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.
January 27, 2023
- "Generative AI Tools Will Upend the Delivery of Legal Services," 1.26.23
In Law.com's Barometer newsletter, Stephanie Wilkins summarizes developments with AI tools in the legal industry. Experts see both current and future applications for generative AI in legal work. These largely relate to replacing tedious work to boost productivity.
- "'Everybody is cheating': Why this teacher has adopted an open ChatGPT policy," 1.26.23
NPR covers a story about a University of Pennsylvania Wharton School associate professor who is requiring his students to use AI. "The truth is, I probably couldn't have stopped them even if I didn't require it, said Ethan Mollick.
- "ChatGPT passes law school exams despite 'mediocre' performance," 1.25.23
ChatGPT cannot yet outscore most law students on exams, new research from law professors at the University of Minnesota suggests, but it can eke out a passing grade, according to Karen Sloan of Reuters. ChatGPT's average C+ performance fell below the humans' B+ average, the research found.
- "A robot was scheduled to argue in court, then came the jail threats," 1.25.23
A British man who planned to have a "robot lawyer" help a defendant fight a traffic ticket has dropped the effort after receiving threats of possible prosecution and jail time, according to NPR. Joshua Browder, the CEO of the New York-based startup DoNotPay, created a way for people contesting traffic tickets to use arguments in court generated by artificial intelligence.
- "After Pandemic Hiatus, Lawyer Exchange Offers Talent Development, Retention, Referral Opportunities," 1.26.23
The American Lawyer reports that lawyer exchanges have returned for members of global legal network Meritas. The program offers talent retention and development opportunities for law firms and helps associates expand their networks, notes the network's president.
- "Layoffs With One Hand and Group Hires With the Other? Big Law May Get Used to It," 1.25.23
While laying off people and hiring new laterals at the same time is likely going to be a more common occurrence in 2023, there are ways to do it that mitigate potential negative market perception, according to The American Lawyer.
- "Get Used to Rumors: Extent of Legal Tech Layoffs Likely to Remain Hidden," 1.25.23
Law.com reporter Isha Marathe explains that legal tech layoffs often stay under the radar, but there is good reason for it, as revealing a large staffing cut can cause a company a significant financial hit.
- "Sidley to Associates: Skipping Office Will Cost You Bonus Money," 1.25.23
The law firm is tying annual bonuses to office attendance, according to Bloomberg Law. Major firms largely require three days in office per week.
- "Medical Schools Drop U.S. News," 1.25.23
Inside Higher Ed reports on the universities that followed Harvard in criticizing the way the magazine ranks medical colleges.
- "What to Make of Law Schools Withdrawing From the U.S. News Ranking," 1.17.23
Law.com's Legaltech News notes that AI, new data, and metrics all play a critical role in creating true predictions of success for law firms that want to achieve recruiting that is more equitable than it has been under long-revered rankings.
- "Atlanta's Smith Gambrell Merging With Chicago's Freeborn & Peters to Create 400-Lawyer Firm," 1.24.23
Atlanta-based Smith, Gambrell & Russell is merging with Chicago-based Freeborn & Peters. The combined firm will employ roughly 400 lawyers with a gross revenue of more than $260 million under the Smith, Gambrell & Russell moniker, notes Law.com's Daily Report.
- "Ohio law firms to merge in latest legal industry tie-up," 1.20.23
Reuters reports that Columbus-based Bricker & Eckler and Cincinnati-based Graydon Head & Ritchey will merge to become Bricker Graydon. The new firm will have 12 offices across Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, with a total headcount of 378 employees, including 208 lawyers.
- "EY Spinoff Will Open Up World Market To Its Law Leader," 1.20.23
Law360's Sue Reisinger speaks with Cornelius Grossmann, EY's global law leader, about the structure that his legal group will take once it has split away from the Big Four auditing firms. (Subscription required.)
- "Law is the most stressful profession, newspaper's analysis finds," 1.24.23
ABA Journal dives deeper into a Washington Post analysis that shows being a lawyer is the most stressful occupation in the United States.
- "The happiest, least stressful, most meaningful jobs in America," 1.6.23
The Washington Post reports on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey. (Subscription required.)
- "How to Talk with Your Team About the Elephant in the Room," 1.24.23
Harvard Business Review's Lisa Zigarmi and Julie Diamond report about how "stuckness" comes from issues that are "undiscussable" and don't get addressed properly by management teams. "When uncomfortable issues can't be addressed, organizations end up tolerating toxic employees and underperformers."
- "The Momentum for Black Lawyers Might Already Be Fading," 1.20.23
Bloomberg Law Unfiltered's Vivia Chen pens an opinion piece about Black lawyers at the partnership levels, citing data from NALP's Report on Diversity at U.S. Law Firms. "When it comes to partnership, Black lawyers are still in the dumps. Their rate increased by just 0.1% from last year, accounting for a scant 2.3% of all partners, equity and non-equity," she writes.
- "'Moderate Success': DEI Survey Finds GCs See Lots of Room for Improvement," 1.10.23
Just 12% of respondents to the Association of Corporate Counsel's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Survey reported meeting all their DEI objectives, according to Corporate Counsel. Big legal departments are enjoying more success than smaller ones, while many general counsels say their law firms are diversity laggards.
- "More Law Schools Launch Hybrid JD Programs," 1.19.23
The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law's new hybrid JD program will begin in the fall. It is the first of its kind in the state, reports Law.com's Christine Charnosky.
January 20, 2023
- "New Year, Same Problem: Will More DEI Progress Be Made in 2023?," 1.19.23
In a commentary appearing in Law.com's Daily Report, Lewis Brisbois partner Jonathan D. Goins writes that DEI proponents often measure progress both quantifiably (increasing more diverse numbers) and qualitatively (increasing greater access to opportunity for business development and equity leadership). "As we embark on another year, we must ask ourselves: how are we measuring change?," Goins asks.
- "How to track and empower diversity and inclusion initiatives in the legal profession," 1.18.23
Ari Kaplan interviews Caren Ulrich Stacy, the founder and CEO of the Diversity Lab, for ABA Journal.
- "Associate diversity increases, even as partnerships fall behind," 1.16.23
The National Jurist's Julia Brunette reports on NALP Executive Director Nikia L. Gray's comments about NALP's Report on Diversity in U.S. Law Firms released last week. "Part of the problem I see with resolving that issue is that most firms are structured to have at least two classes of employees – attorneys and everyone else – and they are treated very differently," Gray said.
- "Service aims to help clients, Black attorneys find each other," 1.13.23
ABC Action News speaks with Kisha Brown, founder of Justis Connection, "the first Black lawyer referral and legal resource platform."
- "Calif. Bar Looks To Spotlight Firms Making Diversity Gains," 1.13.23
Law360's James Mills reports on the California State Bar program designed to help increase diversity, equity, and inclusion among the Golden State's legal community. (Subscription required.)
- "Leading With An Eye On Diversity," 1.05.23
The January Leadership edition of Law Practice Today contains several good reads on the topics of DEI, servant leadership, and supporting lawyer mental health and well-being.
- "What Do Young Attorneys Want? Transparency, Flexibility," 1.19.23
Younger attorneys expect employers to be upfront about progression in their career path, and are seeking flexibility in moving up the ranks at a firm, according to a recent panel discussion held by the Managing Partner Forum reported in Law360. (Subscription required.)
- "Big Law Cracking Down On Return-To-Office," 1.19.23
The days of fully remote work are coming to an end, with 90% of Am Law 100 firms now encouraging or mandating a set number of days in the office, according to a new report from property brokerage firm Savills Inc. (Law360 subscription required.)
- "The Upheaval in Big Law Will Make History," 1.19.23
Now that some practice areas have slowed down, and now that there's more pressure on law firms' bottom line, firms and partners are considering options they have put off for years or hadn't considered at all, writes Christine Simmons writes in the Law.com Barometer newsletter.
- "Rising Rates Are Law Firms' Salve Amid Layoffs, Pay Cuts," 1.19.23
A handful of Big Law firms and mid-size firms have raised their highest partner billing rates nearly 10% on average this year, a search of bankruptcy dockets shows, notes Roy Strom in an opinion piece in Bloomberg Law. And top-paid associates are being billed out at 9% higher than last year's rates, the search showed.
- "Are You Being Underpaid as a Law Firm Partner?," 1.17.23
A common reason that many law firm partners decide to look for a new firm is because they think they are being underpaid, yet partners often lack a full understanding of how their law firm determines compensation, according to a commentary by Quaero Group President and CEO Patrick Moya.
- "U.S. News extends rankings survey deadline; which law schools will file?," 1.19.23
ABA Journal provides an update on the U.S. News & World Report rankings story.
- "After Law-School Revolt, Harvard Medical School Will Stop Cooperating With U.S. News Rankings ," 1.17.23
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the Harvard Medical School announcement that the institution will no longer send data to U.S. News & World Report for its annual rankings.
- "U.S. News Sheds More Light on Methodology Changes to Law School Rankings," 1.13.23
A U.S. News & World Report spokesperson provides more detail to Law.com's Christine Charnosky on changes to the methodology of the publication's law school rankings.
- "Why Lawyers Should Dig Deep With Their Mentees," 1.19.23
In this Daily Report podcast, Natasha Cortes of Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen shares how to prioritize mentorship, even with mounting workloads and pressures from economic uncertainty.
- "Old bar exam or new one? States will have a choice in 2026," 1.19.23
Karen Sloan of Reuters reports that officials with the National Conference of Bar Examiners have said that states will be able to choose between giving the new iteration of the attorney licensing exam or administering the existing one during a temporary transition period. After that, only the updated version, called the "NextGen Bar Exam," will be available.
- "Orrick to Merge With Buckley, Nearly Doubling Its DC Footprint," 1.19.23
The American Lawyer notes that the merger will bring Orrick's head count to about 1,150 lawyers. The move reflects increasing demand for regulatory guidance in the financial services and tech sectors, and the convergence of both sectors.
- "Education Department Plans to Publish List of Low-Performing Programs," 1.19.23
Unlike such efforts in the past, the list is expected to include many kinds of institutions, not just a focus on for-profits, according to Inside Higher Ed.
- "As Productivity Drops, Will More Law Firms Move Away From Billable Hour?," 1.18.23
The American Lawyer's Andrew Maloney notes that as productivity reaches historic lows, firms may be in a spot to push for pricing that emphasizes value and results over time. Reports suggest firms expect more alternative pricing models in the years ahead, and clients want as much certainty as possible.
- "Organ: The Declining 2022 Law School Transfer Market," 1.17.23
TaxProf Blog highlights Jerry Organ's latest updates about the transfer market.
- "Concerns Over Layoffs, Expenses, Office Policies Loom Over 2023 Outlook," 1.17.23
Internal challenges, like expenses, talent management, and return-to-office policies are among the concerns for firm leaders in 2023, according to a multi-part analysis series in The American Lawyer. Many of them are arguably reaching an inflection point.
- "What's Keeping Law Firm Leaders Up at Night?," 01.13.23
Read the first part of the series.
- "What ChatGPT can, cannot do," 1.16.23
In an opinion piece in The Lawyer's Daily from LexisNexis Canada, Warren Urquhart explains that while it seems the sky is the limit with AI, potential innovations can be a precursor to never-realized hype.
- "If Affirmative Action Ends, College Admissions May Be Changed Forever," 1.15.23
Schools may need to rethink everything, including recruitment, scholarships, standardized testing, and alumni preferences, notes a New York Times article. (Subscription required.)
January 13, 2023
- "Black Lawyers and Students Drive Diversity in Associate Ranks at U.S. Law Firms; Gains at the Partnership Level Continue to Lag Behind ," 01.12.23
NALP this week released its annual Report on Diversity at U.S. Law Firms which shows that overall gains continued to be made in the representation of women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals in the associate and summer associate ranks at major U.S. law firms in 2022 as compared to 2021. While improvements were also made at the partnership level in 2022, progress continues to lag far behind that of associates and summer associates. "The data demonstrates that we are nowhere near achieving the progress one would expect from an industry that has been focused on the issue of diversity for over three decades," said Executive Director Nikia L. Gray.
