Each week NALP's Executive Director provides a summary of news articles of interest to legal career professionals. Read past issues here.
For news in the public interest arena, see the news digest from Samuel Halpert, NALP's Director of Public Service Initiatives, at www.psjd.org.
July 2, 2020
- "Online or In Person? Law Schools Diverge in Fall Semester Plans," 07.01.20.
Law.com reports that "law schools are beginning to unveil more concrete plans for the fall semester, and they aren't all following the same playbook, [noting that] the majority of law schools that have shared their tentative fall plans are pushing forward with a hybrid model that offers a mix of online and in-person classes."
- "Will Summer Associates Get Hired Over Zoom?," 07.01.20.
Karen Sloan, in her weekly Law.com Ahead of the Curve column about innovation and notable developments in legal education, writes about "the potential upsides of a world in which interviews for summer associate positions, clerkships, and professor gigs unfold via computer screen."
- "As Firms Emerge From Quarantine, Some Furloughed Staff Won't Be Joining Them," 07.01.20.
The American Lawyer reports that with at least 30 major law firms having announced staff-focused furloughs, some firms have begun to make some of those furloughs permanent and others are expected to follow suit.
Mental Health and Remote Working
- "State Bar Association Launches Far-Reaching Lawyer Health and Well-Being Initiative," 07.01.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that the New York State Bar Association has launched a new 9-pronged lawyer health and well-being initiative.
- "It's Difficult for Women to Speak Up in Virtual Meetings," 07.01.20.
Viva Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, opines that even though a recent survey by nonprofit Catalyst finds that seven in 10 employees believe that COVID-19 will stimulate gender equity in the workplace, she is less sanguine, noting that the survey also finds that "fewer than 41% of employees believe their workplaces are fully committed to-and already taking steps to create-an inclusive workplace."
- "The Long, Unhappy History of Working From Home," 06.29.20.
This piece in The New York Times reminds readers that "the history of telecommuting has been strewn with failure…[and] companies barreling forward [with permanent, unlimited remote work] run the risk of the same fate."
- "The Video Call Is Starting. Time to Put on Your Zoom Shirt," 06.29.20.
The New York Times writes about the Zoom shirt: "If you ask, people who have managed to stay employed during the pandemic will confess to owning a Zoom Shirt: a top, typically kept on the back of the computer chair or a hanger nearby, that they pop on in the moments before their webcam lights up."
- "Colleges Brace for Potential Increased Need for Mental Health Services," 06.29.20.
The Wall Street Journal reports that "as colleges prepare for a school year unlike any other-will classes be in person or online? How can students stay safe in dorms? — their counseling centers are bracing for a wave of student mental health issues." ("In response, some schools are training professors to spot trauma in students — even if their only interaction with them is via Zoom. Universities are beefing up their teletherapy services, adding online group treatment programs and workshops on everything from managing stress to staying motivated. Schools are pivoting their outreach efforts to the virtual world by unveiling videos, podcasts and self-help tips and amping up their social presence.") (Subscription required.)
The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing
- "Virtual Hearing Will Give Law Grads Voice About Plans for Fall Bar Exam," 07.01.20.
The Recorder reports that "California's Supreme Court and state bar will host an online meeting July 7 to hear from law school graduates registered to take the bar exam [and] California law school deans are scheduled to meet privately with representatives of the state Supreme Court on Thursday."
- "Florida Cancels July Bar Exam, Will Offer Online Test in August," 07.01.20.
The Daily Business Review reports that "Florida has canceled the upcoming administration of the bar exam, which was slated to take place July 28 and 29, [and will instead] give an abbreviated online version of the test on August 18."
- "Deans Of Texas's Ten Law Schools Call On Court And Bar To Rethink In-Person Bar Exam In July And September," 07.01.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that "the deans of 10 Texas law schools are calling on the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Board of Law Examiners to rethink plans to administer an in-person bar exam in July and September as coronavirus infections continue to rise across the state."
- "National Momentum Builds for Diploma Privilege as Oregon Makes Bar Exam Optional," 06.30.20.
Law.com reports that the Oregon Supreme Court has agreed to admit graduates of the state's three law schools who are signed up to take the July bar exam via emergency diploma privilege, as well as graduates of other ABA-accredited law schools that had a first-time 2019 pass rate of 86% or higher.
- "July Bar-Takers Raise Concerns About In-Person Exam," 06.29.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that would-be test takers "are growing increasingly anxious about testing in person in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic" in Missouri, North Carolina, and other states that still plan to hold in-person bar exams this summer.
Law Schools and Law Students
- "Statement Of The Deans Of The Ten Texas Law Schools Condemning Racism And Remembering George Floyd," 07.01.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that the deans of the ten Texas law schools have issued a joint statement condemning racism and remembering George Floyd.
- "Deans Of Florida's 12 Law Schools Form Consortium For Racial Justice," 06.28.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that the Deans of the 12 law schools in Florida have formed the Florida Law Schools' Consortium for Racial Justice (FLSCRJ): "This collective will leverage the strengths and educational roles of every law school in the state to assist community organizations fighting for racial justice and policy reform throughout Florida."
- "UC-Irvine To Be 100% Online For 2Ls/3Ls In Fall 2020; 1Ls May Choose To Be On Ground For 1 Or 2 Classes Each Week," 06.27.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that the law school at UC Irvine has announced its plans for fall classes.
- "Berkeley Law Announces Fully Remote Fall Due to COVID-19," 06.26.20.
Law.com reports that the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, has announced that it will remain fully online for the fall semester.
Law Firms and Lawyers
- "117 Firms Seek Certification in Latest Round of 'Mansfield Rule' Diversity Initiative," 07.02.20.
The American Lawyer reports that the renewed focus on racial inequality has led to a record number of law firms seeking certification under the Diversity Lab's Mansfield Rule program.
- "Law Firms Need to Have Uncomfortable Conversations About Race," 07.02.20.
A former Big Law attorney, writing for The American Lawyer, challenges law firms to do more than issue statements about race, and chastises them for often leaving "the laborious work of dismantling discriminatory practices to the person most affected by the problem, and with the least power to solve it."
- "NY Law Firms Aren't Rushing Back to Offices Even If Their Clients Are," 07.01.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that "big law firms remain cautious about having lawyers and staff return to offices in Manhattan, even as many of New York-based financial service clients head back to the office in bigger numbers."
- "Troutman Pepper Merger Goes Live, Even as Pandemic Keeps New Colleagues Apart," 07.01.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "the long-awaited merger between Atlanta's Troutman Sanders and Philadelphia's Pepper Hamilton finally went live Wednesday, after a delayed start date and pay cuts in response to the coronavirus pandemic."
- "COVID-19 Brings Law Firm Mergers to a Halt," 07.01.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "only seven law firm mergers and combinations were announced in the second quarter of 2020, according to a new report from Altman Weil, [noting that] the last time the number has been that low in any given quarter was in 2010, when law firms were still feeling the effects of the Great Recession."
- "Very Few Law Firm Mergers on Horizon for Rest of 2020," 06.30.20.
The American Lawyer reports that a second report, from Fairfax Associates, suggests that while the "number of completed law firm mergers in the second quarter of 2020 was on par with prior years, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will dramatically impact the number of mergers in the second half of the year."
- "The Importance of Female Mentorship: Tips for Lawyers on the Rise," 07.01.20.
A law firm associate, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, makes the case that "the importance of finding a woman sponsor is essential for a young woman's successful legal career."
- "Buoyed by Recent Gains, Firms Embrace Opportunistic Hiring Amid Pandemic," 06.30.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "strong finances and a willingness to invest for the future have kept some firms active in the lateral market, despite growing uncertainty over the financial impact of the coronavirus."
- "Latham & Watkins Launches Virtual Experience Program on Banking Law," 06.30.20.
PR Newswire and Yahoo Finance report that Latham & Watkins has launched its Virtual Experience Program (VEP) on banking law, "an innovative, open-access platform that connects users with companies and law firms, gives the business, academic, and legal community the opportunity to represent a lender in executing a hypothetical acquisition financing and learn more about the nature of work at a global law firm."
- "DLA Piper Latest Law Firm to Cut UK NQ Salaries," 06.30.20.
Law.com International reports that "DLA Piper has cut its NQ salaries by £2,000 in its U.K. offices to £76,000 for its London-based associates, becoming the latest major law firm to cut salaries for its junior ranks."
- "Earnings at Law Firms in Australia Increase Despite COVID-19," 06.30.20.
Law.com International reports that "Australia's larger law firms are on track for another strong year, with earnings increasing despite the COVID-19 economic crisis."
- "Katten Makes Some Furloughed Business Administration Employees Permanent Cuts," 06.29.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "two months to the day after announcing a series of COVID-19-related cost-cutting measures, including salary reductions, partner payout holds and furloughs, Chicago-founded Katten Muchin Rosenman has decided to make some of those furloughs permanent." ("The firm also announced that its summer program will begin on July 13, be completely virtual and last for five weeks.")
- "An 'Exodus' of Black Attorneys From Big Law Could Be a Boon for Smaller Firms," 06.29.20.
This piece in the Daily Report makes the case that "Big Law's struggle to offer a hospitable environment to Black attorneys" has led to an "exodus" of Black attorneys, who often move to in-house roles or to midsize or smaller firms.
- "The New View: Role by Role, the Pandemic Has Changed How Law Firms Work," 06.29.20.
The American Lawyer "spoke with lawyers and business professionals in five law firm roles, all working at home, about how the pandemic has changed their work and how it will change their roles going forward."
- "An Overnight Shift: How the Pandemic Has Radically Changed the Role of Practice Leader," 06.29.20.
The American Lawyer takes a look at how the role of practice group leader has changed with the onset of the pandemic.
- "Midlevel Associates Are Being Reassigned to Feed the Bankruptcy Beast," 06.29.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "many law firms with a bankruptcy docket have shifted associates toward a practice area that is suddenly in high demand as the economic downturn has put the finances of U.S. companies in flux."
- "Chief Talent Officers Are Using the Pandemic to Build for the Future," 06.29.20.
The American Lawyer takes a look at how the role of chief talent officer has evolved during the era of remote recruiting.
- "From Stonewall To George Floyd: What Lessons Can Be Learned For LGBTQ+ Allyship?," 06.29.20.
Two law firm lawyers, writing for Law.com International, "explain the importance of having allies to speak up on issues of inequality regarding race and sexuality within the legal industry."
- "Law Firms Take Steps to Support Diversity and Inclusion," 06.29.20.
Two law firm lawyers, writing for the Daily Report, outline "some steps that lawyers and law firms are taking both to recognize inequities inherent in the practice of law and to attempt to remedy them."
- "Up or Out: Why Litigation Associates Need to Make a Decision by Their Fourth Year," 06.29.20.
This piece in The American Lawyer argues that "the litigation associate track at Big Law firms is badly structured to the detriment of associates." ("The key structural problem is the combination of two facts: (1) You will find out if you are going to make partner somewhere in your seventh to 10th year out of law school; and (2) you are at your most marketable somewhere around your fourth or fifth year out of law school.")
- "Baker McKenzie Promotes 85 Lawyers With Tax, Disputes Gaining Most New Partners," 06.29.20.
Law.com International reports that "Baker McKenzie has promoted 85 lawyers to partner globally, in its largest round since 2016."
- "DWF To Axe 60 People, Close Two Offices," 06.29.20.
Law.com International reports that the UK's largest law firm "DWF, which has struggled against the COVID-19 pandemic pressures, is to close its offices in Singapore and Brussels, and trim headcount in its Dubai and Cologne operations, with around 60 people leaving the firm in total."
- "The Great Unbundling,"06.28.20.
This post on the Legal Evolution blog argues that "after two decades of varying entrepreneurial efforts, the unbundling of Big Law still mostly hasn't happened," but suggests that the traumatic changes happening in 2020 may finally usher in "The Great Unbundling."
- "A Nonbinary Attorney's Journey: 'I Wanted to be Who I Am, Fully, With People I Work With.'," 06.26.20.
The American Lawyer speaks with a Big Law litigation partner who recently came out as gender nonbinary about "the impact their actions have had on the firm's policies for transgender and gender nonconforming staff members, and the change they hope to see in the legal industry."
- "Many Midsize Firms Reporting Stability During Pandemic," 06.26.20.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that "many midsize law firms are reporting what seems to be surprisingly stable revenue and billable hours during the pandemic that hit the United States in mid-March, and even reporting growth in practice areas handling issues connected to COVID-19-such as business counseling related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, human resources and employment matters, and insurance and bankruptcy."
- "Chicago Lawyers Not Sprinting Back Into the Office as Illinois Reopens Further," 06.26.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "law firms in Chicago appear to be in no rush to get their lawyers back to the office as Illinois entered into Phase 4 of its reopening plan Friday."
- "Preparing for the Next Normal: Lessons From COVID-19," 06.25.20.
A law firm principal and chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association committee on legal ethics and professional responsibility, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, draws "lessons to be learned from the pandemic, for both the short- and the long-term."
Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology
- "Are Companies and Legal Departments Ready for Life Post-Email?," 07.01.20.
This piece in Corporate Counsel reports that the remote work posture of the COVID-19 world has led to the increased use of external communications platforms like Slack Connect that are intended to replace email.
- "In-House Counsel Pay It Forward to Foster Diversity During Pandemic," 06.30.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "in an effort to keep diversity and inclusion measures in the legal profession thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic, in-house attorneys have signed on to the Pay It Forward initiative to mentor black attorneys of all ages and experience levels."
- "Ryerson University's New Incubator Is for Legal Tech Startups Ready for the Next Step," 06.26.20.
Legaltech News reports that Toronto-based Ryerson University has launched its third legal tech incubator program: "It's a free, web-based 12-week program that provides customer development skills and helps participants build a legal tech idea into a product."
- "Williams College Cuts Tuition 15%, Cancels Fall Sports Due To COVID-19," 06.30.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that Williams College will cut tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year "in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances and of this academic year and the uncertainty we face in the year ahead."
- "Amid a national reckoning on race, college students lead a push for change on campus," 06.26.20.
The Boston Globe reports that "amid the nation's reckoning on race, students at universities across the city find themselves leading the way on efforts to confront systemic racism on their campuses."
- "Concordia Law Will Close After Transfer Plan Falls Apart," 06.26.20.
Law.com reports that Boise's Concordia University School of Law, closing its doors for good at the end of the summer term, will be the sixth American Bar Association-accredited law school to shut down since 2016.
June 26, 2020
- "The Black-White Wage Gap Is as Big as It Was in 1950," 06.25.20.
David Leonhardt, writing for The New York Times, provides some remarkable infographics that illustrate "recent academic research shows that the black-white wage gap is roughly as large today as it was in 1950."
- "Am Law 100 Firms That Are Failing Women," 06.25.20.
Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, suggests that the NLJ 500's ranking of law firms where women are winning is not much to celebrate, and calls out the "Am Law 100 firms with truly embarrassingly low female equity partner rates." ("It's ironic to call this list a compilation of firms where women are winning. Let's call it for what it really is: Big Law-Where Women Are Still Losing.")
- "The Role of the Legal Profession in Promoting Democracy," 06.23.20.
A great post in Slaw: "Law schools must require students to learn about their role in the democratic system, how they are necessary to upholding a fundamental premise of that system, the promise that rights can be vindicated in a systematic and reliable way, that the system is flexible enough to acknowledge new rights."
- "Majority of minority female lawyers consider leaving law; ABA study explains why," 06.22.20.
The ABA Journal reports "seventy percent of female minority lawyers report leaving or considering leaving the legal profession, according to an ABA report on the challenges that they face." ("Women of color have the highest rate of attrition from law firms as they continue to face firm cultures where their efforts and contributions are neither sufficiently recognized nor rewarded," according to the report.)
- "'My Daughter Should NOT Have to Deal With the Same Crap That I Have': Why Diverse Female Lawyers Stay in Big Law," 06.23.20.
Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, reflects on the newly released American Bar Association report on female lawyers of color, "Left Out and Left Behind: The Hurdles, Hassles, and Heartaches of Achieving Long-Term Legal Careers for Women of Color," noting that the report confirms that "women of color have very different experiences than those of white women" in law firms.
LGBTQ Employment Discrimination after Bostock
- "Practical Implications for Employers on Recent SCOTUS Ruling Giving Title VII Protection for LGBT+ Employees," 06.25.20.
A law firm partner and labor and employment lawyer, writing for Corporate Counsel, provides guidance following the Bostock decision: "Employers in every state must now understand that Title VII protections from sex discrimination also prohibit discrimination against LGBT+ employees."
- "Inside Track: Current Diversity & Inclusion Measures May Not Be Effective Enough in Helping LGBTQ Employees," 06.24.20.
Law.com reports that the findings of a survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group and New York City's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, released Tuesday, show that "roughly 40% of LGBTQ employees say they are closeted at work while 75% say they experience negative day-to-day workplace interactions related to their LGBTQ identity."
- "Supreme Court Decision Expands Title VII Protections to LGBTQ Employees," 06.19.20.
A law firm partner and employment law practice group chair, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, parses last week's SCOTUS ruling that Title VII's prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex also bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and notes that the decision "requires employers to update and modernize their policies and procedures, hiring practices, training and workplace culture."
