Weekly News Digest for Legal Career Professionals

Each week NALP's Executive Director provides a summary of news articles of interest to legal career professionals.

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



February 19, 2021


    Top Stories

  1. "Climbing Profits and Expanding Nonequity Tier Stand Out as More Firms Post Results," 02.17.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "U.S.-based law firms posted soaring profits in 2020, double the rate of revenue growth in many cases, while the nonequity partner ranks greatly expanded in the top tier firms, according to an early analysis of nearly half the names from last year's Am Law 200 rankings." ("In both the top and bottom half of the 2020 Am Law 100, as well as last year's Second Hundred, increases in profits per equity partner outpaced revenue growth…part of that trend can be attributed to forced cost savings from pandemic-related business disruptions.")


  2. Unrelated Feel-Good Read/Watch of the Week

  3. "Food, Culture, and What's Next: Marcus Samuelsson and Adam D. Weinberg in Conversation," 02.11.21.
    "Celebrated Harlem-based chef Marcus Samuelsson joins Adam Weinberg, the Whitney's Alice Pratt Brown Director, for a lively conversation about the current and future state of food and art in New York City. Inspired by top chefs, artists, writers, and activists, Samuelsson expands upon the stories and recipes featured in his critically acclaimed cookbook The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food as he and Weinberg consider the deep and enduring connections between Black artists and chefs." (59 minutes on YouTube)

    1. "Marcus Samuelsson: Erasing Black Culinary History Ignores 'The Soul Of American Food'," 10.26.20.
      Also see this NPR Fresh Air interview with Samuelsson about his new book: "The more we know about Blackness and food, we don't understand how complex it is. It's not monolithic and it's highly layered, and therefore, it's also uniquely American — not just for the Black population of America, for all of America. For me, I think the best parallel is with American music. When we think about American music, you cannot think about American music without the contribution of Black people, whether it's gospel, R&B, rock 'n' roll to today's hip-hop or funk."


  4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  5. "Diversity 'bottleneck' and minority attrition keep firm leadership ranks white and male, new ABA survey says," 02.17.21.
    The ABA Journal reports that the 2020 Model Diversity Survey Report, released by the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, and the first ABA report on diversity, equity and inclusion in law firm practice finds that "more minorities are getting hired as associates, but law firm leadership is mostly white and male because of a diversity "bottleneck" and higher rates of minority attrition."

  6. "More Women of Color Take On Big Law Leadership Roles," 02.17.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that Covington & Burling, Perkins Coie, and Squire have all appointed women of color into leadership roles in recent weeks.

  7. "Intel Teams Up With North Carolina Central University to Create Path for Diverse In-House Attorneys," 02.17.21.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "Intel announced Wednesday that it will endow $5 million over the next five years to the North Carolina Central University School of Law, a historically Black institution…the endowment will create a technology law and policy center as well as an in-house summer associate program for law students."

  8. "Gibson Dunn, Arnold & Porter Join Corporate Heavyweights in Black Equity Certification Program," 02.17.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher are among 25 major U.S. employers committing to set up a plan to become MLT Black Equity at Work Certified, a program of Management Leadership for Tomorrow." ("Management Leadership for Tomorrow is a nonprofit working to transform leadership pipelines at more than 120 companies. Its mission is to help high-achieving people of color realize their full potential.")

  9. "Diversity on boards improves the outcome of M&A transactions, University of Sherbrooke study shows," 02.16.21.
    The Canadian Lawyer reports that "diversity in gender and race on corporate boards are essential goals in themselves, but research shows that it can also lead to better outcomes for mergers and acquisitions and other dealmaking, say lawyers at Norton Rose Fulbright."

  10. "Big Law Doesn't Have a Pipeline Problem. It Has an Elitism Problem.," 02.15.21.
    Zack Needles, writing for Law.com, concludes "Big Law's lack of diversity is due in large part to its lack of creativity, particularly with regard to its needlessly restrictive law school recruitment and lateral hiring practices, which have traditionally involved casting small nets into the same shallow, overfished ponds year after year."

  11. "One Year Since Novartis Required Diverse Legal Teams, Did it Work?," 02.15.21.
    Law.com International has this follow-up story one year after Novartis implemented a policy that required firms doing its work to "to ensure at least 30% of billable associate time and 20% of partner time was provided by females, ethnically diverse, and LGBTQ+ professionals."

  12. "Companies Want Lawyer Diversity, But Firms Lack Set Standard," 02.12.21.
    Bloomberg Law reports that law firms are frustrated by the lack of consistency in the way that corporations ask for diversity data, with one law firm complaining that it up to 800 hours every year responding to diversity questionnaires from 10-15% of its clients.

  13. "Diversity Data Is More Than Just Numbers on a Spreadsheet," 02.11.21.
    The editor in chief of Legaltech News, writing here for Law.com, "[expects] to see more initiatives like [the one rolled out by Coca-Cola] truly take root within the next year, as diversity data collection becomes more of an operational need within legal…as the drive for legal diversity becomes an imperative, so too does figuring out the nuts and bolts of how to collect and examine this data."


  14. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  15. "Op-Ed: Give California's college students vaccine priority. Without it, fall campus life is in danger," 02.18.21.
    UCLA School of Law's Dean Jennifer Mnookin co-authors an LA Times op-ed that argues "faculty, staff and students need to be given access to the vaccine sooner rather than later so that a full university life can resume in the fall." ("Unless we commit to give college students vaccine access before fall terms begin, many will have to continue their educations in their childhood bedrooms, at local coffee shops and who knows where else. Some will opt out of college, perhaps forever. Without timely, more complete vaccination, higher education will remain a shadow of itself.")

  16. "The Race to Fix Virtual Meetings," 02.17.21.
    The New York Times Magazine writes that we will not be stuck on Zoom for the rest of our lives, assuring us that in second generation online meeting platforms are gestating deep in the Silicon Valley where many new "virtual-meeting start-ups have emerged as a result of the pandemic, spurred by consumer demand from those stuck at home and fueled by venture capitalists eager to capture a slice of the videoconferencing market currently dominated by the likes of Zoom and Google Meet."

  17. "Indigenous and LGBTQ Students' Mental Health Most Hurt by Pandemic," 02.17.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "Indigenous students reported the highest rates of negative mental health related to the pandemic compared to students in all other racial and ethnic groups who visited their college counseling centers last year, according to new data released by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health…Black, Hispanic or Latino, and Indigenous students also reported the highest rates of grief and loss…between 71 and 72 percent of American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students who started treatment through their college counseling center reported negative mental health impacts due to COVID-19, a higher rate than Black students (56 percent), Hispanic or Latino students (65 percent), Asian students (62 percent) and white students (68 percent)…LGBTQ students, especially nonbinary, pansexual, queer and transgender male students, also experienced higher rates of negative mental health during the pandemic than their non-LGBTQ peers."

  18. "'What's the Point?' Young People's Despair Deepens as Covid-19 Crisis Drags On," 02.14.21.
    The New York Times reports that "mental health professionals are growing increasingly alarmed about the deteriorating mental state of young people, who they say have been among the most badly affected by a world with a foreshortened sense of the future."

  19. "Promoting and protecting mental health in the legal profession," 02.11.21.
    The Canadian Lawyer writes that "there are multiple reasons why lawyers in particular face challenges when it comes to promoting and protecting their mental health despite research indicating they need to pay attention to this area of their lives."


  20. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  21. "California Won't Ditch Facial Recognition for February Bar Exam," 02.17.21.
    The Recorder reports that "despite the threat of a lawsuit, the State Bar of California says concerns over the use of facial recognition on the online bar exam are too vague to make the case that the technology is discriminatory."

  22. "'It's a Terrible Situation': Online Bar Exam Looms for Texas Law Grads Without Power," 02.17.21.
    The Texas Lawyer reports that "thousands of Texans remain without power due to a frigid winter storm, and law graduates slated to take the state's online bar exam next week are wondering whether the test is even possible." ("A growing chorus of lawyers and law graduates are calling on the Texas Board of Law Examiners to postpone the two-day exam, currently scheduled for Feb. 23 and 24.")

    1. "Texas Will Give Online Bar Exam Next Week, but Offers Alternatives For Those Without Power," 02.18.21.
      The Texas Lawyer reports that "Texas will move ahead with the online bar exam on Feb. 23 and 24, despite the fact that thousands in the state remain without power or water due to a frigid winter storm that has crippled key infrastructure."


  23. Law Schools and Law Students

  24. "The Most Diverse Law Schools," 02.16.21.
    The TaxProf Blog highlights an article in preLaw, a National Jurist publication, that ranks and grades law schools by how diverse they are.

  25. "60% Through The Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Cycle: Applicants Are Up 21%, With Biggest Increases Among The Highest LSAT Bands," 02.15.21.
    The TaxProf Blog provides an update on the latest law school application numbers.

  26. "With Delayed Bar Exams, Law Schools Want More Time for Grads to Secure Jobs," 02.12.21.
    Law.com reports that "a group of law deans from California, New York and New Jersey have asked the American Bar Association to add a second round of graduate employment data collection in June, citing recent delays in bar exam results."

  27. "Georgetown Law Nets $34 Million in Donations," 02.12.21.
    Law.com reports that "Georgetown University Law Center has secured two major donations totaling $34 million, one of which is the single largest gift in the law school's history."


  28. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  29. "COVID-19 Kept Big Law and the DOJ Busy in 2020, Report Shows," 02.18.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the Law Firms Activity Report, released Thursday by Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company, found that law firms including Dentons, Greenberg Traurig, Litchfield Cavo and Jackson Lewis took on hundreds of cases on behalf of clients defending themselves in litigation tied to the fallout from the pandemic…Steptoe alone took on 210 COVID cases in 44 districts defending clients in the areas of contracts, ERISA, insurance and trademark law."

  30. "Job Hunting Rules for the (Post) COVID-19 Era," 02.18.21.
    A law firm partner, writing for the New York Law Journal, provides advice for lawyer job seekers for the post-COVID world.

  31. "Why Are Chicago Partners So Unhappy With Their Pay?," 02.17.21.
    The American Lawyer reports on the results of the 2020 Partner Compensation Survey from Major, Lindsey & Africa, noting that "about 28% of partners [in Chicago] registered some level of dissatisfaction with their pay, second only to Philadelphia (35%) across markets surveyed."

  32. "Security, privacy must guide justice modernization, legal profession task force says," 02.17.21.
    TriCity News reports that "in a report released Wednesday, a Canadian Bar Association task force says the legal system must build on innovations — such as virtual hearings and electronic filing of documents — adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic…but it stresses that new measures and technology must be rolled out in a way that enhances access to justice and does not unintentionally inhibit it." (Hat tip to Sam Halpert)

  33. "Young Lawyers Are Drowning in Debt. They Want the ABA to Help.," 02.16.21.
    Law.com reports that "[the ABA's] Young Lawyers Division and its Law Student Division have jointly introduced a resolution, dubbed 106B, calling for various changes that would help borrowers facing financial hardships…the resolution will be considered when the ABA's House of Delegates convenes virtually Feb. 22 during its midyear meeting."

  34. "Alternative business models at law firms could be a boon to women lawyers: Miller Titerle," 02.16.21.
    The Canadian Lawyer reports that according to at least one expert, "alternative business models that allow for flexibility and recognize that lawyers have different contributions to make could be an important factor in retaining women lawyers."


  35. Law Firm Year-End Financial Reporting

  36. "Hogan Lovells, With Right Practice Mix and a Change in Partner Pay, Sees Profit Hike," 02.19.21.
    (The American Lawyer: Revenue up 2.8%, PPP up 30.8%)

  37. "Crowell Rides Contingency Fee Wins to 47% Spike in Profits, Double-Digit Revenue Growth," 02.18.21.
    (National Law Journal: Revenue up 18.7%, PPP up 46.6%)

  38. "King & Spalding's Revenue, Profit Soared as Demand for Partner Time Picked Up," 02.18.21.
    (The Daily Report: Revenue up 14.3%, PPP up 17%)

  39. "'A Tale of Two Halves': Dickinson Wright Ups PEP by 15%," 02.18.21.
    (The American Lawyer: Revenue up 2.9%, PPP up 14.9%)

  40. "Expense Cuts, Early Planning Fueled Dorsey & Whitney's 2020 Profit Jump," 02.17.21.
    (The American Lawyer: Revenue up 7%, PPP up 29.1%)

  41. "'Surprising And Fascinating': Debevoise Saw Partner Profits Jump 23% in 2020," 02.17.21.
    (The American Lawyer: Revenue up 16.7%, PPP up 23%)

  42. "Cooley Revenue, Profits Soar as Tech Business Stayed Busy in 2020," 02.16.21.
    (The American Lawyer: Revenue up 16.8%, PPP up 25.4%)

  43. "Rallying Around Crisis, White & Case Closes in on $2.4B in Revenue," 02.16.21.
    (The American Lawyer: Revenue up 9.3%, PPP up 16.1%)

    1. "White & Case Grows London Revenue By 18%," 02.16.21.
      (Law.com International)

  44. "Despite Revenue Dip, McGuireWoods Was 'Blessed' in 2020," 02.16.21.
    (The American Lawyer: Revenue down 2.6%, PPP up 9.2%)

  45. "How Holland & Knight Posted Modest Revenue Growth but Big Profits in 2020," 02.16.21.
    (Daily Business Review: Revenue up 1.7%, PPP up 11%)

  46. "Profits Took a Big Leap in 2020 at Locke Lord, Even as Revenue Slipped," 02.16.21.
    (The Texas Lawyer: Revenue down 2.9%, PPP up 15%)


  47. Corporate Counsel, Legal Operations, and ALSPs

  48. "In-House Is Tracking Vendor Diversity-But Goals May Still Be Undefined," 02.18.21.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "legal departments are attempting to hold outside providers accountable for improving the diversity and inclusion on display within their ranks, however, many in-house teams may still be in the early stages of harvesting the data necessary to effectively track those efforts while also attempting to seek out new, minority-owned providers to engage."


  49. Higher Education

  50. "A College Program for Disadvantaged Teens Could Shake Up Elite Admissions," 02.18.21.
    The New York Times reports that "an education program is immersing underprivileged students in Ivy League classes, and the students' success has raised questions about how elite university gatekeepers determine college prospects." (The founder of the National Education Equity Lab, a New York-based nonprofit, says "the goal of the pilot program was reimagining and expanding the roles and responsibilities of universities, and encouraging them to pursue star students from underprivileged backgrounds with the same enthusiasm and success with which they identify top athletes.")

  51. "Kansas lawmakers want tuition refunds for college classes put online due to COVID," 02.17.21.
    The Kansas City Star reports that "Kansas lawmakers want to refund tuition to college students who lost class time or were forced into online courses as a result of the pandemic. A House panel amended the state's higher education budget Wednesday to require that colleges, community colleges and technical schools reimburse students for 50% of the tuition paid every day they spent online instead of in the classroom. The amendment would reimburse at 100% for days that students missed class entirely." (Hat tip to the TaxProf Blog)

  52. "Covid-19 reversed an enrollment trend," 02.16.21.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education, as part of its ongoing Race on Campus conversation, reports on the decline in Latino/a students, a population many see as key to higher education's future: "For years, Latina/o students have been the fastest-growing segment of undergraduates, and in the fall of 2019, they were the only demographic to chalk up enrollment gains. But by the fall of 2020, their families disproportionately devastated by Covid-19-related sickness and job losses, the number of Latino first-time freshmen tumbled by 20 percent, according to a recent report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center." (Subscription required.)



February 12, 2021


    Top Stories

  1. "It's time to reimagine where and how work will get done," 01.12.21.
    PwC reports on its latest US Remote Work Survey, a survey of executives and office workers about the success of remote work and their expectations for returning to the office, writing that "most companies are heading toward a hybrid workplace where a large number of office employees rotate in and out of offices configured for shared spaces."


  2. Unrelated Feel-Good Read/Watch of the Week

  3. "Alex Trebek's "Jeopardy!" wardrobe donated to help people who've experienced addiction, homelessness and incarceration go on job interviews," 02.10.21
    CBS News reports that "months after his death, beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek's legacy of kindness has endured…hundreds of Trebek's garments were donated to The Doe Fund, an organization that provides paid work, housing, vocational training, continuing education and comprehensive social services to underserved Americans with histories of addiction, homelessness and incarceration." (Hat tip to Meaghan Hagner)


  4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  5. "Meeting Diversity Goals Starts with Measuring Them," 02.11.21.
    A director of legal operations, writing for Legaltech News, provides "three steps for ensuring your organization can quantify its pathway to diversity."

  6. "Isn't 400 Years Enough? The failure to appreciate Black history leaves our nation incomplete.," 02.10.21.
    In this excellent New York Times op-ed, Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway writes movingly about the erasure of African-Americans' contributions to this country's history.

  7. "The Coca-Cola Effect: New Diversity Guidelines Intrigue In-House Leaders," 02.09.21.
    Corporate Counsel writes in-house leaders from a range of industries are taking note of Coca-Cola Co.'s new diversity guidelines that require at least 30% of the lawyers on its new cases be diverse, and half of that team must be Black.

  8. "Female partners earned nearly 25 per cent less than their male colleagues at a major Toronto law firm, document shows," 02.09.21.
    The Globe and Mail reports that "at one of Canada's largest business law practices…women who are equity partners earned nearly 25 per cent less than their male colleagues on average…this means each man made an average of about $200,000 more a year…female associates were also out-earned by male colleagues, particularly when it came to bonuses."

    1. "AT BAY STREET'S TOP LAW FIRMS, PAY AND POWER GAPS ARE WELL-KEPT SECRETS - BUT WOMEN ARE STRUGGLING TOWARD EQUITY," 02.06.21.
      The Globe and Mail reports that "despite years of women's committees, mentorship programs and networking events, the needle on women's representation among law firm partners has been slow to move." (Part of the Globe and Mail's Power Gap series, this deep dive into the gender inequities in Canadian law firms contains some great infographics.)

  9. "Judge Sheds Light on Why Some Black Associates Are Leaving Big Law," 02.09.21.
    The Daily Business Review reports on remarks made by "Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas, who hosted a frank Black History Month discussion Monday over Zoom."

  10. "Will the Law Firm Diversity Push Falter as Protests Fade?," 02.08.21.
    Bloomberg Law reports that "Big Law firms are under the spotlight over whether they will follow through on pledges to improve diversity and inclusion, months after the mass protests over racial justice and equity."

  11. "Apprehensions Cloud Legal's Inclusion Metric Collection and Accuracy," 02.08.21.
    Legaltech News reports on the growing complexity, and sometime inaccuracy, of law firm DEI data as law firms and legal departments increasingly add qualitative measures to the traditionally collected quantitate measures to try to capture a fuller picture.

  12. "How I Made Partner: 'My Immigrant Experience. Grit. And Perseverance', Says Quinn Emanuel's Suong Nguyen," 02.08.21.
    Law.com speaks with Suong (Shu) Nguyen, a new partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

  13. "The Economist Placing Value on Black Women's Overlooked Work," 02.05.21.
    The New York Times takes a look at the work of economist Nina Banks, who argues that community activism by Black and other marginalized women dating back more than 100 years is important unpaid work that has not been fairly valued economically: "Recognizing this collective activism as work reveals the extra burden Black and brown women are under."

  14. "He Almost Quit the Law. Instead, He Reset Canada's Indigenous Dialogue.," 02.05.21.
    The New York Times profiles Murray Sinclair, who is Anishinaabe and a lawyer, and who has been "a national leader in guiding Canada's conversation on reforms for Indigenous people, most recently as a member of the Senate." (Mr. Sinclair led the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which released its final report in 2015, "part of a groundbreaking apology to Indigenous people for laws that sent children, frequently by force, to church-run boarding schools where many faced physical, cultural and sexual abuse.")


  15. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  16. "Beyond Burned Out," 02.11.21.
    This Harvard Business Review article by Jennifer Moss makes the case that we are in the midst of an unprecedented burnout epidemic that has come about as the result of an existing problem made exponentially worse by the pandemic and prescribes tactics companies can use to address some of the organizational roots of burnout. (Hat tip to Vic Massaglia)

  17. "After Turbulent Year, Bar Associations Urge Lawyers To Focus on Mental Health," 02.10.21.
    The Daily Business Review reports that because COVID-19 has exacerbated the level of isolation for lawyers, bar associations in several states around the country have stressed the importance of mental health in the legal profession.

  18. "A practical guide to working remotely with all 16 personality types," 02.05.21.
    Fast Company takes a look at remote work through the lens of the 16 personality types of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). (Hat tip to Lisa Abrams)


  19. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  20. "California Bar Threatened With Lawsuit Over Online Bar Exam Technology," 02.11.21.
    The Recorder reports that "a civil rights organization has threatened to sue the State Bar of California over the use of facial recognition technology on its online bar exam."

    1. "California gets demand letter to stop using facial recognition technology with remote bar exam," 02.11.21.
      The ABA Journal reports that "the use of facial recognition technology with the remote bar exam could have an unlawful disparate impact on test-takers who are women or people of color, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law wrote in a Feb. 10 demand letter, which was sent to the State Bar of California."

  21. "Did bar candidates who had a choice do better on in-person or remote exams?," 02.09.21.
    The ABA Journal reports that "most jurisdictions saw bar exam pass rates increase in 2020, regardless of whether they had in-person or online exams…[but] in three states that offered both types of exams, online test-takers didn't do as well."

  22. "California Bar Survey of October Exam Takers Reveals Tech Support Concerns," 02.05.21.
    The Recorder reports on the results of a California state bar survey of the more than 5,300 test-takers who took the state's October bar exam, the first general exam administered online — a majority of respondents said they were satisfied with the experience but also reported a significant number of problems.


  23. Law Schools and Law Students

  24. "AALS President Is Leaving the Legal Academy for College Presidency," 02.11.21.
    Law.com reports that "longtime Boston College Law Dean Vincent Rougeau has been named the next president of the College of the Holy Cross-a private Jesuit liberal arts college in Worcester, Massachusetts…Rougeau will be the college's first Black president, as well as the first lay president in the institution's 178-year history."

  25. "Students Ask Harvard Law to Shun Trump Officials," 02.10.21.
    Law.com reports that "more than 200 Harvard Law School students and alumni have asked the school to pledge not to hire senior officials from the Trump administration and lawmakers who supported his agenda."

  26. "Berkeley Law Institute Receives $10 Million Gift and a New Name," 02.09.21.
    The Recorder reports that "the University of California, Berkeley School of Law has landed a $10 million donation that will bolster the work of its 10-year-old Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies."

  27. "Law Schools Walk the Walk on Antiracism," 02.09.21.
    In her latest Ahead of the Curve post for Law.com, Karen Sloan takes a look at "how three law schools are taking concrete steps to combat systemic inequality and racism within society and on their own campuses."

    1. "USC Is First Top 25 Law School To Offer Required Course On Race, Racism, And The Law," 02.09.21.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that "the USC Gould School has developed Race, Racism and the Law, a unique required course for JD students, starting next academic year, for the Class of 2024."

  28. "Law School Reformer Lands New Gig Leading Access to Justice Organization," 02.09.21.
    Law.com reports that "former Loyola University Chicago Law Dean David Yellen has been named the incoming chief executive officer of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, better known as IAALS."

  29. "AccessLex: Pathways To The J.D.," 02.06.21.
    The TaxProf Blog highlights the new report from AccessLex that analyzes disparate outcomes and barriers to entry for historically underrepresented groups along the pathways to law school admission.


  30. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  31. "Big Law Firms Cut Their Way to Double-Digit Profits Growth in 2020," 02.10.21.
    Gretta Rusanow, writing for The American Lawyer, analyzes the 4th quarter Citi law firm financial performance data, noting that "expense management was a key factor driving industry average double-digit growth in profits per equity partner." (Citi's year-end data shows law firm revenue growth of 6.3% for the year, largely as a result of rate increases and the shift of work to more senior billers, with associate hours falling and partner hours increasing. Her report also notes "wide dispersion across and within market segments, and particularly between the Am Law 50 and the rest of the industry.")

  32. "Virtual onboarding has provided some unexpected benefits, firm shareholder says," 02.10.21.
    In this ABA Journal Legal Rebels Podcast, a Boston law firm shareholder "says the events hosted via video conferencing platforms because of COVID-19 have provided a surprisingly effective avenue for building personal connections."

  33. "This Is What a Post-Pandemic Law Firm Office Looks Like," 02.09.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "innovations such as hoteling and other forms of shared work space…may define law firm offices in the future as the COVID-19 pandemic makes a permanent mark on how firms configure and run their offices."