- "Diversity increases among associates, but 'we are nowhere near' expected progress at partner level, NALP [Executive Director] says," 01.12.23
ABA Journal picks up on the NALP Diversity Report.
- "NALP Report Shows Small Gains of Diversity in Law Firms," 01.12.23
Law.com runs the press release.
- "Law firm associate diversity deepened in 2022 as partners saw slower change," 01.12.23
Reuters' Karen Sloan provides her take.
- "Partner Diversity Lags Behind Legal Industry's Overall Gains," 01.12.23
And Law360 focuses on the partner aspect.
- "What's Keeping Law Firm Leaders Up at Night?," 01.13.23
In the first article of a series, Law.com asks law firm leaders about their concerns for the coming year and reports that "Virtually every law firm leader interviewed for this report highlighted the downward trend of the global economy as a primary point of concern this year," along with numerous other factors.
- "Mental Health And Well Being Of Young Professionals: 51% Needed Help For Emotional Or Mental Health Problems," 01.13.23
TaxProf Blog links to a new research study from The Mary Christie Institute, in partnership with the Healthy Minds Network, the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE) that seeks to "better understand the mental and emotional health of early career professionals" and "create a bridge between higher education and industry."
- "Law Firm Office Policies Evolve, as Firms Get Creative and Flexible," 01.12.23
Daily Report reports "Some Atlanta law firms are getting creative in their efforts to encourage lawyers to work in the office, while other law firms appear to be taking a flexible approach."
- "Emory Law Launches Environmental DEI Initiative," 01.12.23
Daily Report reports on a new program at Emory University School of Law that is designed to promote broader diversity in the practice of environmental law.
- "State Bar Launches Program to Encourage Law Firm Diversity Initiatives," 01.12.23
The Recorder reports on a new California state bar initiative that "will encourage law firms, legal aid organizations, in-house departments and other attorney employers to take up to 10 prescribed steps aimed at making the state's ranks of legal professionals look more like California's population."
- "The Work Considered Worth 'Fleeing to Quality' For Is Shrinking," 01.12.23
The Law.com Barometer newsletter notes, "While clients will likely rationalize legal spend with lower-cost providers in down times, that hasn't always come to fruition. But there is evidence to suggest it may already be happening this economic cycle."
- "EEOC Targets AI-Based Hiring Bias in Draft Enforcement Strategy," 01.12.23
Bloomberg Law reports "The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will turn its enforcement attention to artificial intelligence tools used by employers to hire workers that can also introduce discriminatory decision-making, according to a new agency playbook."
- "An Innovator's Approach to Hybrid: Empathy and Iteration," 01.11.23
This Law.com opinion piece notes that "getting hybrid right is cited as the number one challenge of 2023 — and the number one opportunity is designing a return-to-office strategy that excites staff and supports culture, collaboration and connection" and offers some suggestions on finding the balance.
- "In Recession Planning, Firms See 'Opportunities' and 'Challenges'," 01.11.23
The American Lawyer spoke with law firm leaders about their approach to an "imminent recession" and found them taking a "'cautiously optimistic' financial outlook this year, as they plan for short-term economic headwinds to be supplanted by rising demand for litigation, restructuring and white-collar defense practices."
- "Major Combinations in Nashville and Carolinas Signal Southeast's Emergence as Merger Hotspot," 01.11.23
The American Lawyer reports on two big law firm mergers and notes that "observers predict that the Southeast is primed for further law firm combinations on the heels of two blockbuster mergers that ushered in 2023."
- "Gunderson Associates Set to Start After Delay, Amid Layoffs," 01.11.23
Bloomberg Law reports that the Gunderson Dettmer first-year associates whose start dates were delayed in the fall are now set to start at the firm.
- "UD Law Expands Diversity Pipeline Program With 4 New Partners," 01.10.23
Law.com reports that "The University of Dayton School of Law has expanded its Flyer Legal Pathways program by adding four new partners to assist UD Law in recruiting underrepresented and underserved students to law school."
- "'Moderate Success': DEI Survey Finds GCs See Lots of Room for Improvement," 01.10.23
Daily Report shares "tepid" findings from the recent Association of Corporate Counsel's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Survey which show that general counsel "are having only moderate success securing support and resources from their organizations to advance diversity and only moderate success achieving their diversity objectives."
- "Trump-appointed judge in Yale clerk boycott condemns 'cancel culture' at Harvard event," 01.10.23
Reuters reports "A conservative federal judge who has said she won't hire law clerks from Yale Law School to protest 'cancel culture' on its campus on Tuesday told students at its rival Harvard that law schools need to 'step up' and do more to encourage free speech on campus."
- "Judges Weigh in on Clerkships + More US News Analysis," 01.09.23
Law.com's Christine Charnosky provides additional updates on developments in the US News situation and also shares tips from two judges on how to obtain a clerkship, in her Ahead of the Curve column.
- "AI Chatbot ChatGPT Passes Multiple Choice Portion of MBE," 01.09.23
Law.com reports on a recent paper discussing how the authors tested a chatbot on the MBE section of the bar exam and the chatbot passed. "In their conclusion, the authors wrote, 'Without any fine-tuning,' GPT achieved a passing rate on two categories of the bar and 'achieves parity with human test-takers on one.'"
- "Some law professors fear ChatGPT's rise as others see opportunity," 01.10.23
Karen Sloan, writing for Reuters, provides more context to the AI chatbot discussion.
- "AI program earned passing bar exam scores on evidence and torts; can it work in court?," 01.12.23
More on this from ABA Journal.
- "Defining Nonbinary Work Wear," 01.09.23
The New York Times Style section has a comprehensive article on dress codes, changing norms, and "how nonbinary professionals thread the needle of getting dressed for the office."
- "Hueston Hennigan Has First South Asian, Muslim, Openly Gay Chief," 01.09.23
Bloomberg Law reports that Hueston Hennigan elected its first South Asian, Muslim, and openly gay managing partner, a collection of experiences that remain underrepresented in the leadership ranks of law firms.
- "Goodwin's Layoffs Spotlight Balancing Act Between Associate and Partner Preferences," 01.09.23
The American Lawyer provides more details on the recent layoffs at Goodwin Procter.
- "Stroock Lays Off Associates, Staff Amid Big Law Belt-Tightening," 01.09.23
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan has laid off nine lawyers and 18 staff as the firm looks to right-size amid what it called a "slowdown" that has caused a handful of other firms to take similar steps.
- "Cozen O'Connor Chief: Recession Means Time to 'Spend Money'," 01.09.23
Bloomberg Law's Roy Strom interviews the CEO of Cozen O'Connor, who says "We don't want to be the firm that pays the highest salaries when times are great, terminates the associates when times are bad and then just keeps going through that cycle."
- "2023 Report on the State of the Legal Market: Mixed results and growing uncertainty," 01.09.23
The Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center and the Thomson Reuters Institute this week released their 2023 Report on the State of the Legal Market, which shows that "multiple challenges have emerged to threaten law firm profitability, including falling demand and productivity, rising expenses, changing client preferences, and economic turmoil." Notably, among other markers, profits-per-equity partner (PPEP) is down for the first time since 2009.
- 2023 Report on the State of the Legal Market, 01.09.23
You can download the full report as a PDF from NALP's website.
- "As Profits Dip, Firms Could Face 'Increasingly Difficult Decisions' Ahead," 01.10.23
More on this report from The American Lawyer.
- "Law firms face daunting 2023 amid falling profits and demand," 01.10.23
More on this from Karen Sloan at Reuters.
- "Firms face year of 'mixed results and growing uncertainty,' says new report on state of legal market," 01.10.23
Additional coverage from ABA Journal.
- "As Some Practices Move Down Market, Specialized Law Firms See More Demand," 01.11.23
Additional analysis from The American Lawyer: "Law firm clients are moving more price-sensitive practices down market to smaller firms, while specialized firms — those with 70% or more of their billable hours in a single practice — have recently outpaced their peers on multiple financial metrics, according to the latest State of the Legal Market."
- "Big Law's Boutique Bash in January May Continue Through 2023," 01.06.23
Law.com reports that "Big Law had a boutique merger bonanza" in early January and predicts that mergers, and especially smaller firms consolidating with larger firms, will continue apace in 2023.
- "JD-Next: A Valid And Reliable Tool To Predict Diverse Students' Success In Law School," 01.06.23
TaxProf Blog summarizes an article from the Journal of Empirical Studies discussing JD-Next, "a fully-online, non-credit, 7-10 week course to train potential JD students in case reading and analysis skills, prior to their first year of law school," as an alternative to admissions tests.
- "Did Legal Tech Grow Too Big, Too Fast During the Pandemic?," 01.06.23
Legaltech News reports, "Many legal tech companies grew exponentially as a result of lockdowns and remote working, but almost three years later, as demand settles to more normal levels, recent announcements of cutbacks show revenues aren't keeping up with growing expenses for everyone."
- "Is it All Really Doom and Gloom?," 01.06.23
This opinion piece from Law.com International asks "Is everything in the legal industry as depressing as many are making out?"
- "Major, Lindsey & Africa Acquires Hire an Esquire, Eyeing Its Recruitment Technology," 01.05.23
Legaltech News reports that Major, Lindsey & Africa has acquired lawyer and paraprofessional staffing agency Hire an Esquire and notes that MLA is "excited to adapt the technology Hire an Esquire has built to elevate their recruitment model."
- "Halfway Through The Fall 2023 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Down -4%, With Biggest Decline (-9%) In The 160-169 LSAT Band," 01.03.23
TexProf Blog reports on LSAC data showing that "the number of law school applicants reported is down -4.1% compared to last year at this time."
January 6, 2023
- "Goodwin Cuts Attorney, Staff Positions Amid Demand Slump," 1.5.23
Goodwin Procter has laid off 5% of timekeepers and professional staff, citing macro-economic headwinds and a slowdown in demand, according to The American Lawyer. The announcement follows similar moves by Cooley, Gunderson, and Kirkland & Ellis. Also see coverage in Bloomberg Law.
- "Big Law Excess Capacity Means Talent Opportunities for Midsize Firms," 1.3.23
Large firms are thinning their ranks and raising rates to cope with an ongoing slowdown in corporate practices that follows a period of intense hiring, according to Law.com. The dynamic is creating opportunities for midsize firms, which may capitalize on laid-off associates and partners who are being priced out of their practices.
- "'Remain Balanced': How Law Firms Can Avoid Layoffs Amid This Economic Downturn," 12.28.22
Daily Report spoke with Ed Christian, CEO and managing partner of Birmingham, Alabama-based Burr & Forman, about what firms should do to prepare for an economic downturn. "Always, in the good times and in the downturn, you want to try to manage your firm in a way where you're always perfectly staffed for every event," he says.
- "As Law Firms Seek to Manage Capacity, Layoffs Become Last Resort," 12.21.22
While the industry's attention has been focused on the layoffs playing out in Big Law, firm leaders, associates, and industry observers tell The American Lawyer that drastic measures to reduce capacity aren't the go-to method of managing personnel after a period of overhiring.
- "Stealth Layoffs Bad for Business, Increase Risk of Unwanted Departures," 12.19.22
The Recorder reports that if more law firms make personnel cuts in 2023, consultants expect to see more transparency around their decisions. Consultants and clients agreed that stealth layoffs have a negative impact on the ongoing enterprise.
- "Hogan Lovells Promotes Most Women Ever In 38-Strong Round," 1.5.23
A total of 58% of the cohort are women, the highest percentage in the firm's history, according to ALM International.
- "Vedder Price Joins Big Law's Miami Rush, as Firms Flock South," 1.5.23
Bloomberg Law's Roy Strom reports that Vedder Price is opening a Miami office, joining a wave of Big Law firms headed for the city in recent months.
- "Fla. Governor Asked All Public Universities for Spending Data on Diversity and Critical Race Theory," 1.4.23
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the governor's office in Florida asking for all of the state's public universities to detail their spending on programs related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and critical race theory.