Mental Health and Remote Working
- "What needs to change to improve mental health in the legal profession?," 06.21.20.
Bill Henderson and Lauren Henderson, writing for the Legal Evolution blog, provide a thorough analysis of the responses to the open-ended question presented to more than 3,800 professionals who responded to ALM Intelligence's recent Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey, and provide a number of qualitative and quantitative findings.
- "City Bar Asks All Lawyers to Get Behind Mental Health and Substance Use CLE Requirement," 06.19.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that "in an attempt to formalize the need for state lawyers to address well-documented mental health and substance abuse problems that riddle the profession, the New York City Bar Association is urging the creation of a required mental health/substance use CLE credit hour, on a biennial basis, for all New York attorneys."
- "Remote Work Is Stressing Lawyers Out. Here's How to Help Them," 06.18.20.
Law.com reports that "already susceptible to mental health challenges, some lawyers' stress levels are being amplified by the industry's ongoing shift to remote work," and speaks with several experts about how to help lawyers moderate that stress.
The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing
- "Minnesota High Court Mulls Letting Law Grads Bypass the Bar Exam," 06.25.20.
Law.com reports that "the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday issued an order establishing a public comment period on the diploma privilege idea, which was proposed in a petition submitted by three recent graduates of the University of Minnesota Law School."
- "Out-of-State Law Grads Get the Green Light for September NY Bar Exam." 06.25.20.
Law.com reports that all of the out-of-state law school graduates who registered for the September bar exam have been granted a seat but notes that people coming from states seeing COVID-19 surges must quarantine for 14 days.
- "Different States Are Taking Different Approaches to Bar Exams Amid COVID-19," 06.22.20.
Legaltech News takes a look at how various states are approaching the bar exam conundrum this summer and fall.
- "California Lawmakers Urge Court to Lower Passing Score for Next Bar Exam," 06.19.20.
The Recorder reports that "four state lawmakers have called on the California Supreme Court to immediately drop the score required to pass the bar exam, saying the test has a racially discriminatory impact on would-be lawyers."
- "Law School Graduates Push For Diploma Privilege As A Matter Of Racial Justice," 06.18.20.
Above the Law reports that law students in Massachusetts have asked the state to reconsider its earlier dismissal of a diploma privilege option as a matter of racial justice.
Law Schools and Law Students
- "Concordia University School of Law Closing," 06.26.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "Concordia University School of Law in Boise, Idaho, will not reopen this fall after the end of its summer term." ("The law school welcomed 89 students into its incoming class in August 2019. It is not yet clear where these students and others who have not yet completed their studies will continue their education. A teach-out plan is still being finalized by the school and will be submitted to the ABA for approval.")
- "Harvard Rising 2Ls: Law Schools' Complicity On Racism Must Be Challenged," 06.25.20.
The TaxProf Blog highlights a piece by students at Harvard Law that "challenge[s] the racially sterile curriculum of law school classrooms."
- "What Law Schools Must Do To Help Law Students With Mental Health And Substance Abuse Issues," 06.25.20.
The TaxProf Blog highlights an article by St. Mary's law prof David Grenardo, that "discusses the crisis of mental health conditions and substance abuse afflicting law students and lawyers, and provides practical, tangible solutions for law schools and law students to address the crisis."
- "The Pandemic Pushed Clerkship Hiring to Zoom?-and Law Students Liked It," 06.23.20.
Karen Sloan, writing for Law.com, reports on how the federal judicial clerkship hiring process is unfolding during the pandemic.
- "'Subpar in Every Aspect': Harvard Law Student Sues Over Online Classes," 06.23.20.
Law.com reports that "a Harvard Law student has filed a class action against the university, arguing that students should be charged a lower tuition for online classes on the grounds that they are inferior to in-person instruction."
- "87% of Students Say Online-Only Legal Ed Is Overpriced; 61% May Reconsider Legal Career Or Take A Hiatus If Law Schools Cannot Be On Ground Due To COVID-19," 06.19.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports on new survey results that suggests some students are rethinking the value of law school if it remains online.
- "'Pictures in My Head': Black Law Deans Take on Racism in Legal Ed," 06.19.20.
Karen Sloan speaks with Angela Onwuachi-Willig, dean of Boston University School of Law, and Danielle Conway, dean of Penn State Dickinson Law, about the Law Deans Antiracist Clearinghouse Project, a five-phase plan announced on June 11 to mobilize law schools and their communities in the fight for racial equality. (Law.com podcast)
Law Firms and Lawyers
- "Watching COVID-19 Cases Spike, Texas Firms Rethink Reopening Plans," 06.25.20.
The Texas Lawyer reports that "with COVID-19 cases spiking in Texas, prompting Gov. Greg Abbott to pause the state's reopening progress, leaders of firms in the Lone Star state are carefully eyeing the spread of the coronavirus, and some are thinking about scaling back their office reopening."
- "Big Law Branches Out: Firm Subsidiaries Want a Piece of the $10B ALSP Market," 06.25.20.
The American Lawyer reports that an increasing number of large law firms are exploring ways to enter the alternative legal services market to compete more directly with ALSPs.
- "Mentoring The Right Way: Safeguarding Boundaries," 06.25.20.
A clinical psychologist and former law firm lawyer, writing for the New York Law Journal, illustrates the pitfalls of well-intentioned mentoring gone awry, and suggests ways to ensure mentoring success in busy law firms.
- "Do 'Real Men' Work Remotely?," 06.25.20.
Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, worries that the gains made in respect for remote working during the pandemic may erode as offices reopen: "The progress made during the pandemic has been small and fragile, but could it be completely wiped out once firms reopen and men 'volunteer' to go back?"
- "Over 125 Firms Have Joined the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance," 06.24.20.
The American Lawyer reports that over 125 law firms have signed on to participate in the new Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, "which has the lofty goal of addressing not just individual assaults on equality and social justice, but the structures in place that allow those inequalities to propagate."
- "'Appellate Project' Aims to Boost Diversity in Specialized Bar," 06.26.20.
The National Law Journal reports on "the Appellate Project, a new effort to increase diversity in the prestigious but largely male and white-dominated niche practice of appellate law…the project is developing programs to interest minority law students in appellate work at an early stage, through educational outreach, partnering with a Howard University School of Law civil rights appellate clinic and an incubator summer fellowship program that will connect students to appellate practitioners and judges as mentors."
- "The Good Years Made Law Firms Complacent Ahead of the Pandemic, Report Finds," 06.24.20.
The American Lawyer reports on the results of this year's annual Altman Weil Law Firms in Transition survey: "By the time the pandemic struck, most firms had not addressed the issues that dogged them in the recession a decade ago, including overcapacity and underproductivity in the partnership ranks."
- "More Firms Seek Austerity Amid Lasting Concerns of Pandemic's Impact," 06.24.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "more than three months after nationwide coronavirus shutdowns brought the American economy to its knees, several firms are continuing to enact austerity measures."
- "Firms Avoid Dire Outcomes Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Survey Shows," 06.23.20.
The American Lawyer reports on Wells Fargo law firm financial data from the end of May that shows "through the five-month period, the industry has fared pretty well."
- "Some Big Law Firms Are Waiting to Reopen Their New York Offices," 06.23.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that even though New York City law firms are allowed to reopen their offices, "many firms, such as Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Pryor Cashman and Sidley Austin, are waiting a bit longer to reopen their Manhattan offices, as they continue to make safety arrangements."
- "NYC Law Firms Officially Cleared for June 22 Reopening, Cuomo Says," 06.19.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that "Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday confirmed that New York City law firms would be able to return to in-office work starting June 22 as coronavirus business restrictions are loosened for the area."
- "As Firms Reopen, They Should Recognize That FaceTime Is the New Face Time," 06.23.20.
The Young Lawyer's Editorial Board of The American Lawyer writes about the many challenges lawyers and law firms face with return to work plans, and notes that the new reality will include more remote work for everyone for the indefinite future.
- "The NLJ 500: Our 2020 Survey of the Nation's Largest Law Firms," 06.23.20.
The National Law Journal publishes its annual ranking and analysis of the top 500 law firms by lawyer headcount, noting that "the number of lawyers working at the country's largest 500 U.S.-centric law firms in 2019 increased by 2.5% to 173,694, matching the same percentage growth seen in 2018."
- "The NLJ 500: Steady Growth, But What's Ahead?," 06.23.20.
- "The NLJ 500: Where Are Women Winning?," 06.23.20.
- "The NLJ 500: The Women in Law Scorecard 2020," 06.23.20.
- "The NLJ 500: Main Chart," 06.23.20.
- "The NLJ 500: Four Law Firms to Note," 06.23.20.
- "The NLJ 500 Chart: Top Growth and Loss," 06.23.20.
- "The NLJ 500: Top Five Cities of 2020," 06.23.20.
- "COVID-19 Proved Associates Can Work Remotely, but Will Partners Ignore the Success?," 06.22.20.
Legaltech News reports that "associates hoping to leverage remote working arrangements in the future say the fact that productivity and work product quality were maintained during the pandemic's shelter-in-place mandates is evidence against arguments that in-person work is superior."
- "Pandemic and Recession Take Toll on Professional Development Efforts," 06.22.20.
Law.com International reports that new survey research of law firms based in the U.S., the U.K., the EU, Africa, and Asia, reveals that "training and coaching programs have been dramatically cut, and many professional development staff have been laid off as a result of the pandemic [and] many law firms plan on using new methods to deliver training in the future."
- "Allen & Overy Cuts NQ Pay by 10% in Response to Pandemic," 06.22.20.
Law.com International reports that "Allen & Overy has reduced its newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers' salaries by 10% in a bid to curb the impact of COVID-19."
- "Latham and More Hold London NQ Rates as Hogan Lovells Cuts Pay," 06.24.20.
Law.com International reports that "Hogan Lovells, Latham and Watkins, CMS and Pinsent Masons are the latest firms to make decisions regarding their newly qualified (NQ) associate salary rates for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis…Hogan Lovells has opted to cut its rates, trimming NQ pay by £5,000 to £85,000."
Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations
- "General Counsels Urge Congress to Boost Funding for Legal Services Corporation," 06.25.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that top lawyers from over 200 companies that signed the letter to Congress addressing legal services aid amid the COVID-19 pandemic and asking Congress to increase funding for the LSC.
- "Compensation the Main Reason Why In-House Counsel Want New Jobs," 06.24.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that according to a new report, approximately 40% of in-house counsel indicated they would be looking for another job in 2020, up two percent from the previous year, and noting that "almost 40% of respondents said they believe their compensation is below or significantly below that of their peers at other organizations."
- "Is It Time to Cancel Nondisclosure Agreements?," 06.18.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "a growing number of corporate legal departments are starting to question the value of NDAs."
- "Pass-Fail Raises the Question: What's the Point of Grades?," 06.25.20.
A professor of education at the University of Massachusetts, writing for The New York Times, explores the complicated history and purpose of the A-F grading system, and suggests some alternatives that bear exploration in the post-pandemic world.
Past News Digest Issues
June 19, 2020
- "Chief Justice Roberts Leads Ruling Against Trump's Effort to End DACA," 06.18.20.
The National Law Journal reports that "Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. led the court in ruling 5-4 that the Trump administration had failed to address important factors bearing on its decision to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and that failure violated the federal law known as the Administrative Procedure Act."
- "DACA Lives," 06.18.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, and that the decision to end it must be vacated." ("An estimated 454,000 undocumented immigrant college students comprise roughly 2 percent of the U.S. higher education system. About half — 216,000 — are eligible for the DACA program.")
- "Civil Rights Law Protects Gay and Transgender Workers, Supreme Court Rules," 06.15.20.
The New York Times reports that "the Supreme Court ruled Monday that a landmark civil rights law protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination."
- "'No Contest': Gorsuch Leads SCOTUS Ruling That Protects LGBT Employees Against Firing," 06.15.20.
More on this from The National Law Journal.
- "'Far-Reaching Consequences'," 06.16.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that the "U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling extending protections against employment discrimination to LGBTQ people has implications for how colleges define sex and enforce gender equality on campus."
- If you are interested in reading more about the significance of Monday's SCOTUS decision, I recommend taking a look at "What Makes Monday's Gay Rights Ruling So Historic," and "Why the Supreme Court Ruling on L.G.B.T.Q. Rights Is Such a Big Deal," both from the NYT.)
Racial Justice/Fighting Racial Injustice
- "The Crippling Impact of Anti-Black Racism, and How Allies Can Act Against It," 06.18.20.
Maja Hazell, the global head of diversity and inclusion at White & Case, writing for The American Lawyer, offers "some perspectives on anti-black racism in the U.S. and how everyone can be an effective ally in stopping the horrific, crippling impact of racial bias."
- "A Black Father's Letter to His Black Son: 'My Mission Is to Keep You Safe'," 06.18.20.
A shareholder at GreenbergTraurig, writing for The American Lawyer, shares the heart-wrenching letter he has written to his son on the occasion of his college graduation.
- "Harvard, Antioch Will Observe Juneteenth" 06.18.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "Harvard University, Antioch College and many other institutions are observing Juneteenth, which marks the day enslaved people in Texas were told they were free."
- "Law Firms Are Supporting Attorney Activism, But Some Fear It Won't Last," 06.17.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "in the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police and the national protests that followed, large law firms—like many of their corporate clients—are going to great lengths to become more visible in support of attorneys' own activism efforts."
- "General Counsel Share Why Their Companies Made Juneteenth a Paid Holiday," 06.17.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "due to recent events that have sparked a conversation on racial injustice…several major companies have declared June 19 a paid holiday."
- "Pillsbury Commits $11M Over 3 Years in Cash, Pro Bono Work to Equal Justice Causes," 06.15.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has pledged to donate $1 million in cash and $10 million over three years in pro bono and volunteer work to social and racial justice causes."
- "Chief Legal Officers, Chief Human Resource Officers Partner to Combat Workplace Racism," 06.15.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "the Association of Corporate Counsel and Society for Human Resource Management have entered into an unprecedented alliance aimed at addressing workplace racism."
- "Black Patent Attorneys Say It's Time They Are Recognized," 06.12.20.
The Recorder highlights the legal profession's "failure to recognize and reward the achievements of black patent attorneys."
- "Depression and anxiety spiked among black Americans after George Floyd's death," 06.12.20.
The Washington Post reports that new findings from the federal government show that "the recent unrest, demonstrations and debate have exacted a disproportionate emotional and mental toll on black and Asian Americans, even as rates of anxiety and depression remain relatively flat among white Americans and decreased among Latin Americans."
- "Major Law Firms Announce Plans to Close for Juneteenth Holiday Marking Emancipation," 06.12.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "several Am Law 100 firms have announced that they will observe Juneteenth, which celebrates the liberation of the last group of enslaved black Americans in the Confederacy, as a full or partial work holiday."
- "Big Law is Celebrating Juneteenth This Year. What About Next Year?," 06.16.20.
As a growing number of law firms have announced work holidays on June 19 this year, The American Lawyer asks whether law firms will make Juneteenth a permanent holiday, "suggesting a new industry standard in the making even as deep racial imbalances persist in Big Law."
- "My Father's Advice: 'Don't Hate, Don't Hide, Don't Be a Victim'," 06.12.20.
A very powerful op-ed by Jonathan Harmon, the chairman of McGuireWoods, writing here for The Wall Street Journal, offering his perspective as an African American on our country's ability to heal itself in this moment. (Subscription required.)
- "Linklaters Diversity Chief Talks About His Experiences of Racism," 06.12.20.
Daniel Danso, the global diversity manager at Linklaters, writing for Law.com International, details his experiences of structural and institutional racism, and how a commitment to bring about positive change requires open and frank discussions about race across society.
- "When black people are in pain, white people just join book clubs," 06.11.20.
An insightful Washington Post op-ed from Tre Johnson: "The confusing, perhaps contradictory advice on what white people should do probably feels maddening. To be told to step up, no step back, read, no listen, protest, don't protest, check on black friends, leave us alone, ask for help or do the work — it probably feels contradictory at times. And yet, you'll figure it out. Black people have been similarly exhausted making the case for jobs, freedom, happiness, justice, equality and the like. It's made us dizzy, but we've managed to find the means to walk straight."
The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing
- "Oregon's Law Schools Ask Supreme Court to Waive Bar Exam Due to COVID-19. The Bar Is Not Pleased.," 06.17.20.
Willamette Week reports that "on June 15, the deans of the state's three law schools—the University of Oregon, Lewis & Clark, and Willamette University—asked Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters to waive the July bar exam, which new graduates from the law schools normally take."
- "As some law grads prepare for an online bar exam, academic support experts offer advice," 06.16.20.
The ABA Journal interviews several law school academic support experts for their advice to students preparing to take an online bar exam.
- "California Deans Urge Supreme Court To Not Leave Class Of 2020 Law Grads In Bar Exam Limbo," 06.14.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that the deans of California law schools have written to the California Supreme Court urging it "to take concrete actions bearing the needs of the Class of 2020 graduates in mind."
- "Washington Supreme Court Grants Diploma Privilege To All Bar Applicants," 06.13.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that the Supreme Court of Washington has altered its admission to practice rules to grant law school graduates the option of receiving a diploma privilege to practice in Washington.
- "Second State Lets Law Grads Skip the Bar Exam Amid COVID-19," 06.15.20.
