review elects second Black woman president in 137 years," 02.01.24.
    "The Harvard Law Review, for only the second time in its 137-year history, will be led by a Black woman," reports Reuters.

  5. "New bar exam developers ditch problem-plagued ExamSoft platform," 01.31.24.
    Reuters reports, "The National Conference of Bar Examiners said on Tuesday that it had replaced ExamSoft, the platform most states use for the current bar exam, with different testing software for the NextGen bar exam."

    1. "NextGen Exam to Be Administered Via Surpass Assessment Software in All Jurisdictions," 01.31.24.
      Law.com has more.

  6. Law Firms

  7. "'You Need Specific Examples': What Employers Can Learn from Davis Polk Retaliation Verdict," 02.01.24.
    New York Law Journal provides analysis of the recent Davis Polk verdict, noting, "Specific, detailed performance feedback may have led to the quick verdict in Davis Polk & Wardwell's favor in an ex-associate's retaliation trial on Monday — and it should be a priority for employers before any lawsuits are filed."

  8. "Goodwin, Citing Performance Reviews, Parts With Number of Associates," 02.01.24.
    The American Lawyer reports, "Goodwin Procter, citing its annual performance-management cycle at the beginning of each year, has parted ways with an unknown number of associates, the firm said Thursday."

  9. "It's Time for Partners to Go Beyond Structured Feedback Platforms," 01.31.24.
    A consultant from Fringe PD, writing for Bloomberg Law, outlines ways that law firm partners can "establish a culture of feedback."

  10. "Will Allen & Overy, Freshfields, Clifford Chance and Linklaters Find America's Streets Paved With Gold?" 01.29.24.
    The American Lawyer picks up this story from Law.com International that looks at U.K. firms launching in the U.S. and asks, "how will all these efforts to become a major player in the U.S. pan out?"

  11. "What's in a Name? Law Firms Rebrand HR to 'People Operations'," 01.29.24.
    Law.com Pro Mid-Market reports, "The shift away from HR terminology to 'talent development' has largely played out among large law firms, where titles such as chief people officer and chief talent officer are widespread, and is gradually encroaching on the midsize firm sector. Consultants say this evolution is tied to the aggressive war for talent in the legal profession."

  12. "Here's What to Do When Your Firm Is Mulling a Merger," 01.26.24.
    The LegalSpeak podcast at Law.com outlines "the questions lawyers and legal professionals should be asking themselves if their firm is mulling a merger: how do you know if and when it's time to make a move to a new firm? What are the risks of staying or leaving? And how can you get a handle on what to expect post-merger before the union becomes official?"

  13. "Is a Boutique the Right Fit? A Legal Recruiter Weighs In," 01.26.24.
    A legal recruiter, writing for Texas Lawyer, discusses "compelling aspects of boutique law firms that often go unnoticed by attorneys contemplating a career transition."

  14. "Law Firms Expanded Recruiting Reach Even As Hiring Slowed," 01.25.24.
    Law360 reports, "As overall lateral hiring slowed in 2023, a new report from Leopard Solutions found that the top 200 U.S. law firms have continued to extend their recruitment efforts beyond their usual networks, bringing in attorneys from smaller firms at the same rate as their BigLaw counterparts." (Subscription required.)

  15. Employment Market/Return to Office

  16. "These Public Service Loan Forgiveness applicants have seen their student debt erased," 02.01.24.
    ABA Journal profiles some lawyers who have had their student loans forgiven under the federal government's Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. (Subscription required.)

  17. "Ask A Mentor: How Do I Balance Social Activism With My Job?" 01.31.24.
    "Corporate attorneys pursuing social justice causes outside of work should consider eight guidelines for finding equilibrium between their beliefs and their professional duties and reputation," say three lawyers writing at Law360. (Subscription required.)

  18. "Lawyers viewed as more ethical than car salespeople and US lawmakers," 01.30.23.
    The ABA Journal examines data from a recent Gallup poll that shows most Americans don't find lawyers very trustworthy, but still rank them more trustworthy than business executives, insurance salespeople, car salespeople, senators, and members of Congress. (Subscription required.)

  19. "42% of legal teams face cost-cutting mandates, ACC survey finds," 01.30.24.
    LegalDive reports that a new survey from the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) shows that many corporate counsel are operating under cost-cutting mandates while also experiencing major rate hikes from their outside counsel.

  20. "Business Development New Year's Resolutions Already Falling Flat? Re-Engage by Prioritizing Your Internal Network," 01.30.24.
    A business development expert, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, challenges lawyers to "look back at your goals and identify tactics in utilizing your internal firm network and resources to propel your business development priorities forward."

  21. "Bridging the Divide in Hybrid Work Models: Understanding the Root of Discontent," 01.30.24.
    This op-ed at The American Lawyer examines the perspectives of employees, leaders, and clients in relation to hybrid and remote work, including how certain cultures evolved and how they can be adapted.

    1. "Bridging the Divide in Hybrid Work Models: Generational Differences and Expectations," 01.31.24.
      Part two in the series explores characteristics and preferences of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z and provides tips for creating an effective workplace dynamic for all.

    2. "Bridging the Divide in Hybrid Work Models: Balancing Physical Presence and Flexibility," 02.01.24.
      Part three focuses on finding the right balance between remote work and in-person work.

  22. "H-1B Lottery Revamp, Higher Visa Fees Finalized in New Rules," 01.30.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports, "Final rules hiking fees for employment-based visas and overhauling the lottery process for H-1B specialty occupation visas were released Tuesday by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services."

  23. "Biden Orders US Contractors to Reveal Salary Ranges in Job Ads," 01.29.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports, "The Biden administration plans to require companies with federal government contracts to disclose expected salary ranges in job postings, as part of a broader effort to boost race and gender pay equity. US contractors, as well as federal agencies, will also be prohibited from using a job applicant's compensation history to set their starting pay."

  24. "Career quiz for law students and young lawyers," 01.29.24.
    Law360 Canada has this quiz for law students on how to know your worth as a lawyer. (Subscription required.)

  25. "Prosecutors are 'quitting in droves,' and it's bad news for defendants, law prof says," 01.26.24.
    ABA Journal reports, "Prosecutors are 'quitting in droves,' while the offices that employ them are getting a fraction of the applications that they have in the past, according to a law professor who studied the problem. Vacancies in prosecution offices are higher than 15% in Houston and Los Angeles; higher than 20% in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Detroit; at 25% in Alameda, California; and at 33% in Miami." (Subscription required.)