- "A Florida University Is Quickly Assembling a List of Courses on Diversity. Why? DeSantis Asked.," 1.3.23
More from The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- "S&C Leads 2022 Rankings in Overall Deal Value, as Kirkland Falls," 1.4.23
Several major law firms saw the total value of the deals they advise on plummet by hundreds of billions of dollars last year, according to early M&A league tables data from Refinitiv.
- "Law Firm Merger Activity Ticked Up in 2022, But Combinations Still Trail Recent Average," 1.3.23
A total of 46 law firm combinations were executed in 2022, an increase over 2021 and 2020, notes The American Lawyer. Industry analysts expect the rate of merger activity to continue to increase in 2023.
- "Holland & Knight to merge with Nashville law firm in first big 2023 combination," 1.4.23
The merger will create a firm with nearly 2,000 lawyers in 35 offices, according to Reuters.
- "Law firm mergers gained steam in 2022, with more on the way in 2023," 1.3.23
More on mergers, and a Fairfax Associates report released this week, from Reuters.
- "Law firm Quarles expands West with California combination, gaining 30 lawyers," 12.21.22
Quarles & Brady has announced plans to combine with a 30-lawyer labor and employment firm, becoming the latest law firm to plant a flag in California's legal market.
- "Expect More Small Firm Absorptions as Economic Pressures Mount," 12.20.22
Over the past six months, at least five small firms in the Mid-Atlantic have been swallowed up by midsize and large firms. Industry leaders and consultants are expecting to see a similar pace of absorptions in the coming year as uncertainty and economic pressures continue fueling a trend toward consolidation, according to The Legal Intelligencer.
- "The Cost of Associate Turnover," 1.3.23
New York Law Journal takes a behind-the-scenes look at the metrics involved when a law firm loses one of its lawyers.
- "The Legal Industry Can Expect Robust Hiring and Practice Growth," 1.3.23
In an opinion piece in Bloomberg Law, John Cashman, president of Major, Lindsey & Africa, forecasts how law firms and legal departments should adapt to changing market conditions in 2023. He predicts hiring and practice expansion will continue, profits will flatten, and telework will attract the best talent.
- "Academic Freedom Fights, Test-Optional Law Schools, U.S. News Boycotts and More: The Legal Education 2022 Year in Review," 12.30.23
The past year has been a year full of controversy and change to the legal education landscape. Law.com looks back at many of the big stories from 2022.
- "Ahead of the Curve: 2022's Biggest Legal Education Stories (Not About LSATs or US News Rankings)," 12.27.22
Law.com's Ahead of the Curve looks back at the biggest (relatively unsung) legal news of the year.
- "Law firms that came and went in 2022," 12.23.22
The law firm landscape looked a little bit different by the end of 2022 than it did when the year began. As part of year-in-review coverage, Reuters looks at some of the most notable firms that merged, split up, and made their debut in 2022.
- "In 2022, Nonlegal Business Functions Kept Gaining Prominence In Traditionally Lawyer-Led Industry," 12.22.22
Business administration functions are growing in sophistication at the top law firms in the U.S. The competition for business talent can be seen at the senior management level and in practice support roles, according to The American Lawyer's Justin Henry.
- "2022 Saw Diversity Gains at Top of Legal Departments, but Much Work Remains Elsewhere," 12.21.22
Appointments of diverse candidates to Fortune 1000 General Counsel roles have become more common, but challenges remain in bolstering diversity in lower-rung legal department posts and at departments' outside law firms, according to Corporate Counsel.
- "U.S. News & World Report, facing backlash, revamps its law school rankings," 1.2.23
Several news outlets including Reuters reported that U.S. News & News Report will modify its law school rankings after more than 20 law schools said they would not participate. The new rankings will rely more heavily on data from the American Bar Association.
- "Will Law Schools Respond to 'U.S. News' Changes?," 1.4.23
Reactions were muted or critical to a series of ways the magazine said it would improve its rankings, according to Inside Higher Ed.
- "In Wake of Law School Boycotts, US News Announces Changes," 1.3.23
Reporting on the topic from Law.com.
- "U.S. News Alters Law School Rankings After Yale, Harvard Quit," 1.3.23
Coverage in Bloomberg Law.
- "U.S. News & World Report to Revamp Parts of Its Law-School Ranking," 1.2.23
More from The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
- "In Response To Boycott, U.S. News Dramatically Changes Law School Rankings Methodology. Who Are The Winners And Losers? Will Harvard Be #1?," 1.2.23
TaxProf Blog provides some additional insights into the rankings.
- "How to Turn a Great Culture Into an Effective Recruiting Tool," 1.2.23
The January/February 2023 edition of Law Practice includes an Anne E. Collier article on using culture to help with recruiting efforts.
- "California Can Change Name of UC Hastings Law School, For Now," 12.30.22
Bloomberg Law reports that a California trial judge tentatively allowed the state to change the name of UC Hastings College of the Law under legislation created in response to founder Serranus C. Hastings' involvement in mass killings of Native Americans.
- "Midsize Law Firms Face Difficult Path in Determining Where to Open Offices," 12.30.23
In a hybrid world, midsize firms are figuring out that deciding where to open an office can be a tricky balancing act, according to The American Lawyer.
- "For Lawyers and Law Firms, Thinking Again Can Move Them Toward Better Practices," 12.28.22
After reading Think Again, Mayer Brown chair Jon Van Gorp reflects on how the ability to rethink and unlearn may be the cognitive skill that matters the most in our fast-changing world.
- "In Great Year for Litigation Boutiques, Above-Market Bonuses Abound," 12.28.22
Several elite boutiques have exceeded the Big Law bonus scale once again, notes The American Lawyer. The bonuses come as litigation boutiques largely report strong demand growth in 2022.
- "Villanova Law Dean to Become Next AALS President," 12.28.22
"We're in a time of great social and political unrest where we have seen major challenges to our democracy," Mark Alexander, dean of Villanova Law, told Law.com, adding that it is a time where the "pillars of democracy have been challenged, stressed and strained."
- "Law Firms Are Tweaking Partner Comp Reviews to Reward Collaboration," 12.19.22
The American Lawyer's Andrew Maloney reports that the compensation process hasn't changed much in 2022, firm leaders and analysts say, but firms have made an effort to reward collaboration. Firms have also said they've leaned in to recognizing nonequity partners more.
December 16, 2022
- "The Fully Human Lawyer: 7 Things Successful In-House Lawyers Do," 12.16.22
Leadership coach Lauren Krasnow explores various aspects of career development and the work experience in a column in The American Lawyer, drawing on her experiences working with lawyers across Big Law and corporations. In this issue of the Fully Human Lawyer, she looks at keys to success for in-house attorneys.
- "Debevoise and Weil Offer Lawyers 'Soft' Skills Training to Boost Client and Business Relations," 12.16.22
Big Law firms are teaching their associates soft skills that were often left behind during the virtual-only days of the pandemic. Skills such as running a meeting, networking, civility, and communication are some of the skills they look to build, according to The American Lawyer.
- "'It's Important for All of Us To Lift as We Climb': Black Women Judges Discuss Diversifying the Courts," 12.15.22
When it comes to improving diversity on the bench, particularly in state courts, there are two keys: intentionality and allyship. That's according to a panel of prominent Black women judges who participated in a recent Law.com Diversity Roundtable discussion.
- "Howard University Partners With Kaplan to Offer Free Test Prep for LSAT/Bar," 12.15.22
Law.com reports that Howard University, one of the five largest HBCUs in the country, has announced that it will immediately begin providing all of its undergraduate students with free test prep courses for graduate-level admissions exams and for professional licensing exams.
- "How a Year of Massive Change Could Impact Diversity in Legal Ed," 12.12.22
Christine Charnosky of Law.com's Ahead of the Curve analyzes what effect law schools possibly becoming test-optional and pulling out of the U.S. News education rankings may have on diversifying the legal profession.
- "5 DEI Trends To Retire In 2023," 12.01.22
A Forbes article from earlier this month reflects on 2022, pointing out that many leaders are wondering if certain programming, like DEI initiatives, might need to be left on the cutting room floor for 2023. However, the answer doesn't necessarily have to be taking resources away from DEI efforts, but to instead be more intentional about how to execute DEI in the new year.
- "Law School Rankings: You Can't Beat Something With Nothing," 12.14.22
Alan Morrison weighs in on the rankings story in The National Law Journal, writing that the Association of American Law Schools could provide what students really need: a guide that gives applicants a balanced view of what different law schools offer and a discussion of what matters and why.
- "U.S. News Ranking Protest Is a Chance to Rethink Legal Education," 12.08.22
In an opinion piece in Bloomberg Law, Major, Lindsey & Africa's Eliza Stoker says law school rankings like those compiled by U.S. News & World Report should better incentivize schools to accept students of all backgrounds, financial or otherwise.
- "A Rankings Revolution? Hardly.," 12.08.22
In an editorial in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jelena Brankovic explores the ramifications of Bard College President Leon Botstein's essay, "Can We Finally Topple the Tyranny of Rankings?"
- "New Partners Fear 'Retention Promotions' Are Tentative Amid Downturn," 12.14.22
The American Lawyer shares info from its New Partners Survey with Law.com Compass, which shows that while those who were recently promoted are happy for the new title, they don't feel prepared, particularly in a downturn.
- "Can Law Firms Avoid the Boom and Bust Hiring Cycle?," 12.13.22
Firm leaders say that responding to periods of high demand without overhiring is a delicate balance, according to The American Lawyer's Justin Henry. Firms that don't stock up on associates are at risk at losing partners with lucrative practices.
- "'Collision Course': Rising In-House Workloads Run Up Against Cost-Cutting Mandates," 12.12.22
Corporate Counsel's Trudy Knockless reports that 60% of respondents to the HBR Consulting Law Department survey expect hiring to increase, while only 5% expect it to decrease. "The data shows in-house counsel are being squeezed from all sides, and in a big way,â€ said Jason Winmill, managing partner of Argopoint.
- "A Recession Will Push More Lawyers Back to Office," 12.09.22
Firm leaders could push even harder for office returns if there's a recession in 2023, according to the 2023 Citi Hildebrandt Client Advisory released last week. A challenging economic environment will enable law firm leaders "to be more forthright in directing people back to the office," industry analysts note in an editorial by The American Lawyer. "We have already seen signs of this."
- "Where Are Law Firms Projecting the Most Demand Growth?," 12.08.22
Law.com reports that despite the growing cost and competition in the city, New York was projected to be the strongest market for demand through 2024, according to the client advisory.
- "If recession comes, how will law firm 'quiet quitters' fare?," 12.05.22
David Wang, an attorney and chief innovation officer at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, has some advice for workers who are quiet quitting. "You should actively address what you want out of your career. Coasting doesn't seem to be the solution," Wang tells ABA Journal.
- "Judge Judy's NYLS Scholars Program Under Investigation by OCR for Alleged Title IX Violation," 12.13.22
Based on information that first appeared in New York Law Journal, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating New York Law School to determine whether Judge Judy Sheindlin's scholars program violated Title IX.
- "Help Wanted: Self-described GOAT law firm seeks associate with kindergarten-acquired skills, dial-up internet," 12.13.22
ABA Journal highlights a California law firm that is looking for a real estate litigation associate fluent in Latin with the flexibility to work "extremely long hours" to handle "all work that the managing partner is simply too important to handle." It's an impressive law firm, according to the humorous LinkedIn ad.
- "Smaller Susman Godfrey bonuses still top law firm rivals," 12.13.22
Reuters reports on U.S. litigation firm Susman Godfrey's year-end associate bonuses.
- "Major U.S. law firms hold year-end bonuses steady in leaner year," 12.02.22
This follows an earlier article about major U.S. law firms that have rolled out year-end bonus plans for associates, matching last year's bonus scale in a departure from the leap-frogging increases of past years.
- "Penn State Law Faculty Object to Proposed Merger With Penn State Dickinson Law," 12.12.22
The Legal Intelligencer reports that Penn State Law faculty has released a statement objecting to the proposal from President Neeli Bendapudi's recommendation to reunite Penn State's two separately accredited law schools into a single institution.
- "How Associates Can Better Receive Meaningful Feedback," 12.12.22
In a follow-up to her piece in The American Lawyer, leadership coach Lauren Krasnow explains how associates should look to get and receive feedback.