  34. What Are the Biggest Challenges to Law Firms' Success in 2021?," 02.08.21.
    The American Lawyer writes that despite the financial success law firms found in 2020, "issues around talent development, cultural integration and whether or not clients will be as in need of high-end (and high-rate) work as the pandemic wanes will weigh heavily in 2021."

  35. "Avoiding Office Return Dates, Firms Point to Vaccine Delays, Comfort With Remote Work," 02.05.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "with many U.S. lawyers and firm staff starting their twelfth month of remote work now, law firm leaders are eschewing fixed targets for a return to the office, pointing to inconsistent vaccine rollouts and comfort with the status quo." ("Law firm leaders said in interviews it's increasingly likely that virtual work will continue into the summer and even the fall, while they evaluate the potential for third- and fourth-quarter office returns.")

  36. "As Firms See More Work, Legal Industry Jobs Continue Recovery," 02.05.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report shows the legal sector added 4,800 new jobs in January. ("The industry peaked at 1,160,300 last March before losing 68,000 jobs in April. Since then, recovery has been steady: Except for a 200-job loss in December, the industry has added 5,000 to 6,000 jobs per month since summer 2020. January's total, 1,126,100 legal jobs, marks an approximate halfway point in regaining the pre-pandemic employment.")


  37. Law Firm Year-End Financial Reporting

  38. "Greenberg Traurig Sees Record Revenue as Nonequity Partner Tier Grows," 02.10.21.
    (The American Lawyer: Revenue up 5.4%, PPP up 6.1%)

  39. "Profits Spike at Nelson Mullins as Firm Sees Expense Savings and Steady Demand," 02.09.21.
    (The American Lawyer: Revenue up 3.4%, PPP up 15.6%)

  40. "Hundreds of New Clients Turned to Fisher Phillips Amid Pandemic, Boosting Revenue, Profits," 02.08.21.
    (The American Lawyer: Revenue up 13.5%, PPP up 16.4%)


  41. Corporate Counsel, Legal Operations, and ALSPs

  42. "Alternative legal service providers continue to increase their market share, survey finds," 02.11.21.
    The ABA Journal reports that "alternative legal service providers continue to make significant inroads in the legal industry, growing their global market share to $13.9 billion by the end of 2019, according to a new study released Wednesday." ("The third biennial survey of the ALSP market found that 79% of U.S. law firms and 71% of U.S. corporations used their services in 2020. The law firm usage is seven percentage points higher than 2018; the corporation usage is up one percentage point.")

  43. "CLOC Officially Welcomes New Members, New Forum-And New Programming?," 02.10.21.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) announced Wednesday that the organization has now officially opened its ranks to all members of the legal ecosystem-including service providers, technology companies and law schools."

  44. "Directors, GCs Need to Examine Board Diversity, ESG Issues in 2021, Says Akin Gump Report," 02.10.21.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "diversity and inclusion, environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts, as well as getting employees back into the office safely, are among the topics that boards of directors and their general counsel should be concerned about in 2021, according to a report published Wednesday by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld."


  45. Higher Education

  46. "Aid Application Data Portend Dip in Low-Income, Minority Students," 02.11.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that an analysis of FAFSA data by the National College Attainment Network shows that "students from high schools that qualify for federal aid because they enroll large numbers of low-income students are significantly less likely than their peers to have applied for aid to attend college, and students from high schools with large minority populations are almost three times less likely to have applied."

    1. "Tough economies usually push people into more education. It's not happening this time.," 02.11.21.
      And The Washington Post has a related op-ed: "Here's a distressing new feature of the pandemic-caused recession: Americans who could financially benefit the most right now from further education and training — unemployed workers, as well as low-income and minority high-school seniors — are staying away from college."

  47. "A Brutal Tally: Higher Ed Lost 650,000 Jobs Last Year," 02.05.21.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "Colleges and universities closed out 2020 with continued job losses, resulting in a 13-percent drop since last February." (Includes some dramatic and brutal infographics.) (Subscription required.)



February 5, 2021


    Top Stories

  1. "So Slow It's 'Painful': NALP Finds Incremental Law Firm Diversity Improvements," 02.02.21.
    The American Lawyer reports on the publication this week of NALP's 2020 Report on Diversity at U.S. Law Firms, noting that "large U.S. law firms continue to make very slow progress in increasing their ranks of lawyers who are women or people of color…[and] the representation of Black lawyers in partnership continued to lag behind other minority groups."

    1. "Equity partners still lag as law firms eke out diversity gains," 02.02.21.
      Thomson Reuters reports on the new NALP law firm diversity data: "U.S. law firm partner ranks were more diverse overall in 2020 than in 2019, according to new data from the National Association for Law Placement. But people of color, women and LGBTQ lawyers remain underrepresented, especially among equity partners, even as firms face pressure to change."

    2. "Female and minority lawyer representation in firms reaches historic highs, but gains are small, new report says," 02.02.21.
      More on this from the ABA Journal.

    3. "Women, Minorities Make Few Law Partnership Gains, Report Says," 02.02.21.
      Bloomberg also reports on the new NALP law firm diversity data.

    4. "Slow, Incremental Progress Continues as People of Color and Women Remain Underrepresented at Law Firms," 02.02.21.
      You can find the report itself, and the related press release, at www.nalp.org/reportondiversity.


  2. Unrelated Feel-Good Read/Watch of the Week

  3. "Nia Dennis: US gymnast's 'black excellence' routine goes viral," 01.28.21.
    The BBC reports that a January 24 video of the floor routine by Nia Dennis, an athlete at the University of California in Los Angeles, a gymnastics routine that "wowed the judges and earned her praise from celebrities, fellow athletes and fans," has been viewed more than nine million times. (Hat tip to Jessica Buchsbaum at Bilzin Sumberg.)


  4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  5. "Hogan Lovells Appoints First Female Solo Chair," 02.04.21.
    Law.com International reports that "Hogan Lovells has appointed its first solo female chair…Marie-Aimée de Dampierre has been appointed to the role and will serve a three-year term from May 1, 2021."

  6. "Continued Emphasis on D&I on the Horizon, but Not Without Its Challenges," 02.04.21.
    A law firm partner and a law firm associate, writing for The National Law Journal, write that while "private companies and employers will likely continue taking steps to increase and promote diversity…employers and companies who enact initiatives to support or promote diversity may face legal challenges."

  7. "Justice Department Drops Yale University Admissions Lawsuit," 02.03.21.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that "the Justice Department on Wednesday withdrew a lawsuit that alleged Yale University violated federal civil-rights law by discriminating against white and Asian-American undergraduate applicants, a sign the Biden administration may be shifting the federal government's stance more broadly on civil-rights enforcement." (Subscription required.)

    1. "Justice Department drops lawsuit accusing Yale University of discriminating against Asian and White applicants," 02.03.21.
      More on this from The Washington Post.

  8. "Some Black Partners Aren't Waiting for the GC to Call," 02.03.21.
    Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, ruminates on whether gains being made by Black partners in the heated aftermath of Black Lives Matter uprisings of 2020 are going to be sustained, and on the role that GCs will play in determining the answer to that question: "The open secret is that GCs have been a big disappointment in promoting diverse lawyers, particularly Blacks, at top law firms."

  9. "Quebec Superior Court ruling is historic win for trans rights," 02.02.21.
    The Canadian Lawyer reports that "in a victory for trans, non-binary and intersex people, the Superior Court of Quebec has declared six provisions of the province's Civil Code unconstitutional."

  10. "Want to Hire Minority Lawyers? Look Beyond the T-14 Law Schools," 02.01.21.
    Law.com reports that "a new report from AccessLex Institute identifies several ways that the pipeline of minority students into law school is breaking down, and its author says the numbers highlight how the legal industry's narrow focus on recruiting from the so-called "T-14" is perpetuating those inequities."

  11. "Will Coke's New Guidelines Move the Needle for Law Firms?," 02.01.21.
    According to the Daily Report, some people are expressing skepticism over whether Coca-Cola Co.'s new guidelines aimed at expanding outside counsel diversity would succeed any better at advancing lawyers of color to equity partner than the many others already issued by Fortune 500 companies.

    1. "Coke sets diversity targets, financial penalties for outside lawyers," 01.28.21.
      The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more details on Coca-Cola's announcement last week of its new requirements for diversity among law firms who bill it for work in the United States: "Coke said it will require quarterly reporting about the makeup of legal teams that do work for it and self-identify as American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Black, women, Hispanic/Latinx, LGBTQ+, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or persons with disabilities. For those working on new matters for Coke, at least 30% of each of billed associate and partner time will be from diverse attorneys, and of such amounts at least half will be from Black attorneys."

  12. "What Canceling Student Debt Would Do for the Racial Wealth Gap," 02.01.21.
    Two university professors, writing for The New York Times, urge President Biden to cancel all federal student debt through executive action to "begin to address the added burden that a long history of discriminatory policy places on borrowers of color, and Black borrowers in particular."


  13. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  14. "Tell Us How You Really Feel: Take Law.com's Mental Health and Substance Abuse Survey," 01.27.21.
    Law.com is conducting its second survey in its "Minds Over Matters: An Examination of Mental Health in the Legal Profession" project "to help the industry understand where it stands today, at a time when mental health may be at greater risk than ever before." (The survey is designed to gather information from individuals at all levels of the firm, including attorneys and professional staff, and NALP members who work in any capacity at a law firm are eligible to participate.)


  15. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  16. "NCBE Unveils Online Bar Exam Option for July 2021," 02.03.21.
    Law.com reports that "the National Conference of Bar Examiners announced this week that it will again offer a remote option for the July 2021 attorney licensing exam-giving jurisdictions the choice between administering the test in person or online."


  17. Law Schools and Law Students

  18. "Boston University Dean Angela Onwuachi-Willig Named To Nation's First Critical Race Theory Professorship," 02.04.21.
    The TaxProf Blog reports that "Boston University School of Law Dean Angela Onwuachi-Willig, a renowned scholar in critical race theory and an expert in racial and gender inequality, as well as antidiscrimination law, has been named as the inaugural Ryan Roth Gallo and Ernest J. Gallo Professor…the first professorship in critical race theory in the country." (Critical race theory is the study of systemic racism and its effects.)

  19. "Northeastern Is Thirteenth Law School To Offer Hybrid Online J.D.," 02.04.21.
    The TaxProf Blog reports that "Northeastern University School of Law is launching a part-time, online and on-campus FlexJD…[the program] will be spread over four years rather than the traditional three-year JD program [and will combine] both online and in-person instruction."

  20. "Nonprofit that offers mentoring to law school applicants seeks more volunteers," 02.02.21.
    The ABA Journal reports that "a new group formed by Harvard Law School students, which pairs mentors with people applying for competitive scholarships and graduate programs, helped almost 500 candidates during the most recent application cycle, and they are looking for more volunteers."


  21. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  22. "Why Law Firms Had So Much Success in 2020 as a Pandemic Raged," 02.05.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "uncommon agility across the industry and a focus on strategic planning drove a strong year for Big Law in 2020, even if everything didn't go quite according to plan."

  23. "In 2021, Law Firm Leaders Are Placing 'Bets' on the Future," 02.04.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that despite the financial success achieved by many law firms in 2020, firm leaders continue to face tough questions about 2021, including the return to in-person work, remote business development changes, and longer term challenges surrounding leases and expensive office real estate that is likely to remain underutilized for some time to come.

  24. "During On-Campus Interview Season, Firms See Intense Competition for Top Talent," 02.03.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the virtual process has heightened competition for top talent, especially as firms compete to find diverse law students."

    1. "Amid Virtual OCI, Law Firms Lean on More Interviews While Perfecting Callbacks," 02.04.21.
      In the second of this American Lawyer two-part series on this virtual OCI season, Dan Roe writes that "firms are leaning on new technology tools and approaches to make their case and distinguish students from others while some firms are asking more law firm partners and associates to meet with the candidates."

  25. "43% of partners took a pay cut because of COVID-19, new survey finds," 02.04.21.
    The ABA Journal reports that "forty-three percent of partners reported taking a pay cut directly related to COVID-19, according to Law360's inaugural Law Firm Partner Compensation Survey: Partnership and Pay in an Unprecedented Year, released Wednesday."

  26. "Cooley Boosts 'Special' Bonuses," 02.03.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Cooley associates are receiving another round of bonuses, after the firm launched a wave of "special" bonuses in the fall but quickly saw their scale outpaced by other firms."

  27. "After cutting lawyers in 'a pace reminiscent of 2009,' law firms see net income rise nearly 10%," 02.03.21.
    The ABA Journal reports that "law firms saw a 9.9% growth in net income last year after cutting discretionary expenses and laying off lawyers, according to two reports released this week."

  28. "Legal Market In 'Best Health It Has Been In Years,' Report Says," 02.02.21.
    Law.com and The American Lawyer report that according to a report released Tuesday, the Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor Index, "a combination of aggressive cutting and 'sky-high' worked rates in the final months of 2020 propelled law firm market performance to near-record levels…[noting that] profit per equity partner growth in the fourth quarter of 2020 increased by about 15% in the Am Law 100 and about 13% for the Second Hundred, relative to the fourth quarter in 2019."

  29. "Associates Bore the Brunt of Attorney Cuts in 2020," 02.02.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "while law firms enjoyed strong revenue and profit growth last year, they also cut their associate ranks by the end of 2020…on average, firms employed 1.6% fewer attorneys in 2020 than at the same point in 2019."

  30. "Morrison & Foerster Lays Off 4% of US Staff, UK Staffing Under Review," 02.02.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Morrison & Foerster has laid off 4% of its U.S. staff and is undergoing a redundancy consultation review for its U.K. staff that may result in the elimination of a handful more employees."

  31. "After Profits Soared in 2020, Firms Optimistic About Revenue Uptick This Year," 02.01.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "buoyed by immense profit growth in 2020, firms are optimistic about demand and revenue growth this year, according to [a report from] the Wells Fargo Private Bank Legal Specialty Group [that found] firms anticipate an average of 3.5% growth in revenue in 2021."

  32. "How to Succeed as an Associate Without Breaching the Ethical Rules," 022.01.21.
    Two partners from Dentons, writing for the Daily Report, identify some common areas of ethical risk for new law firm associates and other junior attorneys and provide "tips for how to conduct oneself in accordance with the applicable rules."

  33. "The Pandemic Has Catalyzed Big Law's Embrace of Localized Leadership," 02.01.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the tapestry of uneven and changing COVID-19 restrictions is catalyzing Big Law's embrace of a localized approach to leadership and a further departure from centralized, headquartered management."

  34. "Davis Wright Tremaine Will Require All Employees To Get a COVID-19 Vaccine Before Returning to the Office," 01.29.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Davis Wright Tremaine will require its attorneys and staff to be vaccinated if they are to return to the firm's office…the first Am Law 200 firm to publicly announce such a requirement."


  35. Law Firm Year-End Financial Reporting

  36. "Amid 2020 Challenges, Thompson Hine Grew Slightly, Furthered Efficiency Efforts," 02.04.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "gross revenue grew by a modest 1.3% at Thompson Hine in 2020, following two prior years of robust revenue increases at the Am Law 200 firm based in Cleveland, as the pandemic, among other factors, affected the firm's top line." (Revenue up 1.3%, PPP up 7.1%)


  37. Higher Education

  38. "A steady stream of Latino students was arriving on college campuses. Then the pandemic hit.," 01.31.21.
    The Washington Post reports that "the steady stream of Latino students arriving on college campuses in recent years has been a bright spot in higher education, but some worry the pandemic could threaten those gains…the most recent enrollment data disaggregated by race showed a 5.4 percent drop in the head count of Latino undergraduates in the fall…[and] 26.4 percent fewer high school graduates from schools with a high percentage of Black and Latino students went straight to college this year compared with 2019."



January 29, 2021


    Top Stories

  1. "The Lessons and Implications of Big Law's Stunning 2020 Profitability," 01.25.21.
    Hugh Simons and Joe Blackwood, writing for The American Lawyer, explore some of the reasons profits per equity partner at the Am Law 100 grew by 22% for the 12 months ending November 2020 despite economic upheaval, highlighting several levers that contributed to this unprecedented growth, including deliberate shrinking of staff-to-lawyer ratios, access to loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, and significant billing rate increases.


  2. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  3. "Coca-Cola General Counsel Says Diversity Efforts Aren't Working, Unveils New Guidelines," 01.28.21.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "beginning next week, law firms working on The Coca-Cola Co.'s new legal matters will have to meet stringent new diversity guidelines or face stiff penalties, including losing the Atlanta-based beverage giant's business."

  4. "Proposal for mandatory implicit bias training is rejected by Texas bar committee," 01.28.21.
    The ABA Journal reports that "a State Bar of Texas committee has unanimously voted against a proposal to make implicit bias training mandatory for the state's lawyers."

  5. "McGeorge Law and Sacramento Legal Employers Join Forces to Improve Lawyer Diversity," 01.27.21.
    Karen Sloan, writing for The Recorder, reports on "the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law's Sacramento Legal Employers Diversity Collective—a new initiative between the school and 30 local employers that aims to broaden the pipeline into the legal profession and help firms and legal organizations to recruit and retain diverse attorneys."

  6. "Reed Smith Launches Diversity Billable Hour Credit for All Timekeepers,"01.27.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Reed Smith is offering 50 hours of billable hour credit for race- and gender-related work to all of the firm's timekeepers…the first to extend such a policy outside of its attorney ranks."

  7. "Should Diversity Work Count as Pro Bono?," 01.26.21.
    This Law.com International feature asks whether, in light of Hogan Lovells implementation of a billable hour credit for diversity and inclusion work, "D&I work [should] be considered a pro bono initiative" instead.

  8. "Midsize Firms Are Recruiting More Diverse Associates, but Retention Remains a Hurdle," 01.24.21.
    The Daily Report reprints this piece from the Mid-Market Report, that explores the ways a handful of midsize firms have made significant advances in increasing the diversity of their young legal talent.

  9. "Events of 2020 has sparked a global reckoning of inequality and anti-Black racism: OBA President," 01.22.21.
    The Canadian Lawyer speaks with Ontario Bar Association President Charlene Theodore, the first Black head of the OBA: "Across Canada, there's now an unprecedented focus on how, in spite of some gains, systemic racism has traditionally excluded Black lawyers from our profession, and within that, of course with the intersectionality of gender, it has had a disproportionate impact on Black women lawyers."

  10. "One Day After Biden Reverses Trump Order, DOJ Lifts Block on Diversity Events," 01.21.21.
    The National Law Journal reports that "a Department of Justice official on Thursday swiftly retracted guidance that blocked agency employees from holding events on diversity and inclusion, one day after President Joe Biden reversed President Donald Trump's order against such trainings."


  11. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  12. "Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, law firms are starting to embrace virtual offices-but will it last?," 02.01.21.
    This ABA Journal Magazine story from the forthcoming February edition explores whether the pandemic will drive more law firms to ditch their physical offices altogether.

  13. "Workplace mental health issues a challenge as pandemic hangs on: Stewart McKelvey managing partner," 01.26.21.
    The Canadian Lawyer speaks with Rebecca Saturley, the Halifax Managing Partner at Stewart McKelvey, about workplace stress and the way that working from home has compounded the issues: "Saturley says that employers need to be both reactive and proactive in dealing with employee stress and mental health issues."

  14. "Big Law's Working Parents Are Hurting. Money Is Not The Answer.," 01.26.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that Big Law is not adequately meeting the needs of its lawyers who are parents with children at home, and that "law firms risk losing good talent if they don't start listening to what working parents really need."

  15. "With 'Healthy Level of Paranoia,' Firms Tweak Cyber Training for Remote Workforce," 01.25.21.
    Legaltech News reports on how law firms have adjusted their cyber security training for the world of remote work.

  16. "Has the Pandemic Transformed the Office Forever?," 01.25.21.
    The New Yorker writes that "companies are figuring out how to balance what appears to be a lasting shift toward remote work with the value of the physical workplace."

  17. "To Empower Your Wellbeing in 2021, Recognize and Avoid Learned Helplessness," 01.20.21.
    Patrick Krill, writing for Law.com, writes that "If you or someone you know is one of the many people who has seen their mental health and well-being take a hit over the last year, now is the time to recognize and proactively disrupt one of the phenomena that may be to blame: learned helplessness."


  18. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  19. "California Supreme Court Creates Alternative Path to Law Licensure for Recent Grads," 01.28.21.
    The Recorder reports that "the California Supreme Court on Thursday blessed an alternative licensing plan for recent law school graduates that could usher thousands of new lawyers into the practice." ("Under the expanded law license pathway, those who scored at least 1390 on the bar exam between July 2015 and February 2020 but did not pass can join the bar without taking the test again if they complete 300 hours of supervised practice.")

    1. "California allows retroactive bar admission with supervised practice," 01.28.21.
      More on this from the ABA Journal: "People who previously flunked the California bar exam but would have passed under a recently changed cut score can now obtain law licenses if they complete 300 hours of supervised practice."

  20. "Modernized Bar Exam Gets the Green Light," 01.28.21.
    Law.com reports that "the National Conference of Bar Examiners' Board of Trustees on Jan. 28 adopted a series of recommendations for the next generation of the licensing exam, meaning that the test will look significantly different when the new version debuts in about five years." ("According to the National Conference, the revised exam will place more emphasis on testing legal skills and will require less memorization of wide swaths of law.")

    1. "Suggestions for a different bar exam approved by NCBE board of trustees," 01.28.21.
      More on this from the ABA Journal: "Recommendations for bar exam changes, including new types of questions and the evaluation of options for computer-delivered tests with in-person proctoring, were adopted Thursday by the National Conference of Bar Examiners' board of trustees."


  21. Law Schools and Law Students

  22. "Halfway Through The Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Cycle: Applicants Are Up 22%, With Biggest Increases Among The Highest LSAT Bands," 01.25.21.
    The TaxProf Blog provides an update on the current law school applicant numbers.

  23. "Black law students push for increased diversity at UBC law school," 01.24.21.
    The Vancouver Sun reports on the push for greater diversity at UBC's Peter A. Allard School of Law.


  24. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  25. "A Skadden Fellowship for Trial Lawyers? This Plaintiffs Firm Wants to Cultivate the Next Generation," 01.28.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Hueston Hennigan partners have committed $10 million to launch the Social Justice Legal Foundation, which is a nonprofit arm of the firm that will bring on fellows from five top law schools to try cases addressing key social justice issues, and be mentored by established plaintiffs attorneys." (The Social Justice Legal Foundation is a partnership with Columbia Law School; Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law; Stanford Law School; the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law; and Yale Law School.)

  26. "What 2021 Partner Classes Say About the State of the Legal Industry," 01.28.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "after a turbulent 2020…firms seem to be sticking to long-term strategic concerns…[and] partner classes appear to be holding steady on head count with slight improvement around gender diversity."

  27. "One Am Law 200 Firm Isn't Hosting Summers This Year Because 'We Never Intended To'," 01.28.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr has decided to not host its annual summer associate program this year, in hopes of instead using its resources to catch up on development of its youngest attorneys."

  28. "Amid Firmwide Growth, Burr & Forman Hires Creates New Roles for Retention, Development," 01.28.21.
    The Daily Report reports that "Burr & Forman has just hired a diversity and inclusion officer and a professional development officer, both new positions…[noting that] law firms across the Am Law 200 are focusing more on professional development and diversity efforts by creating new roles in these areas."

  29. "When Money Is Tight, How Can Law Firms Keep Morale From Falling?," 01.28.21.
    The American Lawyer writes that "for many midsize firms, 2020 actually wasn't so bad in the end from a purely financial perspective…[but] a healthy bottom line doesn't guarantee strong morale."

  30. "Circumstances Changed, but Expectations Didn't. Young Attorneys Are Frustrated.," 01.27.21.
    The American Lawyer's Young Lawyer Editorial Board writes that "many young attorneys are dissatisfied, and morale is low…[and] seeks to explain that dissatisfaction and provide firms with steps for moving forward in 2021."

  31. "With In-Person Meet-Ups Scarce, This Firm Turned to Video Intros," 01.27.21.
    The Texas Lawyer reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to more widespread use of video biographies of lawyers, introductory videos sent with press releases or to clients.

  32. "After Gauging Firms' Pandemic Responses, Will Associates Be on the Move?," 01.26.21.
    The American Lawyer writes that "associates are now in the driver's seat for this economic upswing, ready to pass judgment on their firms for how they were treated in 2020."

  33. "No Opportunity Wasted: Even as Lateral Hiring Cratered in 2020, Some Stayed Busy," 01.25.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "top-performing firms further cemented their edge through lateral acquisitions in 2020 and are now poised to accelerate out of the year in a stronger position than they began."