  26. "Keep it legal: employment lawyer on how to implement flexible work arrangements in Canada," 01.25.24.
    Canadian Lawyer cites statistics from a new report from Statistics Canada (StatsCan) that shows "although the number of employees working mostly from home is returning to pre-pandemic levels, employers are still facing challenges in meeting diverse employee preferences," and provides tips for implementing flexible work policies.

  27. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

  28. "Chicago falls shy of national milestone for women attorneys," 02.01.24.
    The Chicago Sun-Times looks at NALP diversity data and reports specific data for the legal market in Chicago.

  29. "ABA looks to oppose laws that ban teaching about race," 02.01.24.
    Karen Sloan at Reuters writes, "The American Bar Association's policymaking body is poised to take a public stand on Monday against laws that bar teaching about race or gender, as well as bans on books that cover those subjects."

  30. "Why Progress on Law Firm Diversity Is 'Minimal at Best'," 02.01.24.
    Corporate Counsel reports, "Legal departments' efforts to use their clout to get law firms to hire and promote more women and minorities appear to be stalling, even as firms say they're more committed than ever to diversity," and looks at some of the factors behind the lack of support.

  31. "Companies Embrace Religion as New Facet of Diversity Efforts," 02.01.24.
    Bloomberg Law discusses the recent growth of employee resource groups (ERGs) focused on religion, reporting that "Forty-three Fortune 500 companies have publicly reported having faith-oriented ERGs, up from 37 companies in 2022" and noting a recommendation that "employers should establish interfaith groups to avoid the appearance of singling out or endorsing a particular religious group or belief."

  32. "Court Ends Bar Diversity Funding," 01.30.24.
    The Florida Bar Association published an announcement this week that "The Florida Supreme Court has directed The Florida Bar to eliminate funding for diversity and inclusion initiatives from its forthcoming budget, a move that includes the removal of allocated funds for the Bar's Diversity and Inclusion Committee."

    1. "Florida Bar Diversity Funding Cut by State Supreme Court," 01.31.24.
      Bloomberg Law has more.

  33. "Black Business Fund Appeal Tests Post-Civil War Law in DEI Cases," 01.30.24.
    This deep dive at Bloomberg Law discusses the legal strategy of challenging diversity programs using Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

  34. "2023: A Landmark Year in LGBTQ+ Rights — Legal Triumphs and Political Challenges," 01.29.24.
    This op-ed in The Legal Intelligencer outlines legal developments and difficult challenges faced by the LBGTQ+ community in 2023.

  35. "By The Numbers: Law Firms' Slow But Steady DEI Progress," 01.29.24.
    Law360 reports, "Law firms have long strived for better diversity in their ranks, but the effort to make a more organized, concentrated push to improve representation is still in its infancy, according to a recent survey of diversity professionals at major U.S. firms." (Subscription required.)

  36. "White male NYU Law student seeks class action status in bias case," 01.26.24.
    "The anonymous plaintiff in a race and sex discrimination lawsuit challenging the selection process for New York University School of Law's flagship law review is seeking class action status for all current and future white, heterosexual male students who hope to participate," Reuters reports.

    1. "NYU says white man's discrimination suit over law review selection is 'half-baked'," 01.30.24.
      This story from Reuters shares NYU's response to the lawsuit.

  37. "Ex-Trump aide's group files complaints over judges' diversity pushes," 01.26.24.
    Reuters reports on "a judicial misconduct complaint accusing three federal judges in Illinois of discrimination, citing policies they adopted to give young women and minority lawyers greater opportunities to argue cases in court."

  38. "Justices Asked to Stop West Point from Using Race in Admissions," 01.26.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports that Student for Fair Admissions asked the Supreme Court "to issue a preliminary injunction [to stop using race as a factor in its admissions decisions] by Jan. 31, which is when West Point stops accepting applicants and starts choosing the students it'll admit to its incoming class."

    1. "West Point Defends Race-Conscious Admissions Policy To Supreme Court," 01.30.24.
      The National Law Journal provides the federal government's response to this suit.

  39. "Legal chiefs, diversity officers view DEI differently, survey finds," 01.25.24.
    LegalDive reports on the recent Inclusion, Equity and Diversity C-Suite Survey Report from Littler, that "highlighted stark contrasts in the perspectives of legal chiefs and diversity officers, which could create clashes in the area of DEI."

  40. Mental Health/Well-Being

  41. "Importance of boosting employee morale during wintertime," 01.29.24.
    Law360 Canada has this piece on how "employers can implement various strategies aimed at promoting open communication, flexibility, wellness, and recognition."

  42. "How Clients Are Contributing To Law Firm Well-Being," 01.26.24.
    Law360 reports, "Outside counsel are often trained to respond to email at all hours and deliver on requests from corporate clients posthaste, a culture of on-demand service that has played a part in mental health challenges in the profession. In recent years, though, some clients have begun to push for a paradigm shift." (Subscription required.)

  43. "Why Lawyers Would Benefit From Honing Their 'Rest Ethic'," 01.25.24.
    Law360 reports, "The legal field is brimming with people who are intimately familiar with work ethic, but often don't know how to adequately and effectively rest in order to be their most effective selves, according to a Thursday presentation at the Institute for Well-Being in Law's 2024 Virtual Annual Conference." (Subscription required.)

  44. "Importance of talking about mental health in the workplace," 01.24.24.
    In honor of Bell Let's Talk Day, on January 24, this Law360 Canada piece discusses ways employers can "prioritize a supportive work environment."

  45. Technology

  46. "'Late Adopters' or 'Cautious Optimism': Law Firm Partners Share Divergent Approaches to Gen AI," 01.31.24.
    The American Lawyer reports, "The lack of consensus about how law firms should be embracing generative artificial intelligence came into focus Wednesday at a Legalweek panel on ethical deployment of the emerging technology in litigation, with a partner at the U.S.'s most profitable law firm highlighting a timid approach in comparison to the guarded enthusiasm shared by a partner at one of the country's largest labor and employment shops."

  47. "Employers Ask 'What Is AI' as Regulators Probe Hiring Biases," 01.30.24.
    Bloomberg Law has this in-depth piece that examines state and federal regulations surrounding the use, reporting, and auditing of "artificial intelligence" tools, noting that experts are concerned about a lack of clarity in the definition of AI and also pointing out that "Innovation in human resources technology has complicated the situation, along with the potential inclusion of some old school tools in the 'AI' category."