- "How an Am Law 200 firm created an incubator program for associates to learn business, leadership skills," 12.12.22
A feel-good story in ABA Journal describes how in early 2020, as the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to set in, Brad Vynalek's leadership team at Quarles & Brady tapped into an unexpected source of inspiration: his dog, an intrepid cavalier King Charles spaniel named Rocky.
- "The minimum number of lawyers needed to eliminate legal deserts in the United States," 12.11.22
Legal deserts are a surprisingly common problem. Yet, more surprising is the relatively modest cost of a solution. Legal Evolution reports on the ABA Legal Desert Report from the 2020 Profile of the Legal Profession.
- "Plaintiffs Lawyer Stephen Sheller, Wife Donate $1M to Drexel's Kline School of Law for Diversity Pipeline Program," 12.09.22
The gift from Stephen A. Sheller, founding partner of Sheller PC, is intended to establish an endowment that permanently funds an initiative that was created in 2019, making it possible to expand the program to accommodate younger undergraduate students as well as college graduates, according to The Legal Intelligencer.
- "Washington Post spotlights Catholic University's beloved 'Ms. Willie'," 12.08.22
Members of the Catholic University of America community have loved "Ms. Willie" Joyner for nearly a half of a century. She has loved them right back. Now, the world knows why. The Washington Post profiled Joyner on Dec. 8, just days after the university unveiled the "Ms. Willie Joyner Dining Room" inside the new Garvey Hall.
- "How to find, keep, and reward legal staff," 12.06.22
Financial Times notes that training, hybrid working, and wellness schemes as well as pay are crucial to attracting and retaining employees.
- "Digital reinvention is the next big test for law firm success," 12.06.22
Another Financial Times article from last week identifies data, tech, and people as core strategies, as well as the publication's annual ranking that can add extra indicators for assessing law firms.
December 9, 2022
- "Laid-Off Lawyers Face Hard-Hit Job Market but Opportunities Remain," 12.09.22
The third of a multipart series in The American Lawyer observes that lawyers seeking work may need to reset their skill sets for adjacent practice areas or other geographic markets. While in-house opportunities are still available, the job market is fierce.
- "What's Next for Cooley's Laid-Off Attorneys and Staff?," 12.06.22
Recruiters and sources with direct contact with laid-off lawyers say they're looking for opportunities in-house and jobs that require them to retool their skills, reports The American Lawyer.
- "Stanford Law students test income-based alternative to school loans," 12.07.22
Demand has been robust for the first "income share agreement" program for law students, according to Reuters' Karen Sloan. Participants say the program has given them more flexibility and lessened their worries about paying for law school.
- "The Decline of the All-Nighter and the Rise of the Weekend in Big Law," 12.07.22.
Much has been written about changing work norms, and this editorial from ALM addresses the decline in all-nighters and, on the flip side, the rise of working weekends.
- "2023 Citi Hildebrandt Client Advisory finds Law Firm Industry Results Suppressed by Macro Environment," 12.07.22.
From BusinessWire: "Citi Law Firm Group and Hildebrandt Consulting today released their 2023 Citi Hildebrandt Client Advisory, which establishes the broad landscape for the law firm industry, how firms are responding to industry, economic and market challenges, and their potential opportunities for growth in the year ahead."
- "Biggest U.S. law firms hit hardest by declining demand, report says," 12.07.22.
Reuters reports that U.S. law firms saw decreased demand in 2022 measured against "aberrational performance" in 2021, with the biggest firms feeling the brunt of the decline, according to a report released Wednesday that said bankruptcy and litigation practices may see growth in 2023.
- "As Demand Lags, Talent Growth Still On Firm Leaders' Minds," 12.07.22.
Read more from Law360. (Subscription required.)
- "Where Do Law Firms Go From Here? Key Trends to Watch in 2023," 12.07.22.
Many firms will see a decline in profitability by year's end, as they head into a 2023 with a "high" likelihood of recession and a higher cost structure due to inflation, according to The American Lawyer.
- "Big Law Is Driving Blind Into Familiar, Low-Growth Territory," 12.08.22.
Additional coverage from Roy Strom in Bloomberg Law.
- "Law Firms and Clients Will Lean on Negotiated Discounts and AFAs in 2023," 12.08.22.
The American Lawyer reports on the Citi Private Bank and Hildebrandt Consulting report released this week, which concluded that firms will likely take up alternative fees and pre-negotiated discounts. Half of large firms said pre-negotiated discounts would remain stable as a proportion of law firm work, while 39% said they expect it to increase.
- "Growth in demand for law firm work hit highs in 2021, report says," 12.09.22.
More from Reuters.
- "You've Made Some DEI Progress. Don't Stop Now," 12.06.22.
This Harvard Business Review podcast features a conversation with Georgetown University's Ella Washington about how to make real progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- "Slow Going: Despite diversity gains, some law firm leaders bemoan lack of progress," 12.01.22.
The ABA Journal's December/January 2022-23 edition carries a story on their Profile of the Legal Profession 2022, which was released in July and highlights "sharp disparities by gender, race, and ethnicity" at the partner level. "Viewed year by year, the change is almost imperceptible. But viewed over the span of decades, it is easier to see, and it is accelerating." (ABA membership required.)
- "Do Gen Z Law Students Lack Intellectual Curiosity?," 12.06.22.
NALP member Jill Backer, writing for Daily Business Review, tackles some of the criticisms leveled at the current generation of law students.
- "'For Exceptional Contributions': A Select Pool of Associates Will Receive Extra Cash", 12.06.22.
"Most law firms with year-end associate bonuses are sticking to a common scale. But several firms have also lined up additional premiums for high-performing lawyers, which some analysts say is generally a move reserved for a very select pool of people," reports The American Lawyer.
- "Big Law's Flat Bonuses Tell Associates the Boom Year Is Over," 12.05.22.
Bloomberg Law offers an overview of Big Law bonuses and layoffs: "Big Law bonus announcements are speaking to associates in a common voice — times are tougher than last year, so be happy with the same award you got in 2021."
- "Paul Weiss, Debevoise, Davis Polk, Paul Hastings and Cleary Match Bonuses," 12.02.22
After a slow start in Big Law in announcing year-end bonuses for associates, major law firms became falling in line, with several last week matching the bonus scale set by other firms, notes Andrew Maloney in an editorial.
- "More Asian Americans on the federal bench; progress lacking at Big Law," 12.05.22.
Karen Sloan, writing for Reuters, reports on a new study that found that Asian American attorneys continue to be underrepresented in the top echelons of the legal profession, but are making progress in federal courts, in-house legal departments and law school enrollment.
- "As underrepresentation of Asian American lawyers in top jobs continues, more are speaking out, new study finds," 12.05.22.
The ABA Journal reports on a new study sponsored by the American Bar Foundation and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association which looks at representation of Asian Americans in the legal profession.
- "Ahead of the Curve: Why Some Law Schools Are Sticking With the U.S. News Rankings," 12.05.22.
ALM's Christine Charnosky, writing for Law.com, summarizes the developments in the rankings story over the past two weeks, noting "it somehow still feels fresh but also stale all at the same time." ALM maintains a list here of school announcements and other reporting.
- "Law School Boycott of U.S. News Ranking Is a Big Nothing Burger," 12.07.22.
Vivia Chen shares her two cents for Bloomberg Law.
- "Washburn Law Enters 3+3 Agreement With Pittsburg State University to Address 'Critical Shortage of Attorneys'," 12.05.22.
Law.com reports on a new partnership between Washburn University School of Law and Kansas's Pittsburg State which "offers highly qualified students the ability to complete their Pittsburgh State degree requirements in three years and then gain early admission to Washburn Law to earn an undergraduate degree along with a law degree in six years instead of seven."
- "Southeast Emerges as Top Legal Market for Expansion," 12.05.22
Daily Report Online reports that the Southeast is the second most preferred region for expansion with 59% of law firm business leaders targeting the region, just behind 61% for the Southwest.
- "Many federal judges want clerkship diversity but say the topic is rarely addressed in court, new study says," 12.02.22.
The ABA Journal reports on a new study relating to the lack of diversity among federal appellate court law clerks.
- "Increasing Write-Offs in Client Bills Should Sound 'Loud Alarm Bells' For Firm Profits," 12.02.22.
The American Lawyer reports that "Big Law is planning big billing rate increases to offset inflation and other costs. But growth in discounts and write-offs have also tamed profits this year and could threaten both profitability and talent retention in 2023" according to a report from Wells Fargo Legal Specialty Group.
- "Law firms plan big billing rate increases, even as discounts and write-offs proliferate," 12.06.22.
More on this from ABA Journal. (ABA membership required.)
- "'A Huge Shift': Job-Hunting Attorneys Turn to Stable Companies, Cash Over Stock Options," 12.02.22
Law.com notes that sexy startups have lost some of their allure, leading candidates to worry they'll be out of a job if funding dries up. Some in-house attorneys are considering going back to law firms.
- "Here's how federal judges think about diversity in hiring law clerks," 12.01.22
The Washington Post reports on a study that provides insights into how federal appeals court judges approach law clerk selection and diversity, and proposes measures to increase transparency, facilitate peer exchange, and increase judges' capacity to achieve their hiring objectives. (Washington Post subscription required.)
December 2, 2022
- "Cooley's Layoffs Reveal Dangers Facing Other Sector-Focused Law Firms," 12.02.22
Justin Henry and Jessie Yount assess the implications of Cooley's announced layoffs of 150 employees this week, generating a discussion about how to respond to client needs without overhiring. One lesson that can be gleaned is the importance of building broad corporate practices and offering a range of industry expertise, according to observers.
- "Time to Lay Off Lawyers or Scale Up? Big Law Faces Staffing Quandary," 12.01.22
Law.com's Christine Simmons asks, could law firms have predicted the current environment a year ago when they were slammed with billable hours and their associates were pulling all nighters to meet client deadlines?
- "As Reynen Court Downsizes, Are More Legal Tech Cutbacks on the Horizon?," 11.30.22
After news broke that Reynen Court would be cutting staff and ending its stock offering, too, observers wondered if the problems in the broader tech market had finally reached legal tech, according to Legaltech news.
- "Big Law Layoffs Mean Buyer's Market for Firms Raided During Boom," 11.28.22
Law firms whose rosters were thinned by larger rivals in last year's recruiting war are seeing a chance to strike back, according to Bloomberg Law. Smaller firms that lost talent are also looking to hire up.
- "A 'Worrisome' Start to 2023 Is Expected for Law Firms," 11.21.22
A substantial number of firm leaders tell The American Lawyer they expect moderate to high growth in expenses next year, and a smaller number of them expect growth in profits. Firm leaders also expect less productivity going into 2023, according to the Law Firm Business Leaders Report. There are reasons for optimism, including rosier long-term outlooks and generally high expectations for each practice area.
- "Profitability Pressures May Bring More Reluctance to Expansion in 2023," 12.01.22
Law firms may not want to expand and incur even more expenses after a costly 2021, according to The American Lawyer's Andrew Maloney. "There's a lot of concern about all of these really high expenses that have been incurred over the last couple years," said Georgetown's Jim Jones.
- "'Terrified of the Unknown': What's Behind the Delay in Announcing Associate Bonuses," 12.01.22
While Skadden became the latest firm whose year-end bonuses were confirmed, few other firms have announced associate bonuses. Experts say that firms are wary of making financial promises they might not be able to keep. Law firms are terrified about the uncertainty in 2023, observers tell The American Lawyer.
- "Climbing the Ladder: Several Law Firms Promote Record Partner Classes as Others Reduce Ranks," 11.28.22
Several large law firms have announced record-breaking partnership promotions in recent weeks, while others have reduced their new partner rounds. Law.com summarizes the recent movements.
- "Lateral Partner Demand Strong in the Bay Area, but Elevated Compensation Threatens a Logjam," 11.22.22
In an editorial, The Recorder's Jessie Yount notes that demand remains strong for lateral candidates in the Bay Area, but elevated compensation is a prohibitor of movement.