More on this from Law.com: "Washington state has become the second jurisdiction to adopt an emergency diploma privilege amid the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing law graduates to skip the bar exam."
- "How Law Schools Fared on the February 2020 Bar Exam," 06.12.20.
The Recorder publishes school specific results for the February bar exam in California.
- "Only 5% Of Black First-Time Takers Passed February California Bar Exam, Compared To 52% Of Whites, 42% Of Asians, And 31% Of Hispanics," 06.12.20.
The TaxProf Blog highlights the racial disparities in the pass rates for the February bar exam in California.
- "Washington Supreme Court sunsets limited license program for nonlawyers," 06.08.20.
The ABA Journal reports that "the Washington Supreme Court will 'sunset' the state's Limited License Legal Technicians program that has permitted nonlawyers to perform some legal tasks within family law."
Law Schools and Law Students
- "Queens DA Launches 'Hybrid' Virtual and In-Person Internship Program Amid Pandemic," 06.18.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that group of 54 law students and 12 college students started a six-week hybrid summer internship program Monday with the Queens District Attorney's office.
- "Pass/Fail Grading in Law School Gets Mixed Marks From Students," 06.17.20.
Karen Sloan, writing for Law.com, reports that "recent law school graduates are split on whether the swift transition to pass/fail grades at most law campuses amid the COVID-19 pandemic this spring was a good move."
- "The Law School Experience for Women of Color," 06.16.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports on the results of a new study from the Center for Women in Law and the NALP Foundation that "found that women of color were less satisfied with their law school experiences than their white cohorts and rated race relations at their schools less positively than even their male peers of color."
- "Study Finds Minority Women Less Satisfied in Law School," 06.16.20.
Law.com also reports on this new research from the Center for Women in Law and the NALP Foundation: "A mere 40% of minority women students surveyed as part of a new study on their law school experience gave race relations on campus a positive rating. That figure was 70% among white male students."
- "Research Spotlights Disparities for Women of Color in Law School," 06.15.20.
More on this from Bloomberg Law: "Women of color are less likely than their peers to have a positive view of race relations at their law schools, according to the study from the Center for Women in Law and National Association for Law Placement Foundation."
- "4th Circuit Affirms Class Action Settlement With Defunct Charlotte Law School Paying $2.65 Million To Its 2,500 Former Students," 06.15.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that "the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has affirmed a $2.65 million class action settlement between the now-closed Charlotte School of Law and former students."
- "Faculty Call For Removing Name Of Segregationist Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice From Florida State Law School Building," 06.15.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that "the faculty and administration at the Florida State University College of Law have asked the Florida House of Representatives to allow them to rename the law school building that bears the name of B.K. Roberts, who persistently resisted the racial integration of Florida's public law schools."
- "UNH Franklin Pierce Law School May Drop Name Of 14th U.S. President (1853-57) Because He Did Not End Slavery," 06.14.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that the law school at UNH is considering a name change by removing Franklin Pierce from its title because he opposed taking steps to stop slavery.
- "Students Demand Harvard Law School Reverse Its Decision To Be 100% Online In Fall 2020," 06.13.20.
The TaxProf Blog publishes a letter from Harvard Law students and alumni to Dean Manning, to appeal the decision to be online-only for Fall 2020.
Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)
- "New Casework Up, Law Firm Billing Volumes Down, Survey Finds," 06.17.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "a new survey by Canadian cloud-based legal software company Clio found that after an initial pandemic-fueled drop-off, more firms are taking on new matters in May than April…but they're also more concerned about clients' ability to pay than in the previous two months."
- "NYC Law Firms Could Be Allowed to Reopen Offices Next Week," 06.17.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that "Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York City law firms could be cleared to return to in-office work as early as June 22."
- "NYSBA Eyes Mandatory Cybersecurity CLE Credit, Citing Attorneys' Heightened Cyberrisk," 06.15.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that "the New York State Bar Association announced it approved a recommendation by its committee on technology and the legal profession to require members to take at least one cybersecurity CLE credit."
- "Gaps Remain as Firms Focus on Business, Professional Development," 06.15.20.
The American Lawyer reports on new survey research that shows "the largest law firms are pouring substantial resources into business development training, cultivating leadership skills and professional coaching."
- "Down 15% Is the New Flat," 02.14.20.
Hugh Simons and Joe Blackwood, writing for The American Lawyer, provide a grim prognosis for law firm recovery post-pandemic: "Just as with the global financial crisis from a decade ago, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will have two effects on law firm demand: a near-in contraction in response to slowed economic activity and a longer-term structural shift away from traditional outside counsel. The former will precipitate a Q1 to Q2 2020 drop in hours of 10 to 15 percent; the latter will delay Big Law regaining its pre-COVID level of demand until 2026; Mid Law may never fully recover."
International Law Firm News
- "Law Firms' Past Links To Slavery and Imperialism Unearthed," 06.19.20.
Law.com International reports that "some of the U.K.'s oldest and most prestigious law firms from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance, through to Farrer & Co and Gowling WLG had ties to slavery and colonialism, research has found."
- "King & Spalding Defers Global Partner Distributions, Reopens In London for Partners Only," 06.19.20.
Law.com International reports that the London office of King & Spalding has deferred its partner distributions, which were due to be paid around May, by two months as the firm grapples with the impact of the COVID-19.
- "Baker McKenzie Offers Reduced Working Week and Sabbaticals In London," 06.18.20.
Law.com International reports that "Baker McKenzie has rolled out optional flexible working measures for its London staff and lawyers, including a reduced working week and sabbaticals, as part of a further slew of measures undertaken in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the firm."
- "Magic Circle Firms Prepare to Reappear in London Bases," 06.17.20.
Law.com International reports that "the U.K.'s Magic Circle firms are gearing up for returns to varying levels of normalcy over the next few months, as they prepare to move their workforces back into office space long stood practically empty from the impact of COVID-19."
- "Freshfields Pilots Fully Agile Work Scheme in Hong Kong," 06.17.20.
Law.com International reports that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has launched a pilot program in Hong Kong which will remove restrictions on how much its Hong Kong lawyers can work from home.
- "CMS, Deloitte Eye UK Office Return Next Month," 06.15.20.
Law.com International reports that Deloitte intends to open six of its U.K. offices on July 6 and CMS is looking at a return to the firm's London office at Cannon Street towards the end of July.
- "Dentons Reopens London Office with Track and Trace System," 06.15.20.
Law.com International reports that "Dentons' U.K. and Middle East operation has reopened its London office for staff who would prefer to return to the office for mental health and well-being reasons."
Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations
- "In-House Counsel Concerned They Are Spending Too Much on Outside Counsel," 06.16.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "approximately 73% of in-house counsel believe their legal departments are spending too much on their outside counsel, according to a report published this month."
- "Netflix CEO Donates Millions to HBCUs," 06.18.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "Reed Hastings, the co-founder and CEO of Netflix, and his wife, Patty Quillin, a philanthropist, are donating $120 million to Spelman College, Morehouse College and the United Negro College Fund." ("The donation is the largest ever individual contribution to support scholarships at historically black colleges and universities.")
- "Princeton, Northwestern Latest to Not Require SAT, ACT," 06.18.20.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Princeton and Northwestern universities announced on Thursday that they won't require applicants to submit standardized test scores next year, joining Harvard, Duke, Stanford and Georgetown universities in announcing that they would be test-optional for the coming admission cycle. (Subscription required.)
- "UCLA to Go Mostly Remote in Fall," 06.18.20."
Inside Higher Ed reports that "the University of California, Los Angeles, will hold most of its fall classes remotely, the university announced Monday."
- "MIT won't allow all students to return to campus in the fall," 06.17.20.
The Boston Globe reports that "the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced Wednesday that probably fewer than 60 percent of undergraduates will be allowed to return to campus this fall, and all courses are likely to conclude in-person teaching by Thanksgiving, part of a massive effort to curb the spread of coronavirus."
- "Rich Kids Are Eating Up the Financial Aid Pot," 06.16.20.
Two higher education researchers, writing for The New York Times, decry the widespread use of merit aid over need-based financial aid in allocating financial resources to students, and suggest the COVID-19 pandemic interruption will exacerbate this problem: "By diverting such a large share of limited dollars from students who need help to afford college to students who don't, schools are exacerbating a long-term trend of many schools enrolling far more students from families at the top of the income ladder than from those at the middle and bottom of it."
- "Harvard drops standardized test requirement for 2021," 06.15.20.
The Boston Globe reports that "in a pivotal decision that will likely ripple across higher education, Harvard University announced on Monday that it will not require next year's undergraduate applicants to submit standardized test scores."
- "Harvard University Won't Require SAT, ACT for Admissions Next Year," 06.15.20.
More on this from The Wall Street Journal. (Subscription required.)
- "Most law firms will shorten their summer programs and switch to virtual format, NALP study says," 06.12.20.
The ABA Journal reports on NALP's release last week of new research that begins to quantify some of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on law firms and law schools.
- "NALP Survey Quantifies COVID-19 Impact On Summer Programs, Recruiting, And OCI," 06.12.20.
And the TaxProf Blog has the story as well.
- You can find the NALP report and press release about this new research here.
June 12, 2020
- "Most Law Firms Are Condensing Summer Programs, Cutting Their Time in Half," 06.11.20.
The American Lawyer reports that new survey research from NALP shows that "while most law firms are standing by their commitment to offer a summer associate program this year, the majority of firms have condensed their programs to a fraction of their original length."
- "Law Offices Stick With Summer Associate Programs Despite Virus," 06.11.20.
Bloomberg Law reports that "the vast majority of U.S. law firm offices in a new survey are sticking with their original plans to hold summer associate programs, but many are shortening them and holding them virtually due to coronavirus concerns, according to the new data from the National Association for Law Placement."
Mental Health and Well-Being
- "Mental Health Efforts Will Support Diversity In Legal Industry," 06.09.20.
A law firm associate, writing for Law360, writes that the "stigma of discussing mental health struggles is especially profound for people of racial and ethnic minorities, and minority attorneys are no exception [and law firms and other legal organizations should] adopt measures to deal with the isolation, alienation and disconnection that can be so prevalent in minority legal circles and which are inescapable in today's world."
The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing
- "ABA: Law Schools That Fail Two-Year 75% Bar Passage Standard Will Not Lose Accreditation If A Subsequent Class Meets The Standard," 06.11.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that the ABA has confirmed "that law schools with bar pass rates below 75% for 2017 graduates can demonstrate compliance if they have locked-in pass rates at or above 75% for 2018 or 2019 graduates."
- "California keeps plans for online bar exam, but test date may be pushed back again," 06.11.20.
The ABA Journal reports that "following an earlier announcement that the California bar exam for July would be pushed back to September because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Supreme Court has announced that the test may be moved to October."
- "California Supreme Court Raises Prospect of October Bar Exam," 06.11.20.
More on this from The Recorder.
- "The 20 Law Schools With The Most Improved Bar Passage Rates," 06.11.20.
The TaxProf Blog publishes a list of the 20 schools with the biggest improvements in their bar pass rates.
- "Thirty-One States Are Pushing Forward With Their July 2020 Bar Exams Despite COVID-19," 06.10.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that according to the NCBE, "thirty-one states are pushing forward with their July 2020 bar exams…representing 37.3% of the July 2019 bar takers."
Law Schools and Law Students
- "'It's a Matter of Privilege': Dallas Law School Revokes Incoming Student's Admission Over Allegedly Racist Posts," 06.11.20.
The Texas Lawyer reports that "an incoming law student's admission to Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas was revoked Wednesday because of alleged racially offensive social media content."
- "Law Grads Hiring Report: Job Stats for the Class of 2019," 06.09.20.
Law.com reports that new data from the ABA show that the class of 2019 earned the strongest entry-level employment record of any class in more than a decade, and has ranked schools according to their percentage of 2019 graduates in full-time, long-term jobs that require a J.D., and provides other charts that break down which schools sent the most graduates into large firm jobs, government and public-interest positions, and federal, state and local clerkships.
- "The Best Law Schools For Practical Training," 06.09.20.
The TaxProf Blog reprints a PreLaw Magazine ranking of law school based on their focus on giving students real world experience.
- "Muller: Class Of 2019 Legal Employment Outcomes In California, DC-Maryland-Virginia, Florida, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, And Texas," 06.08.20.
The TaxProf Blog publishes Derek Muller's data visualization of employment outcomes for the Class of 2019 in California, as well as links to similar data visualizations for DC-Maryland-Virginia, Florida, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
- "With Harvard Law Remaining Online in Fall, Berkeley and Stanford Considering Hybrid Approach," 06.05.20.
The Recorder reports that "at California's top-ranked law schools, Stanford Law School and the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, plans are underway for a mix of online and in-person instruction in the fall."
- "Catching Up With UCLA's Jennifer Mnookin on Bar Exam's Future and Virus-Era Challenges for New Grads," 06.05.20.
The Recorder speaks with UCLA law dean Jennifer Mnookin "about the uncertainties her graduates face in the pandemic, her unsuccessful lobbying for a provisional licensing program in California and the fate of the state's controversial bar exam."
Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)
- "Legal Professionals Want to Keep Working From Home, but Will That Last?," 06.11.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "lawyers and law firm staff enjoy working remotely so much that 67% want to continue that arrangement once offices fully reopen following the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey by a company that does leadership training for firms."
- "Ten Ways to Avoid a Repeat of the Diversity Recession," 06.11.20.
Robert Grey, the president of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, writing for The American Lawyer, calls on the members of the profession to "reaffirm our collective commitment to D&I and find ways to preserve the gains we've made as a profession over the past 10 years."
- "'We Are Tired and Fed Up': Kirkland Associate Speaks Out About Race, Racism and Big Law," 06.11.20.
Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, reports on a recent Above the Law post by a Kirkland & Ellis associate about the travails of being a black associate at a big firm.
- "Law Firms Voice Support for Change-and Pledge to Donate and Take Action," 06.10.20.
The American Lawyer has compiled an alphabetical list of law firm responses to George Floyd's death and the social uprising demanding social justice that followed.
- "Financial Habits That Young Lawyers Must Build," 06.10.20.
A recent law school graduate with a previous career as a financial advisor, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, sets out a list of habits that he says young lawyers should use as a catalyst for their financial success.
- "Fox Rothschild Adds Diversity Officer Role to C-Suite, Tapping IP Partner," 06.10.20.
The Legal intelligencer reports that "Fox Rothschild has named its first-ever chief diversity and inclusion officer, appointing a North Carolina-based intellectual property litigator, Kimberly Bullock Gatling, to fill the role."
- "Don't Talk About It, Be About It: How to Move the Needle on Social Justice," 06.09.20.
A Black law firm lawyer, writing for The American Lawyer, responding to recent police killings of unarmed black Americans in Louisville, Kentucky, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, identifies "four commitments law firms can make to birth tangible, lasting change on the legal community."
- "When #BlackLivesMatter Demands Change, It's Looking at Law Firms, Too," 06.09.20.
The Deputy Editor of Law.com International writes that #BlackLivesMatter is a call to law firms: "This is an urgent call to not just talk about race, but to take meaningful structural action, to take responsibility, to make up for lost time and act now."
- "Why I Resist Casual Friday and Other Thoughts on Diversity and Inclusion: A Black Partner's Perspective," 06.08.20.
A Black law firm partner, writing for The American Lawyer, explains the three top reasons lawyers of color are minimized and ultimately leave law firms and what steps firms should take to turn the situation around.
- "Beyond Statements: A Call to Action After the Death of George Floyd," 06.08.20.
A law firm associate in Florida, writing for the Daily Business Review, writes that every lawyer is empowered and obligated to work for real change in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder.
- "Big Law Opens Wallets to Move the Needle on Racial Justice," 06.08.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "many of the biggest law firms in the country have responded to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police — and the subsequent tidal wave of protests nationwide — with significant financial commitments to organizations like the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Equal Justice Initiative and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law."
- "After Bleeding Jobs in April, Legal Industry Sees a Small Rebound," 06.05.20.
The American Lawyer reports that the USBLS jobs numbers last Friday showed that the legal sector had added 3,200 jobs in May after shedding 60,000 jobs the previous month.
- "Moves Toward 'Soft' Reopening Underline Tensions, Frustration Over Return to Law Firm Offices," 06.05.20.
The New York Law Journal reports on the complex decisions and balancing of interests that have to be made as law offices in New York make plans to reopen.
International Law Firm News
- "Taylor Wessing Furloughs Associates, Splits Bonuses and Approves Reduced Hours Scheme," 06.10.20.
Law.com International reports that "Taylor Wessing has furloughed some of its U.K. associates and will pay out bonuses to the group in two instalments in order to hedge itself against the economic impact of COVID-19."
- "Reed Smith Halts All Business Services Hires In Latest COVID-19 Measure," 06.08.20.
Law.com International reports that "Reed Smith has frozen hiring of all business services staff until the end of 2020."
- "Why Offices Will Be So Important For London Law Firms Post-Pandemic," 06.08.20.
This piece in Law.com International argues that, post-COVID, "it will be ever more important to have a place to go and not just work, but to talk, to socialise, and fundamentally, to humanise the work we do…[and suggests that] the office could morph from a place of work to the physical cultural hub of a legal business."
Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations
- "Communication, Growth Opportunities Are Key to Retaining Millennial In-House Counsel," 06.09.20.