  48. "Lawyers voice opposition to 5th Circuit's proposed AI rule," 01.29.24.
    Reuters reports, "Several lawyers at major law firms are pushing back on the first proposed rule by a federal appeals court to regulate the use of artificial intelligence by lawyers appearing before it, calling it 'unnecessary' and confusing."

  49. "We Asked Every Am Law 100 Law Firm How They're Using Gen AI. Here's What We Learned," 01.29.24.
    The American Lawyer surveyed Am Law 100 law firms and reports that an "attitude of cautious innovation characterizes the complicated and evolving relationship the world's largest law firms have with generative AI."

    1. "Clients, Common Sense Drive Big Law Gen AI Policies," 01.31.24.
      The second installment in this series from The American Lawyer discusses law firm approaches to using AI with client data (spoiler alert: most firms are not).

  50. "Ninth Circuit Creates Panel to Study Artificial Intelligence," 01.25.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports, "The West Coast-based US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is creating a committee focusing on the impact of artificial intelligence on legal practice, the latest federal court to address the growing technology."

  51. "Can AI end client frustrations over billing?" 01.25.24.
    This op-ed at Reuters addresses the question, "Could generative AI help to finally resolve the perennial irritation that blown budgets, non-compliant billing and unexpected charges cause clients?"

January 26, 2024

    Top Stories

  1. "A 'Sweatshop'? Lawyers Detest Law Firm Cultures That Emphasize Profitability," 01.23.24.
    The American Lawyer shares findings from the 2023 Law Firm Culture Survey report released by Major, Lindsey & Africa and Law360, which looked at which law firm traits inspired the most positive and most negative feelings in lawyers. Positive traits included prioritizing client service and high-quality performance, while "the most common [negative] answer by far was 'profit-mindedness,' with just under 40% of respondents selecting it among their top 10."

    1. "The New Normal in Office Work Is Here, but Lawyers Still Aren't Happy With It," 01.25.24.
      The American Lawyer has more on this, calling out stats that show "A majority of lawyers who believe their firm's culture has changed since their arrival believe those changes are for the worse."

    2. "Should law firms focus more on work-life balance? Survey finds 'wide gaps' in opinions of associates, partners," 01.24.24.
      ABA Journal also shares this story. (Subscription required.)

    3. "What's Behind The Bad Vibes At Biglaw Firms?" 01.24.24.
      Above the Law has more.

    4. "What Lawyers Really Think About Law Firm Culture," 01.23.24.
      Law360 Pulse Magazine writes, "Here are a few things lawyers had to say when asked to describe their firm's culture and whether their firms were focusing on the most important cultural priorities." (Subscription required.)

  2. "Discrimination Lawsuits Put Partners' Feedback for Associates Under the Microscope," 01.23.24.
    The American Lawyer discusses how recent lawsuits accusing firms of discrimination "demonstrate how the blurry line between constructive criticism and microaggressions serves to complicate the matter."

  3. Law Schools/Higher Education

  4. "More elite universities settle suit over alleged 'price-fixing' aid policies," 01.24.24.
    The Washington Post reports on settlements related to a lawsuit against elite universities, claiming that the schools "used a shared methodology to calculate financial need in a way that reduces institutional dollars to students from working- and middle-class families."

    1. "5 Universities in Student Aid Antitrust Suit Agree to More Than $100M in Settlements," 01.23.24.
      Law.com also has this story.

  5. "ABA Seeks Comments On Proposal To Allow Accreditation Of Fully Online Law Schools," 01.25.24.
    TaxProf Blog has the ABA memorandum soliciting comments on the proposal to accredit online law schools.

  6. "AccessLex Institute 2023 Legal Education Data Deck," 01.23.24.
    TaxProf Blog shares the AccessLex Institute data deck released last week.

    1. "Facing undergraduate debt and law school loans, students wonder whether it's worth it, new AccessLex study says," 01.23.24.
      ABA Journal picks up on the AccessLex Institute data and reports, "Almost half of all law school students have debt from their undergraduate education, more fund their legal education with loans and less than half say it was worth it, according to the AccessLex Institute's Legal Education Data Deck." (Subscription required.)

    2. "More Law School Graduates Are Shouldering Loan Debt," 01.23.24.
      Law360 reports, "Most law graduates finance their graduate education through loans, and the proportion of law graduates borrowing for law school has increased, according to a Tuesday report from AccessLex Institute." (Subscription required.)

    3. "Is It Still Worth Going To Law School? Most Law Students Don't Think So," 01.24.24.
      Above the Law has more.

  7. "Most law schools 'very concerned' about impact of affirmative action ruling - survey," 01.22.24.
    "A majority of law school admissions officers are 'very concerned' that the U.S. Supreme Court's ban in June on race-conscious admissions at colleges and universities will reduce the number of diverse law students nationwide, according to a new poll [from Kaplan]," reports Reuters.

    1. "Law School Admissions Officers Report Concerns About Diversity," 01.22.24.
      Law.com has more.

  8. "Plan for Law School During Each Year of College," 01.16.24.
    U.S. News & World Report provides advice on "choices that motivated pre-law students can make to set themselves up for success in the law school admissions process."

  9. Law Firms

  10. "In Partner Pay, Law Firms Are Under Pressure to Strike Right Balance," 01.25.24.
    The Law.com Barometer newsletter explores ways law firms balance partner compensation, noting, "big changes to partner compensation can result in cultural rifts among partners who might lose shares under a system that rewards revenue generation and high-performers who feel like they're subsidizing less profitable practices."

  11. "Where Are Big Law Billing Rates Growing the Fastest?" 01.24.24.
    The American Lawyer examines data on billing rates.

  12. "Rewriting the terms of associate engagement," 01.24.24.
    Jordan Furlong looks at lawyer disengagement and argues, "This is less about 'young lawyers today,' and more about what law firms have become."

  13. "No Origination Credits in Partner Pay? Covington Sees Advantages," 01.22.24.
    The National Law Journal reports, "More large law firms lately are adjusting pay to reward rainmakers and other partners with large books of business. But not all firms are moving in this direction. Covington & Burling remains one of the few firms in the Am Law 100 that does not have billing or origination credits."