- "Big Law Leader Calls For More Inclusive Policies Around Business Professionals," 12.01.22
In a commentary in The American Lawyer, Schulte Roth & Zabel co-managing partner Marc Elovitz argues for business professionals to be included in more client-facing activities and treated as equal to attorneys.
- "An Access And Equity Ranking Of America's 63 Public Law Schools," 12.01.22
TaxProf Blog reports on Rutgers University Law Review's rankings of the Top 25 law schools based on "access and equity" measures. Existing rankings fail to measure what many law schools claim to be one of their longstanding goals of diversity, access, and equity, argue the authors.
- "Penn State President Proposes Reuniting Its Two Law Schools," 11.29.22
The Legal Intelligencer reports on plans to reunite Penn State's two separately accredited law schools into a single institution, which is how they operated before 2014. "It's clear that bringing Penn State's two law schools back together as one is the best way to serve law students and, I believe, the right path forward for legal education, including teaching, scholarship, service and community, at Penn State," President Neeli Bendapudi noted in a statement.
- "Value-Driven Talent Leadership: A Law Firm's Key to Success," 11.29.22
For most firms, only scant attention and limited resources have been devoted to having the critical behind-the-scenes human and other assets in place to make the firm hum, according to Law.com's Jennifer Johnson and Haley Revel.
- "Law Firms See Payment Delays Amid Challenging Collection Season," 11.29.22
The slowing of M&A deals this year as well as changes in corporate billing departments are causing some law firm payment delays. The volatility has caused some law firms to seek progress payments or consider selling receivables, according to Citi. Despite collection challenges, there's evidence that firms remain optimistic about their year-end performance, notes Andrew Maloney in an editorial in The American Lawyer.
- "'Surprised, Angry, Dismayed': Legal Departments Vow to Fight Law Firms' Rate-Hike Plans," 11.28.22
Corporate Counsel notes that law firms want to raise rates an average of 7% to 8% in 2023, according to the Wells Fargo Legal Specialty Group. Strategies differ dramatically from firm to firm, from no increase to a 45% hike. Legal departments say they're in a financial squeeze and can't absorb big increases.
- "Law schools face 'biggest jolt' in decades with LSAT rule change, U.S. News exodus," 11.21.22
Reuters reports that the week following when law schools first started announcing they would no longer participate in U.S. News & World Report has been unprecedented for law school admissions, including with changes in the works for school rankings, admissions tests, and affirmative action.
- "UC-Davis Is 12th Law School (5th In California) To Boycott U.S. News Rankings," 11.29.22
UC Davis School of Law will no longer provide data to U.S. News for use in compiling its law school rankings, reports TaxProf Blog.
- "Cornell Law Will Continue to Participate in U.S. News Rankings," 11.28.22
Law.com reports that while 11 law schools have decided to no longer participate in the U.S. News law school rankings, Cornell Law School has joined University of Chicago Law School saying it will continue to provide information for the rankings. "The reality is that U.S. News & World Report is a journalistic enterprise, and they don't need anyone's permission, including mine, to publish a ranking, and they have ready access to information from the ABA and other public sources to construct their rankings," Cornell Law Dean Jens David Ohlin wrote in a statement.
- "UCLA Law Becomes the First Non-T14 School to Dump the U.S. News Rankings," 11.23.22
"We are under no illusion that UCLA Law's decision will have a substantial impact on how law schools are evaluated by U.S. News," Interim Dean Russell Korobkin told Law.com.
- "Is This The Beginning Of The End Of The U.S. News Rankings Dominance?," 11.22.22
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the impacts of law schools deciding not to recognize the rankings. (Subscription required.)
- "Wayne State University Law Names Inaugural Associate Dean of Diversity," 11.23.22
Wayne State University Law School has named Nancy Chi Cantalupo, associate professor of law, its inaugural associate dean of diversity, equity and belonging, according to Law.com. "I have spent my entire professional career working not only to promote diversity and belonging, but also, recognizing that neither diversity nor inclusion are power-neutral, advancing civil rights and equality in education," Chi Cantalupo said in a statement. "However, that work has almost always been bifurcated – either focusing on research or on the implementation of DEI programs and initiatives."
- "Are Western Law Firms Prepared for the Rise of Asian Law Firms?," 11.20.22
Global law firms with roots in the West have long enjoyed their dominance in the world. But Asia-based law firms have become a force to be reckoned with, writes The Global Lawyer.
- "ABA Council Greenlights Proposal That Would Nix Law School Admissions Test Requirement," 11.18.22
The council of the American Bar Associationâ€™s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar voted Nov. 18 to approve a proposed amendment to Standard 503Â thatÂ would remove the standardized admissions test requirement for ABA-accredited law schools. The proposal now moves toÂ the House of Delegates for review, notes Law.com.
November 18, 2022
- "3 law schools ranked in U.S. News top 10 will no longer participate in its rankings," 11.17.22
Three law schools will no longer participate in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Yale Law School was first to make the announcement Wednesday, followed by Harvard Law School, and then the University of California at Berkeley School on Thursday. "Leaders in legal education should do everything they can to ensure students of all backgrounds have the support and resources they need to enter our profession and contribute to society," wrote Yale Dean Heather K. Gerken.
- "As More Law Schools Drop Out, Are the U.S. News Rankings in Danger?," 11.17.22
Observers remain split on whether the moves by law schools to stop recognizing the U.S. News rankings will inflict any lasting damage on the highly influential publication, according to Daily Report. "Rankings have the meaning that we give them as a community. I do not want to pretend they do not. And rankings will exist with or without our participation," said Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky.
- "Dean's Message: Berkeley Law will not participate in the U.S. News rankings," 11.17.22
Berkeley Law's Chemerinsky released a statement detailing the reasons why the school is no longer participating in the rankings, including that the rankings penalize schools that help students launch public service careers, the ranking formula disregards graduates who are pursuing advanced degrees, and "the rankings methodology creates incentives to de-prioritize things we think are critical to our profession and role in society."
- "Yale and Harvard law schools to shun influential U.S. News rankings," 11.17.22
Reuters' Karen Sloan notes that the moves by Yale and Harvard could prompt other law schools to follow suit, as the rankings loom large across the legal industry.
- "Yale and Harvard's Law Schools Are Ditching the 'U.S. News' Rankings. Will Others Follow?," 11.16.22
The Chronicle of Higher Education elaborated on the decisions by Yale and Harvard. "U.S. News stands in the way of progress for legal education and the profession,â€ said Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken. "It's made it harder for law schools to admit and support low-income students, and it's undermining efforts to launch a generation to serve. Now is the time to take a step."
- "Yale and Harvard Law Schools Abandon U.S. News Rankings," 11.16.22
The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets including Inside Higher Ed reported Wednesday that Yale Law School and Harvard Law School are pulling out of the U.S. News & World Report law-school rankings that they have dominated for decades, issuing a blow to the credibility and power of the high-profile rankings. (Wall Street Journal subscription required.)
- "Pass rates for first-time bar-takers decrease; are online classes the cause?," 11.17.22
ABA Journal's Stephanie Francis Ward reports on remote learning during the pandemic. "What we have seen anecdotally is that students with most of their legal education online did not fare as well as students in the traditional modality," said Florida International University College of Law's Raul Ruiz.
- "Law Firms Start Tying Office Attendance to Job Security and Bonuses," 11.18.22
The American Lawyer notes that more law firms are putting stakes in the ground on attendance policies, tying it to bonuses, development, and retention. Law firms, becoming more explicit in their office return expectations, have gained additional leverage when demand has dropped.
- "Office Returns Have Become an Unhealthy Obsession for Some Law Firm Leaders," 11.16.22
Surveys have consistently shown that most lawyers and staff don't want attendance mandates. Neither financial nor productivity data supports attendance mandates. And yet, a number of law firm heads appear to still be unhealthily obsessed with with dragging everyone back to the office, notes Law.com's Zack Needles.
- "Even With Lawyers Back in the Office, Law Firms Still Haven't Reached the 'New Normal'," 11.14.22
The American Lawyer analyses the most recent data from the Thomson Reuters Law Firm Financial Index, noting that firms remain somewhat unsettled when it comes to in-office versus remote work policies. Demand for talent will also play a role in these policies.
- "Law Firms Are Letting Productivity Slide, Remembering the 'Lost Generation' of Lawyers," 11.11.22
Productivity fell 3.8% in the legal industry in Q3, and fell at record rates across industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. High demand last year along with mostly steady hiring this year, plus burnout and forced office returns could be part of the puzzle, according to an editorial from The American Lawyer's Andrew Maloney. Analysts note that firms are optimistic that demand and productivity will pick up in 2023.
- "The Law Firm Disrupted: Still Wrestling With the Future of the Office," 11.10.22
Real estate might soon be firms' third biggest expenditure, down from second. But that doesn't mean that firms aren't thinking hard about how to make the most of their spending, notes Law.com's Dan Packel.
- "The Cost of Going to Law School: How Countries Compare," 11.15.22
It costs a lot more to become a lawyer in the U.S. than it does in other countries, according to an analysis of university fees across 50 countries by mobile bank N26. Costs in the U.S. were more than three times higher than any other country, at $245,700. The UAE ranked second with a cost of $71,820, followed by Canada, England, Singapore, Wales and Israel, reports Law.com.
- "Gibson Dunn Elects Record Partner Class as Biggest Firms Lead Promotion Season," 11.15.22
Gibson Dunn has announced the promotion of 37 lawyers to partner, up from 27 last year, according to The American Lawyer. The nation's largest firms have continued to meet or exceed last year's record class sizes for new partners.
- "International college enrollment ticks back up after pandemic," 11.14.22
The Washington Post reports on a study of thousands of universities that showed the number of international students at U.S. colleges increased last year after a marked drop during the pandemic.
- "Repurposing of Associates During a Slowdown: Pros, Cons and Unintended Consequences," 11.17.22
A commentary by The American Lawyer's Dan Binstock and Erin Sears argues that as law firms consider moving associates to busier practice areas rather than facing layoffs, they should consider some less obvious impacts to both the associates and the partners who take them on.
- "Stealth Layoffs Obscure Big Law's Exposure to Silicon Valley Losses," 11.14.22
In an analysis piece, The American Lawyer's Dan Roe notes that as billable hours dry up in venture capital and emerging companies practices, law firms create a pretext for more cuts to correct overhiring.
- "U.S. law firms face fallout from hiring frenzy as demand cools," 11.15.22
Reuters reports that U.S. law firms are struggling to balance swollen attorney ranks after a hiring surge last year with shrinking demand from clients, according to a report from Wells Fargo's Legal Specialty Group.
- "More Cuts, Higher Billing Rates Could Be on the Horizon for Big Law," 11.15.22
Average law firm net income fell by 7.3% and profits per equity partner was down 8.5%through the first nine months of 2022, according to a new Wells Fargo report covered in The American Lawyer.
- "Some Thoughts on Elite-Law-School Bias in Clerkship Hiring," 11.15.22
The Volokh Conspiracy blog's Sasha Volokh analyzes elite law-school hiring patterns for Supreme Court clerks following a recent article about racial and gender bias.
- "Failure to Give Effective Feedback Can Cost You Dearly," 11.14.22
Attorneys at all levels have told The American Lawyer how shocked and angered to learn well after the fact that theyâ€™d made a mistake or caused a problem that no one mentioned to them, either in a formal review or via the gossip mill and casual conversation.
- "'Go Out of Your Way to Look for Veterans': Increasing Recruitment and Breaking Barriers in Big Law," 11.11.22
Military veterans are underrepresented in Big Law. Veterans bring many qualities that are well-suited to the practice of law such as determination, integrity, and a diversity of perspective. Lawyers from several firms spoke with Law.com about their experiences, the progress, and the remaining barriers to representation in the legal industry.
- "Company Cultures Adjust to Disclosing Pay Ranges in Job Ads," 11.10.22
As organizations consider disclosing pay information to job candidates, they need to decide how to better inform current employees about their pay structure, according to SHRM's Stephen Miller. Job seekers and current employees both want to know that they are being treated fairly. (SHRM Membership required.)