  34. "Finding a Cultural Fit When Lateral Hiring Goes Virtual," 01.22.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "as most firms continue to work remotely, the ability to adapt a unique culture to a virtual work setting gives firms a noticeable advantage in the lateral hiring market."


  35. International Law Firms

  36. "Surge In UK Law Staff Seeking Help For Anxiety, Study Finds," 01.28.21.
    Law.com International reports that "the number of legal professionals seeking professional support for anxiety more than doubled in 2020, according to new figures released by mental health charity LawCare."

  37. "Ashurst Lowers Bonus Thresholds After COVID-19 Impact, MoFo Hands Out Extra London Rewards," 01.28.21.
    Law.com International reports that "Ashurst is changing the way end of year bonus pay-outs will be made as a result of its temporary reduced hours scheme implemented last year…[and] Morrison & Foerster confirmed on Thursday that it would pay out special appreciation bonuses to London-based associates and trainees to recognize their work during the pandemic."

  38. "Dentons UK, Middle East Arm Puts 87 Roles at Risk," 01.28.21.
    Law.com International reports that "Dentons' U.K., Ireland and Middle East (UKIME) arm has launched an employee consultation exercise with up to 87 roles potentially impacted…49 of those roles are across secretarial services and 38 are across business services.

  39. "Squire Patton Boggs Raises Required Hours For UK Partners, Associates," 01.22.21.
    Law.com International reports that "Squire Patton Boggs has raised its minimum chargeable hours requirement for its U.K. fee-earners… for associates from 1500 to 1600, and from 1200 to 1300 for partners in the U.K."


  40. Law Firm Year-End Financial Reporting

  41. "Building on a 'Surprisingly' Good 2020, Arent Fox's New Chair Eyes Growth," 01.26.21.
    The National Law Journal reports that "after growing revenue and profits per equity partner in 2020, new chair Tony Lupo said the firm wants a deeper bench and more expertise to bring its industry-focused approach to clients." (Revenue up 2.5%, PPP up 7%)

  42. "McDermott Posts Huge Gains in 2020, Even Though It 'Never Felt Safe'," 01.22.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that McDermott Will & Emery has posted record profits for 2020. (Revenue up 17.9%, PPP up 25.6%)


  43. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology/ALSPs

  44. "GCs' Growing Roles Could Mean More Legal Department, Outside Counsel Hires," 01.27.21.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "the Association of Corporate Counsel released its Chief Legal Officers Survey and the results point to corporate legal departments looking for reinforcements as they take on growing challenges around such areas as privacy and compliance."


  45. Higher Education

  46. "Applications for Next Year's Freshman Class Are on the Rise - With Warning Signs for Equity," 01.28.21.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "the college-application season is underway for the high-school class of 2021, and early warning signs about the pandemic's effects have begun to surface…the number of first-generation applicants is down 3 percent from this point a year ago…[and] the number of students who requested fee waivers for their applications also fell, by 2 percent." (Subscription required.)

    1. "'Alarm Bells' on First-Generation, Low-Income Applicants," 01.26.21.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that newly released Common Application data show that "first-generation students and those who lack the money to pay for an application are not applying [to college] at the same rates they used to."



January 22, 2021


    Top Story

  1. "Biden Will Be First Lawyer-President Without a JD From the 'T-14' in a Century," 01.19.21.
    Law.com reminds us that "Joe Biden earned his law degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 1968, while Kamala Harris graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1989."


  2. Unrelated Feel-Good Read/Watch of the Week

  3. "Amanda Gorman Captures the Moment, in Verse," 01.19.21.
    The New York Times reports that during the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history read "The Hill We Climb," which she finished after the riot at the Capitol.

    1. "Amanda Gorman's Inaugural Poem Is a Stunning Vision of Democracy," 01.21.21.
      More on this from The New Yorker.

    2. "'Wow, you're awesome': Cooper left speechless by youth poet laureate," 01.20.21.
      CNN's Anderson Cooper speaks with Amanda Gorman, the nation's first-ever youth poet laureate, after she delivered a poem at the inauguration of President Joe Biden. (CNN)


  4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  5. "'Use a Heavy Hammer': Diversity Talks Must Be More Than Metrics, Outgoing NAMWOLF Leader Says," 01.21.21.
    Corporate Counsel speaks with Joel Stern, the outgoing CEO of the National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms, about what law firms could be doing better to advance diversity and inclusion.

  6. "'Professional Tightrope': Lawyer Opens Up About Pressure to Conform," 01.20.21.
    The owner and principal of a law firm Miami, writing here for Law.com, writes about the double bind of racism and sexism in the legal profession: "Every day, as a black female lawyer, I must mentally prepare myself for battle. I must prepare myself to battle against opposing counsel's and the court's implicit bias, and to zealously advocate for my client…. True equality and inclusion for me as a black female lawyer will come when I can solely focus on honing my skills as a litigator, and not have to worry about my appearance or other's perception of me."

  7. "Big Law Is Adding to Its Diversity-Focused Leadership Ranks," 01.20.21.
    The America Lawyer reports that "four firms have onboarded new diversity leaders, while two have appointed regional heads, potentially signaling a shift to a more localized presence when it comes to diversity and inclusion efforts by law firms."

  8. "Hogan Lovells to Offer Billable Hour Credit for Diversity Efforts," 01.19.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Hogan Lovells is introducing a new billable hour credit for diversity and inclusion efforts across its global ranks." (Up to 50 billable hours may be accounted for diversity and inclusion efforts undertaken by the lawyers.)

  9. "Structural racism is killing us-now what? Here are some policy recommendations," 01.19.21.
    Engy Abdelkader, the chairwoman of the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice Rights of Immigrants Committee, writing for the ABA Journal, presents a set of proposals from the committee designed to combat the ways in which "laws are used to give advantages to the majority population while creating disadvantages for racial, ethnic and religious minorities by limiting equal access to resources…. The policy proposals are intended not only to address the pandemic's disproportionate impact on Black, Latino and indigenous communities but also the underlying realities contributing to such disparate health outcomes and inequities."

  10. "'My Career Is Basically Over': Working Parents Offer Pleas for Empathy From Law Firms," 01.19.21.
    Whittney Beard and Malini Nangia from Volta, writing for The American Lawyer, write that "the legal industry risks a long-term talent exodus—one that would disproportionately affect women and diverse attorneys—if it doesn't address the needs of working parents who are struggling during the pandemic."

  11. "'The Problem Is It Isn't Improving Fast Enough': High-Profile Women M&A Attorneys Weigh In on Fixing Inequity in Big M&A," 01.19.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the number of women leading large M&A deals has remained stagnant over the previous several years," and speaks with women who practice in this area about what can be done.

    1. "When It Comes to Leading Big M&A Deals, Women Are an Illusion," 01.13.21.
      The American Lawyer reports that "an analysis of some of the largest M&A deals of last year, and the legal teams that worked them, found that…female law firm partners are often working on the biggest M&A transactions, but they are rarely leading them."

  12. "'We Can't Blame the Pipeline': IP Boutique Leader Commits to Increasing Diversity," 01.19.21.
    According to the Daily Report, "intellectual property boutique Meunier Carlin & Curfman has elected its first female managing partner, Meredith Struby, to lead the firm at a time when it's rethinking its approach to hiring and recruiting."

  13. "NAACP Legal Defense Fund Will Spend $40 Million to Put Racial Justice-Minded Attorneys Through Law School," 01.18.21.
    Law.com reports that "a new scholarship program from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund aims to help establish the next generation of civil rights attorneys by covering the entire cost of law school for 50 law students over the next decade."


  14. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  15. "Create Structure and Routine to Be Effective Amid the Chaos," 01.21.21.
    An executive coach and trainer for lawyers and law firms, writing here for Law.com, says the key to improving personal productivity is creating structures for yourself amid the whirlwind of law firm life.

  16. "Zoom Fatigue: What We Have Learned," 01.20.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports on what researchers have learned so far about the causes of Zoom fatigue and how to avoid the symptoms that impair communication and learning: "Reducing the number and frequency of Zoom meetings may actually enhance productivity, lower frustration and anxiety, and make everyone just a bit happier in these COVID-plagued times."


  17. Law Schools and Law Students

  18. "Law School Tech Classes Are Increasingly Important—And Difficult to Teach," 01.21.21.
    Legaltech News reports that "as many lawyers continue to work remotely, more law school students are signing up for legal tech courses to enhance their abilities in an rapidly evolving job market…but in a remote environment, legal tech courses are facing new engagement and tech hurdles unique to a digital landscape."

  19. "'Business-Minded' Law School Students Grab Big 4's Hiring Attention," 01.20.21.
    Legaltech News reports that "The Big Four wants recent law school graduates that not only understand the law, but corporate strategies that can enhance services for clients. Some law schools are listening, and they are adjusting their curriculum to keep up."

  20. "One-Third Of Law Schools Now Accept The GRE For Admissions," 01.19.21.
    The TaxProf Blog provides an updated list of the 68 ABA-accredited law schools that now accept the GRE for JD admissions.


  21. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  22. "Law Firm Leaders Confront Return-to-Office Policies," 01.21.21.
    The New York Law Journal reports that "[while] law firm leaders are eager to be face-to-face with their teams again in the office…there's substantial uncertainty about when to expect all lawyers to return to the office."

    1. "Remote Working Policies and Growth Become Key Discussions at Barclay Damon," 01.21.21.
      The New York Law Journal reports that "Barclay Damon offices are set to go back to normal operations, with all attorneys and staff returning at the end of June, but managing partner Connie Cahill says the option to work from home may remain."

  23. "Lawyer competence in three dimensions," 01.21.21.
    Jordan Furlong, writing for his Law21 blog, writes that "we need to start re-conceptualizing what we mean by lawyer competence."

  24. "When a Partner Underperforms, Should Management Take Some Blame?," 01.21.21.
    The American Lawyer explores partner underproductivity in the COVID era, noting that 37% of respondents to a recent Altman Weil survey said their equity partners are not sufficiently busy.

  25. "Big Firms Bulk Up Teams to Evaluate Profitability," 01.19.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "law firms are increasingly adding new staff members and software to calculate their profitability, helping firms determine partner compensation and make other business decisions [and as a result] financial pricing and analysis teams — people with strong analytics and business backgrounds, often from outside the legal services industry — are on the rise in Big Law."

  26. "Phila. Firm Leaders Are Getting Serious About Cutting Office Space," 01.19.21.
    The Legal Intelligencer reports that "Philadelphia-based law firms plan to cut down on their local office footprint by as much as one-half of their current square-footage, as the industrywide shift to remote work has catalyzed a reevaluation of excessive overhead expenses."

  27. "Rate Pressure and Rising Expenses Are Expected to Challenge Firms in 2021," 01.15.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "law firms may have weathered the COVID-19 financial storm last year, but firm leaders and legal observers say economic pressures could bear down again in 2021, including increased expenses, rate pressure and cash-strapped clients."

  28. "Restructured Roles Are Coming for Post-Pandemic Offices," 01.14.21.
    Law.com reports that as "firms are starting to plan out what their staffing future looks like [post-pandemic]…a mass shift in how to orient the job tasks of support staff could be coming…roles in law firms will be created, expanded, combined and eliminated."


  29. International Law Firms

  30. "Big Four Firm To Open Legal Practice In Ireland," 01.21.21.
    Law.com International reports that "Big Four professional services giant EY is planning to open a legal practice in Ireland later this year, in this latest foray by the legal industry into the country."


  31. Law Firm Year-End Financial Reporting

  32. "Driven by Pandemic-Friendly Practice Mix, Akin Gump Posts Another Year of Growth," 01.21.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "extending a streak, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld posted an 11th straight year of revenue increases in 2020, with revenue per lawyer and profits per equity partner also jumping significantly as the firm benefited from a lineup of practices that thrived during the pandemic." (Revenue up 6.5%, PPP up 16.3%)

  33. "FordHarrison Reports One of Its 'Best Years,' Anticipates Rebound in Employment Suits," 01.21.21.
    According to the Daily Report, National labor and employment firm FordHarrison ended 2020 in far better shape than expected right after the pandemic hit: "We exceeded our revenue goals and our expenses were under budget."


  34. Higher Education

  35. "Biden Orders Up More COVID Guidance for Colleges," 01.22.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "President Biden signed an executive order Thursday directing the secretary of education to provide, in consultation with the secretary of health and human services, 'evidence-based guidance to institutions of higher education on safely reopening for in-person learning, which shall take into account considerations such as the institution's setting, resources, and the population it serves.'"

  36. "S&P Issues 4th Straight Negative Outlook for U.S. Higher Ed," 01.22.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "S&P Global Ratings is keeping in place a negative outlook on the U.S. not-for-profit higher education sector's bond rating stability for the fourth straight year and also has a negative outlook for universities it rates outside the country."

  37. "College Board is scrapping SAT's optional essay and subject tests," 01.19.21.
    The Washington Post reports that "the College Board announced Tuesday it will discontinue the optional essay-writing section of the SAT and the supplementary exams in various fields known as SAT subject tests."

    1. "Retooling During Pandemic, the SAT Will Drop Essay and Subject Tests," 01.19.21.
      More on this from The New York Times.

    2. "Covid-19 Is Accelerating Changes in Standardized Testing. Expect to See More.," 01.19.21.
      This piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education analyzes what the College Board's decision about the LSAT might mean for the future of standardized testing. (Subscription required.)



January 15, 2021


    Top Stories

  1. "Working Women of Color Were Making Progress. Then the Coronavirus Hit.," 01.14.21.
    A professor of public policy at the University of Cambridge, writing here for The New York Times, analyzes the latest monthly employment figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and finds that "for nearly a year, the virus has widened the chasm between rich and poor, men and women, and white people and people of color."

    1. "Job Losses in 2020 Were Worst Since 1939, With Hispanics, Blacks, Teenagers Among Hardest Hit," 01.08.21.
      The Wall Street Journal reports that "December capped the worst year for U.S. job losses in records tracing back to 1939, with Hispanics, Blacks, teenagers and high-school dropouts hit particularly hard." (Subscription required.)


  2. Unrelated Feel-Good Read of the Week

  3. "The Moynihan Train Hall's Glorious Arrival," 01.13.21.
    For those of us who've spent countless hours, nay weeks, battling all manner of human indignities to board Amtrak trains in New York's abominable Penn Station, a hideous mistake of a building that Ian Volner describes as "a kind of underground people extruder-a literal tomb for twentieth-century American design," the advent of the new, much heralded and much lauded Moynihan Train Hall, reviewed here by Volner for The New Yorker, is that rare thing, a talisman beckoning we weary yet now too long cooped-up road warriors back to the trains, back to the City.


  4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  5. "The Effect Discrimination, Microaggressions Can Have on People of Color," 01.11.21.
    In this Best Practices piece from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the author writes "not only can workplace discrimination and microaggressions have a negative impact on people of color in their careers, it can also affect their mental health."

  6. "'Do They Really Give a Damn?' Leah Ward Sears Is Tired of Talking About This," 01.11.21.
    Corporate Counsel speaks with former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, who is now a partner at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, about the lack of diversity in Big Law: "Maybe it's time to ask white lawyers-Big Law lawyers-about that. I don't want to spend my entire career talking to white people about diversity, who don't want to hear it. Nobody asks them what they're going to do. All the Blacks are always lined up and asked about diversity. But we've been talking about it for years, and the needle doesn't move. So maybe it's time for all the whites to be lined up. And asked what they're going to do, and do they really give them a damn-honestly."

  7. "Experts Expect Greater Push for Legal Diversity and Inclusion in 2021," 01.11.21.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "the events of 2020 have led in-house experts to believe that there will be a greater push for diversity and inclusion in legal departments and their outside counsel in 2021."

  8. "How Corporate Counsel Women of Color Became 'Sisterhood on a Grand Scale'," 01.11.21.
    Corporate Counsel writes about the rise of Corporate Counsel Women of Color, "a global powerhouse of more than 4,500 diverse in-house lawyers [with] members in more than 900 corporate legal departments around the world."

  9. "Remote Work Eases Coming Out for Transgender Employees," 01.10.21.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that "working from home has helped some transgender employees adapt to their new identities." ("For those who decide to come out as transgender, the workplace can be a big hurdle-using the bathrooms, keeping up a new appearance and dealing with reactions from co-workers. But with many offices going remote, more transgender employees are concluding they can come out while letting their work-not their gender identity-speak for them.") (Subscription required.)

  10. "A change in how parties and lawyers should introduce themselves in court," 12.16.20.
    Following up on last week's digest item about preferred pronouns, Jennifer Lau, the Director of Career Services at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, wrote to let us know that "not only has the Provincial Court of BC adopted a new policy asking counsel + litigants for preferred pronouns, but this same policy has also been adopted by the BC Court of Appeal and the BC Supreme Court (i.e. all 3 levels of Court in British Columbia)," as reported here by the Provincial Court of British Columbia.


  11. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  12. "The New Normal Could Be the Beginning of the End for Law Firm Culture," 01.13.21.
    This American Lawyer piece worries that our return to normal, which will certainly include a mix of time in the office and time working from home, will mark the end of law firm culture.


  13. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  14. "'A Dream Come True Instead of a Nightmare': Will the Bar Exam Revamp Go Far Enough?," 01.12.20.
    Law.com reports on reactions to "a preliminary plan to reform the attorney licensing test to focus more on lawyering skills and less on the memorization of laws."

  15. "Pass Rate on California's October Bar Exam Jumps to 12-Year High," 01.08.21.
    The Recorder reports that "the pass rate on California's October 2020 general bar exam-the first ever administered online-climbed to 60.7%, reflecting the state's new lower passing, or cut, score of 1390."

    1. "California Bar Exam Pass Rate Is Highest In 12 Years, Due To Lower Cut Score; Supreme Court May Grant Licenses To 2,000 Applicants Who Failed Exams Since July 2015 And Scored 1390 Or Higher," 01.09.21.
      More on the California Bar Exam results from the TaxProfBlog.

    2. "Overcoming a Historic Bar: Victory for Applicants, Not High Court," 01.12.20.
      Shandyn Pierce, a 2020 graduate of UC Hastings College of Law and a frequent critic of the California Bar Exam, writing here for The Recorder, writes that decisions made by the California Supreme Court and the State Bar about bar exam administration during the pandemic were deeply flawed.


  16. Law Schools and Law Students

  17. "Law Prof Who Spoke at White House Rally Abruptly Retires Amid Calls for His Firing," 01.14.21.
    The Recorder reports that "Chapman University law professor John Eastman, who appeared at the Save America rally that preceded last week's Capitol Hill riot and who assisted in filing several lawsuits challenging the presidential election results, has left the law school amid criticism of his role in stoking the violent attack."

  18. "The Pandemic Could Set Women Law Professors Back Years. These Academics Want to Find Solutions," 01.13.21.
    Law.com's Karen Sloan speaks with Florida International University law professor Cyra Choudhury about why women are struggling more than men to balance work and family, and how the legal academy can help ensure women don't fall behind.

  19. "Lawyers Who Sought to Overturn Election 'Betrayed the Values of Our Profession,' Law Deans Say," 01.12.21.
    Law.com reports that a statement signed by the deans of more than three-quarters of the nation's law schools, asserts that "the lawyers involved in attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election betrayed the values of our profession."

    1. "157 Law Deans Decry 'Assault on Democracy'," 01.13.20.
      More on this from Inside Higher Ed: "Deans of law schools across the country issued a joint statement Tuesday in response to last week's storming of the U.S. Capitol, calling the attack 'an assault on our democracy and the rule of law.'"

    2. "157 Law Deans Publish Rare Joint Statement On The 2020 Election And Events At The Capitol," 01.12.21.
      The TaxProf Blog publishes the press release about and a link to the statement issued by the deans.

    3. "Over 150 law school deans issue statement after Capitol siege," 01.12.21. (Thomson Reuters)

    4. "157 law deans denounce attempted insurrection and effort to decertify election — but don't name names," 10.12.21. (Washington Post)

  20. "Anonymous Professor Makes Largest Gift In Rutgers Law School History: $3.5 Million For Public Interest Scholars Named For Former Dean," 01.12.21.
    The TaxProf Blog reports that "a $3.5 million gift — the largest ever received by Rutgers University-Camden — is launching a new program to attract students to Rutgers Law School in Camden who have distinguished themselves academically and demonstrated a commitment to public service."


  21. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  22. "Ogletree Hires C-Suite Talent Officer, as Firms Focus More on Recruiting and Retention," 01.14.21.
    According to the Daily Report, "Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, one of the largest labor and employment firms in the U.S., has hired Meg Holman for a newly created position as chief talent officer."

  23. "As Law Firms Find Their Voice, When Should They Use It?," 01.13.21.
    The American Lawyer examines a changing Big Law landscape as more firms seem to be willing to speak out on increasingly polarized political issues.

  24. "Diversity, Metrics Demands Are Pushing Firms to Embrace AI Hiring Tools," 01.13.21.
    Legaltech News reports that "while AI hiring tools aren't yet commonly found in law firms, the adoption of such tools may gain momentum if law firms see peers benefiting from such technology."

  25. "For Partner Pay, Firms Increasingly Look to Profitability," 01.13.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "law firms are focusing more on profitability when setting and evaluating partner compensation right now, putting a focus on realization rates, frequency of discounts and the degree of leverage."

  26. "Law firms should not rush lateral hiring, due diligence expert says," 01.13.21.
    In this ABA Journal Legal Rebels podcast, the CEO of Decipher says that "the transition to a remote working environment has made it even more challenging for firms in hiring mode to distinguish a nonperforming partner leaving a high-performing firm from a high-performing partner leaving a nonperforming firm." (Podcast)

  27. "Big Law Will See Lasting Changes in Budgets and Remote Work After 2020," 01.12.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that according the 2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market, from the Thomson Reuters Institute and Georgetown Law's Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession, among the lasting changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, firms are likely to adopt "bigger technology budgets, more flexible working arrangements, a bigger focus on timekeeping and greater collaboration between firms going forward."

    1. "Law firms may be at 'tipping point' for change because of COVID-19 pandemic, new report says," 01.12.21.
      More on this from the ABA Journal: "Law firms learned lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic that could translate to permanent changes in the way that they manage their operations, deliver legal services and treat their employees, according to a report released Tuesday."

  28. "Blank Rome's New 16-Year Lease Allows Firm to Downsize by 50%," 01.12.21.
    In what may be a harbinger of things to come, The Legal Intelligencer reports that "Philadelphia-headquartered law firm Blank Rome has signed onto a 16-year lease for its Center City office space that would allow the Big Law tenant to downsize its square footage within that 16-year period by up to 50%, as the firm looks to answer a question looming over firm leaders in 2021-how much space do we need to accommodate a hybrid work model?"

  29. "FisherBroyles Says 2020 Revenue Hit $113M," 01.12.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "virtual law firm FisherBroyles is reporting $113 million in gross revenue from 2020, which likely makes it the first 'distributed' firm to crack the nine-digit earnings threshold."

  30. "Boies Schiller's Young Lawyer Ranks Are Shrinking," 01.12.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "since last year, at least 44 associates have left Boies Schiller, according to ALM data and LinkedIn records-even as the firm has tried to persuade the young attorneys to stay through raises and bonuses."

  31. "Associates' 'Special Bonuses' Come With a Hefty Price Tag," 01.08.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "0ver two dozen firms have matched the scale ranging between $7,500 and $40,000 first set by Davis Polk & Wardwell, in addition to offering their standard year-end associate bonuses."

  32. "Legal Jobs Held Steady in December Amid National Decline,"01.08.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that the latest USBLS numbers show that "after six months of sustained growth, legal industry jobs leveled off in December but outperformed the overall job market."

  33. "Large and Small Firms Join Crowell in Seeking Trump's Removal," 01.08.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Crowell & Moring, which has called for President Donald Trump's immediate removal from office, said late Friday that 18 law firms have joined the firm in urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment."

  34. "The Bay Street recruitment process has undergone a massive overhaul," 12.01.20.
    Precedent reports that the coronavirus has exploded all of the rituals and timelines of traditional Bay Street law firm recruiting. (With apologies for the date on this one — it sometimes takes a while for the news from Canada to make it to the U.S., which I'm attributing to the debacle of our still-closed borders.)


  35. International Law Firms

  36. "Norton Rose Cuts 132 Roles, London Hit Hardest," 01.15.21.
    Law.com International reports that "Norton Rose Fulbright has cut 132 roles across its U.K., Europe, Middle East and Asia operations, following a wide-ranging review that has radically affected its business services function."


  37. Corporate Counsel

  38. "5 Challenges That Legal Departments Face While Promoting Diversity," 01.14.21.
    Corporate Counsel takes a look at five challenges legal departments will face while promoting diversity.

  39. "How Legal Departments Can Achieve Diversity Vigilance," 01.13.21.
    This piece from Corporate Counsel makes the case that "by leveraging technology, legal departments can objectively and consistently measure their law firms' performance, including via quantifiable diversity metrics."

  40. "In-House Leaders Want More Efficiency. This Time Their Law Firms Are Ready," 01.13.21.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "most in-house legal departments wanted to cut their outside counsel expenses during the pandemic, according to the 2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market from Thomson Reuters and Georgetown Law…but they also said law firms were better prepared to meet those demands for efficiency than they were during the 2008 recession."


  41. Higher Education

  42. "Dept. of Ed Says Title IX Does Not Apply to LGBTQ Discrimination," 01.12.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "the United States Department of Education's Office of the General Counsel published a memorandum on Friday that states that LGBTQ students are not expressly included in protections under Title IX, the law that prohibits sex discrimination at federally funded institutions."

  43. "Biden to Extend Pause on Student Loan Payments," 01.11.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "President-elect Joe Biden will, upon taking office Jan. 20, instruct the Education Department to continue the pause excusing student loan borrowers from making payments, a top economic adviser in the incoming administration said."



January 8, 2021


    Top Stories

  1. "Calling for Trump's Removal, Crowell Asks Law Firm Leaders to Join," 01.07.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "following the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, Crowell & Moring's management board is asking for the removal of President Donald Trump by the 25th Amendment and asking other law firm leaders and lawyers to join in the call."

    1. "'Inciting a Riot': Legal Community Erupts in Calls for Trump's Removal as Mob Storms Capitol," 01.06.21.
      The National Law Journal reports that "calls for President Donald Trump's removal from office are erupting after hundreds of his supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol building as lawmakers attempted to certify President-elect Joe Biden's win in the presidential election," and reports on what the legal community is saying about the violence.

  2. "ABA president condemns mob assault on Capitol," 01.06.20.
    The ABA Journal reports that "ABA President Patricia Lee Refo issued a statement Wednesday condemning "in the strongest terms" the assault on the U.S. Capitol by protesters supporting President Donald Trump."


  3. Unrelated Feel-Good Read of the Week

  4. "Heart and Soul, I Fell in Love With You," 01.05.20.
    Jennifer Finney Boylan is a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times and a professor of English at Barnard College, and she is one of my favorite people putting words together for us to read; here, she writes about how piano lessons — and a middle school friendship — changed her life.


  5. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  6. "B.C. courts adopt policy of asking for preferred pronouns to encourage diversity, inclusion," 01.05.21.
    The Canadian Lawyer reports that "in what is considered a first for Canadian courts, the Provincial Court of British Columbia is mandating a procedure that asks lawyers to provide their preferred pronouns when introducing themselves and their clients in court." ("The court said the policy change would improve the experiences of gender diverse people in the legal system and would help avoid confusion and the need for corrections when someone is misgendered.")

  7. "Women in Law: Unconscious bias training a pathway to more diversity, chief inclusion officer says," 01.05.21.
    The Canadian Lawyer speaks with Winston & Strawn's chief diversity and inclusion officer, Sylvia James, who will be a featured speaker at Canadian Lawyer's Women in Law conference on February 18.

  8. "'Already Behind': Diversifying The Legal Profession Starts Before The LSAT," 12.22.20.
    This NPR feature with Nina Totenberg tackles the diversity pipeline gap for law school. (Hat tip to the TaxProf Blog for this one)


  9. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  10. "Finding Glitter Amid the Gloom: The Pandemic's Unexpected Gifts for a Big Law Mother," 01.05.21.
    A law firm partner, writing for The American Lawyer, reflects on the gifts this year of adversity has provided her with, noting that "flexibility has become a norm…[greater] autonomy has contributed to the growth of my client base…[and] because the new norm of virtual networking is accessible to everyone, it has leveled the playing field for me."

  11. "The Future of Offices When Workers Have a Choice," 01.04.20.
    The New York Times writes that "the ability to work remotely will not drive most people away from cities and offices, but it will enable many to live and work in new ways and places — while causing its fair share of disruption."


  12. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  13. "Law Professor Calls For Waiver of Bar Exam Fee," 01.06.20.
    Marsha Cohen, a professor at the University of California, Hastings College of Law, writing here for The Recorder, calls for fee-waivers for California bar exam takers who failed to pass the October exam and will seek to retake it in February.

  14. "Bar Exam Overhaul Plans Go Public. So Long, MBE," 01.04.21.
    Law.com reports that "the National Conference of Bar Examiners on Monday unveiled preliminary recommendations for a revamped test that would replace the existing three components—the Multistate Bar Exam, the Multistate Essay Exam and the Multistate Performance Test—with a more integrated approach that emphasizes legal skills over an expansive knowledge of the law." ("The National Conference of Bar Examiners' Board of Trustees is slated to formally adopt the preliminary recommendations when it meets Jan. 28, and jurisdictions across the country will have to get on board with the revamped test once it's ready to go in four or five years.")

    1. "Big changes for bar exam suggested by NCBE testing task force," 01.04.20.
      The ABA Journal also reports on proposed changes to the bar exam, noting "bar exams of the future should be delivered online as an integrated test with scenarios to answer questions from, rather than in, sections with different formats, according to preliminary recommendations released Monday by the National Conference of Bar Examiners' testing task force."

  15. "Ninety Percent of Suspected Cheaters Cleared by California Bar," 12.30.20.
    Bloomberg Law reports that most test-takers of the online California bar exam who had been flagged for further review have been cleared of violating bar exam rules.

  16. "Will paper bar exams become a thing of the past?," 12.28.20.
    The ABA Journal writes about the future of the bar exam.


  17. Law Schools and Law Students

  18. "Making Public Interest Lawyers In A Time Of Crisis," 01.07.21.
    The TaxProf Blog highlights a new article in the Journal of Legal Ethics that "offers policy recommendations for how law schools can build on current programs in support of public interest careers and urges rethinking what it means to practice public interest law—and advance broader demands for fundamental change—that respond to the urgency of the current crisis."

  19. "Legal Ed Has Risen to Meet COVID Challenges, Says Incoming AALS President," 01.05.21.
    Karen Sloan interviews incoming AALS President and Boston College Law Dean Vincent Rougeau for Law.com.

  20. "Muller: Law Schools With The Best And Worst Debt-To-Income Ratios Among Recent Graduates," 01.04.21.
    The TaxProf Blog publishes Derek Muller's updated analysis of USDE data on the debt and earnings of law school graduates.

  21. "70% Of Law Schools Give Scholarships To At Least 70% Of Their Students; 28% Give Scholarships To At Least 90% Of Their Students," 01.02.21.
    The TaxProf Blog publishes Mike Spivey's analysis of law school data on the percent of students awarded scholarships — 56 law schools give scholarships to 90% or more of their students and 141 law schools award scholarships to 70% or more of their students.

  22. "Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Update: Applicants Are Up 31%, With Biggest Increases Among The Highest LSAT Bands And Applicants Of Color," 12.31.20.
    The TaxProf Blog reports that "40% of the way through Fall 2021 law school admissions season, the number of law school applicants reported by LSAC is up 31.1%," with larger increases reported in the highest score bands and for applicants of color.

    1. "Reading The Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Tea Leaves: 10%-30% Applicant Increase, Higher LSAT-Flex Exam Scores," 01.04.21.
      More from the TaxProf Blog on the jump in law school applicants.

  23. "Mode Of Instruction At 199 Law Schools During The 2020-21 Academic Year: 41% Online, 35% In-Person, 24% Hybrid," 12.30.20.
    The TaxProf Blog publishes the ABA's summary data on the law schools' current plans for the 2020-21 academic year: Online/remote - 81; Hybrid - 48; and In-person - 70.


  24. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  25. "First-Year Associates Are Facing Challenges They Never Could Have Anticipated," 01.06.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "law students and clerks eager to wrap up law school and venture into the first year of their careers have faced tremendous upheaval and anxiety as the pandemic upended their carefully laid plans and replaced them with uncertainty."

  26. "After Down 2020, Analysts See 'Full-Bore' Appetite for Big Law Mergers in '21," 01.05.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the COVID-19 pandemic slowed law firm mergers significantly in 2020, according to two new reports," but analysts are predicting "extremely high" interest in large firm mergers in 2021.

  27. "The Crystal Ball Is Cloudy, but Big Law's New Leaders Are Ready for the Challenge," 01.05.21.
    The American Lawyer writes that "flexibility will be important" as law firm leaders chart their course for 2021.

  28. "Constrained by Crisis, Law Firms And Clients Are Learning to Compromise on Pricing," 01.04.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "[pandemic] circumstances are giving rise to conversations about pricing, and driving both sides of the law firm—client relationship to seek common ground—both in the form of tried-and-true alternative fee arrangements and those that reflect a more innovative approach."

  29. "Split Duties: Firms Large and Small Transitioned to Multi-Attorney Leadership in 2020," 12.30.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "in a year of immense change several law firms, large and small, have transitioned their firms away from having a single leader. Instead, they are electing to be led by two or more attorneys in an effort to better focus on client needs or free up time for rainmaking managing partners to keep up with their practice."

    1. "Sullivan & Cromwell Names Two New Leaders to Succeed Shenkerm, 01.07.21.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Sullivan & Cromwell has named two top partners as its next leaders, litigator Robert Giuffra and corporate lawyer Scott Miller, who became vice chairs Thursday."


  30. Higher Education

  31. "Colleges Delay In-Person Instruction," 01.04.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "rising COVID-19 infection and death rates are prompting colleges and universities that are hoping for in-person instruction in 2021 to again shift their calendars and push back the start of the spring semester."

  32. "Colleges Have Shed 550,000 Employees Since The Pandemic Began," 01.04.21.
    The TaxProf Blog reports on USBLS tallies of cumulative job losses in higher education from February 2020 through December 6, 2020.



December 30, 2020


    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  1. "Disadvantaged Students More Likely to Be Learning Remotely, Study Finds," 12.24.20.
    The New York Times reports that research from Columbia University shows that "disadvantaged students are much more likely than others to be engaged in remote schooling during the coronavirus pandemic, increasing the risk that less effective instruction will widen the achievement gap, according to the first comprehensive analysis of attendance patterns…researchers at Columbia University found that closed classrooms were disproportionately composed of nonwhite students, as well as students with low math scores or limited English proficiency or who are poor enough to qualify for free meals."

  2. "DOJ Staff Request Federal Investigations Over Trump's Diversity and Inclusion Order," 12.22.20.
    The National Law Journal reports that "Department of Justice employees are alleging political leaders violated federal law and abused their authority in implementing President Donald Trump's executive order against diversity and inclusion training, and are calling for federal investigations into the matter."

  3. "The Unfinished Business of Office Diversity Training," 12.20.20.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that while "offices across the country responded to this summer's racial-justice protests after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day with an unprecedented wave of diversity and antiracism training, half a year later, workers of color are taking stock of the results." ("It's clear by now that corporate diversity efforts require substantial follow-up, both in terms of interpersonal dynamics and in translating rhetoric into concrete policies. Not all workplaces are up to the challenge.") (Subscription required.)

  4. "Morrison & Foerster Upgrades Diversity Leadership to Client-Facing C-Suite Role," 12.18.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Morrison & Foerster has elevated global diversity and inclusion director Natalie Kernisant to chief diversity and inclusion officer, marking the ninth high-level diversity appointment in Big Law in the past two months alone."


  5. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  6. "How to Manage Performance Evaluations in the Work-From-Home Era," 12.21.20.
    The New York Times provides "some advice for managers to guide you through reviews in this pandemic-upended year."


  7. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  8. "A Great Debate of 2020: Is It Time to Throw Out California's Bar Exam?," 12.28.20.
    The Recorder collects comments from legal experts and law grads on the bar exam's relevance in today's legal world.

  9. "Pass Rate on New Jersey's 1st Online Bar Exam Holds Steady," 12.23.20.
    The New Jersey Law Journal reports that "the New Jersey Board of Law Examiners released the results of its first-ever online bar exam Tuesday…the pass rate for the online exam was nearly identical to that of the in-person July 2019 exam: 66%…slightly higher than the average from the past five July exams, which is 65%."

  10. "Pass Rate Further Increased for Georgia Bar Exam, Despite Remote Format," 12.18.20.
    The Daily Report has Georgia bar exam results: "October test-takers achieved a 68.2% overall pass rate, which is an increase from 65.8% for last year's July exam. The pass rate for first-time test-takers also increased to 82.5%—up from 79.6% last year."

  11. "Thousands of California bar exam takers have video files flagged for review," 12.19.20.
    The ABA Journal reports that "more than 3,000 people who sat for the State Bar of California's remote October exam had their proctoring videos flagged for review, and dozens report receiving violation notices from the agency's office of admissions."

  12. "California Deans Ask That Students Who Passed California Bar Be Admitted To D.C. Bar," 12.18.20.
    The TaxProf Blog reports that the deans of the California law schools have written to the Director of the Committee on Admissions and the Unauthorized Practice of Law in the District of Columbia to ask that those graduates who passed the California bar be admitted in DC as well.


  13. Law Schools and Law Students

  14. "Rutgers University Names Newark Dorm for Ruth Bader Ginsburg," 12.21.20.
    The New Jersey Law Journal reports that "Rutgers University will rename a residence hall in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who started her legal career as a professor at its Newark law school."

  15. "National Law School Enrollment Holds Steady Despite Pandemic," 12.18.20.
    Law.com reports that "the number of new first-year law students nationwide essentially held steady this fall, according to new figures released by the American Bar Association on Friday." ("There were 38,202 new students enrolled at the 197 ABA-approved law schools in the fall of 2020, down just slightly from 38,283 in 2019.")

    1. "Law school first-year academic dismissals drop more than 50% after spring semester without grades," 12.18.20.
      Derek Muller, writing for his Excess of Democracy Blog, provides some analysis of 1L academic dismissals from the new 509 data, attributing the change to the fact that most law schools moved to pass-fail grading.

    2. "Fall 2020 Law School Enrollment Increased 2.4% (+1.5% JD, +7.4% Non-JD); 1L Enrollment Fell 0.2%," 12.19.20.
      More on the new ABA enrollment figures from the TaxProf Blog.

    3. "LSAC: The Fall 2020 Law School Class ... And An Early Look At The Incoming Fall 2021 Class," 12.20.20.
      The TaxProf Blog provides this update on the diversity of the new entering JD class from LSAC President and CEO Kellye Testy: "Black/African American students comprise 9.7% of 2020 matriculants, compared to 9.5% in 2019 and 9.7% in 2018. Hispanic/Latinx students make up 12.4% of this year's incoming class, up from 11.8% in 2019 and 11.5% in 2018."

    4. "Organ: 2020 Legal Ed Data Show Rebound In Transfer Market," 12.21.20.
      Jerry Organ, writing for the TaxProf Blog and using the newly released ABA 509 data, provides an update on law student transfer volume, noting the first meaningful uptick in several years.

    5. "Organ: Attrition Analysis For 2018, 2019, 2020 — With A Focus On Ethnicity," 12.22.20.
      More 509 analysis from Jerry Organ on the TaxProf Blog, here looking at average attrition rates and noting that overall first-year attrition has declined for three years but that "students of color are experiencing overall attrition at disproportionate rates."


  16. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  17. "Pandemic Be Damned, Year-End Collections Are Steady (So Far)," 12.22.20.
    The Legal Intelligencer reports that "despite the great anxiety that roiled the legal industry throughout 2020, fee collections at law firms have largely returned to pre-pandemic levels as the fourth quarter comes to a close."

  18. "How Many Partners Will Take a Comp Hit in 2020?," 12.22.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that partners are more optimistic about their overall 2020 compensation than they were three months ago, citing better than expected overall economic performance by law firms as a result of pandemic cost-saving measures.

  19. "Boutiques Continue to Beat Big Law in Bonuses," 12.21.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "as bonus news continues to roll in, Selendy & Gay beat the Big Law norm, while Kirkland & Ellis reportedly doled out individualized bonuses."


  20. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology/ALSPs

  21. "In-House Diversity & Inclusion Efforts Forged Ahead in 2020," 12.28.20.
    Corporate Counsel writes that "amid the national outcry over the killing of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of police, general counsel and major corporations began to speak out on systemic racism in the United States."


  22. Higher Education

  23. "Higher Ed Faculty Data Highlight Tenure, Pay Disparities Faced By Women And People Of Color," 12.29.20.
    The TaxProf Blog has data analysis from AAUP that highlights disparities among women and people of color and finds that "underrepresentation is particularly pronounced among the Hispanic or Latino and Black or African American categories."



December 18, 2020


    Top Stories

  1. "The Pandemic Hasn't Curtailed Big Law's Appetite for New Associates," 12.16.20.
    Law.com reports that "summer associate offers and acceptances remained near historic highs in 2020, despite the widescale disruption brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP)."

    1. "Law firms kept up offers to summer associates as pandemic roiled market for new hires," 12.16.20.
      More on the NALP summer outcomes data from Thomson Reuters.

    2. "Summer associate programs continue to shrink, new NALP survey says," 12.16.20.
      The ABA Journal also reports on NALP's new "Report on the Survey of Legal Employers on Summer 2020 Outcomes and First-Year Associate Plans."

    3. "With Historic Offer And Acceptance Rates, COVID Was No Match For Biglaw Summer Associate Programs," 12.17.20.
      And Above the Law weighs in on the new summer outcomes data from NALP.

    4. You can find NALP's 2020 Summer Outcomes Report here.


  2. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  3. "A Real Leap Forward: Can Collaboration Platforms Replace Conference Rooms, Coffee Machines, and Institutional Racism?," 12.15.20.
    Two consultants, writing for Legaltech News, suggest that the virtual work and collaboration that was necessitated by the pandemic can also be a means to further eradicate bias and racism from the profession, including in recruiting.

  4. "For Wachtell, Diversity Hinges on Long-Term Focus of Associate Pipeline," 12.11.20.
    The American Lawyer reports on diversity planning and progress at Wachtell: "In the last 10 years, 55% of the firm's new partners—22 of 40—are women or racially or ethnically diverse, or identify as LGBTQ, the firm said. That includes 10 diverse lawyers. And over the last five years, 62% of the firm's new partners, 13 of 21, are women or diverse lawyers. That includes five diverse lawyers."

  5. "'Business as Usual Doesn't Work': Inside Big Law's Reckoning on Race," 12.11.20.
    This Law.com podcast features conversations with diversity leaders at three Am Law 200 law firms who "describe the past few months as a reckoning that has led to challenging conversations about race within their organizations and that has created a new urgency around their work." (This episode features candid interviews with Yusuf Zakir, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Davis Wright Tremaine; Fenimore Fisher, chief diversity and inclusion officer at DLA Piper; and Narges Kakalia, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo.)

  6. "Racial reckoning raises stakes for law firms," 12.10.20.
    The Financial Times writes about the heightened stakes for law firms as they confront their lack of meaningful progress to increase the number of Black lawyers among their ranks.


  7. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  8. "Law students take initiative for mental health, 12.13.20.
    The Minnesota Daily reports that "law students are advocating for greater measures to ensure their mental health and well-being during the pandemic, including changing grading curves in recognition of the challenges of online learning." (Hat tip to Vic Massaglia)


  9. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  10. "With Far Fewer Takers, Pass Rate on New York's First Online Bar Exam Soars," 12.16.20.
    The New York Law Journal reports that "the overall pass rate for New York's first ever online bar exam in October was 84%-up dramatically from New York's July 2019 exam, which had an overall pass rate of 65%…in total, 4,319 people passed the exam, out of the 5,150 who took it."

  11. "Pass Rate Sinks for Texas' First Online Bar Exam," 12.14.20.
    The Texas Lawyer reports that "the overall pass rate for Texas' October online bar exam was 60%, compared with nearly 77% among those who took the in-person September exam."

  12. "Lawyer licensing and competence in Alberta," 12.11.20.
    Jordan Furlong at Law21 has written a new report on lawyer licensing and competence for the Law Society of Alberta.


  13. Law Schools and Law Students

  14. "Law Schools in California Tap New Deans With Experience," 12.17.20.
    The Recorder reports that "Santa Clara University School of Law announced Wednesday that Michael Kaufman, who has been heading up Loyola University Chicago School of Law since 2016, will take the Bay Area school's top leadership post on July 1…and last month, the University of San Diego selected former Emory University School of Law Dean Robert Schapiro as its pick for dean. Schapiro led Emory from 2012 to 2017 and will move into the dean's suite in San Diego in January."

  15. "Western State College of Law Locks Down New Owner, Averting Closure," 12.15.20.
    The Recorder reports that "Westcliff University has completed its acquisition of Western State College of Law, in Orange County, California." (The American Bar Association's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved the school's transfer to Westcliff University in November 2019.)

  16. "The Red-Hot Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Up 38%, With Biggest Increases Among The Highest LSAT Bands," 12.11.20.
    The TaxProf Blog provides updates on the numbers for the current law school admission cycle.


  17. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  18. "Polarizing Election Work, Discrimination Suits May Dent Jones Day's Appeal to Young Lawyers," 12.17.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Jones Day's controversial election work has bubbled up after several years during which the firm's personnel policies have been the subject of attention thanks to three high-profile lawsuits alleging multiple instances of gender bias at the firm…[and noting that] the effect of the election work and lawsuits against the firm may be particularly pronounced with younger lawyers, as they make choices about where to build their careers."

  19. "Latest Big Law Bonuses Take A Tailored Approach, Sometimes Outpacing The Market," 12.16.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that law firms have adopted a range of different practices for associate bonuses this year rather than coalescing around a single standard bonus metric as has often been the case in the past.

  20. "Remote Partner Hiring Will Be a Broad, but Limited Strategy in Big Law," 12.16.20.
    The American Lawyer explores whether the relatively new phenomenon of law firms hiring partners outside their existing geographic footprint will become a broader trend.

  21. "Big Law Firms to Test New Recruiting Tool, Using Tech to Combat Bias," 12.15.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Suited, an artificial intelligence-powered recruiting platform with the promise of expanding recruiting pools and eliminating unconscious bias in law firm hiring practices, is set to begin a pilot program that includes Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton; Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders; Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati."

  22. "As Partner Compensation Grows, Gender Pay Gap Shrinks, Report Finds," 12.15.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the gender divide in Big Law partner pay narrowed within the last few years, while compensation for all partners has remained relatively robust in the face of the pandemic, according to a new report from Major, Lindsey & Africa." ("The report, released Tuesday, found that although male partners' average compensation still significantly outpaces that of female partners, that gap has narrowed. Average compensation for male partners came in at $1.13 million in 2019, while female partners averaged $784,000. But female partner pay rose by 15% from 2017 to 2019, while male partner pay grew by 7%.")

    1. "The Equity-Non-equity Happiness Gap Is Growing," 12.18.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "the most recent partner compensation survey from Major, Lindsey & Africa found that although equity and nonequity partners' average compensation increased at about the same rate between 2017 and 2019, the gap between the two groups' reported levels of satisfaction with their pay remains wide and is growing."

  23. "Rising Associate Bonuses See Mixed Reaction From Corporate Counsel," 12.14.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "as big firms continue to announce special associate bonuses, including those tied to billing targets, some legal market observers have raised alarms over clashing incentives with corporate counsel who are under pressure to tighten budgets and who have not seen the same pay raises."

  24. "Why Law Firms Are Leaning More on LinkedIn for Marketing and Branding," 12.14.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "while law firms have used various social media platforms for getting out information, recruiting and business development, it has become clear that of the major social networks, LinkedIn is the one that has the most upside for law firms."


  25. International Law Firms

  26. "Norton Rose To Implement 50% Remote Working For EMEA Partners," 12.18.20.
    Law.com International reports that "Norton Rose Fulbright announced on Friday that it will allow all staff and lawyers, including partners, across all of its Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) offices to work remotely up to 50% of the time after the coronavirus pandemic."

  27. "The Year in Review: 2020 Wasn't All Bad For Europe," 12.16.20.
    Law.com International reports that 2020 was a year of challenges and transformation for law firms in the EU and the UK, but one that has proved to be reasonably profitable despite it all.


  28. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology/ALSPs

  29. "As GC Compensation Stalls, Disparity Between In-House, Law Firm Pay Glares," 12.17.20.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "the national average salary and total compensation for general counsel and chief legal officers went up in 2020, but not significantly from 2019, according to ALM Intelligence's 2020 Law Department Compensation Benchmarking Survey…[and noting that] the data shines a light on just how different compensation for law firm lawyers and in-house lawyers has become, on average."

  30. "COVID-19 Pushed In-House to Cut Outside Spending, But Also Hire Legal Ops Managers," 12.17.20.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "legal departments have been reducing outside counsel spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic and keeping more work in-house, where the demand for specialists and legal operations managers continues to grow, according to a new report."

  31. "Legal Departments' Concern: Law Firms Are Stingy When It Comes to Innovation," 12.16.20.
    Legaltech News reports that "the 13th Annual Law Department Operations Survey found that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't hindered corporate law's expectations or abilities…but legal departments still lack them when it comes to enforcing diversity goals…[and] in-house teams are also anxious to see law firms embrace technology."


  32. Higher Education

  33. "Few Positives in Final Fall Enrollment Numbers," 12.17.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released its final report on fall enrollment during the COVID-19 pandemic…[finding that] college enrollments declined 2.5 percent this fall…twice the rate of decline reported in fall 2019…higher education lost about 400,000 students this fall…community college enrollment saw the sharpest declines, and freshman enrollment is down 13.1 percent."

    1. "Fall's Enrollment Decline Now Has a Final Tally. Here's What's Behind It.," 11.17.20.
      More on this from The Chronicle of Higher Education: "The decrease in undergraduate enrollment was the primary driver of the overall decline across the sector. Enrollment among undergraduates dropped 3.6 percent, or by more than 560,000 students, from the fall of 2019. The most notable drop was among first-time freshmen, who declined 13.1 percent. Meanwhile, graduate enrollment went up by the same percentage, 3.6 percent, that undergraduate enrollment fell, but the actual growth in the number of students enrolled in graduate or professional programs, nearly 99,000, was smaller than the drop in the number of undergraduates." (Subscription required.)

    2. "'Losing A Generation': Fall College Enrollment Plummets For First-Year Students," 12.17.20.
      And even more on this from NPR: "Students attending college for the first time represent one of the largest groups missing from college classes this fall. For students who graduated from high school in the class of 2020, the number of graduates enrolling in college is down by 21.7% compared with last year. For graduates at high-poverty high schools there was a 32.6% decline in attending college, compared with a 16.4% decline for graduates of low-poverty schools."



December 11, 2020


    Top Story

  1. "Big Firms Roll Out Bonuses and Other Payouts for Stressed Staffers," 12.07.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "as law firm staff continue to see high stress and the threat of downsizing across the legal industry, some big firms rewarding them with special bonuses…[noting that] Kirkland & Ellis and White & Case are among the latest firms that have announced special payments for staffers this year."


  2. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  3. "'Too Often Overlooked': Black Women Are Nearly Absent From the Federal Bench-It's Time to Change That," 12.08.20.
    Two law school professors, writing for The National Law Journal, write that "[the] underrepresentation of Black women in the federal judiciary is not due to a lack of talent but, rather, due to a lack of imagination and political will among those in power…[and note that] a Black woman has never been nominated to the highest court."

  4. "Most In-House Lawyers With General Counsel Aspirations Are White, According to New Report," 12.03.20.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "the overwhelming majority of aspiring in-house leaders are white, according to a new report that examines the types of corporate counsel who dream of taking over as the chief lawyer of their company."


  5. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  6. "The Covid Pandemic Produces a Kinder, Gentler Performance Review," 12.03.20.
    According to this piece in The Wall Street Journal, "many corporate leaders say they are taking a gentler approach to evaluations as the pandemic wears on and employees face trials on the job and at home…scrapping parts of their performance-management systems, like mid-year reviews and numeric ratings [and] lowering sales quotas and instituting a sort of performance-score inflation." (Subscription required.)


  7. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  8. "Jurisdictions with COVID-19-related diploma privilege are going back to bar exam admissions," 12.10.20.
    The ABA Journal reports that "as of Dec. 3, the five jurisdictions with emergency diploma privilege precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic had announced plans for a remote bar exam in February 2021."

  9. "New York Lawmakers Get an Earful Over Online Bar Exam," 12.09.20.
    The New York Law Journal reports that "New York lawmakers heard more than two hours of testimony Wednesday from [New York Board of Law Examiners Board Executive] McAlary, legal aid attorneys, online privacy experts and numerous law graduates who sat for the online exam in October in a bid to gauge how that test went and how it should be administered moving forward."


  10. Law Schools and Law Students

  11. "UC Irvine Law Dean to Lead Colorado Liberal Arts College," 12.10.20.
    The Recorder reports that "L. Song Richardson, dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, has been named the incoming president of Colorado College." ("Richardson, who is Black and Korean, will be the first woman of color to lead Colorado College, which is private and has about 2,000 undergraduate students. She was a founding member of the UC Irvine law faculty-the school opened in 2009-and only the second dean to lead it. She has helmed the law school since 2017.")

  12. "Future 'Second Husband' Doug Emhoff to Teach at Georgetown Law," 12.10.20.
    Law.com reports that "Douglas Emhoff, Kamala Harris' husband, has been named a "Distinguished Visitor From Practice" at Georgetown University Law Center and will teach a spring course called Entertainment Law Disputes…he will also be a fellow in the law school's Institute for Technology Law and Policy and will be part of a new initiative focused on entertainment and media law that will incorporate speakers and other projects, Georgetown announced Thursday."

  13. "Report Chronicles Changes in Law Education," 12.09.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports on a new report released by the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) that "provides a compelling look at changes and trends in legal education from 2004 to 2019." (Data from this Report, The Changing Landscape of Legal Education: A 15-Year LSSSE Retrospective, draw from the responses of 72,692 law students at 248 law schools that participated in LSSSE in four survey years: 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019.)

    1. "The Changing Landscape Of Legal Education: A 15-Year LSSSE Retrospective," 12.10.20.
      The TaxProf Blog also reports on the new LSSSE retrospective report.


  14. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  15. "How Uncertainty in the Lateral Market Is Putting Some Firms on Offense, Some on Defense," 12.10.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the partner lateral market is still chugging along, but some firms are using the pandemic as an opportunity to snag desirable laterals while others are in a defensive crouch."

  16. "For Large Firm Mergers, the Pandemic Put Compatibility to the Test," 12.11.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that while "the COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a year of uncertainty for the law firm M&A market, slicing the number of announced combinations by roughly half in the first nine months of the year, for some of the largest firms that voted to merge prior to March, the pandemic was a crash course for the compatibility of firm cultures-putting to test the very reason for the firms to combine in the first place."

  17. "How to Flip the Script on the Annual Review Process," 12.11.20.
    A law firm partner, writing for The American Lawyer, suggests ways to improve the associate evaluation process: "Partners and associates have a shared responsibility for professional development, which includes developing the capacity to tackle difficult conversations with skill and equanimity. By making the annual review an invitation for growth, there is a better return on investment for everyone."

  18. "Norton Rose Fulbright Names Houston Partner As Next Global and US Chair," 12.10.20.
    The Texas Lawyer reports that "Norton Rose Fulbright on Thursday named Houston partner Shauna Clark as its next global and U.S. chair, which the firm says will make her the sole woman of color to chair an Am Law 200 firm."

  19. "Learning From the Pandemic, Quinn Emanuel Will Now Hire Attorneys Outside Its Footprint," 12.10.20.
    The American Lawyer speaks with John Quinn, leader of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, on the changes wrought by the pandemic, which for his firm includes a commitment to "hire good attorneys, regardless of whether they live in a city where the firm has an office."

  20. "Partner Pay Complications Arise From PPP Loans," 12.09.20.
    According to the Daily Report, "unforeseen complications in the forgiveness process for Paycheck Protection Program loans is causing headaches for law firm leaders-especially at midsize and larger firms facing year-end compensation distributions for dozens of partners."

  21. "Big Firms Considering Vaccine Policies as COVID-19 Immunization Efforts Move Forward,"12.08.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "as the U.S. government is on the verge of granting distribution and the United Kingdom gives out its first dose of the vaccine, a smattering of law firm leaders, some in interviews and others privately, have said they've started considering vaccine policies in their firms."

  22. "Dentons Reaches Another US Merger Deal, Combining With Iowa Firm," 12.08.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that Dentons has announced a deal to merge with 80-lawyer Iowa firm Davis Brown based in Des Moines.

  23. "Even in Crowded Market, Big Firms Still Have Edge in Wooing Millennial Talent," 12.07.20.
    Legaltech News reports that despite an ever-increasing range of career options, like alternate legal service providers, in-house legal departments, the Big Four, and legal tech companies, "the traditional law firm path still holds the most appeal to younger professionals."

  24. "Legal Industry Job Recovery Is Slow and Steady, With 5,000 New Jobs in November," 12.04.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that according to the latest USBLS numbers, "after losing 68,000 jobs in April, the legal industry continues to regain ground as 5,000 more attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries and other associated workers were hired in November…[and noting that] overall, the legal sector has yet to regain even half of the jobs it lost in April."

  25. "The end of serendipity," 12.04.20.
    Jordan Furlong, writing for his Law21 blog, reflects on "the lessons law firms have been learning (or not) from the pandemic…[and argues that] leading a law firm is going to become a lot more work in future."

  26. "Fox Rothschild to Merge With 21-Lawyer San Francisco Boutique," 12.04.20.
    The Legal Intelligencer reports that "Philadelphia-based Fox Rothschild is expanding its northern California footprint and transactional abilities by merging with San Francisco-based law firm Greene Radovsky Maloney Share & Hennigh, effective Jan. 1, 2021."

  27. "Remote Work Isn't Going Away. Don't Let Your Firm's Strategy Create 'Second-Class Citizens'," 12.04.20.
    This Law.com podcast features a "conversation between Jonathan Ringel, managing editor of Law.com affiliate the Daily Report, and legal recruiter Richard Hsu, who firmly believes offices will still play a crucial role in the legal profession post-pandemic." (Podcast)


  28. International Law Firms

  29. "Revenue Rebound Continues for UK Legal Industry," 12.10.20.
    Law.com International reports that "according to analysis of the latest Office of National Statistics data…the U.K. legal industry's total revenue increased by 16% in October as the industry continues to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."

  30. "Allen & Overy to Give US Associates Special Bonus," 12.07.20.
    Law.com International reports that "Allen & Overy has joined the ranks of firms paying their U.S. associates a 'special bonus' at the end of the year for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic."

  31. "Slaughter and May Bumps Up Bonuses, Maintains Salary Freezes," 12.04.20.
    Law.com International reports that "Slaughter and May is increasing bonuses for all this year, but is maintaining salary freezes until a review of the situation will take place early in 2021."


  32. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology/ALSPs

  33. "'Law Departments Have to Act' on Cost Savings After COVID Inspired New Efficiencies," 12.10.20.
    Corporate Counsel reports that according to a report, "in-house legal departments focused largely on resource management and cost optimization in 2020, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic…[noting that] COVID-19 has made legal departments reevaluate their work processes and their relationships with outside counsel."


  34. Higher Education

  35. "The Real Covid-19 Enrollment Crisis: Fewer Low-Income Students Went Straight to College," 12.10.20.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "this year, 21.7 percent fewer high-school graduates went straight to college compared with 2019, according to a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center." ("There was a 32.6-percent decline for graduates of high-poverty high schools, compared with 16.4 percent for graduates of low-poverty schools (as measured by the prevalence of students eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch program); a 26.4-percent drop at high schools with a high percentage of minority students, compared with 18 percent at schools with a low percentage of minority students; and a 25.1-percent plunge for graduates of urban high schools, compared with 19.8 percent for suburban high schools and 18.1 percent for rural ones.") (Subscription required.)

  36. "Higher Ed Faces a Long and Uneven Recovery, Ratings Agencies Warn," 12.08.20.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that both Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings issued reports this week with negative outlooks for higher education, predicting revenue declines of 5 to 10 percent across the sector in 2021. (Subscription required.)

    1. "Rating Agencies Issue Dour Higher Ed Outlook for Next Year," 12.09.20.
      More on this from Inside Higher Ed: "An estimated 60 percent of public universities and 75 percent of private universities are expected to see net tuition revenue decline amid soft enrollment."

  37. "Some Colleges Plan to Bring Back More Students in the Spring," 12.06.20.
    The New York Times reports that based on lessons learned during the fall semester, "many universities plan to bring more students back onto campus in January and February, when classes resume for the spring."

  38. "Hit by Covid-19, Colleges Do the Unthinkable and Cut Tenure," 12.06.20.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that "presidents of struggling colleges around the country are reacting to the pandemic by unilaterally cutting programs, firing professors and gutting tenure, all once-unthinkable changes." (Subscription required.)

  39. "Fewer High School Seniors Seek College Financial Aid, Raising Concerns About Their Plans," 12.05.20.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that "two months into the current cycle for college financial aid applications, the number of high-school seniors who have submitted the forms is down sharply-and shows no sign of catching up to year-ago levels." (Subscription required.)

  40. "PANDEMIC PROMPTED SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO RECRUITING METHODS, NOT SCHEDULES," 12.04.20.
    NACE reports that "employers adjusting their college recruiting efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2020-21 academic year were more likely to make changes to their recruiting methods than they were to their recruiting schedules, according to [its] Job Outlook 2021 report."



December 4, 2020


    Top Stories

  1. "With Profit Growth Expected in 2020, Big Law Outlook Remains Positive for Next Year," 12.02.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that the 2021 Citi Hildebrandt Client Advisory, released Tuesday, projects that the legal industry will come out of 2020 in relatively good shape and projects a positive outlook for 2021. ("A strong start to 2020, a quick move to remote work and strong performances in areas such as bankruptcy and financial restructuring, litigation and capital markets have helped law firms perform better than expected [and as a result] average revenue growth increased by 5% through the first nine months of 2020.")

    1. "As worst-case scenarios for law firms fail to materialize, some trends emerge, new report says," 12.01.20.
      The ABA Journal also reports on the year-end report from Citi: "With better-than-expected results for 2020, some law firms are prepaying expenses for 2021 and considering how lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic will apply in the coming year." (Noting that through the first nine months of 2020, average law firm revenue grew 5% and total expenses were down 2.1%.)

    2. "Law firm moves, mergers may blossom in 2021 after uneven year for Big Law," 12.02.20.
      Thomson Reuters Legal also reports on the new economic assessment of Big Law from Citi Private Bank: "Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Big Law is set for a solid 2020…on track for mid-single digit revenue growth on average and even bigger profit growth."

  2. "Most Big Firms Are Increasing Revenue, but Performance Gap Steadily Grows," 12.02.20.
    The American Lawyer reports on a similar year-end report from Wells Fargo Private Bank that found "U.S. law firms are poised to close 2020 with better-than-expected results, with a large share of big firms increasing their revenues in spite of massive challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic." (But the report also found "evidence of a steadily growing gap between the haves and the have-nots…while aggregate revenues grew by 5.7% in the first nine months of the year, firms in the Am Law 50 saw 7.6% growth in revenue and were the only segment of the market that had positive demand growth…meanwhile, firms in the Am Law 50-100, the Second Hundred and the regional firms surveyed by the bank expanded their revenues by less than half of the total average.")


  3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  4. "Attorneys Saw Little Diversity Progress Pre-COVID. Will 2020 Make a Difference?," 12.02.20.
    Corporate Counsel reports on the results of the 2020 Inclusion Index Survey Report, published by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and Russell Reynolds Associates, which found that lawyers perceived little improvement in diversity and inclusion in 2019.

  5. "Women's Initiatives That Are Perfectly Useless," 12.02.20.
    Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, finds her opinion that "some initiatives reinforce stereotypes" confirmed in a new study, Transforming Women's Leadership in the Law Global Report 2020, by consulting firm Acritas (now part of Thomson Reuters). (The report finds that women's initiatives often reinforce "the erroneous perception that female lawyers are fundamentally different than male lawyers and therefore require special treatment.")

  6. "Firm's Response to Racial Justice Movement Shapes Pro Bono Efforts," 12.02.20.
    According to the Daily Report, Balch & Bingham, a 200-attorney firm has 10 offices in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Texas and Washington, D.C., "launched an initiative Wednesday to provide free legal services to minority- and women-owned small businesses" an initiate the firm says is a response to the George Floyd killing and subsequent protests this summer, and a sign of how firms are reshaping their pro bono efforts in the community in light of the rekindled racial justice movement.

  7. "Nasdaq Proposes Board-Diversity Rule for Listed Companies," 12.01.20.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that Nasdaq Inc. will require listed companies to include women and people of diverse racial identities or sexual orientation on their boards. (Subscription required.)

  8. "Disparity in Jobless Rates Suggests Black Workers Face Slower Recovery," 11.29.20.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that "from advanced-degree holders to high-school dropouts, Black workers have substantially higher unemployment rates at every level of educational attainment than white workers-and the disparity has widened this year during the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic and related shutdowns." (Subscription required.)

  9. "Study Shows Harassment, Courtroom Bias Remain Problems for New York's Female Attorneys," 11.24.20.
    The New York Law Journal reports on the results of the New York State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts' Gender Survey 2020, which examined the experience of women in the court, which "found that women still face higher levels of sexual harassment than men and are more likely to have their credibility questioned."

  10. "Gender Inequality and Tackling Uncomfortable Conversations: A Conversation With Delphine O'Rourke," 11.24.20.
    The ALM Young Professionals Network speaks with Delphine O'Rourke, a partner at Goodwin, about "her experiences where she felt her gender was playing a role in how she was being treated, how to tackle uncomfortable conversations at work and the best career advice she's ever received." (Video interview)


  11. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  12. "COVID-19 Will Pass, But Artificial Intelligence Will Be Part of its Legacy," 12.03.20.
    This piece in Legaltech News the CEO of Luminance makes the case that "COVID-19 has spurred a technological revolution…there will be long-term structural changes forged from the trail of disruption wrought by the virus."

  13. "5 Ways Technology Is Exacerbating-And Alleviating-Legal's Mental Health Challenges," 12.01.20.
    Legaltech News writes about remote burnout, "highlighting the ways in which technology is making attorneys' mental health challenge worse, while also helping to address them head-on."

  14. "Your Home-Office Ergonomics Are Still a Mess-Do Something About It," 11.30.20.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that as the pandemic work-from-home regime drags on, employees' ergonomic troubles are getting worse, and offers tips from ergonomics experts for avoiding common home-office layout pitfalls. (Subscription required.)

  15. "Do You Have E-Charisma on Zoom? Here's How to Get It," 11.29.20.
    The Wall Street Journal provides tips from experts on standing out in Zoom meetings. (Subscription required.)

  16. "Pandemic-Proof Your Habits," 11.28.20.
    The New York Times writes that "the key to coping during this, or any, time of upheaval is to quickly establish new routines so that, even if the world is uncertain, there are still things you can count on."

  17. "Job Interviews Without Interviewers, Products of the Pandemic," 11.27.20.
    The New York Times writes that the pandemic is rapidly changing the way many people apply for jobs: "Video responses to set questions, online games that measure a person's traits and skills…the future of interviews is coming to a wider variety of professions in the pandemic."

  18. "Legal profession must ensure inclusion for lawyers with mental health and addiction issues," 11.24.20.
    The Canadian Lawyer's Law Times speaks with a litigator with a practice focused on mental health and the law who argues that "the legal profession must do more to ensure inclusion for lawyers with serious mental health and addiction issues."


  19. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  20. "Amid COVID-19, the Bar Exam Faces a Reckoning and a Revamp," 12.02.20.
    In this first installment in a series called "The True Test: How COVID Is Changing the Course of Legal Education," which will examine how the pandemic is reshaping the way lawyers are trained and licensed, Law.com reports that big changes are coming to the bar exam: "The NCBE is poised to unveil a series of recommended reforms in January, the culmination of three years of research by its Testing Task Force, which purportedly conducted a top-to-bottom review of the exam."

  21. "October Online Bar Exam Pass Rates Are Rolling In and Trending Up, Mostly," 12.01.20.
    Law.com reports on a growing list of bar exam results, including Ohio and Maryland, with both jurisdictions announcing the results of their first-ever online bar exams this week.

  22. "Florida's First Online Bar Exam Yields Lower Pass Rate," 11.20.20.
    The Daily Business Review reports that "the first-time pass rate for Florida's first-ever remote bar exam, given in October, was 71.7%...down slightly from the 73.9% who passed the July 2019 bar exam on their first try."

  23. "State Bar Committee Endorses Alternative Path to Law License," 11.20.20.
    The Recorder reports that "state bar committee on Friday endorsed a path to full licensure for certain recent law school graduates who have taken but not passed California's bar exam." (The supervised practice requirements would allow those who scored between 1390 and 1439 on an exam administered between July 2015 and February 2020 to join the bar without having to take the exam again.)


  24. Law Schools and Law Students

  25. "Law school debt is delaying plans for recent grads," 12.01.20.
    The ABA Journal Magazine's December issue cover story takes a deep dive into how the lives of six law school graduates have been affected by their educational debt (the project was spurred by the startling results of a survey conducted this spring by the ABA's Young Lawyers Division and the ABA Media Relations and Strategic Communications Division). ("In recent months, the ABA Journal interviewed six young lawyers about how their debt burdens influenced their personal and professional journeys. They described a fair amount of stress related to student loans. But they also showed a lot of resilience, with narratives about how they are making do and advancing professionally, even amid a global health pandemic.")

  26. "Applications Jump to Law and Medical School," 11.30.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "law school applications are surging, and some signs suggest that medical school applications are as well."

  27. "By The Numbers: The State of Law School Admissions, Debt and Diversity," 11.26.20.
    Karen Sloan, writing for the Daily Business Review, takes a look at the latest Legal Education Data Deck from the AccessLex Institute, an annual data compilation that pulls together the latest figures on law school applications and enrollment, diversity, affordability, bar pass rates, and legal employments using information from the American Bar Association, the National Association of Law Placement, the Law School Admission Council and the U.S. Department of Education.

  28. "Harvard Law Dominates 2021 Skadden Fellow Class, But Kansas Marks a First," 11.25.20.
    Law.com reports that "the Skadden Foundation this week unveiled its latest crop of public-interest fellows, which includes the first-ever fellow out of the University of Kansas School of Law."

  29. "Pandemic problems may be defense for law schools not meeting bar passage standard," 11.23.20.
    The ABA Journal reports that during a remote meeting last Friday, the council of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar clarified that recent graduates admitted by diploma privilege will be viewed as having passed a bar exam, and also signaled that law schools can argue that the COVID-19 pandemic limited opportunities for recent graduates to take a bar exam or the virus harmed the school's bar passage rate when filing compliance data for Standard 316, which requires at least 75% of a law school's graduates who took a bar exam to pass within two years of graduation.

    1. "ABA Permits Law Schools To Use Pandemic As Excuse For Failing 75% Within 2 Years Bar Passage Accreditation Standard," 11.25.20.
      More on this from the TaxProf Blog.

  30. "University Calgary law school e-litigation course points to a future of conducting law virtually," 11.20.20.
    The Canadian Lawyer reports that "a new e-litigation course at the University of Calgary's law school is designed to deal with the realities of physical distancing and Covid-19 and prepare students for a law future that will rely more on advancing technologies."


  31. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  32. "Law Firm Merger Talks 'Frenetic,' With Deals on the Horizon," 12.04.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that law firm combinations in 2020 are slowly returning after slowing during the pandemic and are likely to heat up considerably in 2021 according to reports from Altman Weil, Citi Private Bank, and Hildebrandt.

  33. "Firms Will Continue to 'Clean House' Next Year, Lawyers Included," 12.03.20.
    The American Lawyer predicts that "even as the economic outlook brightens, Big Law will continue to "clean house" in 2021 through more layoffs among staff ranks and even attorneys."

  34. "Proceed With Caution: Regional Firms Learned Lessons in Nimbleness This Year," 11.30.20.
    The American Lawyer reports on the findings of the Thomson Reuters Institute's 2020 Law Firm Business Leaders Report: Outlook for U.S.-Based Local and Regional Firms, which finds that "law firm business leaders at regional firms are cautiously optimistic about their growth strategies over the next three years."

  35. "After the Pandemic: What Will Law Firms Look Like When It's Over?," 11.29.20.
    The American Lawyer has a special report that explores what four aspects of law firm life, staffing, culture, business development, and leadership, will look like after the pandemic.

    1. "As Firms Restructure Staffs for the Post-Pandemic Future, Who Will Be Protected and Exposed?," 11.29.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "administrators, legal administrative assistants and other facility-focused law firm employees are in a precarious position for 2021 and beyond as firms question the need for physical spaces and their associated staff."

    2. "The Playbook for Law Firm Leadership Has Been Rewritten During the Crisis," 11.29.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "law firm leaders who adapted quickly in the spring and summer are now grappling with a new host of concerns about keeping their workforce connected and engaged for the long haul."

    3. "When the Pandemic Ends, Will Law Firms Still Have a Culture to Return To?," 11.29.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that despite "months of working remotely, social distancing and uncertainty…law firm leaders are largely confident that what is unique about their firms will survive whatever COVID-19 throws at them."

    4. "COVID Pushed Firms to Overhaul How They Connect With Clients. They Aren't Going Back.," 11.29.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that business development professionals and attorneys in major law firms have found success with new business development models, including virtual events, increased collaboration between practice areas, expansive content generation and sales development training.

  36. "Big Law Avoids 'Lost Generation' with Remote First-Year Programs," 11.25.20.
    Bloomberg Law reports that law firm's virtual summer programs went better than expected and are now running virtual orientation programs for first-year associates.

  37. "The Law Firm Office Isn't Dead, And Neither Is Open Space," 11.24.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "as firm leaders and architects consider legal workspaces once the COVID-19 pandemic is in the rearview mirror, they are discussing workstations that are not assigned to any one person, training and conference areas, a reduction in total office space and restructured leases, among a variety of options."

  38. "Cravath Announces Two Bonuses At Once, Paul Weiss Quickly Matches," 11.23.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that Cravath and Paul Weiss have announced associate bonuses that include an additional bonus on the same special bonus scale set by Davis Polk & Wardwell in September.

    1. "More Market Leaders Line Up To Give Double Associate Bonuses," 11.24.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that Goodwin Procter; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; and Milbank have announced associate bonuses, with some firms tying the bonus amounts to billable hours.

    2. "Clifford Chance Enters US Associate Bonus Fray," 11.25.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Clifford Chance has announced a set of annual and special bonuses for to its U.S.-based associates in January, matching a competitive rate set by U.S. legal behemoths Davis Polk & Wardwell, Cravath, Swaine and Moore, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison."

    3. "Double Bonuses Abound: Matching Comes From Clifford Chance, Debevoise, Freshfields, Ropes & Gray, Morgan Lewis," 11.25.20.
      The American Lawyer reports "more big firms on Wednesday matched the scale for both "special" bonuses and for year-end bonuses for their associates."

    4. "Proskauer And Fried Frank Match Bonuses-With a Twist," 11.30.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Proskauer Rose and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson have joined the year-end bonus fray with twists of their own… Proskauer has tied their bonuses to geography… Fried Frank has put aside a premium 15% to 30% extra bonus for associates based on hours billed exceeding the firm's minimum hour requirement."

    5. "Paul Hastings Changes Course, Issuing Associate Bonuses Early; Weil, Davis Polk Jump Into Bonus Season," 12.01.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Paul Hastings, after initially deciding not to pay additional associate bonuses ahead of the firm's normal schedule in March of 2021, has decided that they will in fact pay out an earlier bonus."

  39. "The Pandemic Has Given New Partners Faith in Their Firms," 11.23.20.
    The American Lawyer reports on the results of its 2020 New Partner Survey, finding that 91% of the partners surveyed said they were either "satisfied" or "extremely satisfied" with their firm's response to the pandemic crisis.

  40. "Law Firms Survived 2020 Better Than They Could Have Hoped. Now What?," 11.23.20.
    Two leaders from MLA, writing for The American Lawyer, identify "seven areas that require firms' attention as they plan for 2021." ("In terms of talent acquisition, this downturn will be the same as the last one: Firms that keep recruiting new talent will benefit immensely while firms that stay on the sidelines will never catch up.")

  41. "Could the Pandemic Finally Deliver a Paperless Law Firm?," 11.23.20.
    Legaltech News writes that "the COVID-19 pandemic might deliver the final push to make the paperless office a reality."

  42. "How Year-End Attorney Reviews Might Look a Little Different This Year," 11.20.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that in light of the challenges posed by 2020, "some firms are rethinking their year-end review process."

  43. "As COVID Cases Rise, Law Firms Push Lawyers and Staff to Stay Home," 11.20.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "as COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the U.S., some law firms are halting previous plans to encourage a return to the office in 2020 and are instead urging workers to stay home."

  44. "Disruption and Disconnection: Greenberg Traurig's Richard Rosenbaum Expects a Tumultuous 2021," 11.20.20.
    The American Lawyer speaks with Richard Rosenbaum, executive chairman of Greenberg Traurig about "the future of law firm staffing, why 2021 could be a disruptive year for the industry, and the ramifications of this moment of disconnection."

  45. "Room for Improvement: Young Lawyers Assess Law Firms' Pandemic Response," 11.20.20.
    The Young Lawyer Editorial Board of The American Lawyer take "a look back at what law firms did (or did not do) well for young lawyers in their handling of the pandemic thus far, and a look forward to what firms need to keep doing (or do better) in 2021."

  46. "Burn the ships," 11.20.20.
    Jordan Furlong's most recent post to his Law21 blog offers "a few thoughts about our progress through the first year of the pandemic and what seems likely to happen over the course of the next one." ("We need to commit, truly and fully, to change for the better in the law. We need to take this opportunity to transform the legal world and run with it. If we hesitate — faltering at this fork in the road, yearning to keep all our options open — we risk missing this chance to open up some distance ahead of the tsunami that's still gathering behind us, gaining speed.")


  47. International Law Firms

  48. "McDermott's UK Top of Equity Leaps After Strong Growth," 12.02.20.
    Law.com International reports that top earning partners in McDermott Will & Emery's London office took home £2 million in 2019, a 67% increase on 2018?s figure of £1.24 million.

  49. "Australian Firm Introduces 'No Bystanders Rule' on Sexual Harassment," 11.30.20.
    Law.com International reports that "Australian law firm Lander & Rogers has introduced a "no bystanders rule" that makes it compulsory for staff to report sexual harassment they witness."

  50. "Spanish Law Firms Increase Revenue in Latin America During Pandemic," 11.30.20.
    Law.com International reports that "Spanish law firms that have expanded in Latin America over the past year are seeing strong revenue growth in the region despite the pandemic."

  51. "Australian Law Firm Profits Increase During Pandemic, Survey Says," 11.25.20.
    Law.com International reports that "Australian law firms' profits increased despite the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to their central role in advising clients on how to respond to the pandemic, a recent survey found." ("Profits in Australian law firms grew by 7% in the 12 months to June 2020 and are forecast to grow 5.5% in the following 12 months.")

  52. "Linklaters Americas Revenue Falls, LLPs Show, While London Rent Could Hit £445M," 11.24.20.
    Law.com International reports that Linklaters saw "revenue for the firm's Americas business, which includes the U.S. offices of Washington D.C. and New York as well as Brazil's Sao Paulo, dropped by over 10% for the financial year."

  53. "The Best Firms in the UK Might Be From the US," 11.24.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "a first attempt at a U.K. analog to The A-List shows that U.S. firms outpaced their U.K.-headquartered peers."


  54. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology/ALSPs

  55. "Clients See 'Innovation Gap' in Big Law, Report Finds," 12.02.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "a new survey from Thompson Hine found that 69% of respondents said their primary outside firms had made no progress in innovation over the past year."

  56. "Law Is Not Ready For Amazon. Is Amazon Ready For Law?," 11.23.20.
    The piece in Forbes argues that Amazon is poised to radically disrupt the legal market, and notes that it is already doing so.

    1. "How Amazon Will Enter the Legal Market," 11.25.20.
      In this Slaw blog post a civil litigator in Toronto responds to the Forbes article above, agreeing that Amazon will be a disruptor for law firms, noting that "Amazon's resources and deep data on client behaviour gives them an advantage to undercut current providers."


  57. Higher Education

  58. "Doubts About Going to College," 12.03.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that according to the results of a national survey of prospective college students, "more than one-third of prospective college students are reconsidering higher education in light of the coronavirus pandemic [and] 43 percent of prospective students for one- and two-year programs are looking to delay enrollment."

  59. "Pass-Fail Hardball," 11.30.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "students are again lobbying for pass-fail grading policies for the term that's swiftly coming to a close…and are encountering much more opposition from their institutions, including from faculty members."

  60. "Colleges Grapple With Grim Financial Realities," 11.30.20.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the results of a new survey designed to gauge the impact of the pandemic on the finances of colleges and universities, finding that lost revenue from tuition and sports programs along with ongoing deep discount rates are creating an immediate cash-flow crisis and longer term damage that will be hard for many institutions to recover from. (Subscription required.)

  61. "The Exquisite Angst of Applying to College in a Deeply Anxious Year," 11.27.20.
    This New York Times piece makes the case that "the pandemic has changed everything about the stressful admissions process, adding even more strain on students."



November 20, 2020


    Top Stories

  1. "Recession With a Difference: Women Face Special Burden," 11.17.20.
    This piece in The New York Times asserts that "for millions of working women, the coronavirus pandemic has delivered a rare and ruinous one-two-three punch."

  2. "Trans Awareness Week: Liberating Our Thinking From The Rules That Bind Us," 11.16.20.
    This thoughtful piece in Forbes, from an organizational psychologist specializing in neurodiversity, celebrates transgender awareness week: "I'm inspired by my children's generation (Gen Z) and the level of acceptance. It shows me where we are going. There are more young people than ever feeling safe enough at school to identify as trans, as non-binary. They are changing their names and many schools are accepting this with respect and actively combatting any bullying that was endemic in [previous generations]. Gen Z are growing up with the idea that birth-assigned sex is not a destiny and that we have the freedom to express our authentic selves. As they do so, they are loosening the bind of what it means to be a man or a woman, and bridging the gap that has held 50% of the population down for millennia and freeing those whose minds don't fit neatly in to the norms of an 'either x or y' chromosome. At the precipice of so many paradigm shifts in science, media, technology and work, the transgender community have a lot to teach us about bravely moving forward into a place of authenticity and liberating our thinking from outdated constructs that have held us back for so long."


  3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  4. "Teaching Racial Justice Isn't Racial Justice," 11.18.20.
    This New York Times op-ed by a university professor reflects on academia's response to this moment of racial reckoning and finds it inadequate.


  5. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  6. "Tap LinkedIn for Career Opportunities" 10.31.20.
    The New York Times writes that "now that grabbing drinks with former colleagues or hobnobbing at work conferences is off the table, LinkedIn has been promoted from obligatory to essential…here's how to use the website to your full advantage."


  7. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  8. "California's February Bar Exam Will Be Held Online, Supreme Court Says," 11.19.20.
    The Recorder reports that "California's Supreme Court on Thursday announced that the February bar exam will be held online under similar conditions as those governing the October test."


  9. Law Schools and Law Students

  10. "Constant communication has been key amid COVID-19, law school dean says," 11.18.20.
    This ABA Legal Rebels Podcast features L. Song Richardson, dean and chancellor's professor of law at the University of California at Irvine School of Law, who says that constant communication was the key to making the best of the switch to remote learning. (Podcast)

  11. "An Empirical Study Of Law School Externships," 11.18.20.
    The TaxProf Blog highlights a new law review article that concludes that "the most important factor that leads to measurable extern success is the student's relationship with supervisor, feedback from supervisor, and nature of assignments at the placement."

  12. "Law School Applicants Are Way Up. Is It an 'RBG Moment'?," 11.17.20.
    Law.com reports that "admissions officials at law schools across the country are struggling to make sense of an early surge in applications this cycle, as well as what looks to be a notable uptick in the number of applicants with high scores on the Law School Admission Test." ("As of Monday, the total number of law school applicants was up 32% compared to this time a year ago, and the number of applications submitted thus far is up nearly 57%. Thus, not only are more people applying, but they are also submitting applications at more schools than in the past. Applications are up at 194 of the 199 American Bar Association-accredited law schools, the data from the Law School Admission Council show.")

    1. "Projections For Fall 2021 Law School Applicants: +28% (+53% In 160-180 LSAT Band)," 11.16.20.
      More on this from the TaxProf Blog.

    2. "Is The Projected Large Increase In Fall 2021 Law School Applicants A COVID-19 Illusion? First-Time LSAT Test-Takers Are Down 3%," 11.19.20.
      And this follow-up TaxProf Blog post suggests that the apparent admissions bubble may be an illusion: "Between last year's LSAT transition to a digital format, which caused many aspiring attorneys to test later than they normally would, and this year's COVID situation, which gave many test-takers the opportunity to test earlier than they normally would, we're simply seeing students apply earlier in the cycle this year compared to last year."

  13. "Law School Pedagogy Post-Pandemic: Harnessing The Benefits Of Online Teaching," 11.17.20.
    The TaxProf Blog highlights a forthcoming Journal of Legal Education article that "demonstrates that there are many benefits to a well-designed online course that can enhance student learning-benefits that can be incorporated into law school pedagogy even after the pandemic is no longer a threat to health and safety of students and faculty."

  14. "How Time-Pressured Performance Tests In Law School Prepare Students For The Bar Exam And Legal Practice," 11.17.20.
    The TaxProf Blog highlights a new law review article that "offers examples of how law schools can do a better job of increasing students' minimum competencies to pass the bar, gain employment, and practice law effectively while not requiring a major overhaul of law school curriculum or demanding the expenditure of a huge amount of time and effort by faculty."

  15. "Villanova Law Will Name Building for Donor John Scarpa After $15 Million Gift," 11.16.20.
    Law.com reports that Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law has announced a $15 million donation from the John F. Scarpa Foundation. ("The new funds will be used to expand the school's entrepreneurship offerings and establish an endowed professorship for that purpose. The law school building is being renamed John F. Scarpa Hall as a result.")

    1. 11.17.20. "Cellphone entrepreneur donates $15M to law school," 11.17.20.
      More on this from the ABA Journal.


  16. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  17. "Even as Associate Attrition Wanes, Many Law Firms Will Keep 1st-Year Classes Robust," 11.20.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "while law firms have seen historically low associate attrition in the pandemic, they aren't shrinking their incoming classes for fear of damaging the talent pipeline."

  18. "System Update: The Pandemic Is Pushing Firms to Change Partner Comp Plans," 11.18.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "law firms were already feeling pressure to rethink their approach to partner compensation, but the current crisis has forced them to reach deeper into the toolbox for solutions."

  19. "Adjusting the COVID-19 Response: How Law Firms Are Altering Austerity Measures," 11.17.20.
    The American Lawyer provides an update to its firm-by-firm reporting on how "law firms implemented pay cuts, layoffs and other austerity measures…[and then] months later…have either rolled back some austerity measures or made additional cuts, or some combination of the two."

  20. "The COVID-19 consequence: Emerging talent is at risk," 11.16.20.
    This piece in the ABA Journal argues that "less privileged young attorneys will bear a disproportionate brunt of the impact [of the pandemic]," and urges Big Law firms to reassess their hiring practices to level the playing field for law students.

  21. "Why Analysts Caution Against Forecasting Based on Declining 2020 Demand," 11.16.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "legal demand took a dive over the past two quarters, falling by levels that haven't been seen since the wake of the Great Recession, but experts cautioned against comparisons between the middle of this year and the start of 2013, the last time law firm demand dropped by more than 2.5%."


  22. International Law Firms

  23. "Law Firms in Australia Will Continue Flexible Working After COVID-19," 11.19.20.
    Law.com International reports that "as coronavirus numbers in Australia continue to decline, law firms are planning to make more flexible work arrangements a permanent feature of the working week."

  24. "Forgotten Generation: Junior Lawyers Share Their Struggles With Lockdown," 11.17.20.
    This piece from Law.com International takes a look at the ways in which junior and trainee lawyers have been affected by the pandemic lockdown: "Partners say there is 'a whole generation of lawyers missing out on training and professional development'."

  25. "Fieldfisher Cuts 20 As COVID-19 Lay-Offs Continue," 11.16.20.
    Law.com International reports that UK law firm "Fieldfisher has cut 20 roles…citing a decrease in demand for administrative support." ("The pandemic highlighted that with new ways of working flexibly there was less demand for administrative support.")

  26. "Does the Legal Profession Really Need to Use the Term 'Non-Lawyer'?," 11.16.20.
    This piece in Law.com International makes the case for ceasing to use the term "non-lawyer" to describe people in a wide range of roles in the legal services business.


  27. Higher Education

  28. "The lowest-paid workers in higher education are suffering the highest job losses," 11.17.20.
    The Washington Post reports that "colleges and universities are shedding jobs at an unprecedented rate, and some of the lowest-paid workers in higher education are bearing the brunt of the layoffs, mirroring broader trends of the most unequal recession in modern U.S. history."

  29. "International Student Numbers Decline," 11.16.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "the total number of international students studying at U.S. universities, whether from within the U.S. or online from abroad, decreased by 16 percent this fall, while enrollments of new international students decreased by 43 percent," according to a new survey.

    1. "Covid-19 Caused International Enrollments to Plummet This Fall. They Were Already Dropping.," 11.16.20.
      More on this from The Chronicle of Higher Education: "The number of international students at American colleges plunged this fall…as tens of thousands of students stuck overseas because of the pandemic deferred their admission or called off their studies altogether." (Subscription required.)

  30. "Applications Are Decreasing," 11.16.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "the Common Application received 8 percent fewer applications through Nov. 2 compared to last year, and 60 percent of its 921 members were reporting application declines…[and] applications from first-generation students and those eligible for application fee waivers were down 16 percent."



November 13, 2020


    Top Stories

  1. "Federal Clerkship Hiring Plan Extended for Two More Years," 11.12.20.
    The National Law Journal reports that the federal judiciary's pilot plan on law clerk hiring has been extended through June 2022.

  2. "Appellate Court Determines Harvard Didn't Violate Federal Civil-Rights Law," 11.12.20.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that "a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Harvard University didn't violate federal civil-rights law" in a case where plaintiffs alleged that Harvard held Asian-American applicants to a higher standard in undergraduate admissions.

    1. "Appeals Court Upholds Harvard's Admissions Process, but Plaintiff Says 'Hope Is Not Lost'," 11.12.20.
      Law.com reports that "a lawsuit challenging Harvard University's race-based admission policies has again fallen flat on appeal — this time at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which took no issue with its efforts to achieve a diverse student body Thursday."

    2. "Appeals Court Backs Harvard on Affirmative Action," 11.13.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on Thursday ruled there is no evidence of discrimination against Asian Americans by Harvard University in a lawsuit over its admissions system.

    3. "Harvard Doesn't Discriminate Against Asian American Applicants, U.S. Appeals Court Rules," 11.12.20.
      More on this from The Chronicle of Higher Education.


  3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  4. "The diversity data gap: Canadian law firms' reluctance to gather and publish may be about to change," 11.12.20.
    The Canadian Lawyer reports that the Law Society of Ontario has indicated it will be publishing an "inclusion index" of law firms this year, marking a big change to Canada's culture of privacy where law firms' reluctance to ask for and disclose internal metrics has made hard data elusive.

  5. "5 steps law school deans can take to improve diversity and inclusion," 11.12.20.
    Leonard Baynes, the first Black dean of the University of Houston Law Center, writing here for the ABA Journal, urges his fellow law school deans to do more to fight racism and inequality in legal education and the legal profession: "We have an obligation to treat the racism that members of our community face with the same degree of seriousness as we have the pandemic and the economic downturn…. We need to have the same degree of commitment and attention to the racial threats and ill treatment that diverse members of our community face each day."

  6. "Disability as Diversity," 11.12.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "colleges and universities are making progress on efforts to serve disabled students, but some advocates and scholars say higher ed has been slow to recognize disability as an identity group or include it in programming around diversity and inclusion."

  7. "8 Firms Have Announced High-Level Diversity Positions in the Last Month. How Should We Feel About That?," 11.12.20.
    Law.com writes that "[while increased] D&I efforts, fueled by racial and social justice protests that started over the summer and continue to this day, is of course a welcome development in the ongoing struggle Big Law has in creating a more equitable working environment…not everyone is sure that the efforts are more than a reaction to societal pressure on how to showcase actions around those efforts."

  8. "Blacks lag when it comes to landing law jobs," 11.11.20.
    The National Jurist reports on the NALP employment findings for the Class of 2019, noting that "Blacks had the lowest overall legal employment rate among all races for the Class of 2019 — even in a year that saw stellar results overall."

  9. "Tying Pay to Diversity Targets, Baker Donelson Builds In Accountability Metrics," 11.10.20.
    According to the Daily Report, "Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz has launched an ambitious push to become an industry leader in attorney diversity within five years, crafting a detailed plan to track the progress of its targeted increases and tie it to leaders' compensation."

  10. "As Firms Grow Diversity Teams, Buchanan, Hogan Lovells Recruit Known Pros," 11.10.20.
    The Legal Intelligencer reports that "Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney has named Archer & Greiner's outgoing diversity chief, Lloyd Freeman, as its chief diversity and inclusion officer, to oversee diversity and inclusion efforts throughout the firm's 15-office footprint around the country."

  11. "'White Guilt': Black Attorneys Talk Frankly About Race and Implicit Bias," 11.10.20.
    This is the second installment in a Law.com video series on racism in the legal profession: "Our second conversation focuses on confronting racism in the workplace, which is often much more implicit than explicit." (Video)

  12. "Creating A Place In BigLaw For Veterans To Thrive," 11.09.20.
    Law360 profiles the work of Holland & Knight's veterans affinity group, which recently won a diversity and inclusion award from Chambers for its work.

  13. "'Who Is Being Rewarded For Your Dollar?': Origination Credits Tell Firms' True Diversity Story," 11.06.20.
    Corporate Counsel speaks with Raj Goyle, CEO of Bodhala in New York, who discusses "the cloud of mystery surrounding the origination credit, and the benefits of taking a data-driven approach to diversity and inclusion."


  14. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  15. "Law Firms Ramp Up Health and Safety Measures For Remote Workforce," 11.11.20.
    Law.com International reports that several law firms in the U.K. are "taking steps to ensure compliance with health and safety obligations for its remote workforce, as firms continue to reassess their practices and policies in light of increased working from home during the coronavirus pandemic…[including by] arranging one-to-one assessments with physiotherapists for their staff over Zoom calls, as well as conducting online DSE assessments which flag the risks from the way employees use computers and tablets at work."

  16. "Reassuring Your Virtual Workforce Through 2020," 11.11.20.
    JD Supra writes about "key considerations when creating a plan to continue to weather the pandemic (and whatever else 2020 may throw at us) with a loyal and engaged workforce."

  17. "Companies Offer Creative Solutions to Worker Burnout During the Pandemic," 11.08.20.
    The Wall Street Journal reports on the creative ways that managers are devising to help employees during the pandemic: "With no end to the pandemic in sight, managers say many remote employees report feeling depressed, fed up and wary of what's next. Companies are adapting policies and rushing to roll out benefits to head off a surge of employee distress." (Subscription required.)


  18. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  19. "Georgia's February Bar Exam Will Stay Online," 11.09.20.
    According to the Daily Report, "the next Georgia bar examination will occur online instead of in-person to prevent spread of the coronavirus causing COVID-19, the Supreme Court of Georgia announced Monday."

  20. "Bar exam standouts: A new study identifies law schools whose graduates overperform on that crucial test," 11.06.20.
    The National Jurist reports that "a recent study…confirms the important role schools play in their students' ability to pass the bar."

  21. "Texas Bar Exam Pass Rate Soared in September, After July Cancellation," 11.05.20.
    The Texas Lawyer reports that "the overall pass rate for the September 2020 Texas Bar Examination, which was given in-person, came in at 76.7% — higher than the last two Texas exams — with graduates of the University of Texas School of Law posting the highest first-time pass rate. That 76.7% overall pass rate for the September exam compares with 45.9% in February, and 68.5% in July 2019."


  22. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  23. "With Expenses Expected to Rise in 2021, Will Demand Match?," 11.13.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that because many law firms are anticipating quite healthy numbers in 2020, largely as a result of cutting expenses in the early months of the pandemic, they are approaching the current budget season by thinking carefully about trimming future expenses where they can.

  24. "Akerman Closes 2020 Fiscal Year With Record Revenue," 11.12.20.
    The Daily Business Review reports that Akerman, the Miami-based 700-lawyer Am Law 100 firm, announced Wednesday its 10th consecutive year of record profits, reporting gross revenue of $467.4 million, which represents a 6.5% increase in gross revenue compared with 2019.

  25. "Baker McKenzie Kicks Off Year-End Bonus Season," 11.11.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Baker McKenzie on Wednesday announced year-end bonuses for U.S. associates, ranging from $15,000 for the most junior attorneys at the firm to $100,000 for the most senior attorneys."

    1. "Baker McKenzie Bonuses Met With Crickets, but Likely Not for Long," 11.12.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that in the two days following Baker McKenzie's Wednesday announcement about end-of-year bonuses, the market has been uncharacteristically quiet, with no subsequent bonus announcements.

  26. "Do Controversial Clients Hurt Young Lawyer Recruitment?," 11.10.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that law students and young lawyers from an increasingly socially conscious young generation seem to have little willingness to honor the longstanding practice of law firm lawyers to separate their beliefs from the representation of their clients.

  27. "After Drop in Hiring, Big Firms Are 'Lucratively Positioned' for Year-End," 11.09.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that even though "Big Law has taken hits in demand in the last few months…the picture has improved since the early summer, and many firms are positioned to be more profitable than ever, according to a new report."

    1. "Law firms shed lawyers in Q3 as COVID-19 hit demand," 11.09.20.
      Thomson Reuters also reports on the new Peer Monitor Index report findings, writing that "in the third quarter of 2020, a group of top U.S. law firms shed more lawyers than it gained for the first time in a decade…in a possible effort by firms to boost profits as the coronavirus pandemic drags on."

    2. "Cuts in lawyer head count and expenditures 'buoyed profitability metrics' at law firms, report says," 11.11.20.
      More on this from the ABA Journal.

  28. "Law Firms Plan for Less Office Space and More Tech Costs Heading Into 2021," 11.09.20.
    The Daily Business Review reports that "the pandemic has caused Florida law firms to become leaner and more efficient versions of themselves, said firm leaders, including several who expect flat or increased revenue in 2021."

  29. "Partner Promotion Decisions May See Long-Term Impact From 2020," 11.06.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "legal observers said remote work during the pandemic, as well as calls for racial equality that permeated the year, are likely part of the calculus when firms determine who to elevate [to partner in 2020 and beyond]."

  30. "Legal Industry Adds Nearly 5,000 Jobs in Sixth Straight Month of Gains," 11.06.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the legal sector added nearly 5,000 jobs over the month of October as the U.S. unemployment rate dipped to 6.9%, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics…[marking] the sixth straight month of increases to the category, which is comprised of attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries and others who make their living in the law."


  31. International Law Firms

  32. "UK Legal Industry Records Strongest September in History," 11.12.20.
    Law.com International reports that "the U.K. legal industry generated record-breaking revenues in September 2020, despite market uncertainty caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."

  33. "Even in Japan, Law Firms Boost Diversity Initiatives to Attract Women Lawyers," 11.12.20.
    Law.com International reports that Japan's largest law firms have introduced formal diversity and inclusion standards to attract female talent, noting that "women lawyers make up just 18.8% of the legal profession in Japan…and the percentage growth of female practitioners in Japan over the past five years is startlingly low — less than 1%."

  34. "Squire Patton Boggs Cuts 19 UK Roles," 11.10.20.
    Law.com International reports that "Squire Patton Boggs has cut 19 legal PA roles across its U.K. offices, after holding a redundancy consultation."

  35. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

  36. "CLOC Throws Open Its Doors to the Entire Legal Ecosystem," 11.10.20.
    LegalTech News reports that "the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium announced [Tuesday] that it would be opening up membership to service providers, tech companies, law schools and 'everybody else.'"


  37. Higher Education

  38. "Are Students Happier With Virtual Learning This Fall? A Little," 11.13.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "undergraduates who are studying online this fall rate their learning experience as modestly better than what they encountered last spring — with greater levels of satisfaction among students who see their instructors taking steps to understand and engage them, according to a new survey of 3,400 undergraduates in the U.S. and Canada."

  39. "Enrollment Still Down," 11.12.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "undergraduate enrollment is still down across higher education, according to the latest National Student Clearinghouse report, [and notes that] Black and Hispanic enrollment in community colleges is still down more than white and Asian enrollment."

    1. "Undergraduate-Enrollment Picture Worsens as Pandemic Drags On," 11.12.20.
      More on this from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

  40. "Meet Covid-19's Freshman Class," 11.10.20.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the members of this year's freshman class are lonely and struggling through their first year at colleges and universities across the country.

  41. "Colleges Have Shed a Tenth of Their Employees Since the Pandemic Began," 11.10.20.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "higher education has shed at least a tenth of the labor force it had before the start of the pandemic," suggesting that as many as 152,000 workers lost their jobs in September alone.

    1. "Pandemic Hits Higher Ed Employment Hard," 11.11.20.
      More on this from Inside Higher Ed: "Nearly every state lost higher education jobs during the pandemic."

  42. "College-Admissions Season Was Already Stressful. Pandemic Made It Chaotic," 11.09.20.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that "this college admissions season is shaping up to be the most uncertain in recent memory for high-school seniors as well as the universities looking to enroll them," noting that through November 2 applications are down 8% from this time last year, and applicants are down 10%. (Subscription required.)

  43. "Reinventing Admissions to Enhance Racial and Ethnic Equity? That's the Big Idea," 11.09.20.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that on Monday "the National Association for College Admission Counseling and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators announced a joint initiative to reimagine the admissions and financial-aid system…to promote racial and ethnic equity in higher education."

  44. "For Millions Deep in Student Loan Debt, Bankruptcy Is No Easy Fix," 11.07.20.
    The New York Times writes about the deep personal toll student loan debt takes on people and the extremely difficult odds they face in trying to discharge student loan debt through bankruptcy.

  45. "The Pandemic Is Dragging On. Professors Are Burning Out," 11.05.20.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "professors across the country are treading water, feeling overwhelmed and undersupported, and wondering how long they can hang on."



November 6, 2020


    Top Story

  1. "Good News, Associates. The COVID Recession Isn't 2008 All Over Again," 11.04.20.
    The American Lawyer writes that "associates are facing brighter futures and a far less volatile job market than that of young attorneys who stared down the 2009 financial crisis," noting the many differences between the Great Recession and the current pandemic-induced slowdown, and the lessons that law firms learned about the talent pipeline in the aftermath of the last financial crisis.


  2. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  3. "New study suggests cutting bar exam multiple choice questions or making them open book," 10.29.20.
    The ABA Journal reports that "bar exams should use multiple choice questions sparingly, if at all, replace essay questions with performance tests, and require supervised clinical work for licensure, according to a study focused on minimum competency to practice law by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System…the study also recommends making essay and multiple choice questions open book and providing test-takers more time to complete them."


  4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  5. "Trump Executive Order Forcing Cancellation of More Diversity Events, DOJ Groups Say," 11.03.20.
    The National Law Journal reports that "groups for diverse staff at the Justice Department have scrapped more events over concerns they would violate President Donald Trump's recent executive order prohibiting diversity and inclusion training, after DOJ officials determined the order would apply to other events hosted at the department." ("The DOJ Association of Black Attorneys was forced to turn down an offer to co-sponsor an event with the National Black Prosecutors Association. Another affinity group, DOJ Association of Hispanic Employees for Advancement and Development, preemptively canceled a town hall for members due to the fear that it would violate the interim guidance.")

  6. "Law-Firm Clients Demand More Black Attorneys," 11.02.20.
    Sara Randazzo, writing for The Wall Street Journal, takes a hard look at the representation of Black partners in Big Law: "While law firms have improved at recruiting minority associates, Black lawyers say they aren't given enough high-profile work to ensure a place on the partnership track and aren't handed client relationships in the same way as white colleagues." (Subscription required.)

  7. "Initiative Aims to Find Future Diverse Lawyers in High School," 10.30.20.
    Bloomberg Law writes about "a new program [in Los Angeles that] seeks to build a pipeline of diverse future lawyers while they are still in high school, with help from Big Law firms." ("Thrive Scholars, a Los Angeles-founded organization that supports high-achieving low-income students of color, has started a new track aimed at creating a greater pipeline of black and Latinx attorneys to work at top law firms.")


  8. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  9. "8 tips for lawyers on how to build resilience," 11.04.20.
    A lawyer who also does research and training to help others facing burnout and personal crises, writing here for the ABA Journal, suggests "a number of steps lawyers can take to become resilient."

  10. "Winter Is Coming: How Lawyers and Staff Are Dealing With COVID Fatigue and Stress," 11.03.20.
    This piece from The Legal Intelligencer reports that COVID fatigue is becoming a top concern among law firm leaders, noting that "law firm leadership is preparing for a difficult season ahead."

  11. "The New Rules for Networking in the Pandemic," 11.01.20.
    The Wall Street Journal writes that "with social distancing in effect for the foreseeable future, networking online…has become the primary way to connect…[and offers] tips from the experts on how to navigate." (Subscription required.)

  12. "5 Signs Legal May Embrace Remote Work Post-Pandemic," 10.30.20.
    Legaltech News highlights five signs that suggest the industry will continue some level of remote work post-pandemic.


  13. Law Schools and Law Students

  14. "Western Michigan University Severs Ties With Law School," 11.06.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Thursday to end the university's affiliation with Thomas M. Cooley Law School."

    1. "Western Michigan University trustees vote to end affiliation with Cooley Law, calling it 'a distraction'," 11.05.20.
      More on this from the ABA Journal, noting that "in May, the council of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar found that Cooley Law was one of 10 schools not in compliance with Standard 316, a recently revised accreditation standard that requires a bar passage rate of at least 75% within two years."

  15. "The Booming Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Up Over 35%, With Biggest Increases Among The Highest LSAT Bands And Applicants Of Color," 11.02.20.
    The TaxProf Blog reports on the current state of the Fall 2021 law school admissions season.

  16. "What Law Schools Did and Are Doing in a Pandemic," 11.02.20.
    Michael Hunter Schwartz, writing for his What Great Law Schools Do blog, writes about the results of a survey he sent to his fellow deans asking "how are law schools responding to the pandemic in terms of conducting classes in person or online and what has worked to promote student, faculty, and staff safety?"


  17. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  18. "Baker Botts Rolls Back COVID-19 Pay Cuts, Promises Interim Bonuses," 11.04.20.
    The Texas Lawyer reports that "less than a month after announcing firmwide staff layoffs, Baker Botts is pulling back on other expense cuts for the second time and providing bonuses to some non-partners, citing good financial performance."

  19. "Talent Battle Rages On As Top Firms Also Compete in Associate Bonuses," 11.03.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the war for talent is becoming increasingly fierce this fall, [citing new bonuses at Latham, but noting that] not every top firm has bought into the hype of special fall bonuses."

  20. "Learning Management Systems Gaining Traction, but Budget, Staff Limitations Halt Wide Adoption," 11.03.20.
    Legaltech News reports on the slow but growing adoption of learning management systems by law firms. ("According to the annual International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) technology survey, more firms are using a LMS in their firm, but not nearly all. ILTA reported only 57% of respondents said they didn't use a learning management system, compared to 62% in 2019 and 2018, and 66% in 2017.")

  21. "Katten Parts Ways With Attorneys, Brings Back Some Furloughed Staff," 11.02.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Katten Muchin Rosenman has announced it will be bringing back or permanently separating from all of its previously furloughed staff, and in the process will also be letting some attorneys go."

  22. "Firms Avoid Collections Worst Case Scenarios ... So Far," 11.02.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that "by and large, firms have avoided the crisis in collections that many saw during the Great Recession."

  23. "Aiming to Differentiate From Competitors, Baker Botts Hires 1st Chief Client Officer," 11.02.20.
    The Texas Lawyer reports that "Baker Botts has hired its first-ever chief client officer."


  24. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

  25. "Deloitte Legal to Add Around 86 UK Lawyers In Major Acquisition," 11.03.20.
    Law.com International reports that "the legal arm of Big Four accountant Deloitte has made a major push in the U.K., it announced on Tuesday, with the acquisition of U.K. technology specialist firm Kemp Little…taking on 29 partners as well as 57 additional lawyers."


  26. Higher Education

  27. "Failure of California's Prop. 16 Underscores Complexity of Affirmative-Action Debate," 11.04.20.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the outcome of the controversial ballot measure in California that would have reinstated affirmative action, allowing for the consideration of race, gender, and ethnicity in college admissions as well as public employment and contracting. (Subscription required.)



October 30, 2020

Top Stories

  1. "Quiet Staff Layoffs Run Through Big Law," 10.28.20.
    The American Lawyer reports "quiet staff reductions" at a growing number of large law firms: "The reports of layoffs at Kirkland follow confirmed staff layoffs at Hogan Lovells; Winston & Strawn; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Baker McKenzie; Thompson & Knight; Davis Wright Tremaine; Seyfarth Shaw; Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton; Baker Botts; Nixon Peabody; and Venable…but recruiters say many other staff layoffs are happening behind the scenes at other firms, and they know of other layoffs that have gone unreported."

    1. "Law Firm Staff Stress Skyrockets as Layoffs Roil the Industry," 10.29.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "the pandemic has exacerbated stress for law firm marketers and business professionals who have found themselves working more for less pay even as the specter of unemployment looms overhead, a new survey shows."

  2. "'I Lie Awake at Night'-New Study Highlights the Mental Toll of Law School Debt," 10.26.20.
    The American Lawyer reports on the findings of a survey on student debt conducted by the American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division where "many young lawyers said the amount of money they owe is a sources of stress, anxiety, depression, and anger."

    1. "Law student debt averages about $165K at graduation, creating stress and restricting choices, survey says," 10.27.20.
      The ABA Journal reports that "according to a March survey of more than 1,000 newer lawyers and recent law grads…more than 75% of those surveyed had at least $100,000 in student loans at graduation, over half had more than $150,000 in student loans, and one in four had $200,000 or more in student loans." The Journal also writes that the report shows "young lawyers are so impacted by student debt that they are making life-changing decisions, such as delaying children and, in some cases, choosing a job because of its higher pay."

    2. "2020 Law School Student Loan Debt Survey Report," 10.28.20.
      The TaxProf Blog highlights some of the findings from the new ABA Young Lawyers Division & AccessLex, 2020 Law School Student Loan Debt Survey Report, and provides a link to the report itself.


  3. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  4. "The Dramatic Increase In July 2020 MBE Scores," 10.29.20.
    Jerry Organ, writing for the TaxProf Blog, attempts to shed some light on why the MBE mean scaled score for those taking the July 2020 bar exam might have increased so much, concluding that the variance cannot be explained by the academic credentials of the cohort, and suggests that the smaller group may not have been a representative sample of the 2020 graduates from law schools in the 23 jurisdictions that gave the exam, and may have been a self-selected group that was disproportionately made up of students from the top half of their graduating classes.

  5. "Pass Rates Are Up Among the First States to Give Online Bar Exams," 10.28.20.
    Law.com reports that "pass rates were up significantly in both Michigan and Indiana, which were among the first three jurisdictions to deliver their exams remotely this summer."

  6. "Supreme Court Tasks Committee With Recommending Bar Exam's Future," 10.26.20.
    The Recorder reports that "California's Supreme Court on Monday approved the charter for a new committee that will consider the future of the bar exam, including whether all or portions of the test should be administered online even after the pandemic ends."


  7. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  8. "Hire-A-Lawyer Platform Priori Raises $6 Million, Eyes Diversity," 10.28.20.
    Bloomberg Law reports that "Priori Legal, a platform that uses data to help companies hire diverse lawyers, has raised $6.3 million in a funding round that includes an investment from an arm of Big Law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe."

  9. "At Atheria Law, Diversity Is 'More Than Checking Off Boxes'," 10.28.20.
    The Recorder reprints a recent interview with Christina Terplan, the President of Atheria Law, a California boutique that is majority woman-owned, and more than 50% of its lawyers are women, people of color, LGBTQ+, or identify as belonging to one or more underrepresented groups.

  10. "'Enough Is Enough:' As Diversity Efforts Seemingly Stall, Legal Departments Need to Use Buying Power," 10.27.20.
    Corporate Counsel reports that according to Diversity Lab CEO Caren Ulrich Stacy, "if the legal profession keeps up with its current sluggish pace in diversity and inclusion efforts, there will not be gender parity for another 38 years or racial parity for another 68 years."

  11. "We Cannot Let the Current Crisis Drag Us Backwards on Diversity," 10.26.20.
    The senior partner at Allen & Overy, writing for Law.com International, argues that lessons must be learned from the global financial crisis when considering how COVID-19 could reverse progress made on diversity.

  12. "Breaking the Silence for Disabled Attorneys," 10.26.20.
    An attorney in Holland & Knight's Miami office, writing for the Daily Business Review, writes about her experiences as a lawyer with Asperger's — something she doesn't see as a disability but rather as her superpower — and shares her hope that "the legal profession will lift up its voice for lawyers with disabilities and begin to appreciate the abilities that lawyers with disabilities possess."

  13. "Tina Tchen Urges Companies to Keep Up Diversity Training, Despite New Trump Order," 10.26.20.
    Corporate Counsel reports on the work of Tina Tchen, formerly a corporate lawyer at Skadden, a former chief of staff to former first lady Michelle Obama, and current chief of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, an organization dedicated to making work safer and more equitable for women, who is urging corporations to continue to push forward with diversity training despite the White House executive order that prohibits federal government workers, contractors and subcontractors from offering certain diversity training.

  14. "Countering the Impact of Workplace Bias With Mindfulness," 10.23.20.
    A former Big Law partner and in-house lawyer who is now an executive coach, writing here for The National Law Journal, writes that "lawyers more likely to experience bias in the workplace can use mindfulness and self-compassion practices in difficult moments."


  15. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

  16. "Is It Over Yet? How The 2020 Election Is Politicizing, Stressing Out Legal Professionals," 10.29.20.
    Law.com reports that in response to its recent survey on the impact of the 2020 U.S. election on legal professionals, 85% of respondents said the election was affecting their mental health, with 93% of respondents reporting more stress and anxiety, and 54% reporting feelings of depression.

  17. "We Bought Thousands of Laptops: Dentons' Chair on Tackling COVID-19 Globally," 10.28.20.
    Law.com International takes a look at how Dentons, the world's largest law firm, quickly shifted its global workforce, across 77 countries, to remote working.

  18. "To Telework or Not: That Is a Good Question," 10.28.20.
    Two lawyers with employment law practices, writing here for the Daily Report, provide guidance on the questions of "if and when an employer is obligated to offer telework to employees in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."

    1. "Post-Pandemic Telework as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA," 10.23.20.
      A lawyer with an employment law practice, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, provides guidance on thinking through post-COVID work-from-home requests, noting that while "employers who resorted to telework during the COVID-19 pandemic are not automatically required to give disabled workers that same accommodation once the office reopens…as employers return their workforce to the office, they will have to consider each accommodation request on its own, determine whether the teleworking arrangement has in fact been working and, if not, offer alternative effective accommodations, if possible, that will enable employees to perform the essential functions of their job without an undue hardship on the employer."


  19. Law Schools and Law Students

  20. "More Law Schools Nix Classes on Election Day," 10.29.20.
    Law.com reports that "a growing number of law schools across the country have canceled classes on Election Day in order to facilitate voting and give students the opportunity to do election-related volunteer work."


  21. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

  22. "After Schulte Files Suit Over Rent, Landlord Says Law Firms Are 'Taking Advantage' of Pandemic," 10.28.20.
    The New York Law Journal reports that "Schulte Roth & Zabel has filed suit against its New York landlord, seeking at least $10 million, becoming the latest Am Law 200 firm to dispute its office rent obligations during the pandemic." ("Schulte is seeking rent abatement from its landlord…the case is similar to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Jenner & Block's litigation this year against their landlords.")

  23. "Going beyond the associate-partner path, Dentons' 'Career Playbook' aims to keep associates engaged," 10.27.20.
    The Canadian Lawyer speaks with NALP Board member and director of talent for Ontario at Dentons LLP, Kara Sutherland, about that firm's associate development framework, what they dub their 'Career Playbook,' "which provides lawyers with transparent information about the alternative career paths available to them."

  24. "Big Firms Boost Volunteer Hours to Support 'Unprecedented' Volume of Election Inquiries," 10.27.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that several large law firms anticipate devoting many more volunteer hours this year to the Election Protection program as shifting state election rules and the pandemic have caused an unprecedented ramp-up in work by volunteers.

  25. "2020 Is a Year of Discounts as Law Firms Prioritize Cash Flow," 10.26.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that a recent report "found that 57% of chief financial officers and other firm executives are willing to reduce bills if they are paid early."

  26. "Hogan Lovells to Cut 43 Business Services Roles in Americas," 10.23.20.
    The American Lawyer reports that Hogan Lovells announced a 4% cut in the firm's business services workforce, amounting to the elimination of 43 staff roles in the United States and Mexico.

  27. "Fisher Phillips to Fully Return Withheld Pay to Lawyers, Staff," 10.23.20.
    According to the Daily Report, "Fisher Phillips will fully restore withheld pay for its salaried lawyers and staff at the end of October, after earlier lifting pay reductions it had instituted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic."


  28. International Law Firms

  29. "UK Law Firm Slashes 71 Roles as Industry Cuts Continue," 10.29.20.
    Law.com International reports that UK law firm BLM "has axed 71 roles across its business…[targeting] the firm's legal support and corporate services teams."

  30. "Baker McKenzie Profits Drop Amid Pandemic, Currency Fluctuations," 10.28.20.
    Law.com International reports that "Baker McKenzie posted low revenue growth and a double-digit dip in profit per partner in the financial year 2019-20 as COVID-19 and global currency fluctuations took a toll."

  31. "Eversheds Does Not Expect to Ever Return To Full Time Office Work in Ireland," 10.27.20.
    Law.com International reports that "Eversheds Sutherland has said it does not expect there will ever be a full return to its Irish offices post-pandemic as the country responds to renewed lockdown rules for the region."

  32. "Two Thirds of Top Firms Reduced Partner Promotions This Year," 10.26.20.
    Law.com International reports that "two thirds of the U.K.'s largest firms have reduced their partnership promotions this year."

  33. "Linklaters and Clifford Chance End COVID-19 Salary Freezes," 10.23.20.
    Law.com International reports that "Linklaters has ended its COVID-19 salary freeze and Clifford Chance is set to follow suit next month, in the latest sign of an easing of pandemic measures across the industry."


  34. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

  35. "What's the Most Common Path to the General Counsel Seat?," 10.28.20.
    Corporate Counsel reports that according to a new general counsel succession report, while "general counsel reach the top of the legal department ladder by following a variety of paths and strategies…many chief lawyers got to where they are by taking on more responsibilities, increasing their exposure to the C-suite and board of directors, and hiring an executive coach."


  36. Higher Education

  37. "Women Lawyers Making Progress As Campus Leaders," 10.29.20.
    The TaxProf Blog highlights an article from Women in Higher Education that reports "the number of lawyers serving as college and university presidents has more than doubled in the last three decades…and nationally, 30% of all campus presidents are women," a growing number whom are lawyers.

  38. "Racial Equity in Funding for Higher Ed," 10.29.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "studies show colleges that serve greater percentages of students of color, and are more likely to enroll students who struggle with poverty and other inequities in succeeding in college, have less to spend for each of their students than better-heeled institutions."

  39. "Moody's Forecasts Widespread Drop in Tuition Revenue," 10.29.20.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "Moody's Investors Service…announced on Wednesday that, for the first time in the 12-year history of its annual tuition survey, both private and public colleges are likely to lose net tuition revenue in the 2021 fiscal year." (Subscription required.)

  40. "'There Are So Few That Have Made Their Way'," 10.28.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that Black employees are sharply underrepresented at the top ranks of the higher education ecosystem: "Black and African American employees make up less than 10 percent of higher education professionals…[while] white employees account for more than three-quarters of all higher education professionals…among administrators and executive leadership, this disparity is even greater…less than 8 percent of administrators are Black or African American, and more than 80 percent are white…[and] fewer than a quarter of faculty members are nonwhite, and only 6 percent are Black."

  41. "What Higher Ed Has Learned From Covid-19 So Far," 10.28.20.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on some of the lessons college leaders have learned so far during the pandemic — most importantly that this is not a short-term event: "My mind-set is changing to thinking this is a 24-months-plus crisis to navigate." (Subscription required.)

  42. "Transfer Enrollment Declines," 10.27.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that according to the latest report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, "transfer enrollment is down 4.7 percent compared to last fall [putting] a particular strain on community colleges."

  43. "Colleges Slash Budgets in the Pandemic, With 'Nothing Off-Limits'," 10.26.20.
    The New York Times reports that "as it resurges across the country, the coronavirus is forcing universities large and small to make deep and possibly lasting cuts to close widening budget shortfalls [noting that] the pandemic has cost colleges at least $120 billion."

  44. "Tuition Rises at Historically Low Rate Amid Pandemic," 10.26.20.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "many colleges across the country froze or lowered tuition and fees for the current 2020-21 academic year."




  45. Past News Digest Issues



    October 23, 2020


      Top Stories

    1. "New Data on Racial Disparities in Lawyer Hiring Is 'Wake-Up Call' for the Profession," 10.21.20.
      Law.com reports that "new figures on entry-level lawyers hiring from the National Association for Law Placement reveal that slightly more than 62% of 2019's Black law graduates secured jobs that require a J.D., compared with 80% of white law graduates."

      1. "Black law grads trail in employment overall and in bar-passage-required jobs, new NALP report finds," 10.21.20.
        The ABA Journal also reports on NALP's new findings on the disparities in employment outcomes for law school graduates: "Black law graduates in the class of 2019 had the lowest overall employment rates among all racial and ethnic groups and lower employment in bar-passage-required jobs than white graduates, according to new findings by the National Association for Law Placement."

      2. "Black and Native American law school grads faced employment gap in booming pre-COVID market," 10.21.20.
        Reuters reports that "the overall employment rate for 2019 law school graduates was the highest it had been in over a decade — but Black and Native American job candidates were much less likely to benefit from that booming market than white peers, according to a new report from the National Association for Law Placement."

      3. "Black and Native American Law Grads Left Behind on Employment," 10.21.20.
        Bloomberg Law also reports on the new NALP employment findings, noting that "according to an annual study from the National Association for Law Placement that tracks law graduate jobs, Black graduates landed 17% fewer jobs that require bar passage than white graduates."

      4. "'Discouraging' Diversity Gap In Employment For Law Grads," 10.21.20.
        And Law360 also has the story about the new employment findings, noting that "a stark disparity in outcomes between white and racial minority graduates persists."

      5. "Law School Grads See Best Job Outcomes In 12 Years — But Not Black Grads," 10.21.20.
        More on this from Above the Law.

    2. "NALP's New Employment and Salary Report Highlights Disparities in Outcomes by Race and Ethnicity," 10.21.20.
      You can read the NALP press release, find much more information about the employment and salary outcomes for the Class of 2019, and order a copy of NALP's latest Jobs & JDs report here.


    3. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

    4. "New York Joins 3 Other States in Giving February Bar Exam Online," 10.22.20.
      Law.com reports that "the New York State Court of Appeals announced Wednesday that the upcoming exam would not be offered in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, making it among the first jurisdictions to commit to another online test in February… Pennsylvania, Maryland and Connecticut have also said their February exams will be given online."

    5. "California Supreme Court Approves Provisional License Program for Law Grads," 10.22.20.
      The Recorder reports that "California's Supreme Court gave the go-ahead Thursday to a provisional licensing program for 2020 law school graduates."

    6. "Study: Lower Bar Exam Cut Score Won't Solve California's Attorney Diversity Problem," 10.19.20.
      The Recorder reports that "an extensive new study…confirms long-held suspicions that California's historically high cut score has had a disparate impact on minority law graduates and impeded the flow of diverse attorneys into the state's bar."

    7. "State Bar Asks Exam-Takers: Did You Cheat?," 10.19.20.
      The Recorder reports that "a California State Bar survey sent to those who took the online bar exam two weeks ago asks applicants if they cheated on the test or know of anyone who said they did." ("The questions about cheating were part of a multi-page questionnaire about law school graduates' experiences taking the two-day test, the first full bar exam administered online in California.")

    8. "Test Takers Slam New York's First Online Bar Exam in New Survey," 10.16.20.
      The New York Law Journal reports that "a survey of those who took New York's first-ever online bar exam last week suggests that technical problems were more widespread than officials have indicated…[noting that] 41% said they experienced Internet or software disruptions during the Oct. 5 and 6 remote exam."

    9. "'One Of The Toughest Things I've Gone Through.' Examinees Weigh In On Florida's Online Bar," 10.15.20.
      The Daily Business Review reports that "Florida officials have deemed the state's first-ever online bar exam a success-after months of delays, format changes and pushback from law graduates who argued that they should not be required to take the licensing exam during a pandemic or a least be given an open-book test."


    10. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

    11. "The Emotional Toll of Racism," 10.23.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that Black students continuously experience, fight against and bear emotional scars from racism, which can lead to increased anxiety and poor mental health outcomes: "Students of color who engage in activism and leadership frequently sideline their own mental health needs to focus on the fight for racial justice on their campuses. They have less time and emotional bandwidth to dedicate to typical student experiences, such as creating and maintaining personal relationships and a social life, performing academically and navigating what is likely their first time living away from home. Black student leaders noted that the amount of stress they endure and the time-consuming nature of activist work — plus the racist incidents that inspire this work — can cause students to fall behind in their studies or can become so emotionally burdensome that they drop out."

    12. "New Program Calls On Managing Partners, General Counsel to Make 'Personal Commitments' to Diversity," 10.22.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity…is asking its members to make data-driven, public commitments to advancing diversity as part of a new initiative dubbed 'Leaders at the Front.'"

    13. "Reflections on a 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge," 10.21.20.
      A labor and employment lawyer, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, reflects on her law firm's participation in Dr. Eddie Moore's 21-day racial equity habit building challenge.

    14. "It's not just the Supreme Court. The entire legal system has a crippling diversity problem.," 10.20.20.
      Al Sharpton, writes in USA Today that "it is more urgent than ever that we recognize the underlying issues plaguing our nation's justice system are inextricably tied to the staggering lack of equitable racial representation within America's legal and judicial institutions."

    15. "Study Shows Disconnect Between Corporate Speak and Action on Diversity," 10.20.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that new research "reveals a significant disconnect between what businesses are saying and what they're actually doing…about the importance of equality and inclusion."

    16. "'Sad Picture'?: Diversity of New York's Judiciary Has Stood in Place for Decades, Report Says," 10.20.20.
      The New York Law Journal reports that according to "a sweeping independent review of racial bias in the New York state court system…proportional representation on the bench for people of color has hardly budged in about the last three decades."

    17. "Hogan Lovells Sets Ethnicity and LGBTQ+ Targets for US, UK Partnerships," 10.19.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Hogan Lovells has set targets to improve ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ partner representation across its U.K. and U.S. offices, joining several firms to use the measure to attempt to improve diversity and inclusion within their ranks."

    18. "Goodwin Trans Lawyer Makes Equity Partner, One of Few in Big Law," 10.19.20.
      Bloomberg Law reports that "Goodwin Procter has promoted its first transgender equity partner…one of relatively few transgender lawyers known to have climbed the ladder in Big Law."

    19. "Firms Turn to Data in Evaluating Inclusion Efforts, Setting Diversity Goals," 10.17.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "a growing number of law firms are placing a greater reliance on using data to guide their diversity and inclusion efforts, both by more carefully evaluating the success of internal initiatives and by setting clearly delineated goals."

    20. "Jessie Liu Event on Gender Diversity Canceled Due to Trump Order, DOJ Group Says," 10.16.20.
      The National Law Journal reports that "Justice Department officials advised an advocacy group to cancel an event on gender diversity featuring former U.S. Attorney for D.C. Jessie Liu over a new executive order from President Donald Trump against federal trainings that suggest gender biases exist in the workplace, leaders of that group said Friday."


    21. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

    22. "Your Work Friends Knew Exactly What Kind of Week You'd Had," 10.21.20.
      A great NYT op-ed on the perils of our long-term pandemic-induced work from home regime: "…the subtraction of office culture from adults' daily lives inhibits two kinds of relationships that play important roles in preventing…chronic loneliness."

    23. "After the Pandemic, a Revolution in Education and Work Awaits," 10.20.20.
      Thomas Friedman, writing for The New York Times, opines that in the post-pandemic era, the nature of education, work, workplaces and the workforce will be forever transformed — "KABOOM!"

    24. "Resilient Lawyer, Resilient You — Practical Strategies to Improve Sleep," 10.16.20.
      Corporate Counsel reprints a helpful piece from Global Leaders in Law wherein "a psychologist who focuses on applied neuroscience in the workplace outlines the link between resilience and sleep and shares practical strategies you can implement to improve your sleep."


    25. Law Schools and Law Students

    26. "Dean of Cornell Law Named Next President of Seattle University," 10.22.20.
      The New York Law Journal reports that "Cornell Law Dean Eduardo Peñalver has been named the next president of Seattle University…[he] has been the dean of Cornell Law School since 2014, and will be Seattle University's first Latino president."

    27. "Harvard Law Will Remain Online in the Spring. Will Others Follow?," 10.21.20.
      Law.com reports that "Harvard Law School Dean John Manning announced Tuesday that the school will remain fully remote in the winter and spring semesters due to the COVID-19 pandemic."

    28. "The LSAT Will Be Online Through April," 10.16.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that "all January, February, and April 2021 LSAT administrations will be moving to the online, remotely proctored LSAT-Flex format."


    29. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

    30. "Seeking to Raise the Bar, Jenner Commits $250M Over 5 Years in Pro Bono Work," 10.22.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Jenner & Block, which ranks high for its pro bono work, says it wants to raise the bar even more, promising it will provide $250 million toward pro bono efforts for the next five years."

    31. "Akin Gump Says Yes to Special Fall Bonuses," 10.21.20.
      Texas Lawyer reports that "Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is the latest Big Law firm to announce it will pay associates special fall bonuses, meeting the scale set by Davis Polk & Wardwell in September, even as some large firms nix the compensation payments."

    32. "Are Women Leaving Big Law Because of COVID?," 10.21.20.
      Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, finds a lot of discouraging news in the new McKinsey/LeanIn 2020 report on women in the workplace that reports "more than one in four women are contemplating what many would have considered unthinkable just six months ago: downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce completely," and she fears that does not bode well for women in large law firms.

    33. "Want to Build a Law Firm of the Future? Ask Yourself These 8 Questions," 10.20.20.
      The chief operating officer of Goodwin Procter, writing for The American Lawyer, suggests "eight experience-based questions about the business of law" that law firms should be asking themselves as they endeavor to innovate themselves into the future.

    34. "Has Big Law Finally Lost Its Follow-the-Pack Mentality?," 10.19.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "the recent divergence on layoffs, associate bonuses and lateral hiring suggest the legal industry may finally be breaking away from its herd mentality."

    35. "In 2020, These Big Firms Have Seen the Most Partner Exits," 10.19.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that according to an analysis of lateral partner movement data from legal consulting firm Decipher, "Kirkland & Ellis, Boies Schiller Flexner, Holland & Knight and Akerman saw an uptick in partner departures this year."

    36. "As Budgets Improve, More Large Firms Restore Attorney and Staff Pay," 10.16.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "the pace of law firms rolling back austerity measures is accelerating, as several firms in the last few days-including Fox Rothschild, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, Blank Rome and Dorsey & Whitney-said they had restored pay cuts."

    37. "Greenberg Traurig Chooses Buyouts Over Layoffs in Trimming Staff Ranks," 10.16.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Greenberg Traurig is offering tenure-based buyouts to full-time staff as law firms across the industry look to reduce their employee rosters."

    38. "'A Big Divide': Why Some Associates Are Struggling as Others Excel-and What Firms Can Do About It," 10.16.20.
      In this Law.com podcast, reporter Patrick Smith and Stephanie Biderman, a managing director of global consultancy Major Lindsey & Africa, "discuss the challenges young attorneys have faced at a time of heightened uncertainty and anxiety in the legal profession and beyond." (Podcast)


    39. International Law Firms

    40. "Allen & Overy Partners Approve Lockstep Changes," 10.22.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Allen & Overy partners have approved changes to the firm's lockstep system…[including] allowing for more discretion at the top and bottom of the firm's lockstep ladder."

    41. "Norton Rose EMEA Plots Post-Brexit Future, Rolls Out Ethnicity Targets," 10.22.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Norton Rose Fulbright's EMEA arm is putting Brexit and diversity top of its agenda…the firm is aiming to hit specific racial diversity targets in the U.K. by 2025."

    42. "DLA Piper to Allow Staff, Partners to Remote Work Two Days a Week Post-Crisis," 10.22.20.
      Law.com International reports that "DLA Piper has drawn up a international remote-working policy that will allow all its people outside the U.S., including partners, to work two days per week away from the office, as it prepares for a post-COVID 19 future."

    43. "Dentons UK, Middle East Arm Ends Several COVID Measures, Repays Furlough Funds," 10.21.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Dentons U.K. and Middle East (UKME) LLP is ending some COVID-19 measures it had taken earlier this year, and is paying back funds it used to place some staff on furlough to the U.K. Government."

    44. "A&O Partner Ethnicity Pay Gap Doubles, Firm Reveals Disability Pay Gap," 10.21.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Allen & Overy's ethnicity pay gap among its partners more than doubled in the last year, the firm announced on Wednesday, as it also revealed its disability pay gap."

    45. "Client Demand Propels Herbert Smith Freehills' Hong Kong Diversity Initiative," 10.21.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Herbert Smith Freehills has implemented a diversity plan for Asia that aims by 2025 to have half of its Hong Kong-based partnership and business services leadership identify as ethnically Asian."

    46. "Baker McKenzie Pay, Profit Pool Changes on Agenda as Partner Conference Continues," 10.20.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Baker McKenzie is…looking to potentially make changes to its pay systems and how its global profit pools are structured…[including] the structure of our lockstep."



    October 16, 2020


      Top Stories

    1. "U.S. Virus Cases Climb Toward a Third Peak," 10.15.20.
      The New York Times reports that "the number of new coronavirus cases in the United States is surging once again after growth slowed in late summer." ("While the geography of the pandemic is now shifting to the Midwest and to more rural areas, cases are trending upward in most states, many of which are setting weekly records for new cases.")

    2. "At work while at home: The new paradigm," 10.14.20.
      The Washington Post writes that one of the byproducts of the pandemic is that "millions of workers are rethinking the rat-race approach to employment and prioritizing time to care for family, friends, their community and themselves."

    3. "July Is the New January: More Companies Delay Return to the Office," 10.13.20.
      The New York Times reports that "with the virus still surging in some parts of the country, a growing number of employers are delaying return-to-office dates once again, to the summer of 2021 at the earliest."

      1. "Big Law Won't Follow Corporate America in Promising Remote Work Until July," 10.15.20.
        The American Lawyer reports that although "Microsoft, Target, Ford Motor, Google and a number of other major U.S. corporations may have announced that they're not requiring workers to return to the office until July 2021…large law firms are avoiding making the same definitive declarations."


    4. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

    5. "State Bar Committee Recommends Expanded Access to Provisional Licensing," 10.14.20.
      The Recorder reports that "a state bar committee on Wednesday voted to expand a new provisional licensing program to anyone who scored 1390 or higher on California's bar exam since July 2015." ("The recommendation…could open the door to supervised practice for approximately 2,000 law school graduates whose previous exam scores would have been high enough to pass under today's lower threshold but were not sufficient to pass when they took the test.")


    6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

    7. "Are Firms' Diversity and Inclusion Efforts in Need of Data Assist?," 10.15.20.
      Legaltech News writes that "addressing legal's long-standing diversity and inclusion challenges must involve reimagining evaluation models and making metric-based decisions."

    8. "Higher Ed's Shameful Silence on Diversity," 10.13.20.
      In this opinion piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Hasan Kwame Jeffries, an associate professor of history at The Ohio State University, castigates higher education leaders for their silence on recent White House directives aimed at curtailing diversity training initiatives, a silence he attributes to a desire to protect federal funding over a principled commitment to greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education: "For far too long, college presidents have remained silent about racist public policies. But those committed to racial justice and equity are no longer willing to see this nation plunged further into the abyss of despair. The cup of endurance has run over. The time for silence has ended." (Subscription required.)

    9. "Axiom Doubles Down on Diversity Efforts as It Seeks to Woo In-House Legal Departments," 10.09.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that "Axiom is looking to outcompete Big Law and win business from corporate legal departments by being transparent about its diversity numbers and more aggressive about recruiting minorities and women than traditional law firms."


    10. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Remote Learning

    11. "Mental Health Remains A Concern for In-House Leaders and Their Employees Amid COVID-19," 10.14.20.
      Law.com reports that "a new study from The Martec Group found only 28% of employees felt that their mental health was in the positive range during the pandemic compared to 62% feeling the same way before the pandemic," and writes about the mental health challenges facing in-house lawyers during the pandemic, noting that "general counsel and chief legal officers are trying to prioritize mental health concerns for their legal departments and companies."

    12. "The New Language Needed to Connect Professionally Right Now," 10.12.20.
      A law firm partner, writing for The American Lawyer, takes a lighthearted approach to a new vocabulary that describes our fraught states of mind during these difficult times, and also makes the point that "in this time of unprecedented social isolation, genuine connection is more important than ever." (Hat tip to Bonnie Hurry for this one.)

    13. "Battling Pandemic Blues: How Managers Can Rally the Troops," 10.11.20.
      The Wall Street Journal provides advice for managers dealing with team morale issues, noting that according to a recent survey, "human-resources professionals ranked maintaining employee morale as their most difficult Covid-19 issue." (Subscription required.)

    14. "Study Shows Widespread Unhappiness Among Remote Workers. What Can In-House Leaders Do?," 10.08.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that despite its many advantages, "a new study suggests that a significant number of employees aren't particularly happy about [remote working]," and notes that USBLS data show that 53% of the U.S. legal industry was working from home in September.

    15. "Your 'Surge Capacity' Is Depleted — It's Why You Feel Awful," 08.17.20.
      This Medium article from August is still relevant, and super insightful, and worth a read if you have not already seen it: "People are having to live their lives without the support of so many systems that have partly or fully broken down, whether it's schools, hospitals, churches, family support, or other systems that we relied on. We need to recognize that we're grieving multiple losses while managing the ongoing impact of trauma and uncertainty." (Hat tip to my friend Dave Z. for bringing this one to my attention.)


    16. Law Schools and Law Students

    17. "For minority law students, learning the law can be intellectually violent," 10.15.20.
      Shaun Ossei-Owusu, a 2020 New America national fellow and a presidential assistant law professor at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, writing for the ABA Journal, writes that "as a Black criminal law professor who studies inequality in the legal profession…I feel compelled to apologize [to minority law students], not because of some personal responsibility, but because the learning of law—particularly for racial minorities—can be intellectually violent. It pales in comparison to the structural and physical violence that people experience outside the ivory tower, but it is also unforgiving, can feel unrelenting and often goes unnamed."

    18. "Gender Pay Disparities In The Legal Academy," 10.15.20.
      The TaxProf Blog highlights a new article by two academics who use empirical evidence to show that law professors who are women of color earn less than all other groups, concluding that "these disparities stem from the differential valuation of human capital."

    19. "Law Schools Unite With ABA to Take On Racist Policing," 10.14.20.
      Law.com reports that "a quarter of the nation's law schools have teamed up with the American Bar Association on a five-year initiative to improve police practices." ("The Legal Education Police Practices Consortium aims to develop model police practices—with an eye to issues such as police conduct and oversight. It will also work to eliminate police tactics that are motivated by race, or that have a disparate impact on particular racial groups.")

    20. "Law Students Protest Outside Paul Weiss's New York Office Over Firm's Exxon Representation," 10.09.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "a group called the Law Students for Climate Accountability hand-delivered a list of over 600 signatures from law students from schools such as New York University, Harvard, Yale, Stanford and the University of Michigan, among others, to the Manhattan office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison Friday, demanding the firm stop representing fossil fuel clients such as ExxonMobil or those students won't consider the firm an option for future employment."


    21. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

    22. "As Others Delay, These Firms Proceed With First-Year Onboarding 'At a Distance'," 10.16.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "as Big Law firms become increasingly comfortable working remotely and find themselves with enough work to go around, many are opting to bring in their first-year associates this fall, even as the majority of firms wait until next spring, [noting that] McDermott Will & Emery; Fenwick & West; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Goodwin Procter; Latham & Watkins; and McGuireWoods are among the firms that have opted to start their incoming associates this year as opposed to next."

    23. "Kirkland 'Saved $2.5M' By Running Virtual Partners Conference," 10.15.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Kirkland & Ellis saved around $2.5 million by not running its annual in-person equity partners conference in California this year, according to a partner at the firm."

    24. "Big Firms Bring in Millions as Hundreds of Election Lawsuits Rage Across the Country," 10.15.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Big Law firms connected to the Democratic and Republican parties are raking in tens of millions in fees as the two parties clash in dozens of voting lawsuits throughout the country."

    25. "The Outsourcing Continues: Wilson Sonsini to Send Office Services, Records Management Work to New 3rd Party," 10.13.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has entered into an agreement with legal services firm Epiq, moving the firm's office services and records management to a new third-party vendor."

    26. "Opportunity in Crisis: These Firms Seized on an Unusual Lateral Hiring Market in 2020," 10.12.20.
      The American Lawyer provides an update on lateral hiring, with data showing that some firms have slowed down their rate of intake of lateral talent while others have expanded their lateral hiring strategies during the pandemic.

    27. "Layoffs Continue, as Even Stable Firms Face Shifting Work Environment," 10.12.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "since the beginning of September, at least 11 Am Law 200 firms have acknowledged cutting staff positions….and this figure climbs past 20 [if you] go back to the start of the spring."

    28. "Willkie Announces Fall Bonuses, Potentially Reviving Associate Compensation War," 10.09.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Willkie Farr & Gallagher has matched Davis Polk & Wardwell's fall associate bonus scale, potentially opening the door to more announcements after a week of dormancy among Big Law firms."

    29. "White & Case Promotes 40, Reaffirms Gender Commitment to Partner Ranks," 10.09.20.
      Law.com International reports that "White & Case has promoted 40 of its lawyers to partner globally in its latest round with another strong showing for female promotions across the board."


    30. International Law Firms

    31. "Allen & Overy Partners Vote on Lockstep Changes," 10.15.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Allen & Overy partners are currently voting on changes to its remuneration structure, with the vote set to conclude within two weeks, according to one person at the firm…the firm is not the only U.K. outfit to consider how its pay system can be improved to remain relevant and bring in top talent while competing with higher paying U.S. firms."

    32. "Could Remote Working Cause London Legal Salaries to Fall?," 10.12.20.
      Law.com International reports that "as law firms commit to allowing their lawyers to work remotely more often amid the coronavirus lockdown, top lawyers in the U.K. have raised questions about how the moves might affect salaries."


    33. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

    34. "KPMG Launches Legal Ops Advisory Service as Pandemic Accelerates Need to Streamline Services," 10.14.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that "KPMG…launched a legal operations transformation service Wednesday…to help both mature legal operations functions and those just starting their legal operations journey to find greater efficiencies through processes and technology."

    35. "Few In-House Attorneys Laid Off During the Middle of COVID-19 Pandemic," 10.09.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that "recognizing the important role of an in-house attorney during a crisis, few organizations made cuts from their legal departments in the middle of the pandemic, according to the 2020 Law Department Compensation Policies and Practices Report published by the Association of Corporate Counsel and Empsight International on Thursday." ("Between 0.5 and 1.8% of respondents to the survey said they implemented a layoff because of the pandemic and only 0.6% to 4.3% of companies have implemented a furlough in the legal department, the report states.")


    36. Higher Education

    37. "Children From Immigrant Families Are Increasingly the Face of Higher Education," 10.15.20.
      The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "an extraordinary demographic shift is sweeping through U.S. university campuses as immigrants and children of immigrants become an ever-larger share of student bodies." ("A new study released on Thursday found that more than 5.3 million students, or nearly 30 percent of all students enrolled in colleges and universities in 2018, hailed from immigrant families, up from 20 percent in 2000. The population of so-called immigrant-origin students grew much more than that of U.S.-born students of parents also born in the United States, accounting for 58 percent of the increase in the total number of students in higher education during that period.") (Subscription required.)

    38. "Report: Enrollment Continues to Trend Downward," 10.15.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that according to a new report, "undergraduate enrollment is now 4 percent lower than it was last fall…[noting that] over 16 percent fewer freshmen have enrolled this fall compared to last year."

    39. "Graduate Enrollment Grew in 2019," 10.15.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "first-time enrollment in graduate programs increased by 2.5 percent between fall 2018 and fall 2019 even while the number of applications to graduate programs dipped slightly." ("The survey found notable increases in first-time graduate enrollment among members of racial minority groups. First-time graduate enrollment increased by 5.7 percent among Hispanic/Latinx students, 5.5 percent among Black/African American students, 5.3 percent among Asian students and 3.5 percent among American Indian/Alaska Native students.")

    40. "A Generation Defined by the Pandemic," 10.15.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "a new survey about student experiences during the fall semester and the coronavirus pandemic found that stress, anxiety and loneliness were their overriding concern."

      1. "Did the Pandemic Worsen the Campus Mental-Health Crisis? Maybe Not, Data Show," 10.13.20.
        The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "early data from campus counseling centers challenge the idea that colleges are on the brink of a mental-health disaster." (Subscription required.)

    41. "ACT and SAT Scores Drop," 10.15.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that average scores on both the ACT and SAT tests declined this fall, with scores from "from traditionally underserved racial/ethnic groups (i.e., not white or Asian)," falling by a greater percentage.

    42. "Permanent Budget Cuts Are Coming," 10.15.20.
      The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "so far, most of the layoffs in higher education have been viewed as temporary in nature…but there are growing signs that colleges will make permanent cuts to their entire work force." (Subscription required.)

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