  14. "Even As Billing Rates Increase, Lack of Confidence in Fees and 'Subtle Psychology' May Lead to Less Profit," 01.17.24.
    The American Lawyer reports, "Billing rates are expected to climb again in 2024. But a majority of firms also expect their bill write-downs or write-offs — the kind of fee erosion that's led to falling realization — to go up, according to a new report."

  15. "Why Law Firms Should Spend Time Investing in Their Talent," 01.15.24.
    ABA's Law Practice Management has this in-depth article describing how "Investing in talent and valuing contributions beyond billable hours are the keys to building a sustainable and thriving law practice." (Subscription required.)

  16. Employment Market/Return to Office

  17. "Associates Who Want to Be Partner Must Be Proactive, Consistent," 01.26.24.
    NALP member Rachel Patterson, writing for Bloomberg Law, advises that there are "proactive steps you take to hold yourself accountable for your goals and professional development," and shares a list of questions associates can ask themselves about their own performance.

  18. "The Fully Human Lawyer: Value Beyond Numbers," 01.25.24.
    An executive coach, writing for The American Lawyer, provides insights into how lawyers can quantify their value to a firm beyond the numbers in a spreadsheet.

  19. "'I Question Their Dedication to the Firm': Insiders on Slaughter and May's Reduced Hours Policy," 01.25.24.
    Law.com International provides some additional insight into the culture at Slaughter and May, which recently introduced a "switch on/switch off" program allowing lawyers to choose to work fewer hours, noting that "in the weeks following the rollout, doubts have started to emerge as to the scheme's effectiveness, with a particular focus on the possibility that participating in it could impact a lawyer's partnership prospects."

  20. "Clerks for hire: The Supreme Court recruiting race," 01.25.24.
    The Washington Post outlines the maneuvering (and bonuses) involved in the recruitment of Supreme Court clerks to work at D.C.'s elite law firms.

  21. "Is A Boom In Remote Work Tempering Virtual Firms' Growth?" 01.24.24.
    Law360 reports, "Following a period of rapid expansion, the headcount growth at some virtual-oriented law firms has leveled off in recent years, a shift some attribute to the widespread adoption of remote work policies by traditional brick-and-mortar law firms and increased productivity fueled by integrating new technologies." (Subscription required.)

  22. "Job Seekers Crave Remote Work, Even as Remote Jobs Decline," 01.24.24.
    The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports, "Job seekers are still very interested in remote work several years after the COVID-19 pandemic made it a temporary necessity, but the number of remote-work opportunities continues to dwindle as employers increasingly ask new hires to report to the office."

  23. "Lawyer Employment Outlook Looks Good, Though Bar Passage Rates Decline," 01.23.24.
    Law.com examines data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, AccessLex Institute, NALP, and other sources.

  24. "To all the law students I have loved (or just liked a bit)," 01.22.24.
    Law360 Canada has this piece about the problem of work-life balance for young lawyers. (Subscription required.)

  25. "Big Law Has 'False Sense of Security' as Clients Depart for Midsized Firms," 01.22.24.
    Corporate Counsel advises that the 2024 State of the US Legal Market report from Thomson Reuters and the Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law shows "Legal departments are aggressively shifting work from the Am Law 100 and Am Law Second Hundred to less expensive law firms."

  26. "The Law Firm Disrupted: Working Harder or Working Smarter?" 01.21.24.
    Law.com's Law Firm Disrupted column analyzes the message that "old metrics surrounding revenues and billable hours is dated and that firms need to be far more focused on understanding the actual drivers of productivity."

  27. "Weil, Pillsbury Eye London Office Moves Amid US Firm Upsizing Trend," 01.19.24.
    Law.com International reports that two U.S. law firms "have set their sights on London office relocations amid a wider trend of U.S.-headquartered firms taking up more space in the U.K. capital."

  28. "When You Want to Be Hybrid, But Your Boss Wants You in the Office," 01.18.24.
    Harvard Business Review provides steps you can take to convince your boss to let you work remotely.

  29. "Flurry Of Moves Kicks Off 2024: BigLaw's January Shake-Ups," 01.17.24.
    Law360 reports, "During the first two weeks of January the legal industry was inundated with news of large group hires, law firm combinations and high profile lateral partner departures. Here, Law360 Pulse looks at the flurry of movement that kicked off 2024." (Subscription required.)

  30. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

  31. "Accommodation Awareness: As management retools remote work policies, ADA issues are expected," 01.25.24.
    ABA Journal reports that, while law firms are pushing to have employees in the office and employees are pushing back, "Employees with disabilities are at the forefront of this battle, arguing that remote work can be a reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act."

  32. "The Law Firm Disrupted: A Fresh Take on Big Law's Diversity Problem," 01.25.24.
    Law.com's Law Firm Disrupted column shares thoughts on The Black Ceiling, a new book by University of Richmond School of Law professor Kevin Woodson, which "hones in on training that draws attention to the racial discomfort that Black employees face" in law firms.

  33. "Doubling Down on DEI," 01.24.24.
    This op-ed at The American Lawyer exhorts, "DEI programs aren't meant to bring us shame; they're here to show us the ways we can become stronger. These programs are here to show us the way to a better world. We must stand against those who are insistent on keeping us stagnant and stand with those who bring us into the future."

  34. "Achieve DEI Goals by Collecting and Breaking Down Data," 01.24.24.
    Jean Lee from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, writing at Bloomberg Law, argues that "disaggregating data breaks down the numbers to reveal specific trends affecting groups such as Black or LGBTQ+ employees. This level of precision helps pinpoint problems and may be essential to the legality of DEI solutions."

  35. "Facing Backlash, Some Corporate Leaders Go 'Under the Radar' With D.E.I.," 01.22.24.
    The New York Times explores some of the ways corporations are rethinking diversity initiatives in the face of recent backlash.

  36. "What GCs Think About Women Associates Outnumbering Men," 01.19.24.
    Law360 reports, "In the days since data showed that women surpassed men as associates, general counsel have urged their law firm colleagues not to lose sight of the entire picture, which continues to show the genders aren't close to equal representation at higher levels." (Subscription required.)

  37. "Growth and justice reform advocacy mark 2023 for Canadian Association of Black Lawyers," 01.19.24.
    Canadian Lawyer reports, "The ratification of a new chapter and successfully lobbying for amendments in the federal government's new bail reform legislation stand out as 2023's highlights for the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL), according to the group's president and vice-president."