November 11, 2022
- "Amid Layoff Mayhem, Recruiter Advises Lawyers to Keep Cool," 11.10.22
Recruiters say attorneys should stick to their playbooks for advancing their careers. Attorney jobs are less likely to disappear than some other types of positions. The economic troubles are unsettling, but a rebound could come quickly, notes Law.com.
- "Cooley's 'Performance-Based' Layoffs Also Hit High-Achievers," 11.10.22
Not all of Cooley's job cuts were performance-related, according to Corporate Counsel. Other tech-focused and capital markets-focused firms are likely to make similar cuts, California recruiters said.
- "Meta Cuts Hit Legal Department, Slamming Brakes on Its Explosive Growth," 11.10.22
Meta's legal department, which had more than doubled in size since 2018, took a hit in Wednesday's layoffs, reports Corporate Counsel. The job cuts come at a time the company is facing legal attacks on many fronts.
- "'The Sky Is Not Falling': Layoff Barrage Belies Continued Strength of In-House Hiring Market," 11.09.22
Tech layoffs generally won't hit legal as hard as other departments, recruiters tell Corporate Counsel's Greg Andrews. Job candidates continue to have the leverage to negotiate high pay.
- "The Drumbeat Of Layoffs Getting Louder," 11.09.22
Layoffs are continuing to percolate through the legal industry, notes Above the Law. Will they stay contained to a few firms with hard hit clients or are we seeing the beginning of widespread firings?
- "'Biden Will Have a Very Tough Time': Why Lawyers Should Care About Senate Control," 11.09.22
If Republicans seize the U.S. Senate, President Joe Biden could have a harder time getting judicial nominees confirmed, some observers told The National Law Journal.
- "Slowdown signals 'rocky road ahead' for large law firms, but midsize firms make gains, Thomson Reuters report says," 11.08.22
An ABA Journal report notes that law firm profitability slowed in the third quarter of 2022, according to new data in the Thompson Reuters Institute's Law Firm Index report, as large firms faced rising expenses driven by higher wages and overhead costs.
- "Is the Gap Between Large and Smaller Law Firms Beginning to Narrow?," 11.08.22
The American Lawyer sheds light on why midsize firms have seen demand growth increases, while Am Law 100 and Second Hundred firms have seen demand shrink, as it relates to the Thomson Reuters Law Firm Financial Index. The gap between the largest firms and smaller firms isn't necessarily narrowing; smaller firms are just proving their value, analysts say.
- "Across-the-Board Declines Mean an 'Inflection Point' for Law Firms," 11.07.22
Declines in demand and productivity, as well as double-digit expense increases, are creating an inflection point. The Thomson Reuters Law Firm Financial Index remains at an all-time low, though analysts say the picture isn't all bleak.
- "Law firm profit slowdown continued in Q3, but midsized firms saw growth," 11.07.22
U.S. law firm profitability fell in the third quarter, continuing a downward trend that began at the start of 2022, writes Reuters' Karen Sloan.
- "Law Firm Business Pros Are More Valuable Than Ever, And Yet Still Undervalued," 11.08.22
Law firms have become increasingly reliant on their business professionals in recent years - but you likely wouldn't know it by the way many of those professionals are treated, according to Law.com.
- "Maine State Bar Association Report Says Attorneys of Color Are 'Largely Invisible' to White Colleagues," 11.08.22
According to a new survey by the Maine State Bar Association, 28% of nearly 1,400 responding member attorneys said they have witnessed discrimination, disparate treatment, or problematic comments made on account of race or ethnicity within the state's legal community, notes Law.com.
- "Pa. CLE Board Says Legal Profession Would Benefit From Mandatory Diversity and Harassment Training," 11.08.22
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Continuing Legal Education Board proposed a rule that would make training on diversity and harassment mandatory for lawyers. The Legal Intelligencer explains that advocates of the change say the new rule would be a useful step toward creating a more inclusive profession.
- "Penn Law Launches Future of the Profession Lab," 11.08.22
The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School has launched the Future of the Profession Lab, an interdisciplinary problem-solving center that will work to address the most significant challenges facing the American legal profession.
- "Law Firms' Rising Cyber Insurance Costs Haven't Fully Hit Home," 11.08.22
While avoiding cyber insurance is becoming harder for law firms, so is understanding exactly what those higher premiums are covering, notes Legaltech news.
- "ABA moves closer to ending LSAT requirement for law schools," 11.07.22"
Reuters reports that the American Bar Association is poised to do away with its longtime requirement that law schools use standardized admissions tests such as the Law School Admission Test, or LSAT.
- "25% Through The Fall 2023 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Down -11%, With Biggest Decline (-21%) In The 165-169 LSAT Band," 11.07.22
TaxProf Blog's Paul Caron reports that at 25% of the way through Fall 2023 law school admissions season, the number of law school applicants reported by LSAC is down -11.3% compared to last year at this time.
- "As Law Firm Demand Slows, Signs of Caution Appear in Atlanta," 11.07.22
Even as the legal industry faces mounting pressure to make cuts, some Atlanta law firms are optimistic about their revenue this year, according to Daily Report.
- "Law Firms May Soon See Ripple Effect of New York's Pay Transparency Law," 11.07.22
The American Lawyer explains why New York City's pay transparency law has the potential to alter the talent competition in Big Law for both attorneys and business professionals.
- "Axiom Expands Global Staffing Reach by Acquiring Australia's Plexus Engage," 11.07.22
Legaltech news reports on the acquisition that expands Axiom's on-demand talent pool to more than 6,900 lawyers.
- "Supreme Court More Diverse Than Lawyers who Argue Before It," 11.04.22
The current two-week session of arguments features 25 men and just two women, an imbalance so stark that the Biden administration's top Supreme Court lawyer made a point of it in her defense of race-conscious college admissions, according to Daily Report.
- "To Sustain DEI Momentum, Companies Must Invest in 3 Areas," 11.04.22
Harvard Business Review's Evelyn R. Carter and Natalie Johnson have identified three areas where organizations need to focus and invest to keep DEI momentum going: connecting a good strategy to the right accountability; collecting and analyzing the right data; and truly empowering DEI leaders.
- "Partner Moves in Salt Lake, Seattle Show 'Massive' Rise, While Nashville Fell Off," 11.04.22
Markets including Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Charlotte have seen massive growth, according to Decipher. Nashville and Denver have seen partner movement dip since last year, though it remains significantly above the past five years.
- "Can One DEI Initiative Change the Legal Profession for the Better? State Farm's Legal Team Says, 'Yes'. ," 11.04.22
"It's great that opportunities like this are exciting and new, but we don't want this stuff to be exciting and new. We want it to be commonplace. We want these opportunities to abound for everyone." a State Farm associate general counsel told Law.com.
- "Fordham Law Launches Center on Asian Americans and the Law," 11.04.22
Fordham University School of Law will officially launch the Center on Asian Americans and the Law next week, notes Law.com, and for the center's co-directors, Judges Denny Chin and Thomas Lee, it holds deep personal meaning.
- "Diversity Alliance Recognizes Shook for High Percentage of New Women Partners," 11.04.22
The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance has recognized Shook for having 50% or more women in its 2022 new partner class.
November 4, 2022
- "In Post COVID-Era, Law Firms Eye a Cultural Transformation," 11.03.22
Daily Business Review reports, "Law firms are increasingly facing challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a demand from younger lawyers for more focus from law firms on mental health, retention and skill development. However, as firms move to address those issues, they're also confronting a push for a broader culture shift. Firms have bolstered compensation over the last several years, but moral leadership, purpose and shared vision are equally important to the younger generation."
- "Associates' Performance Reviews Are Influenced by Market Conditions," 11.03.22
The American Lawyer says that with performance reviews underway at law firms this quarter, top firms will be using billable hours and work quality as reasons to weed out so-called underperformers — but notes that evaluations are also impacted by market forces.
- "Today's Associates Are Tomorrow's Top Litigators. Here's How to Prepare Them," 11.02.22
Young associates will need experience in order to become effective litigators. This article in Daily Business Review outlines the types of experience they'll need and offers suggested paths to acquiring that experience.
- "U.S. law schools expand fundraising ambitions as tuitions swell," 11.02.22
Reuters' Karen Sloan reports that "law schools have grown increasingly ambitious in fundraising over the past decade as the cost of a law degree has climbed and schools have expanded their programming."
- "Mid-level Partner Talent Pool Has Likely 'Dried Up,' 11.02.22
The American Lawyer notes that "the pool of midlevel partner candidates appears to have 'dried up,' according to analysts at Decipher, with law firms increasingly bringing on cheaper, less-experienced junior partners who have smaller books of business."
- "Kirkland & Ellis Trims Associate Ranks Following Performance Reviews," 11.02.22
Justin Henry of The American Lawyer digs into the announced layoffs at Kirkland & Ellis, noting that the firm "isn't as busy as 2021's levels, as shown in the firm's lower rate of lateral growth and hours billed, but the law firm remains busy. Industry observers say large corporate-heavy law firms like Kirkland are in a difficult position, having to fit their legal practices to the ebbs and flows in demand for legal services in the last two years."
- "#MeToo is 5 Years Old. This Is What Has (and Hasn't) Changed in Law Firms," 11.01.22
The #MeToo movement has led law firms to improve protocols and has expanded the scope of conversation to correct other forms of misconduct. A younger generation of lawyers has pushed the legal industry to continue to correct inappropriate standards. However, it's still difficult to bring misconduct allegations against powerful partners and other firm leaders.
- "Mind the Gap: Leadership Across Generations,"11.01.22
NALP publications contributor Jessie Spressart writes in the November/December edition of Law Practice that when leaders can move past stereotypes and assumptions — and help their organizations do the same — they can help everyone, regardless of age, be at their best in their environment.
- "Lawyer Leaders of Today and Tomorrow: How Do We Build Them?" 11.01.22
Also a contributor to NALP's publications, Jennifer Bluestein also writes in the same issue of Law Practice about building the leaders of today and tomorrow. Embracing the idea that there is no substitute for actual practice and that the learning process is never over are crucial.
- "Samford University Refuses to Recognize Cumberland Law School's LGBTQ+ Group as Official Organization," 11.01.22
LGBTQ+ law students and allies at Samford University's Cumberland of School Law have been fighting for the past year to have an official LGBTQ+ organization on campus and were formally denied by the parent school in late October.
- "NLRB General Counsel Abruzzo Issues Memo on Employer Surveillance in the Modern Workplace," 11.01.22
National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has issued a memo related to enforcement of a "new framework" to protect employees from intrusive forms of electronic monitoring.
- "Beyond 'Free Coffee and Chocolate Biscuits': Keys to Retention Prove Elusive as Workers Return to the Office," 11.01.22
Daily Business Review summarizes a panel from the International Bar Association's annual conference earlier this week, where law firm leaders discussed how to keep young lawyers interested in working for them on a long-term basis.
- "New law school will charge only $24K in full-time tuition," 10.31.22
ABA Journal reports that "Wilmington University is opening a new law school in Delaware that will charge $24,000 in tuition for full-time students, the lowest price of any law school in the region. The school is the third new U.S. law school announced this year."
- "Supreme Court majority seems ready to restrict consideration of race in college admissions," 10.31.22
The ABA Journal and several media outlets noted that the U.S. Supreme Court appeared ready to restrict the use of race as a factor in college admissions during oral arguments Monday. The high court is considering admissions programs at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University. After arguments in the North Carolina case, a court majority appeared to side with the group challenging race-conscious admissions, Students for Fair Admissions.
- "Chemerinsky: Stakes are high as Supreme Court considers affirmative action cases," 11.02.22
In a column for ABA Journal, Erwin Chemerinsky summarizes the precedents and the cases currently before the court.
- "7 Key Moments From the Supreme Court Hearings on Race-Conscious Admissions," 10.31.22
The Chronicle of Higher Education observes that "the future of race-conscious admissions programs in America appeared as tenuous as it has ever been." in Supreme Court arguments Monday.
- "The End of Affirmative Action," 10.31.22
Inside Higher Ed examines the legal context, public perception, and impact on law schools from Monday's decision.
- "Fast Take: Supreme Court reconsiders affirmative action," 10.31.22
In this Reuters video, UVA Law professor Kim Forde-Mazrui explains how the two cases heard by the Supreme Court could imperil policies colleges and universities have long used to promote diversity on campus.