Corporate Counsel writes that "clear communication and feedback, along with giving them responsibilities to grow within the company, can keep young in-house attorneys from looking for a new job every couple of years."
- "In-House Hiring Gains Strength Despite Recession Threat," 06.10.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "in-house legal hiring went up in May and stayed in line with the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, which showed more legal jobs were added to the economy last month despite the threat of a looming recession."
- "Call to GCs: What Are You Prepared to Do to Prevent the Endemic Asphyxiation of Black Legal Careers?," 06.08.20.
A Black law firm partner, writing for Corporate Counsel, writes that "even the most conservative of institutions are coming to terms with this inequity and the complicity of white institutional policies and practices in the mistreatment of people of color [and asks] whether the General Counsels of America's top companies [will] finally step-up and engage in meaningful efforts to address the lack of accessibility to meaningful work, business and opportunities for Black and other minority lawyers."
June 5, 2020
- "Harvard Law Will Remain Online-Only for Fall Semester," 06.03.20.
Law.com reports that "Harvard Law School late Wednesday announced that fall classes will be fully online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic-making it the first top law school to confirm that it won't be returning to campus next semester." ("The law school is allowing current students to take a leave of absence if they so choose, and for admitted students to defer their start in light of the change. Incoming J.D. and LL.M. students have until June 19 to make deferral decisions.")
George Floyd, Civil Unrest, & the Legal Profession
- "Black General Counsels Discuss Racism, Importance of Leadership During Crisis," 06.04.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "a group of black general counsel responded to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed by police in Minneapolis last week, by saying now is an important time to take a stand as leaders in their companies," during a group discussion via a webinar hosted by California Minority Counsel Program on Wednesday.
- "Law Firms Call for Social Justice, Despite Own Diversity Issues," 06.04.20.
Bloomberg Law writes that "major law firms have denounced racial inequality and pledged to push for change in the wake of protests across the country, but some attorneys say platitudes alone won't cut it from an industry still struggling with diversity issues."
- "'This Is a Moment': Civil Rights Lawyers Confront Pandemic and Police Violence Inequities," 06.04.20.
The National Law Journal reports on the civil rights bar's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide demonstrations over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
- "'It Could Have Been Me': Black Attorneys Reflect on George Floyd's Death and What Comes Next," 06.03.20.
The American Lawyer asked seven black attorneys, including partners and law firm leaders across the United States, to recount their reactions to George Floyd's death and the days of protests that have followed. The lawyers spoke about their own experiences with racism, their experiences in the legal profession, their frustrations, and the future.
- "Civil Unrest May Force In-House Counsel to Address Race in the Workplace," 06.03.20.
Law.com observes that amidst worldwide protests stemming from the killing of George Floyd on Memorial Day, "companies are paying attention and in-house counsel may be the ones to lead the way on renewing diversity, inclusion and equity matters."
- "The Police Report to Me, but I Knew I Couldn't Protect My Son," 06.03.20.
Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, writing for The New York Times, anguishingly writes that "Although as mayor, the chief of police reports to me, in that moment, I knew what every other parent to a black child in America knows: I could not protect my son. To anyone who saw him, he was simply who he is, a black man-child in the promised land that we all know as America."
- "Law Schools Have an 'Obligation' to Help End Racism and Injustice, Deans Argue," 06.02.20.
Law.com writes that "as protests rage across the country over police killings of minorities and systemic racism, legal academics are making the case that law schools, law students and lawyers have a key role to play in promoting justice and ending inequality. ("Deans nationwide are sending messages to their communities that they support the protesters as well as students, faculty and staff who are feeling unsettled or devastated by the recent events. Some schools are hosting open forums for students to share their responses to the unrest and its underlying causes, while others are holding workshops on policing and other germane legal topics. But the overarching theme of these communications is that lawyers and law students cannot turn a blind eye to racism and inequality and that the time for action is now.")
- "Firms Commit Funds to Racial Justice Groups After George Floyd Death," 06.03.20.
Law.com International details some of the initiatives being undertaken by international law firms in North America amid continued civil unrest in the U.S. following the death of an unarmed black man.
- "What the Death of George Floyd Should Teach the Legal Industry," 06.02.20.
A black CEO and former Big Law M&A lawyer, writing for The American Lawyer, offers some tangible steps that may be taken by the legal community to be a part of the needed solution.
- "Employee Safety Should Be Top of Mind for In-House Counsel as Protests Continue," 06.02.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "in-house counsel need to consider the safety of their employees as protests break out over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, who was killed in Minneapolis last month by police officer Derek Chauvin while three other officers watched."
- "Talking 'The Talk': Words Seem Futile When Videos Speak for Themselves," 06.02.20.
A thoughtful piece from Joe West, a law firm partner and chief diversity and inclusion officer, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, about having to talk to his sons about the events of the past weeks - "a very difficult discussion that every parent of a black son has to have."
- "From Big Law to Boutiques, George Floyd's Death Prompts Outrage, Some Action From Law Firm Leaders," 06.01.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "the death of George Floyd and the outpouring of anger across the country are prompting a range of responses across the bar, at Big Law firms and boutiques alike."
- "'Things Are Different Now': General Counsel, Corporations React Publicly to George Floyd's Death," 06.01.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "a growing number of prominent companies are speaking out about the death of George Floyd," including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Marvel Entertainment, Netflix Inc., Nike Inc., Starz, The Walt Disney Co., ViacomCBS Inc. and Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc. (Also on May 29, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, whose board members include in-house leaders for Discover Financial Services, General Motors Co., The Hershey Co., Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp., issued a statement calling for a swift investigation into Floyd's death to "bring justice and most importantly to find solutions to this widening divide in our community.")
Mental Health and Well-Being
- "Lawyers Coping With Enforced Social Isolation," 06.02.20.
A law firm partner and a psychiatric resident, writing for the New York Law Journal, write about the physical, emotional, and psychiatric struggles lawyers are facing as the result of extended social isolation.
- "Law Firms That Put Employees' Well-Being First Get A Lot More in Return," 06.02.20.
A law firm lawyer, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, writes about the return on investment for law firms that invest in employee well-being.
- "The Requirement of Resilience: How to Lead (and Live) in Times of Crisis," 05.29.20.
MP Queen, writing for Corporate Counsel, talks to mental health professionals and veteran in-house legal leaders about "[how lawyers] can tap into their inner reserves to get through it all."
Remote Work and Reopening
- "The New Normal: Return-to-Work Considerations for All Organizations," 06.04.20.
This piece in Legaltech News provides a list of important considerations for any office that is thinking through the challenges of reopening, including the importance of taking into account technology, staffing, and appropriate use of physical office space.
- "The Keys to a Successful Work-From-Home Internship," 06.01.20.
The Wall Street Journal takes a look at virtual summer internships: "As organizations adjust their summer internships to the new coronavirus reality, managers are tackling the challenge of how to incorporate students into their culture without seeing them face to face." (Subscription required.)
- "Learning Disrupted: Virtual Law Programs Come With Their Set of Problems," 05.29.20.
This piece from Legaltech News identifies some of the challenges facing law students as they complete law school course work remotely and begin summer jobs or internships remotely.
- "The Pandemic Has Exposed the Fallacy of the 'Ideal Worker'," 05.11.20.
Joan Williams, professor and the founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law, writing here for the Harvard Business Review, writes that with the advent of COVID and widespread work from home, "we're seeing the erosion of the ideal of an employee whose family responsibilities are kept tastefully out of sight."
The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing
- "Two states introduce COVID-19 waivers for July bar exams," 06.02.20.
The ABA Journal reports that bar exam test-takers in Mississippi and North Carolina will have to sign waivers before they sit for the exam.
- "Taking the Bar Exam in July? Sign This Coronavirus Waiver," 05.29.20.
Law.com reports that those sitting for the July bar exam in Mississippi will have to sign a waiver indemnifying the Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions and the Mississippi Supreme Court from liability should they contract COVID-19 from the two-day exam.
- "Remote Bar Exam Offered in October as Plan B Amid COVID-19," 06.01.20.
Law.com reports that "the National Conference of Bar Examiners-which designs the exam-announced Monday that it will offer a pared-down, remote bar exam Oct. 5 and 6 to any jurisdiction that cannot safely administer the in-person test in September."
- "NCBE To Offer MBE, MEE, And MPT Online In October, But Not The UBE," 06.04.20.
The TaxProf Blog provides additional details from the NCBE about the plans for an emergency testing option for a remote administration of the bar exam on October 5-6.
- "July Bar Exam Update: Maryland," 05.29.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that Maryland will plan to administer its bar exam on September 9-10 if conditions permit.
Law Schools and Law Students
- "Law School Applications Are Down. Will COVID-19 Spur a Late Comeback?," 06.03.20.
Law.com reports that "applicants to American Bar Association-accredited law schools are down 2.5% from this point in the cycle last year…but the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is a looming question mark over the law school admissions landscape, and it's not clear whether historical application trends and patterns will play out this time around."
- "Law School Applicants Are Down 3.2%, With Biggest Declines Among Midwest, 120-164 LSATs, And African-Americans," 06.01.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports on the latest law school application volume numbers.
- "Nonprofit Cites Special Risks for Diverse Law Students in Plea for Pandemic Support," 06.03.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "a Chicago nonprofit that helps women law students of color get their feet in the door at law firms is looking to financially support students across the country who have lost their summer internships."
- "Georgia Judges Host Virtual Internships for Law Students," 06.03.20.
According to the Daily Report, "Judges in Georgia state and federal courts will host virtual internships for 26 law students whose summer law firm positions had fallen through."
- "2019 Law Grads Crushed It on Jobs, but COVID-19 Could Set Them Back," 06.02.20.
Law.com reports that "new employment data from the American Bar Association shows that the J.D. class of 2019 had the strongest entry-level jobs results in years, yet those numbers don't reflect in the impact of the coronavirus on those fledgling legal careers."
- "Reflections On Class Of 2019 Employment Outcomes," 06.02.20.
Jerry Organ, writing for the TaxProf Blog, reviews the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar's release of its spreadsheet of employment outcomes for the Class of 2019, noting stronger overall employment and an increase in the total number of full-time, long-term, Bar Passage Required and JD Advantage positions, but observing that "these results for the Class of 2019 may stand as the high-water mark for employment outcomes for law school graduates for at least a few years."
- "'Modest increase' for class of 2019 jobs but also smaller class size, ABA data shows," 06.01.20.
The ABA Journal also reports on the employment outcomes data that was released this week for the Class of 2019.
- "Before Virus Hit, Drop In Law Grads Led To Better Job Market," 06.01.20.
More on this from Law360: "A slight increase in the number of jobs and a decrease in the size of the 2019 graduating law school class led to a higher percentage of new attorneys finding employment over the past year."
- "30% Of Law Schools Now Accept The GRE For Admissions," 06.02.20.
The TaxProf Blog provides an updated list of the 59 ABA-accredited law schools that accept the GRE for admissions.
Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)
- "The Coronavirus Crisis Has Forced Firms to Act Quickly. Will They Continue When It's Over?," 06.03.20.
The American Lawyer, noting that "law firms of all shapes and sizes have been forced to pivot quickly in responding to the coronavirus crisis, a disruption that many leaders and industry observers say dramatically outstrips the Great Recession in scope and impact," questions whether law firms will continue to act with agility and alacrity when it comes to necessary change.
- "The post-pandemic law firm will consist of smaller summer classes, more remote workers, and a less decked-out office, a top legal recruiter predicts," 06.02.20.
This article in Business Insider predicts "layoffs, leaner, touchless recruiting, smaller summer classes, more remote working, borderless lawyering, and smaller footprints" for law firms in the aftermath of the pandemic.
- "Career Planning in a Crisis: What Young Lawyers Need to Know to Navigate Through," 06.02.20.
The Young Lawyer Editorial Board of The American Lawyer write that there are lessons to be learned from the 2008 recession as young lawyers and recent law school graduates assess the impact of the current crisis on their careers.
- "Long, Uncertain Season Lies Ahead for Big Law Summer Associates," 06.01.20.
Bloomberg Law reports on some of the many complications that arise from the need to host virtual summer associate programs during the pandemic.
- "Are Layoffs Coming? And If So, Who Will Be Impacted?," 06.01.20.
Hugh Simons, writing for The American Lawyer, "explores whether the legal industry will experience layoffs in the months ahead, using data to predict which attorney segments may be impacted and at what rates."
- "COVID-19: Gender Equality Advocate?," 05.29.10.
Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, observes that "some women contend that the lockdown is actually leveling the playing field in the workplace" between men and women.
International Law Firm News
- "Freshfields, Hengeler to Reopen Offices in Germany," 06.05.20.
Law.com International reports that "Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Hengeler Mueller are set to reopen offices in Germany as of next week, as the government begins to relax lockdown restrictions."
- "US Firm Makes London Associate Redundancies, Citing COVID-19," 06.03.20.
Law.com International reports that "U.S. firm Dorsey & Whitney has laid off a number of associates in its London practice as part of firmwide measures to ward off the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic."
- "Reed Smith To Lay Off London Lawyers, Extend Salary Cuts and Trim Workweeks," 06.01.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Reed Smith announced a new round of measures Monday to shore up its finances in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, including an extension of previously announced salary reductions, truncated workweeks for personal assistants, and the elimination of fewer than 20 lawyer positions in London."
- "The End of College as We Knew It?," 06.04.20.
Frank Bruni, writing for The New York Times, mounts a thoughtful and eloquent defense of the importance of higher education and the liberal arts as he grapples with the fact that "colleges and universities are in trouble — serious trouble [and] dozens and potentially hundreds of small four-year colleges will go under, some of them within the next year and others over the next five."
- "Lawyers Lay Out Legal Issues Colleges Face This Fall," 06.03.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports on the many legal issues that face colleges and universities as they make plans to reopen in the fall.
- "Should Colleges Have Liability Protection?," 06.03.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that colleges and universities are seeking Congressional protection from potential liability if they open in the fall.
- "Universities Are Lawyering Up to Fight COVID-19 Closure Class Actions," 06.02.20.
Law.com reports that "since early April, dozens of class action lawsuits have been filed against universities and colleges on behalf of students who claim they are overpaying for tuition while receiving a lesser educational experience due to COVID-19 restrictions."
- "Recent college grads benefiting from impact of landmark ADA," 06.02.20.
The Washington Post reports that "recent college graduates with disabilities are as likely as their peers without disabilities to hold jobs, according to a national survey that suggests they have benefited from coming of age under the Americans with Disabilities Act."
- "Why the Fall Will Be a Liability Minefield," 05.29.20.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that colleges and universities face a host of liability issues if they try to reopen in the fall, and argues that requiring waivers will not shield them from liability. (Subscription required.)
Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations
- "In-House Counsel Concerned Over Liabilities Associated With COVID-19," 06.02.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that in a recent COVID-19 return to work survey, "seventy-one percent of in-house counsel indicated they are concerned about the liabilities their companies face when bringing employees back to work during the new coronavirus pandemic."
- "'Incredibly Tough Right Now': GCs Struggle to Maintain Work-Life Balance," 05.29.20.
Law.com International reports that "intense company pressures resulting from the pandemic crisis combined with the need to work from home have left many general counsel feeling unable to maintain a distinction between work and home life."
- "How the Mansfield Rule for In-House Counsel Is Faring Under COVID-19," 05.29.20.
Corporate Counsel speaks with Leila Hock, the director of legal department partnerships and inclusion initiatives at Diversity Lab, about the newest iteration of its pilot program for the legal department version of the Mansfield Rule.
May 29, 2020
- "10 law schools were found out of compliance with bar passage standard, ABA Legal Ed Section says," 05.28.20.
The ABA Journal reports that ten law schools are out of compliance with an ABA accreditation standard that requires a bar passage rate of at least 75% within two years. (The list of schools found out of compliance as reported on the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar website includes Atlanta's John Marshall Law School, Charleston School of Law, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, Florida A&M University College of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law, Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law, Mississippi College School of Law, Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law, South Dakota School of Law, and Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School.)
- "C.D.C. Recommends Sweeping Changes to American Offices," 05.28.20.
The New York Times reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued sweeping new recommendations for American employers reopening their offices to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. ("If followed, the guidelines would lead to a far-reaching remaking of the corporate work experience. They even upend years of advice on commuting, urging people to drive to work by themselves, instead of taking mass transportation or car-pooling, to avoid potential exposure to the virus.')
- "'Doused With a Bottle of Bleach': A Vision of How Law Schools Will Reopen in the Fall," 05.27.20.
Karen Sloan, writing for Law.com, reports that so far about a third of the nation's law schools have announced plans to reopen for in-person instruction in the fall.
- "300-Lawyer Barclay Damon Announces Reopening Plan as Pandemic Persists," 05.26.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that "northeast regional firm Barclay Damon says it is planning to reopen all 12 of its offices, allowing attorneys and staff to return while also keeping remote work as an option-possibly a permanent one-for those who prefer it."
- "3 Questions Employers Are Asking Lawyers About Reopening in the Virus Era," 05.22.20.
The Recorder provides advice from three employment experts on some common questions employers have about reopening.
Mental Health and Well-Being
- "The Rise in Mental Health Awareness Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic," 05.27.20.