  38. "Centering Disability In The Law School Pedagogy: A Way To Include Disabled Law Students," 01.15.24.
    TaxProf Blog highlights this article from The Journal of Law and Education which recommends "pedagogical changes that center disability [as] one step towards making law school more accessible to disabled law students."

  39. Mental Health/Well-Being

  40. "How 6 States Are Addressing Lawyer Well-Being," 01.24.24.
    Law360 reports, "In the years since a groundbreaking 2016 study on lawyer well-being found alarming rates of mental health problems in the legal profession, state bars and supreme courts have amped up efforts to improve lawyer mental health. Well-being leaders in six states shared details of their work at the IWIL [Institute For Well-Being In Law] 2024 Virtual Annual Conference on Wednesday." (Subscription required.)

  41. "Should US Law Firms Offer 20% Less Pay for 20% Less Work?," 01.22.24.
    The American Lawyer examines Slaughter and May's recent decision to offer reduced work hours for reduced pay and argues that although many U.S. firms offer case-by-case arrangements for reduced hours, "Formalizing a reduced hours program may help attorneys feel more comfortable using it, according to associates and partners who expressed their trepidation about the programs in recent surveys."

  42. "Models in Mentoring," 01.20.24.
    "Hear from multiple mentor-mentee pairs on what has made a successful relationship — both for the individuals and their organizations," at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

  43. Technology

  44. "Does AI Signal The End Of The Billable Hour?" 01.23.24.
    Above the Law has this piece, from a vice-president at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S., that asks, "What will Generative AI do to the billable hour?"

January 19, 2024

    Top Stories

  1. "JD-Next Found Reliable With 'Multiple Cautions and Caveats,' ABA Council Seeks Comment," 01.16.24.
    "The American Bar Association is seeking comments after its commissioned study found that JD-Next, a fully online admissions test that law schools can use in lieu of the Law School Admission Test and the Graduate Record Exam, is a reliable predictor of law school performance, but it's not without certain limitations," reports The American Lawyer.

    1. "JD-Next should be backup to traditional entrance requirements, says ABA consultant," 01.17.24.
      ABA Journal reports on a memo from an ABA consultant that says, "JD-Next, a prelaw school exam administered by Aspen Publishing, should be used only as a secondary supplement to more established measurements of potential law student success, such as undergraduate grades or more established testing scores." (Subscription required.)

  2. "In Partner Comp, Does Ignorance Equal Bliss? Firms Using the 'Black Box' Hope So," 01.16.24.
    The American Lawyer examines the advantages and disadvantages of partner compensation transparency vs. the so-called "black box" approach, noting that several firms have moved toward the latter recently.

  3. Law Schools/Higher Education

  4. "State Bar of California Board of Trustees Approves Reducing Bar Exam Testing Locations," 01.18.24.
    The Recorder reports, "The State Bar of California board of trustees has approved measures to reduce costs associated with administering the California bar exam, including cutting two testing locations."

  5. "Met that law school application deadline? You might be too late, AccessLex study finds," 01.18.24.
    ABA Journal shares a new report from AccessLex Institute that looks at how the timing of law school applications affects admission. (Subscription required.)

    1. ""If You're On Time, You're Late": Law School Application Timing Among Historically Underrepresented Applicants," 12.27.23.
      Find the full report from AccessLex Institute here.

  6. "Ahead of the Curve: Analyzing Cause and Effect of Law School Admissions," 01.18.24.
    Law.com's Christine Charnosky writes, "Recent SCOTUS decisions will undoubtedly affect admissions, but it will be difficult to prove any definitive connections."

  7. "The Next Generation Professional: An Opportunity To Reframe Legal Education To Center Student Wellness," 01.18.24.
    TaxProf Blog looks at this Hofstra Law Review article that asserts, "The current rigorous design of legal education breeds depression, imposter syndrome, anxiety, and problems with substance abuse."

  8. "Why Political Attacks on Elite-College Leaders Should Come as No Surprise," 01.16.24.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, "Political attacks on higher education that have felled two Ivy League leaders follow a long history of similar bullying." (Subscription required.)

  9. "Lawyers Learning to Lead," 01.16.24.
    This New York Law Journal op-ed by the Presiding Justice of the Third Department notes that "many law schools now treat leadership as a trainable skill, rather than an inherent quality" and encourages lawyers at all levels "to consider topics related to leadership as areas for growth, and pursue opportunities to receive formal education in those areas, whether through institutional or self-study."

  10. "College Campus Free Speech Woes Command the Legal Profession to Step Up and Step In," 01.16.24.
    A corporate leadership consultant, writing for The American Lawyer, argues that "It's time that the legal profession stepped up boldly to lead the much-needed college campus free speech reforms we all know are required in this national moment of consequence."

  11. "Law School Founded On DEI Pillar Is Now 'Riven With Betrayal And Fear' Over October 7th And Israel-Hamas War," 01.15.24.
    TaxProf Blog highlights a story from the Toronto Star about divisions at Toronto Metropolitan University's Lincoln Alexander School of Law, a school "founded in 2020 and branded as 'a different kind of law school' focused on equity and inclusion, [which now seems] riven with betrayal and fear" as a result of differences between students supporting Israel and those supporting Palestine.

  12. Law Firms

  13. "Plaintiffs Firms Are Embracing Mergers to Solve Succession-Planning Uncertainty," 01.16.24.
    The Legal Intelligencer reports, "Mergers are becoming increasingly more common as a resolution for the succession-planning quandary at plaintiffs firms, which don't regularly restock their ranks in the same fashion as the corporate law firms they face off against in the courtroom."

  14. "Why Law Firms Are Dropping Names To Rebrand," 01.16.24.
    Law360 reports, "More and more law firms are dropping names from their brands to simply be referred to by a single name, as a number of firms have made the change over the past year." (Subscription required.)

  15. "Reavis Page Jump's Managing Partner Shares Her Thoughts On How Law Firms Can Change Their Cultures For The Better," 01.16.24.
    Above the Law interviews a partner at a women-owned law firm and asks, "what can law firm leaders do when it comes to cultural change and effectively diversifying their firms?"

  16. "Kirkland, Cooley, Crowell Bring 'Real Impact' C-Suite Leaders to Start the Year," 01.16.24.
    The American Lawyer reports on a movement "to increase skill sets and drive firms forward strategically and financially, at the C-level and elsewhere."