- "'Where Are All the Women?' Clients Are Monitoring Law Firm Gender Diversity. Are You?," 10.31.22
Law.com's Raychel Lean shares takeaways from panelists at the International Bar Association 2022 Conference, noting that 53% of women feel they are being used as a token representative of diversity, according to Hilarie Bass, founder of the Bass Institute for Diversity & Inclusion. "This is becoming more and more of an issue because, as clients insist on diverse teams, what we hear from many women is, yes, they're invited to the client pitch, they're sold as an important component of the team, but the work comes in and suddenly they don't get any origination credit for having participated in the pitch. And most importantly, many of them are not asked to actually do the work," she said.
- "Why This Judge Says Law Schools Should Reassess Their Admissions Process," 10.31.22
U.S. Ninth Circuit Judge Johnnie Rawlinson is questioning whether the LSAT makes law school less accessible to diverse applicants. "Unless law schools are willing to reexamine the admission process, diversity, equity and inclusion will continue to suffer," she said.
- "New York City employers must add salaries to job postings starting tomorrow. That includes promotions," 10.31.22
Fortune helped explain what employers should know about a New York City law requiring them to list salary ranges on job postings that went into effect Nov. 1. Shout-out to 2021-22 PSJD Fellow Chelsea-Leigh Flucus, who wrote about the importance of wage transperency earlier this year.
- "EY Sets Sights on Growing Legal Services Market Share Post-Split," 10.31.22
EY is likely spinning out its consulting services from its audit business. After the split, the firm intends to gain market share in legal services.
- "Instead of Breaking the Bank to Recruit Legal Talent, EY Banks on 'Better Work Experience'," 10.27.22
Global law leader Cornelius Grossmann said EY's new-look legal services business will give them an edge in the war for talent.
- "Online law school classes are making the grade, survey finds," 10.31.22
According to the latest Law School Survey of Student Engagement, 76% of respondents who took online legal classes last year rated those courses as good or excellent.
- "Lateral Partner Moves Have Accelerated, as Big Law Pursues Growing Market Share," 10.31.22
Andrew Maloney of The American Lawyer notes that while law firm demand has slipped and associate lateral movement is slowing down, the number of partner laterals actually increased again in 2022. "Firms are still pursuing scale, still pursuing market share. They are continuing to focus, at least amongst the large law firm segments, on market consolidation," said Decipher CEO Mike Ellenhorn.
- "Law Firm Leaders Converge in Atlanta, as Recession and Inflation Top List of Concerns," 10.28.22
Dozens of global law firm leaders met last week to discuss how to prepare for an economic downturn, inflationary pressures, remote work challenges and return-to-office issues, among other topics.
- "How to Ace Your Law Firm Job Interview by Asking Good Questions," 10.28.22
Tips for law students about asking good interview questions, including doing your research, asking follow-up questions and learning everything you can about the job and firm.
- "The legal profession is not doing enough to fix its DEI problem," 10.21.22
Fast Company reports on the legal profession's ongoing diversity problems. "Beneath the headlines about new initiatives focused on firms growing the number of partners from underrepresented groups, addressing unconscious bias, and making bigger commitments to socially conscious pro bono work, attrition rates among Black, female, and LGBTQ+ attorneys are growing.
October 28, 2022
- "Law Students Are Happy Learning Online, Survey Says," 10.27.22.
Inside Higher Ed reports on the findings of the latest Law School Survey of Student Engagement, that finds, among other things, that "law school students are increasingly both satisfied and comfortable with online learning." ("Of those surveyed, women who were enrolled in mostly online courses were more likely to say they engaged in class discussions than women taking mostly in-person courses. And over all, more students in online classes (31 percent) said they were likely to participate in class "very often" than those who were in mostly in-person courses (25 percent).")
- "Survey says: Law students love online programs," 10.27.22.
The National Jurist has more on the new LSSSE survey results and what they have to say about law student satisfaction with online learning.
The Feel Goods
- "A 'scare-cuterie' severed hand might be Halloween's creepiest food," 10.25.22.
The Washington Post recommends the seasonal scare-cuterie display for your Halloween party, the "disembodied hand, its striated, desiccated flesh suggesting crypts and coffins and morgues," the skin made of prosciutto and the flesh made of cheese. (And again the pictures are worth a thousand words and this article comes complete with recipes and helpful tips for constructing the most gruesome scare-cuterie you can imagine, with an assist from several food stylists to help you along your way (e.g., "For the wrist and arm: We used an 8-ounce Murray's Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Prosciutto and basil roll, which was just the right width (bonus: it's already covered with prosciutto….) For the fingers: We used two 3-ounce packages of Rollino Prosciutto and Mozzarella Cheese rolls.")
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice
- "As Scrutiny of AI Tools' Biases Grows, Companies' Compliance Plans Fall Behind." 10.27.22.
Legaltech News reports that "more companies are now leveraging artificial intelligence technologies in many eligibility decisions, such as hiring, insurance or loans applications, but just as these tools are becoming popular in the market, they are also increasingly getting scrutinized by regulators for bias and discriminatory concerns."
- "Managing Measurement: Navigating DEI Reporting Pressures in the Legal Industry," 10.25.22.
The President of ALFDP, writing for the New York Law Journal, writes about the burden of the increase in requests from clients to report on data and metrics related to DEI, and advocates for the adoption of the co-sponsored ALFDP/ABA Model Diversity Survey to ensure that the most reliable data is available to advance DEI in meaningful ways.
- "For Disabled Workers, a Tight Labor Market Opens New Doors," 10.25.22.
The New York Times reports that "the strong late-pandemic labor market is giving a lift to a group often left on the margins of the economy: workers with disabilities." ("Employers, desperate for workers, are reconsidering job requirements, overhauling hiring processes and working with nonprofit groups to recruit candidates they might once have overlooked. At the same time, companies' newfound openness to remote work has led to opportunities for people whose disabilities make in-person work — and the taxing daily commute it requires — difficult or impossible. As a result, the share of disabled adults who are working has soared in the past two years, far surpassing its prepandemic level and outpacing gains among people without disabilities.")
- "How the legal community can better support lawyers with disabilities," 10.21.22.
This piece in the Canadian Lawyer provides an assessment of why the launch of the Canadian Association of Lawyers with Disabilities is critical to supporting law students and lawyers with disabilities.
Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Back to Work
- "First comprehensive research on mental health in Canadian legal profession paints a sobering picture," 10.27.22.
The Canadian Lawyer reports that "legal professionals in all areas of practice in all jurisdictions suffer from 'significantly high levels of psychological distress, depression, anxiety, burnout and suicidal ideation' says research conducted at the Sherbrooke University in Quebec." ("As the first comprehensive national study of its kind in Canada, The National Study on the Psychological Health Determinants of Legal Professionals in Canada paints an alarming picture of the wellness of Canadian legal professionals.")
- "Why are more women leaving their jobs than men?," 10.21.22.
This piece in the Canadian Lawyer provides some thoughts on why the great resignation is having a greater impact on women: "For women, the exodus seems to be even greater than it is for men."
- "The Best Cities for Remote Work," 10.20.22.
The New York Times reports on a new study that ranked large U.S. cities on how friendly they are to remote workers.
Bar Exam/Lawyer Licensing
- "Applicants' Pass Rate on Georgia July Bar Exam Up 0.8% From 2021," 10.21.22.
According to the Daily Report, "the pass rate for individuals taking the July Georgia Bar Examination was nearly one percentage point higher than the rate for the July 2021 exam."
Law Schools and Law Students
- "With three new U.S. law schools, legal academia makes a rebound," 10.27.22.
Karen Sloan, writing for Reuters, reports that "Wilmington University in Delaware on Thursday said it will launch a new law school next year, marking the third new U.S. law school in the pipeline so far this year." ("The new schools follow a nearly decade-long contraction in legal academia. Until this fall, no new law school had opened since 2014, and at least seven closed during that period due to financial shortfalls, low enrollment, accreditation problems or ownership issues.")
- "Wilmington University To Open A New Law School In Delaware," 10.24.22.
The TaxProf Blog reports that "Wilmington University has announced plans to open a new law school in New Castle (Delaware)." ("Wilmington University is the third new law school launched in the past eight months, joining Jacksonville University (Florida), and High Point University (North Carolina).")
- "Cardozo Law Receives $15M Donation, Largest in School's History," 10.27.22.
The National Law Journal reports that "the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law received a $15 million donation—the largest donation in the law school's history—to create the Perlmutter Center for Legal Justice."
- "Marvel chairman commits millions for law school to fight faulty forensics," 10.27.22.
Reuters reports that "the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law on Thursday unveiled a $15 million initiative that includes two new clinics in which students will work on clemency and wrongful conviction cases based on faulty forensic evidence, as well as a slate of continuing legal education courses for judges, prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys on forensic evidence and how it can be abused."
- "2000 Grad Gifts $17.5M to Columbia Law, the Largest Single Commitment in the Law School's History," 10.24.22.
The New York Law Journal reports that "a 2000 graduate of Columbia Law School—whose grandfather and great-grandfather also graduated from the law school—gave $17.5 million to the school, which is the largest single commitment in the history of Columbia Law."
Law Firms and Lawyers
- "Instead of Breaking the Bank to Recruit Legal Talent, EY Banks on 'Better Work Experience'," 10.27.22.
The American Lawyer reports that as EY spins off its legal services division, it expects to compete with Big Law for legal talent by offering a better career proposition.
- "Latham Announces 44 New Partners, Nearly Half in Corporate Groups," 10.27.22.
The American Lawyer reports that "Latham & Watkins announced the promotion of 44 associates to partner, effective Jan. 1, 2023, matching last year's record class size and mirroring corporate-heavy partner classes at peer firms."
- "'Clear Disparity' Remains Between Attorney and Staff Hybrid Work Policies," 10.26.22.
The American Lawyer reports that "there's still a clear disparity in remote work requirements for lawyers as opposed to business professionals at law firms." (According to a new survey of law firm leaders, more than half of law firms report that their lawyers have moved to hybrid work permanently, while only about one-third of firms say the same is true for the rest of their employees.")
- "Demand remains high for legal talent, according to recruiter survey," 10.27.22.
The Canadian Lawyer reports that "with legal talent scarce…salaries are rising, and employers are competing with U.S. firms who are attracting Canadian talent with higher pay and signing bonuses."
- "From Running Operations to Strategizing, Law Firm Business Chiefs See Swelling Responsibilities," 10.25.22.
The American Lawyer reports that "whether they're called executive directors, chief operating officers or directors of operations, law firm business leaders have become more central to the operations of these formerly lawyer-led business enterprises, as firms scale their operations across multiple practice areas and geographic markets."
- "Cravath expects everyone to be in office Tuesdays and Wednesdays," 10.25.22.
The ABA Journal reports that "Cravath, Swaine & Moore is expecting everyone to be in the office Tuesdays and Wednesdays…the policy, which took effect Sept. 12, also strongly encourages everyone to work from the office on a third weekday, although the specific day can vary week to week."
- "In Associate Ranks, Slowdown in Demand Could Mean 'Cleanup'," 10.24.22.
The American Lawyer reports that "as lateral hiring continues to slow, law firms are reassigning corporate associates into litigation and bankruptcy practices, while other firms have begun trimming their lawyer ranks at the edges, cutting associates they feel aren't up to par, or at least prepping to do so by identifying offices, practices and people who are underperforming."
International Law Firms
- "Australian Law Firm Gadens Offers 30 Weeks of Paid Parental Leave," 10.27.22.
Law.com International reports that "Australian law firm Gadens has topped other law firms by offering 30 weeks of paid parental leave to staff, irrespective of their gender… [and] staff are eligible from the day they join the firm."
- "Study Reveals How Much Going to a Top 20 Law School Boosts In-House Pay," 10.26.22.
Corporate Counsel reports that "a new study by the Association of Corporate Counsel…confirmed what many already suspect regarding top law schools…general counsel who graduated from a Top 20 law school earn 25% more in base salary than those who didn't…they also make 41% more in total cash compensation."