A law firm associate, writing for the Daily Business Review, noting that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, writes that mental health awareness has become increasingly important, as many are feeling overwhelmed, anxious and socially isolated, due to the sudden changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. (The article highlights the importance of promoting proper mental health practices and provides an overview of laws surrounding the access to mental health services.)
- "As Local Bar Associations Step Into Lawyer Well-Being Discussion, Philadelphia Bar Launches E-Counseling Offering," 05.22.20.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that "the Philadelphia Bar Association announced a partnership this week with an online mental health care company to provide video counseling services to members."
- "Mental Health and Gender Inequality Worries Affecting Women in Lockdown, First 100 Years Finds," 05.20.20.
Law.com International reports that according to new research, "women in the legal industry are concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic will drive further gender inequality within the profession, and that there are particular mental health issues arising for women currently working at home due to the crisis."
- "The Future Is Here: The Legal Profession Can Succeed Working Remotely," 05.27.20.
A partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa, writing for Corporate Counsel, writes that "in-house legal teams and law firms are now realizing they may not need as much traditional face time with their teams and discovering that remote work may lead to happier, harder working lawyers."
- "When Sweatpants Become Straitjackets," 05.27.20.
New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Bruni asks, "What happens when it's sweatpants for morning coffee, sweatpants for the Zoom conference call, sweatpants for the Zoom happy hour, sweatpants for dinner? Behold the fog of quarantine."
The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing
- "February Bar Exam Pass Rates Dip Slightly From Prior Year," 05.28.20.
According to the Daily Report, Georgia law school graduates passed the February bar exam at a lower rate than the previous year, and notes that the drop in the overall pass rate was consistent with the performance trend of test-takers nationally.
- "First-Ever Open Book, Online Bar Exam Set for July," 05.26.20.
Law.com reports that "the Supreme Court of Nevada has ordered a reformatting of the state's attorney licensing exam and called for it to be delivered remotely...[and is] making its online test open book-a concession to the fact that it's difficult to police test takers when they are in their own homes."
- "July Bar Exam Update: Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada," 05.22.20.
The TaxProf Blog provides an update on bar exam administration plans in three additional jurisdictions.
Law Schools and Law Students
- "Law Schools Simulate Firm Summer Associate Programs Amid COVID-19 Cutbacks," 05.28.20.
Karen Sloan, writing for Law.com, reports that "at least two campuses have launched summer programs designed to help students develop the real-world skills they would normally pick up working at law firms or in internships, as many of those training opportunities have evaporated amid the COVID-19 pandemic." ("New York Law School has partnered with Venable for its eight-week Summer Associate Simulation Program…[and] the University of Illinois at Chicago John Marshall Law School just kicked off a 10-week Summer Associate Training Academy for students and recent graduates that incorporates simulated legal matters and gives participants the opportunity to get feedback from attorneys and judges on a drafting assignment.")
- "The Year of Distancing Physically: Six Tips for Online Learning in Law Schools," 05.26.20.
Jordan Furlong, writing for SLAW, provides "a few thoughts about how legal education will have to adapt to the coming year (and maybe longer) of online learning."
Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)
- "Double Whammy on Law Firms: COVID-19 and the Troubled Economy," 05.28.20.
This column in SLAW takes a hardboiled look at what lies ahead for law firms, but ultimately concludes that after a very rough passage, the sudden changes brought about by the pandemic and its attendant economic fallout will forge a stronger profession: "When we look back from a future that it is hard to fully see at this moment, we may be astonished at how this topsy-turvy time advanced the practice of law."
- "Pandemic Slows Lateral Hiring as Firms Look for Guaranteed Winners," 05.28.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "lateral partner moves between law firms have hit the skids, as most pre-COVID-19 deals have now run their course and both firms and partners are grappling with economic uncertainty and logistical barriers."
- "Ahead of Merger, Troutman Makes Pay Cuts, Firms Defer First Years," 05.26.20.
According to the Daily Report, "Troutman Sanders confirmed it is cutting pay firmwide for lawyers and staff, effective June 1, following an announcement of similar compensation cuts by its merger partner, Pepper Hamilton, earlier this month…[and] both firms also said on Friday that they will defer the start date of their combined first-year associate class from the fall to next January."
- "The 2020 Diversity Scorecard Shows Progress, but It's More Precarious Than Ever," 05.26.20.
The American Lawyer publishes its annual Diversity Scorecard, noting that "since 2010, minority attorneys have seen [just] a 3.9% increase in representation among the country's largest firms."
- "The 2020 Diversity Scorecard: Rankings and Demographic Leaders," 05.26.20.
The American Lawyer provides an interactive chart that shows, in rank order, "the average number of full-time-equivalent minority attorneys — Asian-American, African-American, Latino or Hispanic, Native American and self-described multiracial attorneys — at Am Law 200 and National Law Journal 250 law firms in the calendar year 2019."
- "Associate Hourly Billing Rates Surge Past $1K as Firms Snap Up Bankruptcy Work," 05.22.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "rates for top associates at firms such as Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Kirkland & Ellis are rising just as a new wave of Chapter 11s gathers steam."
- "Covington & Burling Hires Its First Chief Diversity Officer," 05.21.20.
Bloomberg Law reports that "Covington & Burling has hired Marlene Aquino, former head of diversity at Booz Allen Hamilton, as its first chief diversity and inclusion officer."
International Law Firm News
- "Hogan Lovells Set To 'Fully Reopen' Paris Office, Encouraging Staff to Return," 05.29.20.
Law.com International reports that the Paris office of Hogan Lovells plans to be "fully open, with social distancing and hygiene precautions in place" on June 2.
- "Slater & Gordon to Close London Office, Staff to Work From Home Permanently," 05.27.20.
Law.com International reports that "Slater and Gordon is to close its London base as staff gear up for working from home permanently from September onwards."
- "A Bleak Picture for International Enrollment," 05.26.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that colleges face many questions surrounding fall enrollment for international students, and that most are planning for "sizable declines in international students and the tuition revenue they bring."
- "Welcome to the Socially Distanced Campus," 05.26.20.
As many colleges make plans to reopen their campuses, The Chronicle of Higher Education has "gathered documents and interviewed administrators to learn their plans to re-engineer their campuses' physical spaces to blunt the virus's contagion." (Subscription required.)
- "The Future of College Is Online, and It's Cheaper," 05.25.20.
This New York Times op-ed argues that "if universities embrace this moment strategically, online education could expand access exponentially and drop its cost by magnitudes - all while shoring up revenues for universities in a way that is more recession-proof, policy-proof and pandemic-proof."
- "Interest Rate on Federal College Loans Is About to Hit a Record Low," 05.22.20.
The New York Times reports that "the interest rate on new federal student loans for undergraduates will fall to a record low this summer. Those students will pay a rate of 2.75 percent on loans for the coming academic year, down from 4.53 percent last year."
- "Another Casualty of the Coronavirus: Summer Internships," 05.22.20.
The New York Times reports that "summer internships have been upended by the pandemic, with a wide range of major companies, including tech firms like Yelp and entertainment behemoths like the Walt Disney Company, canceling programs and rescinding offers."
Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations
- "CLOC's New Executive Director Talks the Future of In-Person Legal Conferences," 05.28.20.
Corporate Counsel speaks with CLOC's new executive director Betsi Roach about the future of in-person legal conferences.
- "CLOC Appoints Betsi Roach as Organization's New Executive Director," 05.21.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium has named Betsi Roach its new executive director." (Roach previously served as executive director of the Legal Marketing Association from 2007 to 2018 and before that spent 8 years as the director of the Section of Intellectual Property Law at the American Bar Association.)
- "General Counsel Discuss Post-Pandemic Workforce Return to Places of Business," 05.28.20.
Corporate Counsel reports on the proceedings of a recent program where a group of Fortune 500 in-house legal leaders talked about their response to the COVID crisis and their plans bring employees back to work.
May 22, 2020
- "Many Jobs May Vanish Forever as Layoffs Mount," 05.21.20.
The New York Times reports that "the Labor Department's report of new jobless claims, released Thursday, brought the total to 38.6 million since mid-March, when the coronavirus outbreak forced widespread shutdowns…[and] while workers and their employers have expressed optimism that most of the joblessness will be temporary, many who are studying the pandemic's impact are increasingly worried about the employment situation."
- "Legal occupations prove resilient during COVID shutdowns," 05.18.20.
Michael Simkovic, writing for Brian Leiter's Law School Reports, reports that despite historically high unemployment reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal sector has been remarkably resilient: "Legal occupations have proved remarkably resilient and currently have the lowest unemployment rate of any category tracked by the BLS." ("Unemployment for legal occupations reached only 3.7% in April of 2020. Unemployment rates for lawyers are likely even lower because legal occupations include lawyers as well as occupations that typically have significantly higher unemployment rates than lawyers, such as paralegals and other legal support workers. In the first quarter of 2020, these non-lawyer legal occupations had unemployment rates around 2.3 to 2.5%, compared to 1.1% for lawyers. To be clear, unemployment has increased in legal occupations-just not by as much as it has increased everywhere else.")
- "'A Scary and Sad Time': Asian American GCs Talk About Current Racism," 05.17.20.
Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, reports on the proceedings of a Zoom conference sponsored by National Asian Pacific American Bar Association that featured "an all-star cast of Asian American general counsel at major companies [who] were unusually frank, particularly about the current climate of racism…[and who lamented the fact that] Asians are getting battered during this pandemic."
- "Asian American doctors and nurses are fighting racism and the coronavirus," 05.19.20.
The Washington Post reports that Asian Americans have reported a sharp increase in verbal abuse and physical attacks: "Across the country, Asian American health-care workers have reported a rise in bigoted incidents. The racial hostility has left Asian Americans, who represent 6% of the U.S. population but 18% of the country's physicians and 10% of its nurse practitioners, in a painful position on the front lines of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Some covid-19 patients refuse to be treated by them. And when doctors and nurses leave the hospital, they face increasing harassment in their daily lives, too."
- "Many Facebook Employees to Work From Home Permanently," 05.21.20.
The New York Times reports that "Facebook will allow many of its employees to work from home permanently, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, announced during a staff meeting that was live-streamed on his Facebook page."
- "Farewell, Office. You Were the Last Boundary Between Work and Home.," 05.17.20.
This New York Times op-ed argues that despite the risks and challenges, we will want to return to our offices.
- "Lines for the elevator. One-way corridors. Zooming with colleagues in the next pod over. Office life is going to be strange," 05.16.20.
The Boston Globe reports that "while many white-collar workers have been sequestered at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19, landlords and property managers, architects and safety experts have been trying to figure out how to make the office buildings that have been vacant for two months or more into safe places in a pandemic…[as] companies are preparing to gradually return to dramatically changed workplaces."
- "When It's Time to Go Back to the Office, Will It Still Be There?," 05.16.20.
The Wall Street Journal writes that when workplaces finally reopen, the changes are likely to be dramatic, and also permanent, and constitute "a radical rethinking of a place that is central to corporate life…there will likely be fewer offices in the center of big cities, more hybrid schedules that allow workers to stay home part of the week and more elbow room as companies free up space for social distancing…smaller satellite offices could also pop up in less-expensive locations." (Subscription required.)
- "With Return to Offices Still Uncertain, Big Law Shifts From When to How," 05.15.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Big Law is taking a cautious approach to repopulating their offices and keeping remote work — which has gone relatively smoothly for most — the status quo for now. At the same time, firms say they are shoring up the health and safety measures in their offices so that when people decide to come back, there will be as little health risk as possible."
- "Your Doors Are Open, Now What? Top 10 Tips for Employers," 05.15.20.
A law firm partner with an employment law practice, writing for the New York Law Journal, provides ten tips for employers as they begin reopening their workplaces.
- "Amid the Coronavirus Crisis, a Regimen for Reëntry," 05.13.20.
This piece in The New Yorker by Atul Gawande, a surgeon and public-health researcher, is very helpful in thinking through reopening.
Health and Well-Being
- "Addressing Lawyer Mental Health Amid a Pandemic," 05.18.20.
Two law firm partners, writing for the Daily Report, and noting that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, write that "attorney mental health and well-being is always a priority, given the high risks…[but] these issues may need special attention as we continue to confront the COVID-19 global pandemic."
- "Recognizing Stress, Hitting Pause and Other Wellness Lessons Amid COVID-19," 05.15.20.
The American Lawyer speaks with an executive coach and wellness consultant in New York about the opportunity the coronavirus pandemic presents for lawyers to think differently about their well-being.
The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing
- "Why It is Unconstitutional for State Bars, When Doling out Bar-Exam Seats, to Favor In-State Law Schools," 05.21.20.
The dean at the University of Illinois College of Law, writing for Verdict Justia, makes the Commerce Clause argument (the Commerce Clause generally forbids states from favoring in-state economic actors over out-of-state competitors) that states that limit bar exam seats based on state of law school attendance violate the U.S. Constitution.
- "More States Move Upcoming Bar Exams Online in Response to Virus," 05.18.20.
Bloomberg Law reports that "Michigan is the latest in a growing number of states that have decided to hold their upcoming bar exams online, as others weigh safety concerns and logistical issues related to administering tests during the coronavirus pandemic."
- "Citing COVID-19, Minnesota Law Graduates Seek to Bypass Bar Exam to Practice in Wisconsin," 05.17.20.
Newsweek reports that "as jurisdictions across the country continue to evaluate whether it will be possible to administer state bar examinations as scheduled this July during the coronavirus outbreak, recent law school graduates have requested a temporary suspension of requirements that currently prevent them from practicing without taking the test."
- "July Bar Exam Update: Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington," 05.15.20.
The TaxProf Blog provides an update on bar exam plans in these seven jurisdictions.
Law Schools and Law Students
- "William & Mary's First African American Dean to Take the Helm in an Unprecedented Time," 05.21.20.
Law.com reports that "University of Virginia law professor Benjamin Spencer will take over the deanship at the College of William & Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law during an uncertain time for the legal profession and higher education."
- "Harvard Law School Makes Online Zero-L Course Free for All U.S. Law Schools Due to Coronavirus," 05.21.20.
The Harvard Crimson reports that "Harvard Law School announced Wednesday it will offer its online, pre-term "Zero-L" course for free for all United States law schools this summer in an effort to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the success of incoming law students."
- "Law school still out of compliance with ABA admissions standard and dealing with fraud allegations," 05.21.20.
The ABA Journal reports that "Texas Southern University's Thurgood Marshall School of Law remains out of compliance with an ABA admissions standard, according to a notice posted Wednesday by the council of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar."
- "Pandemic X: To the class of 2020," 05.20.20.
Jordan Furlong, writing for his Law21 blog, completes his series on the pandemic's impact on the profession with "a message to the graduating law class of 2020, although it also applies to the subsequent cohorts of 2021 and 2022."
- "U.S. Department Of Education Extends Online Education Flexibility Through Fall 2020 Semester," 05.20.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that "the US Department of Education has agreed to provide additional regulatory flexibilities due to the President's declaration of a national emergency due to COVID-19."
- "Online LSAT Makes Its Debut—With a Few Glitches," 05.19.20.
Law.com reports that "the debut of the pared-down, online version of the LSAT" took place on Monday, with relatively few problems.
- "ABA Council Approves Power To Permit Online Legal Ed During Pandemics, New Distance Ed Rules; Rejects Call To Suspend 75% Bar Passage Requirement," 05.16.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports on the decisions made during Friday's ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Council meeting, including a rule change provision that would give the Council authority to enact short-term, emergency policies and procedures for schools, and noting that the changes would take effect if approved by the ABA House of Delegates at the 2020 ABA Annual Meeting in August.
- "Expanded online law school classes could continue under plan endorsed by ABA legal ed council," 05.15.20.
More on this from the ABA Journal.
- "What you need to know about debt relief on student loans," 05.15.20.
The Washington Post provides answers to common questions about the student loan relief provisions in the Heroes Act.
Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)
- "Dorsey Lays Off 'Limited Number' of Attorneys, Enacts Further Pay Cuts," 05.20.20.
The American Lawyer reports that Minneapolis-based law firm Dorsey & Whitney has laid off a "limited number" of its 1,100-plus attorneys and staffers.
- "Small, Midsized Firms Take No Frills, Budget-Friendly Approach to Remote Work," 05.20.20.
Legaltech News reports that smaller and mid-sized firms were less prepared for the sudden shift to remote working and have had to play catch-up: "Over the past few months, midsized firms and boutiques had to readjust their cybersecurity practices and lean more on third-party tech experts to meet the new cybersecurity challenges of work spaces spread outside the office."
- "DLA Piper Is Latest to Outsource Back Office Ops in New Deal With HBR," 05.20.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "DLA Piper is turning over some of its back-office operations to HBR Consulting, entering into a five-year arrangement that will see four employees transferred from the firm to HBR."
- "Yale Law Women Expands 'Best' List of Law Firms (but Don't Get Excited)," 05.20.20.
Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, reports on the release of the Yale Law Women's 2020 Top Firms for Gender Equity & Family Friendliness, noting that this year's publication contains "information about the percentage of firms that still require mandatory arbitration clauses or nondisclosure agreements covering allegations of sexual assault or sexual misconduct as a condition of employment." (Chen comments, "Let me cut to the chase and tell you that, despite all the #MeToo outrage, a majority of firms require them.")
- "Law Firm Leasing Activity Craters as Industry Rethinks Its Real Estate Footprint," 05.19.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "law firm leasing activity has ground to a near halt in New York, while law firms wait out relocation decisions and redesign their current spaces to prevent the spread of the coronavirus."
- "Largest law firms stay the course with summer programs, employ students at home," 05.18.20.
The Globe and Mail reports that despite all of the upending faced by Canadian law schools and law firms as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, "in most cases the country's largest law firms have continued with summer programs and plans to host graduating students for articling." ("Like other businesses, law firms are trying to rein in expenses in the face of huge economic uncertainty. But recruitment professionals at several Bay Street firms say they did not consider cancelling student programs to cut costs, highlighting the importance of a steady stream of junior lawyers to their business models.")
- "Law firm revenue takes nosedive during COVID-19, new survey data shows," 05.18.20.
The ABA Journal reports that "roughly 81% of law firms have seen their revenues drop during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 27% of firms in that category reporting they have seen business decline by more than half, according to a new survey."
- "For the First Time in Years, the Second Hundred Matched the Top Tier's Growth," 05.18.20.
The American Lawyer publishes its annual Am Law 200 ranking and analysis, noting that the second hundred largest grossing law firms matched the growth of the top one hundred law firms in gross revenue (5%), revenue per lawyer (2.9%) and profits per equity partner (4.6%).
- "The 2020 Am Law 200: Ranked by Gross Revenue," 05.18.20.
The American Lawyer ranks the second two hundred law firms by gross revenue.
- "The 2020 Am Law 200: By the Numbers," 05.18.20.
The American Lawyer provides infographics that illustrate the revenue, profitability, and leverage patterns in the Second Hundred.
- "What Firms Can Learn From the Great Recession as They Confront the Next Crisis," 05.18.20.
The American Lawyer provides insights from the last recession for firms in the Second Hundred: "With the Great Recession in the rearview mirror, history offers some important lessons to the law firms in the Second Hundred as they attempt to navigate through a coronavirus-fueled recession."
- "As Salary Cuts Move to Higher-Profit Firms, What Happens Next?," 05.15.20.
Hugh Simons, writing for The American Lawyer, reports that "to date, 69 firms have announced cuts in lawyer salary (excluding changes to equity partner compensation)," noting that those salary cuts have moved from low profit margin law firms to higher profit margin law firms, but also notes that the rate at which firms are cutting salaries has started to slow, and then goes on to predict lawyer layoffs and law firm dissolutions in the months ahead.
- "Ropes & Gray Offers Voluntary Buyouts to US Staff, Citing 'Unpredictability'," 05.14.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Ropes & Gray is offering voluntary buyouts to some U.S. staff members, the firm confirmed Thursday, as the coronavirus economy continues to erode confidence among even the richest law firms."
International Law Firm News
- "Spanish Firm Testing All Staff For COVID-19 Ahead of Office Return," 05.21.20.
Law.com International reports that "Spanish heavyweight Uría Menéndez is testing all of its staff for COVID-19 as a preliminary step before returning staff to its offices in Spain."
- "Law Firms in Australia Begin Opening Offices, but Remote Working May Win Out," 05.20.20.
Law.com International reports that "law firms in Australia are taking a cautious approach to asking their employees to return to the office, even as the prime minister urges people to go back to work."
- "Dentons UK and Middle East Arm Implements Four-Day Working Week," 05.20.20.
Law.com International reports that Dentons' U.K. and Middle East arm has officially implemented a four-day work week with an accompanying 20% reduction in salary.
- "Law Firms in Paris Start to 'Unthaw'," 05.19.20.
Law.com International reports that "a week after France lifted two months of strict lockdown measures to combat COVID-19, law firms in Paris are slowly starting to bring their offices back to life."
- "Milan's New Normal: What Returning to the Office Looks Like," 05.18.20.
Law.com International reports that several top firms in Milan have begun lifting restrictions and reopening offices on a limited basis at the beginning of May, and returning lawyers are finding a very different environment to the one they left.
- "Skadden Begins Reopening European Offices, Implements 'One-way' System," 05.15.20.
Law.com International reports that "Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has reopened several of its European offices as it appoints a global task-force to work on a plan for its people to return to bases worldwide."
- "CDC Issues New Guidance to Colleges," 05.21.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance on Tuesday for colleges as they reopen their campuses…it describes practices colleges can put in place to reduce coronavirus spread and promote a healthy student body and workforce."
- "University of California Will End Use of SAT and ACT in Admissions," 05.21.20.
The New York Times reports that "the University of California on Thursday voted to phase out the SAT and ACT as requirements to apply to its system of 10 schools, which include some of the nation's most popular campuses, in a decision with major implications for the use of standardized tests in college admissions."
- "Golden State Blockbuster: U. of California Will Replace ACT and SAT With New Test — or None at All," 05.21.20.
The Chronicle of Higher Education also reports on this development: "The University of California's Board of Regents on Thursday unanimously approved a plan to suspend its ACT/SAT requirement for admission until 2024. In 2025 the system would either introduce a new college-entrance exam for in-state applicants — or eliminate its standardized-testing requirement for all California students." (Subscription required.)
- "Dropping the SAT and ACT — for Good," 05.18.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that University of California president Janet Napolitano last week proposed a plan that would phase out the use of the SAT and ACT over a five-year period.
- "Go Ahead, California, Get Rid of the SAT," 05.20.20.
This New York Times op-ed applauds the proposal of the University of California system to get rid of standardized admission tests: "Standardized admissions tests, which many aspiring low-income students see as the greatest barrier to their college goals, are being eliminated this spring as entrance requirements by one institution after another."
- "Fearing a Second Wave of Covid-19, Some Colleges Will End Fall Semester Early," 05.20.20.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "with infectious-disease experts forecasting recurring waves of Covid-19 contagion, a number of colleges are coalescing around a plan to send students home by Thanksgiving this fall." (Subscription required.)
- "Colleges plan for on-campus classes, even as scientists warn of risk for COVID-19," 05.20.20.
The Boston Globe reports that "the leaders of major Boston-area colleges and universities say they are hoping to hold some or all of their courses on campus this fall, even as epidemiologists warn that colleges by their very nature might put students and faculty at risk for COVID-19."
- "Community Colleges Likeliest to Stay Virtual," 05.20.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that most two-year public colleges are planning to stick with virtual instruction in the fall.
- "Fever Checks and Quarantine Dorms: The Fall College Experience?," 05.19.20.
The New York Times reports that as colleges and universities try to chart a path forward, "opening up, though vital to the survival of some institutions, is proving much more intricate than shutting down."
- "What It's Gonna Take," 05.18.20.
Inside Higher Ed writes about "what will it take for colleges to reopen responsibly as long as there is no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 [and then asks] how realistic is it that colleges can put [those] measures in place by fall?"
- "Colleges Aren't Reopening in the Fall," 05.18.20.
An associate professor of higher education, writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, argues that colleges and universities that have announced that they will reopen for in-person teaching in the fall are not being truthful: "Higher education will be one of the last industries to resume business as usual, because of concerns with social distancing, contact tracing, and the intermingling of younger students and older faculty and staff members. This means that a full reopening of most colleges in the fall almost certainly won't happen." (Subscription required.)
- "Faculty Cuts Begin, With Warnings of More to Come," 05.15.20.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a number of colleges and universities have begun to lay off faculty. (Subscription required.)
- "The Hard Truth About the Fall," 05.15.20.
A college president, writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, makes the case that schools should not rush to reopen for the fall semester, arguing that "reopening too soon is not just foolish, it's reckless." (Subscription required.)
- "The Case Against Reopening," 05.14.20.
A professor of mathematics at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, argues that "we have a moral responsibility to ourselves and one another…[to] not reopen campuses in the fall." ("Going virtual — and staying virtual until it's truly safe to reopen campuses — is how we can respond to a difficult set of circumstances in a way that best reflects our values and missions. It is the moral choice.") (Subscription required.)
May 15, 2020
- "Associates Want a Break on Billable Hours as Pay Cuts Roil Law Firms," 05.14.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "a new survey released by Major, Lindsey & Africa and Above the Law found that while law firms are getting high marks for communicating in the coronavirus crisis, many associates want lower billable hour targets in light of broad pay cuts and unusual working conditions."
- "In-House Perspective on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity During a Pandemic," 05.14.20.
This piece in The Legal Intelligencer argues that "with so many other pressing issues facing our law firms ranging from furloughed or laid off staff and salary reductions to financial decline resulting from clients being unable to afford legal expenditures, now is the time more than ever to stay full speed ahead and remain focused on our firms' inclusive, diversity and equity issues."
- "After a Strong First Quarter, Citi Says Firms Are Focused on Cash Flow," 05.13.20.
Gretta Rusanow, writing for The American Lawyer, delivers Citi's analysis of law firms' first quarter financial results, which were marked by the "trifecta of strong demand, rate and revenue growth," all of which, she notes, now seem like history as law firms find themselves suddenly in a very different environment in the second quarter: "Firms now face declining demand and revenue, while expenses continue to mount [and as a result] firms are understandably very focused on cash flow management."
COVID, Reopening, and the Economy
- "A majority of Americans going to work fear exposing their household to the coronavirus," 05.15.20.
The Washington Post reports that "with tens of millions of Americans preparing to return to work as more states relax stay-at-home orders…a Washington Post-Ipsos poll of more than 8,000 adults in late April and early May found that nearly 6 in 10 Americans who are working outside their homes were concerned that they could be exposed to the virus at work and infect other members of their household." ("Those concerns were even higher for some: Roughly 7 in 10 black and Hispanic workers said they were worried about getting a household member sick if they are exposed at work.")
- "3 million Americans filed jobless claims last week, pushing eight-week total to 36.5 million," 05.14.20.
The Washington Post reports that three million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total 36.5 to million workers in the past eight weeks, "erasing years of economic gains and threatening lasting devastation to the country that rivals even the Great Depression."
- "US leads world in coronavirus infections, by far," 05.14.20.
The Boston Globe reports that "the United States has the largest coronavirus outbreak in the world by far: 1.39 million infections and more than 84,000 deaths."
- "Law Firm Office Reopening Guidance: Wear Masks and Take Attendance," 05.13.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that in guidance released by the New York State Bar Association on Wednesday, "the group outlined steps for law firms to prepare their offices and employees for reopening and what changes need to be made in conducting business."
- "New York State Bar Releases Law Firm Reopening Plan," 05.13.20.
More on this from Bloomberg Law: "The bar group's model reopening plan aims to help law firms get back to work as quickly as possible-while protecting their employees-as New York City and state continue to struggle with the devastating public health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic."
- "Twitter employees don't ever have to go back to the office (unless they want to)," 05.12.20.
The Washington Post reports that "Twitter announced Tuesday that employees who were able could continue working from home, or possibly anywhere else that makes them happy and productive, forever."
- "What 'Back to Normal' Looks Like for a Law Firm in Perth," 05.12.20.
Law.com International reports that "even in Perth, which has had a relatively low COVID-19 infection rate and is one of the first cities in the world to reopen, lawyers are still not coming into the office every day." (Lawyers there "believe the shift to more home-based work will be a permanent feature, and the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated what would have probably happened anyway.")
- "California Law Firms Plan To Be 'Guided by the Science' on Office Reopenings," 05.12.20.
The Recorder reports that "as the state and the country formulate plans for reopening businesses, law firms based in California are taking their time to decide when and how they might return to the office…[but] several said serious discussions have begun about how to do so safely, even if they are preliminary."
- "10-4: How to Reopen the Economy by Exploiting the Coronavirus's Weak Spot," 05.11.20.
This piece in The New York Times by academics in London and Israel makes a sensible case for a way to reopen businesses and the economy based on what we know about the virus: "People can work in two-week cycles, on the job for four days then, by the time they might become infectious, 10 days at home in lockdown."
- "Return to Work: Mitigating the Risk of COVID-19 in the Workplace," 05.11.20.
This piece in the Daily Report, while acknowledging that "we really won't 'go back' to work, but rather will see an evolved workplace where things will look very different depending on the organization and sector," provides some guidance on issues to consider before implementing any type of reopening plans.
- "How Pandemics End," 05.10.20.
This piece in The New York Times explores the idea that "pandemics typically have two types of endings: the medical, which occurs when the incidence and death rates plummet, and the social, when the epidemic of fear about the disease wanes," endings that can happen at very different times, and in either order.
- "Legal Industry Shed 64,000 Jobs in April as Layoffs and Furloughs Spread," 05.08.20.
The American Lawyer reports that according to the latest the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report, "the legal sector showed a net loss of 64,000 jobs-a decline dozens of times larger than the fluctuations normally seen by the industry."
Health and Well-Being
- "The Coronavirus Mental Health Crisis Hits Home," 05.12.20.
Jennifer Finney Boylan, writing for The New York Times, provides a very personal glimpse into the mental health struggles of so many during this pandemic, noting that "nearly half of Americans report that the coronavirus crisis is affecting their mental health."
- "Amid the Pandemic, These Law Firms Are Sticking With Their Mental Health Programs," 05.12.20.
The American Lawyer reports that many law firms have realized that "given the intense stress faced by remote attorneys, staying on top of mental health programming is essential."
- "Covid-19 Has Worsened the Student Mental-Health Crisis. Can Resilience Training Fix It?," 05.11.20.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the heightened attention being paid to student mental health during the pandemic: "Grit and resilience have become especially salient ideas as colleges try to respond to students' mental-health troubles, which were already skyrocketing before the pandemic." (Subscription required.)
The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing
- "57 Deans Ask Massachusetts To Not Discriminate Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools In Sitting For September Bar Exam," 05.11.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that a group of law school deans have written to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, asking that the state not discriminate against students from out of state in its rationing of seats for the bar examination.
- "July Bar Exam Update: Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, South Dakota," 05.10.20.
The TaxProf Blog provides bar exam updates for seven additional jurisdictions.
- "July 2020 Bar Exam Status by Jurisdiction," 05.11.20.
The NCBE continues to update its website with the current status of the July 2020 bar exam in each jurisdiction, noting that information is subject to change as jurisdictions adjust their plans according to the evolving situation.
- "Law Professor Group Calls For Suspension Of ABA Accreditation Standard 316 Requiring 75% Bar Passage Within Two Years Due To COVID-19," 05.08.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that the Society of American Law Teachers "has called upon the Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar to suspend ABA Standard 316."
- "California Bar Exam Pass Rates Drop to All-Time Low 26.8% on February Test," 05.08.20.
The Recorder reports that "the percentage of would-be lawyers who passed California's February 2020 bar exam plummeted to a historic low with fewer than 3 in 10 test-takers posting a passing score, according to figures released by the state bar Friday night."
- "Cancel Law Student Internships? 'Mais Non,' Say French Firms," 05.11.20.
Law.com International reports that "as the COVID-19 crisis led law firms in the U.S. to put their summer associate programs on ice or vastly shorten them for cost or logistical reasons-or both-firms in France simply moved their equivalent internship programs, an essential part of legal education, online."
- "Summer Associate Programs and COVID-19: How Law Firms Are Responding," 05.08.20.
ALM staff continue to update The American Lawyer's firm-by-firm guide to how Big Law is shifting its summer plans in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
- "Simpson Thacher Says Summer Associates Can Earn More Money Through Giving Back," 05.08.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Simpson Thacher & Bartlett told summer associates Thursday that the firm's approach to their compensation would be structured around community service." ("Simpson Thacher will have a five-week virtual program, from July 13 through August 14. Their summer associates will get eight weeks of pay. But Simpson is also offering summers an additional $7,500 stipend for community service work.")
Law Schools and Law Students
- "It's Real and It's Spectacular: A Free Summer Class on 'Seinfeld' and the Law," 05.14.20.
Karen Sloan, writing for Law.com, reports that University of Iowa law professor Gregory Shill is coordinating "a free, online summer lecture series that explores the law through the lens of the show…the Yada Yada Law School will run for 10 weeks over the summer, with faculty from across the country offering up their expertise each Wednesday over Zoom."
- "In Shrinking Job Market, Can Recent Grads Find Opportunity in Legal Tech?," 05.13.20.
Legaltech News explores whether during a difficult job market more law graduates might find fulfilling careers in legal technology.
- "ABA Council Contemplates Expanded Powers, New Distance Ed Rules," 05.12.20.
Law.com reports that the ABA's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will meet Friday to discuss modifying the rules in place to regulate remote learning and distance education. ("The council also will consider a proposed rule change that would expand its ability to suspend specific accreditation standards amid regional and national emergencies, including pandemics and weather disasters.")
- "Temple Law School Proposes Tuition Freeze Amid COVID-19," 05.11.20.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that "Temple University Beasley School of Law is proposing a tuition freeze in response to the financial pressures created for students by the coronavirus pandemic."
- "UC Hastings Dean: After COVID-19 a 'Simmering Problem' in SF's Tenderloin Neighborhood 'Has Boiled Over'," 05.07.20.
The Recorder speaks with David Faigman, the chancellor and dean of the University of California, Hastings College of Law, about "his decision to have the school join a lawsuit brought on behalf of residents and businesses in San Francisco's Tenderloin district demanding action to address tent encampments and drug dealing on neighborhood sidewalks."
- "UC Hastings, Other Tenderloin Residents Sue San Francisco Over 'Insufferable' Sidewalk Conditions Amid COVID-19," 05.04.20.
The Recorder reports that "a coalition of businesses and residents of San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood, led by the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, have sued the city and county claiming that government officials have allowed the area to become "a containment zone" for drug and homelessness issues in the city."
- "San Francisco and UC Hastings to Talk Settlement in Lawsuit Over Tenderloin Conditions," 05.14.20.
The Recorder reports that "lawyers for the city and county of San Francisco are hoping to reach a settlement with a coalition of residents and businesses in the Tenderloin led by the University of California, Hastings College of the Law who sued the city for allowing homeless encampments and drug dealing to overwhelm the neighborhood's sidewalks."
Law Firms and Lawyers
- "Finnegan Cuts Pay for Lawyers and Staff Due to COVID-19 Uncertainty," 05.14.20.
The National Law Journal reports that "Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner announced pay cuts Thursday for lawyers and staff that will take effect June 1."
- "The Legal Industry's Existential Doubts Go Beyond the Coronavirus," 05.13.20.
This piece in The American Lawyer suggests that the coronavirus provides an opportunity to ask whether corporate and commercial law firms can and should offer anything to wider society beyond providing legal advice and making money.
- "Perkins Coie Cuts Pay for Lawyers and Staff, Prepares for 'Transformational' Shift in Economy," 05.13.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Perkins Coie adopted new austerity measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday, cutting salaries for associates and professional staff in addition to delaying payouts for partners."
- "Cooley Resists Cuts as CEO Peers Into a Post-Pandemic Future," 05.12.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Cooley CEO and chairman Joe Conroy has no plans to reduce compensation or cut personnel."
- "Cost Cuts Spread Across Big Law's Billion-Dollar Club," 05.11.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "most top 25 firms-those with about $1.25 billion in revenue and up last year-are opting for pay reductions for both lawyers and high-earning staff if they have resorted to cuts, with few layoffs so far."
- "Guarding Cash, Quinn Emanuel Hits Pause on Partner Distributions and Rejiggers Draws," 05.11.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan confirmed Monday that the firm has delayed partner distributions that were originally scheduled for April until July to respond to the economic uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic."
- "Changes in the Law Practice After COVID-19…What Will Be the New Normal?," 05.11.20.
A law firm partner in Philadelphia, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, suggests there will be more remote hearings even after the pandemic ends, notwithstanding some of the drawbacks.
- "Latham & Watkins Virtual Experience Program Attempts to Bring Life in Big Law Online," 05.11.20.
Legaltech News reports that "Latham & Watkins launched a new self-directed virtual experience program last month geared toward giving those unfamiliar with the legal industry or life at a big law firm experience working on simulated legal tasks in the realm of emerging companies."
- "Orrick Hires New Leader for Diversity Efforts," 05.11.20.
Bloomberg Law reports that "Duane Hughes has joined Orrick as the managing director of inclusion and Move the Needle."
- "Holland & Knight Furloughs Staff, Cuts Compensation for Most," 05.08.20.
The Daily Business Review reports that "Holland & Knight has cut compensation for a majority of its workforce and furloughed an undisclosed number of staff."
- "Lawyers See Coming Surge in White Collar Criminal, Civil Cases Stemming From Pandemic," 05.08.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that "New York lawyers are bracing for a surge of white-collar criminal and civil cases stemming from market volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… attorneys said the expected upswing is likely to mirror trends that followed the dot-com bubble of the turn of the century and the financial crisis of 2008."
- "Pay Cuts, Layoffs, and More: How Law Firms Are Managing the Pandemic," 05.08.20.
ALM staff continue to update The American Lawyer's "firm-by-firm guide to how law firms are protecting their bottom lines from the economic fallout of the coronavirus."
- "Colleges Worry They'll Be Sued if They Reopen Campuses," 05.15.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that during a Zoom meeting this week, College presidents told Vice President Pence and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that being shielded from lawsuits if students get sick would make them likelier to physically reopen their campuses in the fall: "The presidents spoke about the need to be able to do more testing for the coronavirus, according to those who were either on the call or were knowledgeable about the conversation. But the presidents also said they needed to know their college wouldn't get sued if anyone got sick, which is almost inevitable."
- "Campus Life in the Fall? A Test With No Clear Answer," 05.14.20.
The New York Times reports that "across the country this fall, college life is likely to be vastly different from campus to campus — a patchwork that mirrors what is currently happening in states and communities, as some move toward widespread reopening and others keep their economies mostly closed."
- "Colleges push viral testing, other ideas for reopening in fall. But some worry about deepening the health crisis.," 05.14.20.
The Washington Post reports that "many colleges and universities are pushing to bring students back to campus in the fall…but the movement to resume higher education in person, after a rocky spring term of remote teaching and canceled commencements, is colliding with concerns that schools could deepen the health crisis if they act too quickly."
- "Colleges anticipate big drop in international student enrollment due to coronavirus pandemic," 05.14.20.
The Boston Globe reports that "close to 90 percent of US colleges and universities are preparing for a drop in international enrollment for this upcoming academic year, and nearly a third of those institutions expect the decline to be substantial, according to a survey released Thursday by the Institute of International Education."
- "How Neurodivergent Students Are Getting Through the Pandemic," 05.13.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "students with anxiety disorders, autism and other disabilities are struggling with the disruption of their normal routines after the move to remote education."
- "Covid-19 Robs First-Generation Graduates - and Their Families - of a Meaningful Milestone," 05.13.20.
This thoughtful piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education explores the particular pain and dislocation campus closings have caused first-generation college students who are scheduled to be the first in their families to graduate from college this spring. (Subscription required.)
- "Students' Internships Are Disappearing. Can Virtual Models Replace Them?," 05.13.20.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that spring and summer internships for undergraduates are going virtual but are also disappearing, noting that "even when companies say they haven't outright canceled their internships, they are often scaling back on the number of students they're taking." (Subscription required.)
- "California State U. System Will Conduct Most Fall Classes Online," 05.12.20.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "the California State University system will conduct the majority of its classes online this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic, its chancellor said on Tuesday." (Subscription required.)
- "Fewer Students Apply for College Financial Aid, a Sign Coronavirus May Disrupt Enrollment," 05.12.20.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the number of students completing the submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, has declined steeply from last year, worrying enrollment officials at colleges across the country: "It indicates some teens may have erased college entirely from their fall plans, assuming it is out of reach during the health and resultant economic crisis." (Subscription required.)
- "Amid coronavirus pandemic, a growing list of colleges in financial peril," 05.08.20.
The Boston Globe reports that "the number of private colleges and universities in New England at risk of closing or merging has doubled amid the financial shock of the coronavirus pandemic."
May 8, 2020
- "U.S. unemployment rate soars to 14.7 percent, the worst since the Depression era," 05.08.20.
The Washington Post reports that "the U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent in April, the highest level since the Great Depression."
- "If law schools can't offer in-person classes this fall, what will they do instead?," 05.07.20.
The ABA Journal reports that many law schools are beginning to grapple with the realization that even if in-person classes are allowed in the fall, many students and faculty may not feel safe attending or teaching classes in the classroom.
- "Is a 2-Week Summer Associate Program Even Worth It? Kirkland Isn't the Only Firm That Thinks So," 05.07.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Kirkland & Ellis, Sidley Austin, Baker & Hostetler and other law firms announced this week that they are dramatically shortening their traditional summer associate programs-which are already being held virtually given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."
- "From Canceled to 'Business as Usual,' Law Firms Go Their Own Way on Summer Associate Programs," 05.05.20.
The American Lawyer reports that contrary to past patterns of conformity in the industry, law firms have taken a variety of different courses when sorting out how and whether to go through with summer programs this year.
- "Program Offers Law Students Virtual Internships With Georgia Judges," 05.05.20.
The Daily Report writes that "the head of the Georgia Latino Law Foundation, Ana Maria Martinez, is spearheading a virtual judicial internship program for second-year law students who've had their summer associate plans canceled at law firms."
- "Summer of Our Discontent: Big Law Associate Programs Get Major Overhaul," 05.01.20.
In this ALM podcast, Karen Sloan speaks with Skadden's Gavin White, a partner in New York who helps handle the firm's summer associate program, and Renee Griffin, who is finishing up her second year at Michigan Law School and who will be a summer associate at Cleary Gottlieb. (Podcast)
The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing
- "Florida announces plans for July bar exam with masks and thermometers," 05.06.20.
The ABA Journal reports that "the Florida bar exam will take place in July, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners announced Tuesday."
- "California announces online bar exam, but how will it work?," 05.05.20.
The ABA Journal reports that an online remotely proctored bar exam is in the works for California and Massachusetts.
- "Bar Exam Set for July, but Many States Still Delaying," 05.05.20.
Law.com reports that "nineteen jurisdictions so far have announced plans to push the test back to September, while the remaining jurisdictions have either said they intend to give the test as scheduled in July or have yet to make any announcement about their exam plans."
- "If states want July bar exam, NCBE will have testing materials," 05.05.20.
The ABA Journal reports that the National Conference of Bar Examiners has announced that it will make bar exam testing materials (the Multistate Essay Examination, the Multistate Performance Test and the Multistate Bar Examination) available to jurisdictions that want to administer a July bar exam, as well as making materials available for two fall administrations.
- "July Bar Exam Update: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri," 05.04.20.
The TaxProf Blog provides bar exam updates for four additional jurisdictions.
- "New York limits bar exam to in-state graduates because of coronavirus concerns," 05.01.20.
The ABA Journal reports that "Because of space concerns related to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the New York bar exam will now be administered at law schools there. And for now, applications are limited to people who graduated in the state."
- "Law Deans at Top Schools Outside NY Balk at Bar Exam Access Plan," 05.03.20.
Law.com reports that in the aftermath of the announcement by New York bar authorities that they would prioritize graduates of the state's 15 law schools for the rescheduled September bar exam, "deans from 20 non-New York law schools with large percentages of graduates who sit for the bar there have fired off a letter to Chief Judge Janet DiFiore of the New York Court of Appeals, imploring the court to look for ways to ensure everyone who wants to take the September exam may do so."
- "Deans Ask New York To Not Discriminate Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools In Sitting For September Bar Exam," 05.03.20.
More on this from the TaxProf Blog.
- "New York's Discrimination Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools Is Unconstitutional," 05.04.20.
Illinois law dean Vikram Amar, writing for Above the Law and reprinted here in the TaxProf Blog, makes the case that the New York decision to limit the bar exam to the grads of New York law schools is unconstitutional (he mounts a Commerce Clause objection), and writes that "whether it's toilet paper or bar-exam seats, hoarding is wrong."
- "54 More Deans Ask New York To Not Discriminate Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools In Sitting For September Bar Exam," 05.07.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that 54 more law school deans have joined in asking the Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals to not limit the upcoming bar exam to the graduates of New York law schools.
- "New York's Bar Exam Changes Are Misguided—Here's a New Proposal," 05.07.20.
Four law professors, writing for Bloomberg Law, offer a proposal for "what New York should do, as a practical, policy, and constitutional matter, in order to maintain entry to the profession."
- "Coronavirus Leaves Students and Colleges Playing Waiting Game," 05.06.20.
The Wall Street Journal reports that undergraduate admissions and enrollment are more uncertain than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that with the traditional May 1 seat deposit deadline having now passed, "more than 700 institutions still have open space, according to a survey by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, up from between 400 and 450 in recent years." (Subscription required.)
- "Incoming College Students Could Take Gap Year Over Covid-19 Uncertainty," 05.05.20.
The Wall Street Journal reports that an unusually large number of students who would have otherwise started university this fall are considering taking a gap year to avoid the many uncertainties associated with the coming fall semester. (Subscription required.)
- "A College Dream Deferred?," 05.04.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "college admission officers and college counselors alike report many more inquiries about deferrals from students and parents who are unsure whether their chosen colleges will resume in-person classes and normal (or seminormal) campus operations this fall."
- "Colleges Reopen Admissions for the Year," 05.04.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "more colleges than in the past — public and private — are announcing that they have space in this fall's class and are still accepting applications."
- "Colleges Won't Refund Tuition. Autumn May Force a Reckoning.," 05.01.20.
This New York Times Your Money column tackles the question of whether colleges and universities should be refunding at least partial tuition given their acknowledgment that students taking online classes this spring (and possibly into the fall) are not getting what they paid for.
- "Will the Coronavirus End the SAT?," 04.30.20.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that as many additional colleges have moved to a testing-optional stance for high stakes admissions tests during the last two months, "the current crisis could be the tipping point in a test-optional landslide." (Subscription required.)
- "A Pandemic Isn't a Reason to Abolish the SAT," 05.01.20.
And this New York Times op-ed makes the case that despite their flaws, high stakes college admission tests still provide "a more equal playing field and better social mobility for all of our students."
Law Firm News
- "The good and bad news: Firms continue to announce cuts, but it's at slower pace," 05.07.20.
The ABA Journal reports that "more law firms announced pay cuts, layoffs and furloughs this week, but the pace is slowing."
- "Baker & Hostetler Joins Ever-Growing List of Firms Cutting Pay," 05.07.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Baker & Hostetler announced Thursday that it is cutting compensation for lawyers and staff to prepare for the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic."
- "Don't Get Cocky: Firms May Not Be Prepared for Long-Term Remote Work," 05.07.20.
This piece in Legaltech News argues that while law firms' quick pivot to remote working was successful, "the legal industry's sudden shift to remote work didn't include the significant data governance and tech considerations needed for a more permanent, long-term switch to telecommuting."
- "From Masks to Staggered Staffing, Firm Leaders Plan Reopening—But Aren't Rushing," 05.07.20.
The Daily Report writes that "Atlanta's large firms are in no hurry to reopen their workplaces even after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp lifted the statewide shelter in place order last week."
- "Baker McKenzie Surveys Staff Over London Office Return As DLA Also Mulls Reopening Base," 05.07.20.
Law.com International reports that "Baker McKenzie and DLA Piper are preparing for the possible return of their staff to U.K. offices, with both firms appointing task-forces to manage the process."
- "Despite Reopenings, Florida Firms Aren't Rushing Back to the Office," 05.06.20.
The American Lawyer reports that as Florida slowly tries to reopen that state's economy, Florida's law firms are not in a rush to reopen their offices.
- "Canadian Law Firms Make Adjustments in the Age of the Coronavirus," 05.06.20.
Law.com International reports on how Canada's large law firms are managing during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some firms deciding to implement long-term cost-cutting measures and trying to decide when and how to transition back to the office.
- "Mayer Brown Cuts Nonequity Lawyer, Staff Salaries Amid Coronavirus Uncertainty," 05.06.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "five months after closing 2019 with record-setting revenue, Mayer Brown on Wednesday announced plans to reduce salaries by 15% for nonequity lawyers and staff who make more than $200,000."
- "Nixon Peabody Confirms Earlier Layoffs, Delays First-Year Start Date and Cuts Associate Pay," 05.06.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Nixon Peabody confirmed it furloughed 5% of its associates and 25% of its staff while laying off another 5% of associates…[and confirmed] it has deferred its new associates start dates and will provide them with a $10,000 salary advance."
- "Law Firms Gear Up for Expected Jump in Bankruptcies Triggered by Coronavirus," 05.06.20.
The Wall Street Journal reports that "the nation's bankruptcy industry is bracing for a wave of business collapses triggered by the coronavirus pandemic as its ranks have been thinned by a decade of economic growth." (Subscription required.)
- "Seyfarth Partners With In-House Organizations to Bolster Diversity & Inclusion During Pandemic," 05.06.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "Seyfarth Shaw has partnered with a number of in-house organizations and affinity bar associations to create The Belonging Project to bolster the careers of diverse attorneys."
- "Hogan Lovells Cuts Attorney Comp After Delaying Partner Distributions," 05.06.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Hogan Lovells is cutting compensation for all U.S. attorneys earning over $100,000 annually, citing uncertainties in the pandemic environment and a slowdown on global economic activity."
- "Eversheds Cuts Compensation, Furloughs Staff as Firm Prepares for Less Work Ahead," 05.06.20.
Law.com International reports that "Eversheds Sutherland's U.S. branch is cutting compensation for lawyers and staff and making furloughs as the firm braces for continued economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic." ("Meanwhile, Eversheds Sutherland is deferring the start date for its first-year associate class from the fall to January 2021. The firm will host a shortened, remote summer associate program for its roughly 20 U.S. law students, starting in July, and it plans to make job offers to all of them for fall 2021."
- "French Law Firms Prepare for a 'Soft Opening' After COVID-19 Lockdown," 05.05.20.
Law.com International reports that "lawyers and law firms in France are preparing for a soft opening May 11, when France is due to start lifting the restrictions imposed two months ago to halt the spread of COVID-19."
- "Lawyers Strike Back as COVID-19 Becomes the Mother of Law-Firm Innovation," 05.05.20.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that "the coronavirus is leading trial lawyers to experiment with new technologies and has fueled a wave of innovation from the litigation support industry."
- "Could Litigation Change Forever? Zoom Trials Already Cutting Costs for Litigants," 05.05.20.
This piece in the Daily Business Review suggests that "remote litigation has proved to be a boon for clients," saving them time and money, and argues that some of the rule changes put in place during the pandemic should be kept in place going forward.
- "Cuomo Offers 4-Phase Plan to 'Reopen' NY, With Professional Services in Step 2," 05.04.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that "phase two of the four-step reopening plan detailed Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo would include the reopening of "professional services," a definition that appears to include law firms and could dictate when attorneys start to return to in-office work."
- "Law firms are seeing major slowdown in business because of COVID-19, data shows," 05.04.20.
The ABA Journal reports that new data show "a 40% drop in the number of new legal matters being opened each week in the U.S. compared to late February."
- "The 2020 Pro Bono Hot List," 05.04.20.
The National Law Journal publishes its annual Pro Bono Hotlist, recognizing the law firms that have "tackled some of the weightiest issues of our day."
- "As Texas Reopens, Most Law Firms Stick With Remote Work," 05.01.20.
The Texas Lawyer reports that "as Texas slowly reopens for business beginning Friday under guidance from Gov. Greg Abbott, many firms in the Lone Star state have chosen to wait a bit longer to move their remote workforces back into offices."
- "Squire Patton Boggs Cuts Pay for All, Furloughs Some Staff," 05.01.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Squire Patton Boggs on Friday announced across-the-board pay cuts in the U.S. and overseas, along with furloughs of an undisclosed number of support staff, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis."
Wellbeing, Mental Health, & Remote Work/Teaching Adaptations
- "It's OK to Not Be a Perfect Quarantine Employee," 05.06.20.
This New York Times op-ed makes the case that we need to cut ourselves some slack on the work front during the pandemic (and argues that employers need to get on board with that as well): "The reality is that we simply cannot function the same way in our work lives as we did before. Now is the perfect time to lower the bar — the one employers hold us to, and the one we hold ourselves to, too."
- "Meditation Helps Me Relieve Stress From My Job as General Counsel; Here Are Three Ways It Can Help You, Too," 05.05.20.
The general counsel for a global chemical company, writing for Corporate Counsel, writes about the importance of his meditation practice in navigating the added stress of the pandemic and provides "some basic advice that I hope will help you get through these stressful times in one piece."
- "You're Stronger Than Your Quarantine Fatigue," 05.05.20.
A behavioral and public economist, writing for The New York Times, provides suggestions to fight off quarantine fatigue while stressing the importance of continuing to stay home.
- "Distance Learning Is Better," 05.05.20.
An eighth grade public school student in NYC, writing for The New York Times, writes that "I find that I am learning more, and with greater ease, than when I attended regular classes. I can work at my own pace without being interrupted by disruptive students and teachers who seem unable to manage them," and suggests some lessons from remote learning can be taken back to the classroom.
- "A Surprising Way to Stay Resilient," 05.04.20.
This Wall Street Journal column suggests that "reminding ourselves what we're grateful for is one of the most powerful ways we can boost what mental-health experts call the psychological immune system." (Subscription required.)
- "The coronavirus pandemic is pushing America into a mental health crisis," 05.04.20.
The Washington Post reports that "Three months into the coronavirus pandemic, America is on the verge of another health crisis, with daily doses of death, isolation and fear generating widespread psychological trauma. Federal agencies and experts warn that a historic wave of mental health problems is approaching: depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide."
- "Struggling With Remote Learning, Some Families Cut Class," 05.01.20.
The Wall Street Journal reports that "as school closures due to the new coronavirus drag well into their second month in many districts, some families are cutting class… saying they can't manage instruction at home while doing their own jobs."
- "Finding Real Life in Teaching Law Online," 04.23.20.
A Harvard law professor, writing for The New Yorker, provides some very thoughtful perspective on the transition to remote teaching during COVID. (Hat tip to the TaxProf Blog.)
Other News of Interest
- "Graduation in Your PJs? Law School Commencements Go Virtual," 05.07.20.
Law.com reports that virtual law school graduations are underway as programs begin to finish up: "Many law schools have said they plan to hold an in-person celebration at a later date, but, for now, ceremonies will be online."
- "New Program Links Out-of-Work Lawyers to Legal Departments Overwhelmed by Coronavirus Impact," 05.05.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "Cadence Counsel [in collaboration with sister firm Lateral Link] has created a program to connect temporarily displaced attorneys with corporate legal departments seeing a workload increase due to the overarching impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus."
- "Demand for Contract Lawyers Is Rising From COVID-19 Business Disruptions." 05.01.20.
Corporate Counsel reports that "recruiters say the demand for contract attorneys in corporate and government legal departments and law firms is rising as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic creates more of certain types of legal work." ("Industries and practice areas with a strong need for contract attorneys and paralegals right now include health care and hospital networks, financial services, insurance, purchasing of technology services, and food suppliers. Privacy and data security contract lawyers also are in high demand. Practices such as bankruptcy and restructuring and insurance litigation also are anticipated.")
May 1, 2020
- "Federal Judicial Clerkship Hiring Process Revamped Due to COVID-19," 04.30.20.
Law.com reports that the Ad-Hoc Committee on Law Clerk Hiring has released a letter to all federal judges encouraging them to "ditch paper applications and interview clerk candidates only by phone or video" for the coming clerkship application cycle, while still sticking to the previously agreed-upon timeline.
- "Coronavirus Pushes Colleges to the Breaking Point, Forcing 'Hard Choices' About Education," 04.30.20.
The Wall Street Journal reports that "from schools already on the brink to the loftiest institutions, the pandemic is changing higher education in America with stunning speed." (Subscription required.)
- "Americans Cancel Education Plans," 04.30.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "millions of Americans are abandoning or altering their education plans in the face of the pandemic," according to new survey research.
- "Colleges Could Lose 20% of Students," 04.29.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "four-year colleges may face a loss of up to 20 percent in fall enrollment" based on the results of surveys of more than 2,000 college-bound high school seniors and current college students in March.
- "Harvard Business School Lets Incoming Students Defer Admission For Two Years Due To COVID-19," 04.28.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports that "in a move that will cause reverberations across the graduate business education universe, Harvard Business School has announced that it will offer deferment to incoming MBAs should they decide against attending fall classes that may be taught partially or entirely online because of the coronavirus pandemic."
- "Uncertain Job Market Awaits Soon-to-Be Graduates," 04.28.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that the job market for new college graduates suddenly looks very grim, and many internships scheduled for this summer have been canceled.
- "More Cause for Concern About Fall Enrollment," 04.28.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that newly released data from polling of U.S. high school seniors suggest that one in six students who had planned to attend four-year colleges full-time this fall no longer plan to do so.
- "Study Abroad Faces a New Reality," 04.28.20.
Inside Higher Ed reports that study abroad providers are struggling with how and when to reopen their programs, or whether they can reopen at all.
- "Harvard will reopen in the fall, but whether it's remote or on campus is uncertain," 04.27.20.
The Boston Globe reports that "Harvard University officials said Monday that the school is preparing for many, if not all, of its classes to be delivered remotely when the fall semester starts in early September." (Subscription required.)
- "California Universities Sued for Student Fee Refunds After Coronavirus Closures," 04.27.20.
The Recorder reports that "California State University and the University of California systems have been hit with class actions on behalf of students who claim the schools have profited off of the COVID-19 pandemic by denying requests to refund certain fees after campus closures."
- "College Campuses Must Reopen in the Fall. Here's How We Do It.," 04.26.20.
The President of Brown University, Christina Paxson, writing for The New York Times, thoughtfully makes the case that "the reopening of college and university campuses in the fall should be a national priority."
- "'My World Is Shattering': Foreign Students Stranded by Coronavirus," 04.25.20.
The New York Times reports on the plight of the more than one million foreign students who were in the US studying when the COVID-19 outbreak hit.
- "Lawsuit Targets Columbia University for Tuition Refunds After COVID-19 Closure," 04.24.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that "a group of students has sued Columbia University for tuition refunds after the Ivy League school moved its classes online in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming that they had been denied the hands-on learning experiences they paid for."
- "What If Colleges Don't Reopen Until 2021?," 04.24.20.
The Atlantic explores what it will take to reopen higher education in North America, and how college and university leaders are struggling with those decisions.
The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing
- "July 2020 Bar Exam Status by Jurisdiction," 04.29.20.
The National Conference of Bar Examiners has a continuously updated map showing the current status of the July 2020 bar exam in each jurisdiction. (The same information is also available in table format. Below the map is a list of jurisdiction announcements in alphabetical order.)
- "Texas Moves Forward With July Bar Exam, Adds September Option," 04.29.20.
The Texas Lawyer reports that "the July Bar Examination in Texas will go forward as scheduled, but test-takers may also choose to take the exam in September or at a later date for no additional fee, the Texas Supreme Court ordered Wednesday."
- "July Bar Exam Update: New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania," 04.29.20.
The TaxProf Blog provides bar exam updates for New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
- "Justices OK 'Limited Practice' by Pa. Law Grads Shut Out of July Bar Exam by COVID-19," 04.29.20.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that "the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday said law school graduates who had applied to sit for the exam may 'temporarily engage in the limited practice of law,' including advising clients under the watchful eye of a supervising attorney."
- "NY Law Grads Can Do 'Limited' Legal Work Under Supervision, Chief Judge Says," 04.28.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that "the chief judge in New York state said Tuesday that recent law graduates who had planned to take the bar exam this summer will be temporarily allowed to practice law under the supervision of a qualified attorney until testing delays and capacity constraints are resolved."
- "California Postpones Bar Exam Until September, Pushes for Online Test," 04.27.20.
The Recorder reports that "California's July bar exam will be delayed until September and the state bar 'shall make every effort possible' to administer the test online with a combination of electronic and remote proctoring, the state Supreme Court announced Monday."
- "Data Point: The Bar Exam Does Not Protect the Public," 04.27.20.
An adjunct professor of law, writing for The Recorder, argues that "the position that the bar exam is required to ensure that the public is protected from incompetence…is unsupported by the data and should be dismissed until and unless the data suggest it."
- "Unprecedented: Massachusetts to Offer Its Own Online Bar Exam-If Necessary-Amid COVID-19," 04.24.20.
Law.com reports that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners have announced that "Massachusetts will create and deliver its own online bar exam if it's unsafe to administer the traditional test in late September."
- "Graduates of New York Law Schools Outperformed Peers in State's Feb Bar Exam," 04.24.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that the passing rate for New York law school graduates who took the February bar exam for the first time was the highest in a decade.
Law Schools and Law Students
- "A Little Less Pressure with Law School Final Exams Amid COVID-19," 04.29.20.
Karen Sloan, writing for Law.com, writes that as law students approach their final exams, "the usual pressure-cooker situation looks a little less intense this time around amid the coronavirus pandemic."
- "For The First Time, Less 25% Of Law Students Pay Full Tuition," 04.28.20.
The TaxProf Blog reports on research from Matt Leichter that shows "At the average law school not in Puerto Rico in 2018, the proportion of full-time students paying full tuition fell by 2.2 percentage points from 25.6 percent to 23.4 percent. At the median law school now not even one in five students pays full tuition."
- "Cheers! Law Professor Pairs Wine With Zoom to Bring Students Together," 04.28.20.
Karen Sloan, writing for the New York Law Journal, reports that a Cardozo Law prof is hosting virtual wine tastings for his students each week where he and participants taste wine and discuss a case or legal aspect of the wine industry.
Law Firm News
- "Growth Slowed for New York's Elite Law Firms Even Before the Pandemic Hit," 05.01.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "even before the coronavirus pandemic unleashed market turmoil, many of New York's elite law firms were struggling to match their performance from the prior two years."
- "Reinventing Your Law Firm: If Not Now, When?," 04.30.20.
This piece in The American Lawyer identifies some "fundamental themes that future-focused leaders should be considering" when trying to position their firms for the post-pandemic world, which, the author suggests, will not be a return to normal.
- "Pandemic IX: Law firm transformation," 04.30.20.
Jordan Furlong, writing for his Law21 blog, shares his "thoughts about how this pandemic and its aftermath will eventually change the nature of law firms of all sizes, especially large full-service firms."
- "Katten Pairs Pay Cuts, Furloughs With Assistance Fund for Idled Employees," 04.29.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Katten Muchin Rosenman announced its first major austerity measures Wednesday, implementing furloughs and pay cuts but steering clear of layoffs."
- "Navigating the Pandemic: Tips for Young Lawyers on the Rise," 04.29.20.
A law firm associate, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, suggests "a few things that young lawyers can do during this time to prepare for whatever may come."
- "How Can Law Firms Safely Reopen? New York Bar Group to Make Recommendations," 04.29.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that "the New York State Bar Association is pushing for law offices to be allowed to reopen before other nonessential businesses, announcing Wednesday that it's formed a group to recommend how to quickly and safely bring lawyers and staff back to their offices."
- "Legal Industry Not First in Line as Cuomo Outlines Reopening Plan for New York Businesses," 04.27.20.
The New York Law Journal reports that as Governor Cuomo and his administration plan for a gradual reopening of the state, law firms will not be included in the first phase, which will focus on manufacturing and construction services.
- "Littler to Cut Pay for Lawyers and Staff Amid 'Financial Uncertainty'," 04.28.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Littler Mendelson, the nation's largest labor and employment firm, is one of the latest big firms to announce pay cuts for attorneys and staff in response to economic uncertainty from the pandemic."
- "Akerman Implements Layoffs and Pay Cuts, Anticipating Difficult Second Half," 04.28.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "Akerman is 'resizing' its workforce and cutting pay for attorneys and staff in preparation for months of continuing uncertainty brought by the coronavirus pandemic."
- "Baker Botts Cuts Pay Due to COVID-19 But Avoids Layoffs or Furloughs," 04.27.20.
The Texas Lawyer reports that "To deal with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Baker Botts will impose temporary pay cuts May 1 for lawyers and staff making more than $70,000. The firm is also delaying the start date for new associates to 2021."
- "Why More Firms Should Cut Salaries Sooner Rather Than Later," 04.27.20.
Hugh Simons, writing for The American Lawyer, says that in light of the emerging consensus that for 2020 large law firm revenue is likely to decline 15 to 20 percent from last year, more firms should be cutting salaries, and he provides guidance on how to do it based on 2019 profit margins.
- "Virus Crisis Could Be Big Test of Law Firms' Diversity Efforts," 04.27.20.
Bloomberg Law writes that "it has taken nearly a decade for the legal industry to recover from Great Recession era lawyer job cuts that disproportionately affected women and attorneys of color, but there are new fears that the coronavirus crisis could erase progress made since."
International Law Firm News
- "Italy's Elite Law Firms to Reopen as Nation Eases Lockdown Restrictions," 05.01.20.
On a somewhat hopeful note, Law.com International reports that "the Italian government will begin a phased easing of lockdown restrictions from Monday...[with some of] Italy's elite crop of firms preparing to reopen offices in Milan."
- "Gide Cuts Partner Distributions and Spending to Weather COVID-19 Crisis," 04.29.20.
Law.com International reports that French law firm "Gide said it would reduce partner distributions this year by up to 25% on a sliding scale, with senior partners taking the deepest cuts and younger partners taking lesser or no cuts to their distributions."
- "How Africa's Biggest Law Firms Are Bearing Up in the Age of COVID-19," 04.29.20.
Law.com International reports that "the COVID-19 crisis presents significant challenges for Africa's biggest corporate law firms."
- "Dentons Australia Cuts Staff and Partner Pay," 04.27.20.
Law.com International reports that "Dentons has cut Australia staff pay by 20% and partner pay by half to preserve as many jobs as possible in the COVID-19 crisis, it has announced."
Wellbeing, Mental Health, Innovation, and Remote Work Adaptations
- "Law Firms Want to Improve Mental Health, but They're 'Failing to Take Preventative Action'," 04.27.20.
The American Lawyer reports that "responses to the ALM's Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey show that many doubt whether those in charge will ever sincerely address the causes of poor mental health in the profession."
- "'It Was Just Too Much': How Remote Learning Is Breaking Parents," 04.27.20.
The New York Times reports on the toll that having to home school children while working is taking on parents, pushing some to a breaking point.
- "The Coronavirus Will Change the Legal Industry's Approach to Remote Work-But How?," 04.24.20.
The American Lawyer writes that "there may be a silver lining for lawyers looking to break their office bonds: Proving their productivity now could make their firms more open to remote work when the emergency is over."
Other News of Interest
- "ABA Annual Meeting will be held online, Board of Governors decides," 04.30.20.
The ABA Journal reports that "in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the ABA Board of Governors decided Thursday that this year's annual meeting will be entirely virtual… [and notes that] the virtual meeting will be free to ABA members."
- "There's a Correlation Between Legal Ops Professionals and More Mature Legal Departments," 04.28.20.
Legaltech News reports that "the most mature legal departments have at least one dedicated legal operations professional, according to the 2020 Legal Operations Maturity Benchmarking Report published on Tuesday by the Association of Corporate Counsel."
- "Judiciary Prepares for Gradual Reopening During COVID-19, but Tells Courts to Heed Local Officials," 04.27.20.
The National Law Journal reports that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts provided guidelines Monday to federal courts about preparing to reopen after shuttering their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- "Utah's high court proposes nonlawyer ownership of law firms and wide-ranging reforms," 04.27.20.
The ABA Journal reports that "the Utah Supreme Court has proposed far-reaching regulatory reforms that would broadly open up the state's legal marketplace to nonlawyers, including allowing them to own or invest in law firms."