  17. "With Scale Top of Mind, More Law Firms Are Willing to Put Merger Option on Table," 01.12.24.
    The American Lawyer reports, "Industry analysts and firm leaders say in an era where the benefits of scale have become more apparent, more firms than ever before are willing to consider proposals."

  18. Employment Market/Return to Office

  19. "Don't Have Time to Do Business Development? 15 Things You Can Do in 20 Minutes or Less," 01.18.24.
    This op-ed at The Legal Intelligencer provides a list of 15 things lawyers can do for business development.

  20. "NY Bill Aims to Increase Student-Loan Forgiveness for Public Interest Lawyers," 01.18.24.
    New York Law Journal reports on a bill that "aims to expand the cap on what public defense lawyers, attorneys who work for civil legal services organizations, and district attorneys can receive in student-loan forgiveness: up to $8,000 annually, for up to eight years, or $64,000."

  21. "The Elephant Is Still in the Room (and Impacting Performance)," 01.18.24.
    The CEO of Legal Innovators, writing for The American Lawyer, makes the case that "Holistic performance coaching is a critical element of what's necessary to contend with depression, anxiety and addiction among today's lawyers, and for law firms to retain their talent. When it's integrated into a firm's processes as a normal course of doing business, the results not only improve the mental health and performance of lawyers…but also the current health and long-term prospects of the firm."

  22. "Young Talent: Is the Allure of Big Law Enough to Silence ESG Concerns?" 01.18.24.
    Law.com International reports that, while environmental and social ethics have not been deciding factors for young lawyers accepting positions, "Recent evidence, however, suggests that those in contention for jobs now have such clout that a small but significant proportion demand to know whether large law firms meet their ESG standards before accepting an offer."

  23. "NALP: For The First Time, A Majority Of Law Firm Associates Are Women," 01.16.24.
    TaxProf Blog picked up the press release on NALP's Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms.

    1. "NALP reports women represent 50% of associate positions at U.S. law firms," 01.15.24.
      PreLaw Magazine also has a story on our Diversity Report.

  24. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

  25. "Inside Track: Should We Put the Terms 'ESG' and 'DEI' to Rest, or Is That a Cop-Out?" 01.18.24.
    Law.com's Inside Track column debates whether we should be changing the language we use to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) or environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.

  26. "Law Clerk Selection And Diversity: Insights From Fifty U.S. Court Of Appeals Judges," 01.18.24.
    TaxProf Blog highlights two Harvard Law Review articles related to the diversity of judicial clerks.

  27. "6 principles to inform a supportive and neurodiverse campus," 01.17.24.
    Education News Canada provides a list of strategies for implementing initiatives that create inclusive environments for neurodiverse students.

  28. "Indigenous Student Advisory Circles Raise First Nations, Métis and Inuit Students Voices," 01.17.24.
    Education News Canada reports on Indigenous Student Advisory Circles created at the University of Manitoba "to ensure First Nations, Métis and Inuit students have a voice in the ongoing evaluation and development of initiatives."

  29. Mental Health/Well-Being

  30. "Establishing Boundaries: Serving Client Needs While Protecting Your Team's Wellbeing," 01.18.24.
    NALP member Rachael Bosch, writing for Law.com, provides some strategies for establishing boundaries to "help you and your team provide excellent service while avoiding burnout and dissatisfaction."

  31. "How Law Firms Can Build Engagement To Avoid Atty Burnout," 01.17.24.
    Law360 has this article from "Former BigLaw professional development leader Tracy LaLonde [who] founded the consultancy Joychiever in 2020 to help law firms deepen employee commitment, boost productivity and alleviate burnout." (Subscription required.)

  32. "Your Burnout Is Trying to Tell You Something," 01.16.24.
    This article in Harvard Business Review examines some causes of burnout and notes, "Using your self-awareness to pay attention to and act on that information allows you to take back some of the control and agency that burnout has claimed, and opens up a path to restoring your well-being and reconnecting with your enthusiasm for work."

  33. Technology

  34. "Legal Tech's Predictions for Legal Education, Lawyer Training & Evolving Legal Roles in 2024," 01.18.24.
    Legaltech News provides "a collection of predictions from experts in the legal industry on what we can expect for legal education, lawyer training and how legal roles will evolve in 2024."

  35. "ChatGPT and the New College Education," 01.16.24.
    The Wall Street Journal asked college students to respond to the question of "whether chatbots and generative AI are creating an academic-dishonesty culture in universities" and published some responses.

  36. "Personality Tests And Machine Learning Applications In Law," 01.16.24.
    At Law360, "Mateusz Kulesza at McDonnell Boehnen looks at potential applications of personality testing based on machine learning techniques for law firms, and the implications this shift could have for lawyers, firms and judges, including how it could make the work of judges and other legal decision-makers much more difficult." (Subscription required.)

January 12, 2024

    Top Stories

  1. "Women Now the Majority of Associates in U.S. Law Firms, Make Record Gains in the Partnership Ranks," 01.09.24.
    NALP released its annual Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms for 2023 this week. You can read the press release and the full report on our Diversity Report page.

    1. "Most US law firm associates were women in 2023, survey shows," 01.09.24. (Reuters)

    2. "Women Exceed 50% of Law Firm Associates for First Time," 01.09.24. (Bloomberg Law)

    3. "Women Associates Outnumber Men For First Time," 01.09.24. (Law360 — subscription required)

    4. "Women Make Up the Majority of Associates for First Time," 01.10.24. (The American Lawyer)

    5. "Women make up majority of law firm associates for the first time: 'Real change is slow,'" 01.10.24. (CBS News)

    6. "For the first time, women make up majority of law firm associates, new NALP report says," 01.10.24. (ABA Journal — subscription required)

    7. "Across Biglaw Firms, The Future Really Is Female," 01.10.24. (Above the Law)

  2. Law Schools/Higher Education

  3. "LSAT leader jumps to law school association," 01.11.24.
    Reuters reports that Kellye Testy will leave her position at the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) to become Executive Director of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).

  4. "NCBE to Collaborate With AccessLex in Developing Study Aids for NextGen Bar," 01.09.24.
    The National Conference of Bar Examiners will work with AccessLex Institute to create study aids for the NextGen bar exam, according to Law.com.

  5. "Women in Academic Leadership Still Face Systemic Barriers," 01.09.24.
    Law.com's Christine Charnosky reports, "Despite the progress made in recent years, gender inequality remains a pervasive issue in the legal profession, particularly in academia, which includes women still being underrepresented in influential positions and facing systemic bias, discrimination and harassment that limit their advancement."

  6. "The Misguided War on the SAT," 01.07.24.
    The New York Times reports that some experts now argue that the move away from standardized tests, including the SAT, has been a mistake and that test scores can be more predictive than grades, especially in this age of grade inflation.

  7. "Law Schools Adjusting Applications After Harvard Ruling," 01.04.24.
    Law360 reports, "Law schools have overhauled their application processes in the aftermath of this summer's U.S. Supreme Court decisions that terminated race-based affirmative action in college admissions, adding essay questions and more in-person interviews, legal education experts tell Law360 Pulse." (Subscription required.)

  8. "Judiciary Rules Panel Weighs Unified Bar Admissions Proposal for US District Courts," 01.04.24.
    The National Law Journal reports that a federal judiciary committee seemed open to considering a proposal for "a single bar admissions application for all 94 federal district courts that would be reviewed by a centralized office within the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts."

  9. "4 ways law schools can support students, uphold First Amendment during times of conflict," 12.20.23.
    Erika Harold, Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, wrote an opinion piece in the ABA Journal in which she shares strategies for law schools to use "when seeking to uphold the First Amendment, equip students to enter an adversarial profession, and inspire students to lead in a pluralistic society fractured by conflict." (Subscription required.)

  10. Law Firms

  11. "'Drastically Different' Associate Strategies in Big Law and Midsize Firms May Continue in 2024," 01.11.24.
    The American Lawyer reports that midsize law firms grew their associate ranks by 11.8% last year compared with 1.7% for Am Law 100 firms, and notes, "analysts and legal observers say they don't expect those trends to change in the short-term either, as large law firms wait on transactional work to pick up and smaller firms continue to try to scoop up talent while it's available and try to balance generational ranks that lean toward older partners."

  12. "Clifford Chance Mulls Lockstep Change to Better Reward Top Performers," 01.10.24.
    Law.com reports, "Clifford Chance is looking to extend its remuneration model to enable top performing partners to earn more, according to people with knowledge of the matter, as competition continues to intensify for talent at the top end of the industry. The news comes amid a frantic hiring market which has seen several large U.K.-based law firms fall prey to high-paying U.S. firms in London."

  13. "US law firms bulk up with more mergers in the new year," 01.10.24.
    "Several U.S. law firm mergers have been announced this week following an uptick of law firm deals in 2023," according to Reuters.

  14. "Virtual Law Firms Evolve So Fast They Risk Their Own Destruction," 01.11.24.
    Roy Strom at Bloomberg Law examines "how virtual law firm spin-offs increase competition and broaden the offerings available to partners."

  15. "From Reactive to Proactive: Is Your Firm Investing in the Future?" 01.09.24.
    A legal search consultant, writing for Law.com, asserts that most law firms are more reactive than proactive in planning and hiring and provides strategies for becoming more proactive.

  16. "Law firms face 'volatile' 2024 amid demand, staffing and AI risks — report," 01.09.24.
    Georgetown Law's Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession and the Thomson Reuters Institute have released their 2024 Report on the State of the U.S. Legal Market, which says "lackluster demand for transactional work, ongoing efforts by clients to reduce spending, and the rise of artificial intelligence will create intertwining challenges for law firms this year," according to Reuters.

    1. "As Billing Rates Soar, Law Firm Clients Move to Spread Work Around," 01.09.24.
      The American Lawyer has more.

    2. "2024 Report on the State of the US Legal Market: The challenge of targeting the right markets with the right offerings," 01.08.24.
      You can find the Thomson Reuters report here.

  17. Employment Market

  18. "Lawyers Shouldn't Be Shocked to Learn They're Off Partner Path," 01.12.24.
    A senior talent manager for DEI, writing for Bloomberg Law, "outlines considerations for law firm partners to assess whether they have been timely, direct, equitable, and transparent when they tell associates they aren't advancing at the firm."

  19. "Retiring Reluctantly: As lawyers age, many struggle with exit strategies," 01.11.24.
    This op-ed in the ABA Journal argues that "If a law firm wants to successfully create succession plans, it needs to create a culture where lawyers are encouraged to think about what's best for the firm, not just themselves." (Subscription required.)

  20. "The Law Firm Disrupted: Feeling Good About 2024," 01.11.24.
    The Law.com Law Firm Disrupted column this week reports, "A recent survey of law firm leaders looked at the biggest burning issues for the coming year. Respondents honed [in] on perennial concerns, rather than fresh existential threats."

  21. "ANALYSIS: Lawyer, Legal Employment Close Out 2023 on a Down Note," 01.11.24.
    A legal analyst at Bloomberg Law reports, "The fourth quarter of 2023 was unforgiving to the legal field, with broad-based decreases in employment and increases in unemployment."

  22. "Law Firm Trends for 2024," 01.10.24.
    U.S. News & World Report makes predictions for the U.S. legal profession in the coming year, based on interviews with NALP Executive Director Nikia L. Gray and other experts.

  23. "Jordan Furlong says he is done predicting the future of the legal profession because it is here now," 01.09.24.
    This podcast episode (and transcript) from Canadian Lawyer features Jordan Furlong discussing challenges and opportunities in the legal profession right now.

  24. "Nice, not-so-nice 2023 labour employment checklist," 01.09.24.
    Law360 Canada reports, "The new year is the perfect time to reflect on the good, bad, and ugly of the previous year. As many businesses made headlines in 2023 for either getting in trouble or spearheading exemplary causes, there's a lot to learn from it all." (Subscription required.)

  25. "Recruiters Say Their Job Got a Little Easier in 2023," 01.09.24.
    SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) reports on a recent survey that shows "talent acquisition professionals said that applicant volume in 2023 was up from the previous year, and recruiting — while still stressful — was not as fraught as the year before. Slightly over half (53 percent) of recruiters said their job was more stressful in 2023 than in the previous year, but that number had been as high as 65 percent in 2022."

  26. "Lateral Hiring Dipped In 2023, With Signs Of A 2024 Comeback," 01.08.24.
    Law360 reports, "Despite an upswing in lateral recruitment during the fourth quarter, the legal industry still closed 2023 with about 18% fewer hires than in 2022, according to industry data provided by Firm Prospects, which has been showing signs of recovery since the latter half of 2023." (Subscription required.)

  27. "It's 2024 and You'll Probably Be Fine. But Remember to Expect the Unexpected," 01.07.24.
    Law.com International looks at some unknowns for the coming year, including elections in Taiwan and the U.S., and observes, "All this leaves international firms wondering whether big, profitable cross-border deals will continue under the specter of the unknown."

  28. "Quitting your job isn't cool anymore," 01.05.24.
    Business Insider reports, "Job-hopping is back to where it was before the pandemic upended the labor market. But just because people in the workforce aren't moving around so much doesn't mean they are actually happy with their job."

  29. "US legal jobs hit new high in December, Labor Dept says," 01.05.24.
    "The U.S. legal services sector is projected to break its record high employment level after adding 4,500 jobs in December, according to Labor Department data released on Friday," reports Reuters.

  30. Return to Office

  31. "Law Firms Embracing 'Hoteling' to Save On Office Lease Costs," 01.11.24.
    This op-ed at Law.com examines the practice of hoteling and how law firms can do it successfully.

  32. "Pace of Law Firm Office Leasing Picked Up in Late 2023, With More Firms Shedding Space," 01.09.24.
    The National Law Journal reports, "As Big Law firms push a return to the office, law firms in Washington, D.C., continue downsizing their physical footprints, in line with a trend of fitting lawyers and staff into less space."

  33. "More Law Firms in New York Opt for Larger Spaces," 01.08.24.
    The American Lawyer reports that, while a few firms are obtaining larger office spaces, "Overall, law firms are continuing on a trend of shrinking their office leases, especially as firms continue to decrease their attorney offices, which used to average around 225-250 square feet per attorney."

  34. "Carrots and Sticks: Employers Look for Ways to Ensure RTO Compliance," 01.08.24.
    SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) examines some of the ways companies are incentivizing employees to return to the office, including "happy hours, catered meals or upgraded office space" (but not raises or childcare benefits).

  35. "Will Slaughter and May's New Flexible Work Offering Actually Work?" 01.05.24.
    Law.com has more on the new scheme at Slaughter and May and notes, "Sometimes these schemes are announced to much fanfare but quietly fade to very little. Many, both inside and outside the firm, will be hoping Slaughters' effort doesn't go the same way."

  36. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

  37. "Harvard Sued by Jewish Students Over 'Rampant' Antisemitism," 01.11.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports, "Harvard administrators failed to enforce policies that should protect Jewish students from antisemitic speech and conduct, according to the lawsuit filed late Wednesday in Boston federal court."

    1. "Kasowitz Sues Harvard, Alleging University Failed to Protect Jewish Law Students From Antisemitism," 01.11.24.
      The American Lawyer has more.

  38. "Many Companies Doubling Down on DEI Despite Backlash," 01.10.24.
    Corporate Counsel reports on a new survey of senior executives that shows "Ninety-one percent of respondents say the [SCOTUS] ruling [on affirmative action] had not lessened their prioritization of DEI, while 69% said the ruling had not changed their DEI approach in any way."

  39. "Women, Minority Law Firm Gains Dampened by Litigation Threats," 01.10.24.
    In another article related to NALP's Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms, Bloomberg Law speaks with DEI leaders and partners about the importance of continuing to make incremental progress.

  40. "Some Gen Z job seekers are bringing mom and dad to interviews, and it's turning off employers, new survey finds," 01.09.24.
    Business Insider provides a litany of bad behavior from young job seekers and reports, "Gen Z recruits who graduated during the pandemic struggle to exercise basic communication skills and office etiquette."

  41. "To Reach DEI Goals, Structural Challenges Require Structural Solutions," 01.05.24.
    Law.com Pro Mid-Market has this op-ed by consultant Amie K. Santos, who writes, "When speaking with leaders at multiple midsize law firms with a track record of success around DEI, three shared traits stand out: shared stakeholder understanding and leadership centered around the business value of this work, deep investment in long-term structural solutions designed in collaboration with experts and capitalizing on the major advantages that come with navigating change as smaller organizations."

  42. "Law school applicant pool is most diverse ever amid affirmative action ban," 01.05.24.
    Reuters reports, "The U.S. Supreme Court's June ban on affirmative action in college admissions so far has not led to a decline in minority law school applicants, as some legal academics feared. The current national law school applicant pool includes more than 43% people of color — the highest percentage on record, according to the latest data from the Law School Admission Council. The number of minority applicants has also grown, increasing nearly 7% compared with this time last year, the data show."

  43. Mental Health/Well-Being

  44. "Well-Being and Engagement: Why a Firm Needs to Prioritize Both," 01.09.24.
    This week, Tracy LaLonde's Law.com column explains the difference between well-being and engagement and how they both impact the success of an organization.

  45. "Building a lawyer support ecosystem," 01.09.24.
    Jordan Furlong advises law firms to "Create more support for your lawyers and other professionals. Design and build ecosystems for the training, support, and personal and professional development of these highly skilled, uniquely specialized, and strategically critical human assets. Hire more full-time business coaches, skill trainers, and relationship managers. Spend money on these supportive measures now, or face massive bills down the road for the repair and replacement of the people you worked so hard to recruit."

  46. "Gratitude and the appreciation deficit," 01.04.24.
    This piece by a retired lawyer, writing for Law360 Canada, argues that "too many members of the legal and business community think that there is something 'unprofessional' about expressing appreciation for others," and urges us all to express our gratitude.

  47. Technology

  48. "Legal Errors by Top AI Models 'Alarmingly Prevalent,' Study Says," 01.12.24.
    Bloomberg Law reports on a recent Stanford study that shows "Large language models hallucinate at least 75% of the time when answering questions about a court's core ruling, the researchers found. They tested more than 200,000 legal questions on OpenAI's ChatGPT 3.5, Google's PaLM 2, and Meta's Llama 2 — all general-purpose models not built for specific legal use."

  49. "LexisNexis launches commercial preview of Lexis+ AI in Canada," 01.11.24.
    "LexisNexis Legal & Professional Canada has launched a commercial preview of Lexis+ AI, a generative artificial intelligence (AI) solution which it says will transform legal work in Canada," reports Law360 Canada.

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