- "Legal Departments' Diversity Challenges Greater Than Study Might Suggest," 10.20.22.
Corporate Counsel reports that despite the impressive gains by women and people of color in landing general counsel jobs at Fortune 1000 companies, much work remains to be done in diversifying the in-house bar.
Higher Education/Education Generally
- "Penn State Breaks Promise to Open Center for Racial Justice," 10.28.22.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "Pennsylvania State University said this week that it won't be launching a Center for Racial Justice after all, despite this being a key 2020 recommendation of the Select Penn State Presidential Commission on Racism, Bias and Community Safety."
- "Penn State Scraps Plans for a Racial-Justice Center," 10.27.22.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "amid a severe budget crisis, Pennsylvania State University on Wednesday reneged on its plan to create a Center for Racial Justice." (Subscription required.)
- "College Seniors Can Expect Lots of Job Offers Next Spring," 10.26.22.
The Wall Street Journal reports that "companies plan to step up college hiring next year, according to a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers…the findings suggest the Class of 2023 may graduate into a job market as robust as the one for this year's grads." (Subscription required.)
- "Biden to Cement Overhaul of Student Loan-Forgiveness Program for Public Service Workers," 10.25.22.
The Wall Street Journal reports that "the Biden administration is moving to make its overhaul of a student-loan forgiveness program for public-service workers permanent, allowing borrowers in professions such as teaching, nursing and public-interest law to get debt relief after 10 years of monthly payments." (Subscription required.)
- "Math Scores Fell in Nearly Every State, and Reading Dipped on National Exam," 10.24.24.
The New York Times reports that "U.S. students in most states and across almost all demographic groups have experienced troubling setbacks in both math and reading, according to an authoritative national exam released on Monday, offering the most definitive indictment yet of the pandemic's impact on millions of schoolchildren."
- "Scores fall coast to coast, especially in math, under pandemic's toll," 10.24.22.
Moore on this from The Washington Post: "Student test scores declined across the country, particularly in math, and not one state saw an increase, according to the most comprehensive look at the impact of the pandemic on student achievement to date." ("Declines were seen among high- and lower-performing students alike, for both fourth and eighth graders in math and reading. Overall, scores fell to levels not seen in two decades.")
October 21, 2022
- "Report finds 'huge gaps' in new U.S. lawyer employment by race," 10.19.22.
Reuters reports on NALP's new report that highlights racial disparities in law grad hiring: "The imbalances range from overall employment rates and median pay to employment in highly sought-after federal clerkships and practice settings."
- "Wake Up Call: Law Grads' Job Disparities Continue, NALP Says," 10.20.22.
Bloomberg Law reports on the new NALP employment findings as well.
- "Pacific Islander Attys Struggle In Post-Law School Job Market," 10.19.22.
Law360 also has the story.
- "Report Finds Significant Racial Gaps in Employment of New Lawyers," 10.20.22.
INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine also reported on the new NALP data on racial disparities in employment rates for students who graduated from law schools last year.
- "Disparities in Employment Outcomes by Race/Ethnicity Persist for the Class of 2021; Particularly for Black, Native American, and Native Hawaiian Graduates," 10.19.22.
You can read the NALP press release here.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice
- "MCCA Unveils DEI Rating System for Legal Departments, Law Firms," 10.19.22.
Corporate Counsel reports that "the Minority Corporate Counsel Association is rolling out a new diversity, equity and inclusion accreditation system for legal departments and law firms."
- "Women, Minority GCs Saw Sharp Increases in Fortune 1000 Representation in 2021," 10.19.22.
Corporate Counsel reports that "the number of female general counsel in the Fortune 1000 rose 12% in 2021, reaching 331, while the number of GCs from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups shot up 21%, climbing to 148, according to a new report from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association."
- "Two-Thirds of Nation's Biggest Firms Are Mansfield 5.0-Certified," 10.18.22.
The American Lawyer reports that "for the first time, more than half of the country's largest firms by revenue are Mansfield Rule-certified, including nearly 80% of the Am Law 100." ("The figures arrived in a Tuesday report from Diversity Lab on certification results for the fifth iteration of the Mansfield Rule, which asked law firms for personnel and hiring data between July 2021 and July 2022.")
- "In the Am Law 100, Mansfield Rule Participation Lags Among Most-Profitable Firms," 10.20.22.
The American Lawyer reports that "the top firms by partner profitability are among the last to participate in the Mansfield Rule, which requires transparent and equitable promotion practices for certification."
Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Back to Work
- "More Colleges Are Hiring Crisis-Response Teams for Mental-Health Emergencies," 10.13.22.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "several large universities are rolling out teams of crisis responders in efforts to rethink campus safety and field more appropriate responses to students in some nonviolent emergencies, like mental-health or addiction crises." (Subscription required.)
Bar Exam/Lawyer Licensing
- "Bar exam pass rate rises in New York, falls in Florida," 10.20.22.
Reuters reports that "two-thirds of the law school graduates who took New York's bar exam in July passed the all-important attorney licensing test, bar officials announced Thursday." ("Florida, the country's fourth-largest bar exam jurisdiction, saw one of the larger declines this year. Two other key jurisdictions have yet to report full results. The State Bar of California has said it will release results Nov. 10. Texas, the third-largest bar exam jurisdiction behind New York and California, has released a list of bar passers but has yet to disclose its overall pass rate.")
- "Pass rate for New York's July bar exam ticks up, as repeat and foreign-educated test-takers do better," 10.20.22.
The ABA Journal reports that "the pass rate for the July 2022 New York bar exam was 66%, which is 3% higher than the overall pass rate for the July 2021 bar exam."
- "New York Bar Exam Pass Rate Falls for First-Time Candidates in July Administration," 10.20.22.
The New York Law Journal reports that "while there was overall improvement in the pass rate for aspiring attorneys who sat for New York's bar examination in July, those numbers went down slightly for candidates who took the exam for the first time."
- "At 67%, July Bar Exam Pass Rate Continues to Drop After Uniform Test Roll-Out," 10.18.22.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that "Pennsylvania's first go-around with the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) in July saw the pass rate of examinees continue the downward slope of the last several years."
Law Schools and Law Students
- "Trump-appointed judges behind Yale boycott agree to speak at school," 10.20.22.
Reuters reports that "two federal appeals court judges appointed by former Republican President Donald Trump have accepted an offer to speak at Yale Law School after saying they would boycott hiring its students as law clerks to protest rampant 'cancel culture' on its campus."
- "First-of-its-kind online law school draws big applicant pool," 20.19.22.
Reuters reports that "a group of 27 aspiring lawyers beat long odds to land spots this fall in the first fully online Juris Doctor program to be accredited by the American Bar Association." ("St. Mary's University School of Law, which also offers a traditional J.D. program on its San Antonio campus, had 791 applicants for its first all-remote cohort. The online program offered admission to 71 applicants, a 9% acceptance rate that falls close to top-ranked Yale Law School.")
- "Law schools see applications dip as 2023 cycle gets off to slow start," 10.14.22.
Reuters reports that "as of Oct. 13, the number of law school applicants was down 12% compared to this time last year, according to the Law School Admission Council."
Law Firms and Lawyers
- "U.S. law firm partner pay hits new highs, with deal lawyers in the lead," 10.18.22.
Reuters reports that "average annual pay for U.S. law firm partners reached $1.12 million in 2021, as heightened client demand buoyed firm profits, according to a report released Tuesday by Major, Lindsey & Africa." ("The legal recruiting firm's 2022 partner compensation survey said average pay was higher than any time since it started tracking partner compensation in 2010.")
- "After Partner Pay Climbed 15%, More Modest Comp Gains Are Expected This Year," 10.18.22.
More on Major, Lindsey & Africa's biannual Partner Compensation Survey from The American Lawyer: "While many Big Law partners at one point thought the pandemic would curb compensation, it was actually a precursor to the most significant pay increases in more than half a decade." ("Corporate partners, with the highest pay increase, saw a staggering 26% spike up to about $1.49 million.")
- "Partner Pay Is Up, but 'Pronounced' Differences Remain Between Cities," 10.19.22.
The American Lawyer reports that based on MLA's latest biannual Partner Compensation Survey results, "partners in Dallas, Atlanta, Houston and Minneapolis reported the largest gains in average compensation in 2021, while Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Miami all reported noticeable declines."
- "Pay gap between male and female partners narrows to 34%; what is their average compensation?," 10.20.22.
The ABA Journal has another angle on this story: "The average male law firm partner earns 34% more than the average female partner, which is less of a differential than in prior years, according to a survey by recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa."
- "One Simple Strategy to Improve Lateral Partner Due Diligence," 10.18.22.
Dan Binstock and Tina Solis, writing for The American Lawyer, write about the new Universal LPQ, and provide guidance for asking better questions about Originations and Collections.
- "How Using Contract Attorneys Supports Your Employee Retention Strategy," 10.17.22.
This piece in the New York Law Journal argues that "contract attorneys can play an integral role in strengthening organizations by (a) getting the work done, (b) giving associates the opportunity to work on more meaningful assignments, and (c) helping create and maintain a positive work culture that leads to a sterling reputation across the legal community."
- "'Second-Class Citizen' Treatment of Business Pros Persists in Big Law, Despite Talent Struggles," 10.17.22.
The American Lawyer writes that "if law firms want to keep their best talent in the staff ranks, they will need to have a deeper understanding of what their marketing and other professionals want out of a work environment, as well as taming a so-called caste system that afflicts many law firms."
- "Baker McKenzie Growth Slows, With Flat Profits After Bumper Previous Year," 10.13.22.
Law.com International reports that at Baker McKenzie, whose fiscal year ended June 30, "profit growth has slowed after last year's huge up-tick." (Revenue up 5.5%, PPP up 9%)
International Law Firms
- "How the War for Talent is Putting African Law Firms in Jeopardy," 10.14.22.
Law.com International reports that "the legal industry's war for talent has largely been fought in the U.S. and Europe, but domestic law firms in Africa are also feeling the effect because they have lost significant numbers of junior lawyers who have been recruited overseas."
- "Legal Departments Report Swelling Workloads-but Without Budget Increases," 10.15.22.
Corporate Counsel reports that "legal departments have seen an increase in workloads, but they haven't received budget increases that keep pace, according to lawyers surveyed for the Thomson Reuters Institute's latest report."
- "College enrollment declines for third straight year since pandemic," 10.20.22.
The Washington Post reports that "college and university enrollment has declined for the third straight year, according to a new national report, with the undergraduate count now about 7 percent lower than it was in fall 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic rocked higher education."
- "College Enrollment Declines Again Though Online Schools, HBCUs See Increases," 10.20.22.
More on this from The Wall Street Journal. (Subscription required.)
- "Biden Administration Launches Application Portal for Student-Loan Forgiveness," 10.17.22.
The Wall Street Journal reports that "the Biden administration launched an online portal that will allow individuals with federal student loans to apply for up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness, formally kicking off a program threatened by an array of legal challenges." ("More than eight million people applied for relief over the weekend following the Education Department's launch of a beta test version of the application, the administration said. Mr. Biden said the testing period was deemed a success by the Education Department's leadership, allowing the administration to officially launch the application on Monday.") (Subscription required.)
- "Biden's student loan forgiveness plan survives two legal challenges," 10.20.22.
Reuters reports that "a federal judge on Thursday dismissed a Republican-led challenge to President Joe Biden's plan to cancel billions of dollars in student debt, shortly after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected a request in another case to block it."
- "Applying for Biden's student loan forgiveness? Here's what to know.," 10.17.22.
The Washington Post provides answers to commonly asked questions about the new student loan relief program in this "what you need to know about the application process" piece.
- "Biden Opens Loan Forgiveness to All," 10.28.22.
More on this development from Inside Higher Ed.
- "Government Starts Taking Applications for Student Debt Cancellation," 10.15.22.
The New York Times reports that the Education Department said it was "beta testing" a form that it intends to use to eliminate millions of federal student loans.
- "The Student Loan Borrowers Who Keep Missing Out on Relief," 10.15.22.
The New York Times reports that "many in the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program may no longer be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation."