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.

January 21, 2022

    Top Stories

  1. "Milbank Boosts Associate Pay Scale For The Second Time In A Year," 01.20.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Milbank is boosting associate pay, moving salaries for current first-years up to $215,000 and giving $20,000 more annually to senior associates."

    1. "N.Y. law firms raise starting salaries to $215,000 as lawyer pay race continues," 01.20.22.
      Reuters also has this story: "large U.S. law firms may be poised for yet another round of associate pay raises, with New York-based firm Milbank on Thursday increasing annual salaries by as much as $20,000 depending on seniority…within hours, rival New York firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft said it would match the new Milbank salaries."

    2. "Milbank smashes the associate pay scale with yet another raise," 01.20.22.
      More on this from the ABA Journal.

    3. "Milbank's Latest Associate Raise Is a 'Logical Next Step' in Salary Brinksmanship," 01.20.22.
      The American Lawyer reports that "with Milbank yet again raising associates salaries—for the second time in less than a year—Big Law firms should expect compensation to keep escalating so long as demand stays strong and the deal work flows, legal experts say." ("Already Thursday afternoon, firms started responding to the move. McDermott, Will & Emery said it will match the new Milbank scale. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft also confirmed Thursday that it had matched Milbank's raises.")

  2. The Feel-Goods

  3. "Bethel Park football coach cancels workout, assigns team to shovel snow for neighbors," 01.17.22.
    Pittsburgh's Action News 4 reports that a football coach in Pennsylvania canceled practice because of heavy weather and instead asked his team to help neighbors shovel snow — the story went viral on Twitter. ("Delallo said the shoveling workout is a way for the team to support the community that supports them.") (Hat tip to Jessica Buchsbaum)

    1. "Pa. football coach tells team to shovel snow for neighbors in place of weight training," 01.19.22.
      More on the snow-shoveling football team from PennLive.

  4. "She was stranded in the snowstorm. Her junior high coach, whom she hadn't seen in 30 years, came to get her.," 01.11.22.
    The Washington Post reports that "when last week's severe snowstorm left Manyka Gaither stranded at a D.C. dialysis center, it was perhaps the most unexpected person who came to her rescue: her junior high school basketball coach whom she had not seen in more than 30 years." (Hat tip to Mary Beal)

  5. "Wordle Is a Love Story," 01.03.22.
    The New York Times has the origin story of Wordle. (And another hat tip to Jessica Buchsbaum)

  6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  7. "Billable Hour Credit at Eversheds Now Includes Diversity Efforts," 01.19.22.
    According to the Daily Report, "Eversheds Sutherland is joining the growing movement of large law firms that are allowing attorneys to capture billing credit for work they do on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts." ("Eversheds announced Wednesday it will provide up to 50 hours of billable credit per year for qualifying DEI work for all U.S.-based attorneys.")

    1. "Eversheds Unveils New Billable Hour Credit for Diversity Work," 01.19.22.
      More on this from Bloomberg Law.

  8. "Arnold & Porter's Black Equity Certification Plan Gets the Green Light," 01.19.22.
    The National Law Journal reports that "Washington, D.C.-headquartered Am Law 100 firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer has developed a plan that commits the firm to achieving equality at work for Black lawyers and business professionals by 2025 at the latest." ("The commitment is aimed making tangible advances at the firm, such as Black representation at every level, employee compensation, racially just business practices (including maintaining a diversity of suppliers), racial justice contributions and investments, and broadly providing an inclusive, anti-racist work environment.")

  9. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Back to Work

  10. "Burnout Is Real. But It Still May Be Avoidable," 01.20.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "a firm's commitment to well-being and attorneys' sense of control over their work have a significant impact on whether they're overwhelmed, according to new survey figures from the Institute for Well-Being In Law."

  11. "'Soul suck': Ex-lawyers dish on why they ditched their jobs," 01.19.22.
    Reuters reports that "now more than ever, lawyers are unwilling to remain in jobs that make them unhappy."

  12. "More Lawyers Are Addressing Twin Stigmas of Mental Health and Psychedelics," 01.19.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "psychedelic drugs, once highly stigmatized, are increasingly becoming part of our society's conversations about mental health, therapy and well-being, and there's momentum even in the staid world of Big Law."

  13. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  14. "The way we've always done it is wrong," 01.19.22.
    Jordan Furlong, writing for his Law21 blog, writes favorably about the Supreme Court of Oregon decision to unanimously approve in concept two alternative pathways to lawyer licensure that don't involve writing the bar exam: "Why do I support these new routes to licensure? That is, other than the fact that the bar exam is a gruelling ordeal with a racist and exclusionary history that has never been validated and now endangers the health of licensure candidates by testing indoors in-person in a pandemic and, by the way, doesn't actually assess a candidate's readiness to practise law? Besides those minor irritants?" ("I support these new measures because they give a licensure candidate the opportunity to actually engage in the work of a lawyer — to practise the practice of law, if you will. They diversify and enhance the path towards lawyer licensure by adding supervised experience to the existing elements of knowledge of the law and "understanding of professional responsibility. They deepen the candidate's competence and enhance their self-confidence.")

  15. Law Schools and Law Students

  16. "A Year and a Half In, AALS Law Dean Antiracist Clearinghouse Project 'Going Strong'," 01.19.22.
    Law.com provides an update on the AALS Law Deans Antiracist Clearinghouse Project, launched after George Floyd's murder the stated goal of establishing commitment to a sustained antiracist agenda.

  17. "Yale reappoints law dean Heather Gerken amid campus controversies," 01.19.22.
    Reuters reports that "Yale University said Wednesday that it has reappointed Heather Gerken to another five-year term as dean of its law school."

  18. "As the pandemic drags on, law professors are making changes," 01.18.22.
    The ABA Journal writes about how the pandemic is changing the law school classroom, and the way that professors teach, maybe in permanent ways.

  19. "Law school offers financial rebate to unemployed graduates," 01.18.22.
    The Canadian Lawyer reports that "the UK-based University of Law has announced that it will extend a program offering money back to graduates who struggle to find legal work after graduating."

  20. Law Firms and Lawyers

  21. "Cadwalader Saw Partner Profits Soar by 70% as Revenue Grew More Than 30% in 2021," 01.21.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft saw a record year in 2021 as profits per equity partner rose 71% and revenue increased by more than 30%."

  22. "Freshfields Launches 'The Returners' Recruitment Program, Starting in Silicon Valley," 01.20.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer…is rolling out a new recruitment initiative for individuals looking to return to the legal profession after a hiatus." ("Dubbed "The Returners," the program aims to hire lawyers who have been out of the profession for at least two years for reasons such as caregiving. One of the hallmarks of the program is that individuals will work with a dedicated mentor and have access to senior management.")

    1. "Freshfields seeks to draw lawyers returning to practice amid talent war," 01.20.22.
      More on the new Freshfields talent initiative from Reuters: "Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer said on Thursday it is kicking off a new program in its Silicon Valley office to hire lawyers who want to rejoin the profession, as large law firms seek new strategies to compete for limited talent."

  23. "Wall Street law firm turns ex-lawyers into bounty hunters to ease talent crunch," 01.20.22.
    Reuters reports that "Shearman & Sterling said Thursday that it will pay former lawyers and staff $25,000 for a successful placement of associates or counsel with at least one year of experience, $2,500 for salaried business services professionals, and $1,000 for hourly staff."

  24. "California plan to license nonlawyers draws heated response," 01.19.22.
    Reuters reports that "the State Bar of California this week said it had received 1,318 public comments on a proposal that would enable specially trained nonlawyers to offer legal advice in limited settings, such as employment and consumer debt, in a bid to expand access to legal services." ("More than 800 people who wrote in during the 110-day public comment period opposed the proposal, and some of the roughly 325 supporters said they would like to see modifications to the plan.")

  25. "'We Are Trying to Disrupt the Industry': Sidley's Leaders on Evolving Career Paths and Learning From Their Kids," 01.19.22
    The American Lawyer speaks with two leaders from Sidley about their new associate development plan.

  26. "How predictive analytics can prevent 'the great resignation'," 01.18.22.
    The Canadian Lawyer speaks with a vice-president of a privacy and data analytics provider who says that "predictive analysis can lead to a stronger employee retention strategy."

  27. "New York City to require employers to post salary ranges in job postings to help close the pay gap," 01.15.22.
    CNN reports that "in an attempt to tackle pay inequality, New York City is the latest jurisdiction to require most employers to specify salary ranges for all job postings." ("The mandate will go into effect in April and will apply to employers with more than four employees but excludes temporary hiring firms.") (Hat tip to Karl Riehl)

  28. "Remote Pro Bono Work, Adopted in Pandemic, Is Here to Stay," 01.14.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the pandemic necessitated not only a great deal of free representation by skilled lawyers, it also changed how lawyers work with their pro bono clients…[and] some of those changes should become permanent and may allow law firms to increase pro bono activity without sacrificing billable hours, a new report found."

  29. "Billable Hours Aren't Everything for Big Law Associates' Development," 01.14.22.
    This column in The American Lawyer offers young lawyers advice for building their brand.

  30. "'Solution to a Recruiting Challenge': Quinn Emanuel Founder Talks Firm's New Permanent Remote Work Policy," 01.14.21.
    In this Law.com podcast, Dylan Jackson interviews Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan founder John Quinn about the firm's recent announcement that it will permanently allow all of its U.S. lawyers to work remotely as much as they wish.

  31. International News

  32. "You've Been Thinking About The Big Four All Wrong," 01.18.22.
    Law.com International speaks with the Big Four's U.K. legal heads about their strategies for growing their legal services business: "Instead of simply offering legal advice, they are betting that consulting services, technology and linking up professionals from across their businesses will mean they can finally start making big money from legal departments."

  33. "EY Law Aims to Treble in Size in UK and Ireland, Adding Up To 800 Lawyers Over 3 Years," 01.14.22.
    Law.com International reports that "EY Law is aiming to more than treble in size in the U.K. and Ireland over the next three years, its leader has said, with a hiring spree that could see it recruit an extra 800 lawyers."

  34. Higher Education/Secondary Education

  35. "An Admissions Process Built for Racial Equity? This Report Imagines What It Would Look Like," 01.19.22.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "a report released on Wednesday by two prominent associations takes a broader view of what's wrong with the admissions and financial-aid system by examining the complex process through the lens of racial equity." ("The effects of systemic racism," the report says, "touch every element of college admission — a process that, at its origin, was not fundamentally designed to promote equity.") (Subscription required.)

January 14, 2022

    Top Stories

  1. "Law firm summer associates were more diverse than ever in 2021, report says," 01.12.22.
    Reuters reports that "law firms brought on a historically diverse cohort of summer associates in 2021, according to new data from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), outpacing diversity gains among more senior lawyers."

    1. "The 2021 class of summer associates was 'most diverse ever measured in every way,' new NALP report says," 01.12.22.
      The ABA Journal also reports on the most recent law firm diversity findings from NALP.

    2. "This Year's Summer Associate Class at U.S. Law Firms Was Most Diverse Ever, But Industry Challenges Remain," 01.12.22.
      NALP reported this week that "the percentage of summer associates of color grew by nearly 5 percentage points in a single year, the largest gain in the 29 years that NALP has been tracking this information." (You can find NALP's press release about the full 2021 NALP Report on Diversity in US Law Firms here.)

  2. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  3. "Nixon Peabody Elevates Chief Diversity Officer Role as It Looks to Expand DEI Programming," 01.11.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Nixon Peabody has appointed Rekha Chiruvolu as the firm's chief diversity officer, replacing former CDO Joe Ortego, who is now the firm's Diversity Partner."

  4. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Back to Work

  5. "Work, Wellness, and Meaning: Reimagining Legal Education and the First 10 Years of Law Practice," 01.10.22.
    Janet Thompson Jackson, writing for NALP's PDQ hits it out of the park with this deep dive into law student and lawyer wellness: "For too many law students and lawyers, the study and practice of law comes at the expense of their own well-being. That must change. Law schools, legal employers, and the legal profession generally all will benefit from a wholehearted and long-term commitment to law student and lawyer wellness. The greatest benefit, however, is that by creating conditions that make it possible for law students and lawyers to experience wellness and meaning at school and work, individual lives are improved, and possibly saved."

  6. "No More Working for Jerks!," 01.08.22.
    The New York Times writes that "increasingly, as people's work routines have been upended by the pandemic, they've begun to question the thrum of unpleasantness and accumulation of indignities they used to shrug off as part of the office deal. Some are saying: no more working for jerks."

  7. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  8. "Amid Rising COVID Concerns, NCBE Says Remote February Bar Exam No Longer Possible, but Offers Makeup Options," 01.12.22.
    Law.com reports that "the National Conference of Bar Examiners said Monday that moving the upcoming February bar exam online is not an option, but added that it will provide makeup materials to states that are unable to administer an in-person exam because of local health restrictions."

    1. "While NCBE sticks with in-person February bar exam, one state supreme court greenlights planning for future alternatives," 01.11.22.
      The ABA Journal reports that "there will be no remote offerings from the National Conference of Bar Examiners for the February bar exam, and in the event that a jurisdiction prohibits large gatherings, makeup dates for an in-person test will be offered in late March."

  9. "Oregon moves closer to a bar exam alternative," 01.12.22.
    Reuters reports that "the Oregon Supreme Court has signaled its early support for allowing some attorneys to become licensed without taking the bar exam, in a move that has been closely watched by other states."

  10. "Nevada shifts February bar exam online amid Omicron surge," 01.07.22.
    Reuters reports that "Nevada appears to be the first U.S. jurisdiction to move its February bar exam online as COVID-19 cases spike across the country."

  11. "New bar exam is on track for 2026 debut, licensing officials say," 01.07.22.
    Reuters provides this update on the "Next Gen Bar Exam," which is set to debut in 2026.

  12. Law Schools and Law Students

  13. "Vinson & Elkins Partners With University of Texas School of Law, Donating $1M for New Pipeline Program," 01.13.22.
    The Texas Lawyer reports that "in a joint partnership, the University of Texas School of Law along with Vinson & Elkins, have begun a new pipeline program dedicated to supporting aspiring lawyers." ("The program will serve students in high school, college and law school from underrepresented backgrounds through a long-term initiative that involves outreach, education, mentoring and scholarship support.")

  14. "Another law school mulls name change over slaveholding Supreme Court justice," 01.13.22.
    Reuters reports that "students at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Ohio are pushing administrators to adopt a name that doesn't honor former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, who wrote several of the high court's most influential early decisions but also owned and sold a large number of slaves."

  15. "'The Biggest Mistake Is Being Under-Inclusive': Perception Affects How Part-Time Law Students Are Treated," 01.10.22.
    Law.com reports that "part-time law students are often forced to battle the misguided assumption, both before and after graduation, that they're merely dabbling in the legal profession, according to law school faculty and former students."

  16. "Halfway Through The Fall 2022 Law School Admissions Season: Applicants Are Down 5.4% And In All LSAT Bands (Especially 170-180 (-14.8%) And 160-169 (-9.2%))," 01.10.22.
    The TaxProf Blog provides this update on the current law school admissions cycle.

  17. "Newly Reappointed Berkeley Law Dean Chemerinsky Takes Over as AALS President, Focusing on Pipeline to Law School," 01.07.22.
    The Recorder reports that "the Association of American Law Schools is set to usher in President-elect Erwin Chemerinsky as its new president on Saturday during its annual meeting, which began Wednesday and runs through Sunday…one of his goals includes law schools building pipeline programs for junior high school, high schools and college students to be the next generation of lawyers."

  18. "'Without lawyers, we have no democracy.' Law deans offer up Jan. 6 lessons," 01.06.22.
    Reuters reports that 14 law deans have collaborated on a book about Capitol insurrection, hoping it will be used to create new classes highlighting the role of lawyers in protecting the rule of law.

  19. Law Firms and Lawyers

  20. "Law Firms' Emerging Weapon in Talent Wars: The Moneyball Strategy," 01.14.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "as more law firms embrace the power of mining data to inform talent-related decisions, some have predicted that Big Law hiring could become like modern Major League Baseball: A data-centric endeavor that trusts the numbers, and those who know how to interpret them, over all else."

  21. "Inflation Prompts Anxiety Over Transactional Cooling, Rising Big Law Costs," 01.14.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "rising inflation has become a top concern for corporate CEOs, and now legal market analysts fear it will hurt large law firms through higher expenses as well as a cooling of transactional activity that's driven Big Law profits lately."

  22. "More Law Firms Are Hiring Remote Associates. But Hybrid Arrangements Dominate," 01.13.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the number of law firms willing to hire fully remote associates on a case-by-case basis is inching upward, but none has yet followed Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan with a blanket work from anywhere policy, suggesting that most firms and associates are content with hybrid arrangements once the new normal finally arrives."

  23. "Why Teamwork Is an Essential Skill for New Associates to Master," 01.13.22.
    This American Lawyer article is part of a series offering insights for newer associates about the environment of Big Law firms and building a reputation and career beyond the law firm; this piece urges new associates to understand that law firm partners or more senior associates are their first clients and argues that new associates must learn to communicate and collaborate in a whole new way.

  24. "With Competitive Billing Rates and Lower Costs, Midsize Firms Led Profit Gains," 01.12.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the financial gap between elite law firms in the Am Law 50 and everyone else spread even more amid the 2020 pandemic environment, but in 2021, midsize and smaller firms may have turned in the most eye-popping performances, posting double-digit gains in revenue and profits that exceeded other segments of the Am Law 200."

  25. "Small, Solo Firms May Benefit Most from Utah, Arizona Legal Service Regulatory Changes," 01.12.22.
    Legaltech News reports that "the 2020 regulatory changes allowing alternative legal service delivery in Arizona and Utah was seen a boon for access to justice efforts. But as state justices at a Legal Services Corporation noted, they're also proving a much needed lifeline to small and solo firms."

  26. "Associate Turnover Costs Temper Expectations After 'Extraordinary' 2021," 01.11.22.
    The American Lawyer reports on the findings of the 2022 State of the Legal Market Report from Thomson Reuters and Georgetown Law Center, highlighting findings that show "law firms saw another strong year financially, with demand increases and double-digit profit growth, but turnover and talent costs have tempered some Big Law gains, and talent considerations could be the biggest challenges confronting firms in 2022."

    1. "To stem lawyer attrition, law firms must look beyond cash — report," 01.11.22.
      Reuters also has the story on the 2022 State of the Legal Market Report from Thomson Reuters and Georgetown Law Center, highlighting the finding that "nearly a quarter of associates left for another firm during the past 12 months."

    2. "Law firms came 'dangerously close' to losing almost a quarter of their associates in 2021, new report says," 01.11.22.
      The ABA Journal also highlights the findings of the new Thomson Reuters/Georgetown legal market report: "According to the report, problems of recruiting and retaining legal and other professional staff may prove to be among the biggest post-COVID-19 pandemic challenges confronting law firms in 2022."

  27. "In a Talent War, 'Thank You' May Be Worth Thousands for Underappreciated Attorneys," 01.11.22.
    This column, part of a series for The American Lawyer called The Fully Human LawyerTM written by leadership coach and former attorney Lauren Krasnow, tackles the thorny problem of retaining talent through means other than throwing more money at lawyers: "The people who feel the greatest loyalty believe their employer has their back as a human being, not just a worker."

  28. "Midsize Law Firm Consolidation Heats Up," 01.11.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "midsize merger momentum has continued into the second business week of 2022, with midsize firms announcing combinations and large group moves in Dallas, Denver and Chicago."

  29. "With 2 Years of Experience, Big Law Takes a Different Approach to COVID Surge," 01.07.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "more than two years into the pandemic, and with the vast majority of lawyers and staff vaccinated, law firms appear to have learned to deal with COVID-19 surges with less disruption."

  30. "WFH Is Eroding Culture and Increasing Risk of Departures, Partners Say," 01.06.22.
    Law.com International reports that "partners say that remote working is exacerbating a loss of culture and is likely to result in even more departures from their outfits."

  31. International News

  32. "PwC Signs Off Plans to Double Size of its UK Legal Arm," 01.13.22.
    Law.com International reports that "PwC has laid out ambitious plans to double the size of its U.K. legal business in the coming years."

  33. Higher Education/Secondary Education

  34. "Colleges lost 465,000 students this fall. The continued erosion of enrollment is raising alarms.," 01.13.22.
    The Washington Post reports that "student enrollment at colleges fell once again in the fall, a new report has found, prompting some to worry whether the declines experienced during the pandemic could become an enduring trend."

    1. "Enrollment Marches Downward," 01.13.22.
      Inside Higher Ed also reports on the new enrollment data: "Enrollments continued to fall nationwide despite a full in-person return to campus last semester for many colleges and universities, the latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show."

    2. "College Enrollment Continues to Shrink," 01.13.22.
      More on this from The Wall Street Journal. (Subscription required.)

  35. "Yale, Georgetown, Other Top Schools Illegally Collude to Limit Student Financial Aid, Lawsuit Alleges," 01.10.22.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that "sixteen major U.S. universities, including Yale University, Georgetown University and Northwestern University, are being sued for alleged antitrust violations because of the way they work together to determine financial-aid awards for students." (Subscription required.)

    1. "Elite universities violated antitrust law in financial aid collaboration, lawsuit claims," 01.11.22.
      More on this development from the ABA Journal.

January 7, 2022

    Top Stories

  1. "The Way Back in 2022: Law Firms Delay Returns or Return to Remote Work as Omicron Surges," 01.06.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the highly-contagious omicron variant has many law firms once again changing their plans for in-office work and meetings."

    1. "As Omicron uncertainty mounts, return-to-office plans are being revised again.," 01.03.22.
      The New York Times reports that "with Covid case counts soaring, fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant, businesses are once again weighing when to reopen, and what steps they need to take to do so safely." ("In recent days, Jefferies, Goldman Sachs, Chevron and many more employers have delayed or changed their January return-to-office plans. Starbucks, Delta Air Lines and BlackRock have amended their Covid safety protocols, responding to shifting guidance from public health authorities.")

  2. "A record 4.5 million workers quit or changed jobs in November," 01.04.22.
    The Washington Post reports that "an estimated 4.5 million workers quit or changed jobs in November according to new data from the Department of Labor, as labor shortages have helped create one of the more worker friendly job climates in years."

    1. "More workers quit than ever as U.S. job openings remain near a record.," 01.04.22.
      More on this from The New York Times: "More than 4.5 million people voluntarily left their jobs in November, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That was up from 4.2 million in October and was the most in the two decades that the government has been keeping track."

  3. "The legal talent war that broke out in 2021 shows no sign of slowing down," 12.30.21.
    Karen Sloan, writing for Reuters, reports on the law firm talent war: "A surge in client demand and shortage of lawyers to meet it prompted large U.S. firms to roll out multiple bonuses, boost base salaries, and find creative ways to stand out from the competition. Several legal recruiters and industry experts said they've never seen such a fierce war for associate and partner talent, and they expect the red-hot hiring market to carry on well into 2022."

  4. The Feel-Goods

  5. "Drivers were stuck on I-95 when one saw a bakery truck. Soon, stranded motorists were breaking bread together.," 01.04.22.
    The DMV is remarkably bad at dealing with snow of any sort, and the storm that hit us on January 3 unnecessarily paralyzed much of the region, including a now infamous 36-hour backup on route 95, but as The Washington Post reports, even in these divisive times, people are mostly good to one another. (Hat tip to Mary Beal)

  6. "21 good things that happened in 2021," 12.22.21.
    The Washington Post has a year-end list of good things that happened this year: "We hope reading our list will bring you a bit of joy."

  7. "Renay Mandel Corren, Obituary," 12.15.21.
    So seriously, do yourself a favor and read this remarkably beautiful and loving (and funny!) obituary from The Fayetteville Observer. Seriously. You'll thank me. (Hat tip to Frank Bruni)

  8. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  9. "Board Diversity Increased in 2021. Some Ask What Took So Long.," 01.03.22.
    The New York Times reports that "[Corporate Board] Directors who are Black, Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern or from another nonwhite ethnic group now occupy 4,500 board seats among companies in the Russell 3000 stock index, 25 percent more than they did at the end of 2020 and nearly 50 percent more than at the end of 2019….Directors from underrepresented groups occupy 17 percent of board seats, up from 14 percent in 2020….Women, of all races, have also made gains…they now account for 27 percent of all directors, up from 24 percent."

  10. "At Sidley, Firm Seeking Diversity Through More Paths," 12.29.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that Sidley Austin's "programs are an example of how law firms are trying to closely coordinate their diversity and talent goals…[and noting that] the firm is crediting up to 50 hours for bonus purposes for mentoring and recruiting diverse lawyers."

  11. "DE&I in the Legal Industry: Now Is the Time to Move the Needle," 12.28.21.
    Vickie Hubbard, writing for Law.com, argues that "as law firms and legal departments aggressively strive to identify innovative strategies to recruit talented diverse legal professionals, there remains a need for a disruption in recruitment and retention strategies that will appeal to diverse talent long term."

  12. "'Disappointing': Report Says Diversity Progress Slow at Major Law Firms," 12.22.21.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "at the nation's largest law firms, the percentage of attorneys who identify as racial and ethnic minorities has increased little in the past 10 years despite the firms' stated interest in boosting diversity…according to a report published Wednesday by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association."

    1. "Law firm diversity gains mainly confined to junior ranks, survey finds," 12.23.21.
      Reuters also has the story on the new MCCA diversity numbers: "Large law firms collectively increased their hiring of diverse summer associates in recent years but struggled to retain those lawyers over time, according to a new report by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association."

  13. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Back to Work

  14. "Relaxing Is a Skill. Here's How to Do It.," 01.05.22.
    This New York Times piece by Farhad Manjoo writes about the benefits of deliberate muscle relaxation, and offers some coaching on how best to do it: "deliberate muscle relaxation immediately reduces fatigue, stress and anxiety."

  15. "The Sabbatical, a Power Move for the Burnout Era," 01.05.22.
    The Wall Street Journal writes that "managers who are worried about retaining top talent and how the Covid-19 era is wearing on employees' well-being find sabbaticals engender loyalty and greater creativity." (Subscription required.)

  16. "How Men Burn Out," 01.04.22.
    This guest essay in The New York Times argues that "the intense public discussion of burnout during the pandemic has given too little attention to how men experience this problem." ("…research shows that men and women tend to undergo burnout differently…researchers define burnout as a syndrome with three dimensions: exhaustion, cynicism and a sense of ineffectiveness…women on average scored higher than men on the exhaustion scale, but men scored higher on cynicism.")

  17. "Decision Fatigue Is Real. Here's How to Beat It This Year.," 01.03.22.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that "worn out from nearly two years of the pandemic, many of us are paralyzed when it comes to major life choices and quotidian decisions alike…[and notes that] an American Psychological Association survey conducted last year found that nearly one-third of adults—and nearly half of millennials—are struggling with basic decisions, like what to eat or wear." (Subscription required.)

  18. "Take small steps to rekindle friendships in the new year," 01.02.22.
    The Washington Post reports that "the pandemic has taken a toll on some friendships, research suggests," and offers advice for rekindling friendships in the new year. ("…social distancing decreased friendship satisfaction, especially for women…[and] younger individuals and those with higher socioeconomic status felt more negative about their friendships during the lockdown.")

  19. "Another Surge in the Virus Has Colleges Fearing a Mental Health Crisis," 12.22.21.
    The New York Times reports on the likely impact of the Omicron variant on college students: "Colleges across the country are facing a mental health crisis, driven in part by the pandemic. After almost two years of remote schooling, restricted gatherings and constant testing, many students are anxious, socially isolated, depressed — and overwhelming mental health centers. At a few institutions, there has been a troubling spate of suicides…Omicron may make things worse."

  20. "Working From Work Is Harder Than It Sounds," 12.17.21.
    This Wall Street Journal piece suggests that "many people returning to offices are starting to wonder how they ever managed to be productive in a place with so many distractions." (Subscription required.)

  21. Law Schools and Law Students

  22. "Berkeley Law Reappoints Chemerinsky as Dean," 01.05.22.
    Law.com reports that "the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law has reappointed Dean Erwin Chemerinsky to another five-year term."

  23. "As law schools admit more students, will there be enough jobs?," 01.06.22.
    The ABA Journal reports on the increase in law school enrollment this fall and reports that "there are concerns that the demand to attend law school won't match the supply of jobs."

    1. "Evaluating Fall 2021 First-Year Enrollment Through The Lens Of 2024 Employment Outcomes," 01.04.22.
      Jerry Organ, writing for the TaxProf Blog, evaluates the recent enrollment changes in law schools (a much bigger entering class) and uses some modeling to predict where the resulting employment challenges are likely to be in 2024.

    2. "Will 2024 Law Grads Find Jobs After Law School Enrollment Boom? Location May Be Everything," 12.22.21.
      Law.com reports that "law school admissions are up 11.8% over last year, causing some to worry whether job growth will be unable to keep pace, [but] law school admissions deans have pushed back on the suggestion that they've over enrolled students, [and that] the type of job market new grads enter in three years' time may be largely dependent on geographic location."

  24. "Students From Six Law Schools Develop New Legal Tech Ideas in Liberty Mutual's Legal Design Challenge," 12.30.21.
    Law.com reports that "on Nov. 5, 2021, Liberty Mutual Insurance, in partnership with Suffolk University, hosted their annual Legal Design challenge, a one-day event that brings law students from across the country together to solve today's biggest legal issues." ("Thirty-six law students from six schools participated in the competition, which places students through a series of design exercises to drive collaboration and skill-building.")

  25. "Muller: Non-JD Enrollment Falls For First Time In Over A Decade," 12.29.21.
    The TaxProf Blog reports Derek Muller's findings that "for the first time in a long time, non-JD enrollment declined.... 21,044 were enrolled in non-JD programs, a drop of around 250 students over last year. It's now about 15% of all law school enrollment."

  26. "With Applications for 2022 'Robust' So Far, Some Law Schools Eye Fewer Enrollments," 12.28.21.
    Law.com provides this update on the current law school admissions cycle.

  27. "A Message To White Law Faculty: Mentor Racial Minority Students," 12.28.21.
    This piece in the TaxProf Blog urges that "White law faculty can and should play a meaningful role in making the law school experience one where racial minority law students feel a greater sense of belonging and institutional support."

  28. "Generation Z And The Future Of Legal Education," 12.27.21.
    The TaxProf Blog highlights a new law review article that focuses on the need for legal education to create broader inclusion in order to successfully attract and retain members of Gen Z: "To provide Gen Z students with a legal education that will enable them to make a difference for others—a need deeply connected to their motivators and beliefs—law school culture must shift. Reimagining, reconstituting, and reconfiguring legal education to create a culture of inclusion and activism will be essential and necessary."

  29. "Fellowship will teach legal educators to use data in building diversity," 12.27.21.
    Reuters reports that "a new fellowship program will train law school professors and administrators in the use of data and experimental design, in an attempt to address a lack of diversity in law schools and the industry at large." ("AccessLex Institute and the Southern Educational Foundation, two education-focused non-profits, have partnered to launch the Professionals in Legal Education Developing Greater Equity Fellowship (PLEDGE).")

  30. "Cleveland State Law School Seeks Comments On Removing Chief Justice John Marshall From Its Name," 12.27.21.
    The TaxProf Blog reports that Cleveland State Law School is seeking comments on whether the law school should continue to be named after Chief Justice John Marshall, who, in addition to being the fourth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was also a slaveholder.

  31. "Student Debt Burden: What About Lowering or Cancelling the Interest?," 12.23.21.
    The New Jersey Law Journal's Young Lawyers Advisory Board writes that "in lieu of canceling all student loan debt, all interest payments should offset the original principal."

  32. "Stay home, get boosted, law schools tell students during new virus phase," 12.22.21.
    Reuters reports that "a growing number of universities in recent days have announced they're reverting to online classes for the first several weeks of January in hopes of minimizing the spread of COVID-19, which has surged in many places with the arrival of the highly contagious Omicron variant." ("Harvard Law School; Stanford Law School; New York University School of Law; the University of California at Los Angeles; the University of Illinois College of Law; Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law; and the University of California, Irvine School of Law are among those that will begin the semester online, with plans to shift to in-person instruction later in January or at the start of February.")

    1. "Several law schools revert to online classes as COVID-19 infections surge," 12.23.21.
      The ABA Journal reports that "several law schools are requiring students to attend classes online for the first several weeks of January."

  33. "Organ: The 2021 Law School Transfer Market," 12.22.21.
    Jerry Organ, writing for the TaxProf Blog, reports that "the number of transfer students received by law schools in 2021 decreased to 1375 (3.6%)…[and noting that] for the last several years, the transfer market has been shrinking, having declined from 5.5% in 2014, to 4.7% in 2016, to 4.0% in 2018, and now 3.6% in 2021."

  34. "Following Nationwide Search, University of Akron School of Law Names New Dean," 12.22.21.
    Law.com reports that "following a national search, the University of Akron School of Law has named Emily Janoski-Haehlen as its next dean."

  35. "ABA Finds Golden Gate And Western New England Law Schools Out Of Compliance With Bar Passage Accreditation Standard," 12.21.21.
    The TaxProf Blog reports that "the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has sent notices to Golden Gate and Western New England law schools that they are not in compliance with Accreditation Standard 316. ("At least 75 percent of a law school's graduates in a calendar year who sat for a bar examination must have passed a bar examination administered within two years of their date of graduation.")

    1. "2 law schools found to be out of compliance with ABA's bar passage standard," 12.20.21.
      More on this from the ABA Journal.

  36. "How I Got Into Law School: 'The Student Body Is the Most Overlooked Feature of Every Law School,' Says Saul Ewing's Zachary M. Kimmel," 12.21.21.
    Law.com and the ALM Young Professional Network introduces a new series that provides the next generation of law students with practical advice on the process of applying to law school.

  37. "'Murkiness' of ABA Data Could Slow Law Schools' Adoption of the GRE," 12.17.21.
    Law.com reports that "law school admissions experts said uncertainty around the ABA's reporting procedures could dampen law schools' willingness to accept the GRE in lieu of the LSAT."

  38. "How Law Schools Are Preparing Students for the 'New Status Quo' of Virtual Litigation," 12.16.21.
    Law.com reports that "virtual litigation quickly went from being viewed as a temporary solution to an unexpected problem at the start of the pandemic to now establishing itself as the next evolutionary step in how litigators practice…[and] with that in mind, an increasing number of law schools are taking steps to prepare their students for this new reality."

  39. Law Firms and Lawyers

  40. "Will Talent Drive More Change in Firms Than Clients Could?," 01.06.22.
    The Editor-in-Chief of The American Lawyer writes about the talent challenges that law firms face opining that "2022 will show whether firms are altering their models to better support talent (and hopefully clients) or just throwing more money at it, which of course could result simply in richer, but more stressed associates who are a bigger cost when a downturn comes."

  41. "Omicron Exacerbates Cultural Divides Within Law Firms," 01.06.22.
    The American Lawyer writes that "it has become impossible to please everyone as another COVID wave causes leaders to reconsider their plans."

  42. "Midsize Law Firms Kick Off Expansion and Merger Deals in 2022," 01.04.22.
    The American Lawyer reports that "large law firm combinations have continued at a slower pace, but a slew of small, midsize and regional firms are kicking off 2022 with growth, expansion or merger deals."

  43. "Canada's Law Firms To Benefit From 2022's 'Exciting Shift in the Economy'," 12.31.21.
    Law.com International reports that "even with the black cloud of the omicron variant hanging over the start of 2022, leaders of some of Canada's top-tier firms are predicting another good year, but it will not be without its challenges, as the "dreaded" talent war will see firms scrambling for lawyers."

  44. "Midsize U.S. law firms roll out raises, perks to recruit attorneys in talent war," 12.28.21.
    Reuters reports that "midsize U.S. law firms are facing recruiting pressure in a tight labor market, compelling some to raise early career attorneys' salaries and offer other perks." ("These firms, which typically have 25 to 200 lawyers and often operate regionally, are extending benefits such as paid sabbaticals and law school loan repayment. Several have raised starting salaries, at times matching or even surpassing those at larger firms.")

  45. "Calif. Law Firms Again Delay Their Office Returns, Some Indefinitely," 12.28.21.
    The Recorder reports that "more California-based law firms are again postponing their office return plans, citing health and safety concerns related to the omicron variant…[noting that] nearly half of the Am Law 100 firms in California have pushed their return dates to at least February."

  46. "How Law Firms Looked for an Edge in 2021's Talent Wars," 12.23.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "outside of COVID-19 and the effects it has had on the world and office returns, the most consistent through line of the year has been the frantic war for talent in Big Law…[and notes that] compensation costs have grown as firms use monetary incentives to attract and retain talent, some firms have offered other perks, like training and flexible work, in lieu of or in addition to bonuses and raises, [and] experts say the war for talent will continue at this pace into the beginning of 2022."

  47. "Dentons Canada Hikes Parental Leave Offer, Extends to All Staff," 12.22.21.
    Law.com reports that "Dentons Canada [has] introduced a new firm-wide parental leave policy that provides a top up of government-provided benefits to 100% of people's salaries for 26 weeks…the new policy applies to all staff and lawyers, whereas the firm's previous top-up policy was for 17 weeks and only for women who were lawyers or director-level business service professionals…[the new policy] means anyone who takes time off to care for their newborn or newly adopted children will be earning their full pay for six months."

  48. "What We Learned About Law Firm Culture in 2021," 12.22.21.
    The American Lawyer writes that "the past two years have provided many lessons, and the best leaders will use those lessons to shape their culture going forward."

  49. "Big Space Reductions on Horizon for Law Firms in 2022, Despite Head Count Growth," 12.22.21.
    The Legal Intelligencer reports that "law firms are moving toward a more compact and collaborative office floor plan, capitalizing on favorable commercial real estate market conditions."

  50. "Omicron fears spark new delays for law firm office re-openings," 12.21.21.
    Reuters reports that "more U.S. law firms are delaying large-scale office returns and taking other steps to confront the rising Omicron coronavirus variant, with one large firm telling its employees to work from home and another now explicitly requiring COVID-19 booster shots."

    1. "Paul Weiss to require COVID-19 boosters as law firms monitor Omicron's rise," 12.22.21.
      Reuters reports that "Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is stepping up its COVID-19 precautions, requiring a COVID-19 vaccine booster for all eligible visitors and personnel in the law firm's offices…in a memo to employees Tuesday [the firm] rolled out a series of updated COVID-19 policies, which also included stretching a holiday remote work period-previously planned for the final two weeks of December—through at least Jan. 24."

    2. "Mintz Delays Office Return With No New Date, Says Boosters Will Be Required," 12.20.21.
      The American Lawyer reports that "citing the latest surge of COVID-19 cases, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo is putting its formal return-to-office policy on pause."

    3. "Sheppard Mullin Eyes February Office Return With 'Intentional Flexibility' and 'Teams First' Approach," 12.17.21.
      The Recorder reports that "Sheppard Mullin is pushing its official return-to-office date to Feb. 7, due to a combination of the holiday season, travel plans, the omicron variant and guidance from medical experts."

  51. "As Firms Prepare for an Influx of Gen Z Talent, the First Step Is Simple: Listen," 12.21.21.
    The American Lawyer offers advice about "what can law firms do to get ready for the youth of tomorrow as they begin arriving."

  52. "Quinn Emanuel to Let US Lawyers Work Remotely on Permanent Basis," 12.20.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is ushering in an era of permanent remote work, announcing Monday that all its U.S. lawyers are free to work from wherever they wish."

  53. "Arnold & Porter Promotes 14 New Partners, Covington 15, WilmerHale 13 and Wiley 5," 12.20.21.
    The National Law Journal reports that "Washington firms have strong partner classes for 2022, with one firm promoting 10 women to partner next year."

  54. "As Law Firm Staffs Shrink and Specialize, Costs Actually Grow," 12.17.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the intense demand for Big Law services, its ongoing talent war and perpetual drive for efficiency are likely to boost firms' investment in specialized staff in 2022 and beyond."

  55. "How Counteroffers Can Harm Young Lawyers' Credibility and Hinder Their Careers," 12.17.21.
    This Law.com Legal Speak podcast "discusses the reputational risks and potential career damage that can come with agreeing to stay on at an organization that you've already made up your mind to leave—especially when doing so requires rescinding acceptance of a new job offer." (Podcast)

  56. International Law Firms

  57. "Squire Hands Global Staff An Extra Week's Salary," 12.21.21.
    Law.com International reports that "Squire Patton Boggs is giving its global staff an extra week's salary as a special one-off reward following a successful year amid uncertainty."

  58. Higher Education/Secondary Education

  59. "The White House will freeze federal student loan repayments until May 1.," 12.22.21.
    The New York Times reports that "President Biden, citing the pandemic, said on Wednesday that his administration had extended a moratorium on student loan repayments by 90 days, continuing a relief measure that began nearly two years ago under the Trump administration."

  60. "NYU Is Top-Ranked—In Loans That Alumni and Parents Struggle to Repay," 12.19.21.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that "NYU…is the worst or among the worst schools for leaving families and graduate students drowning in debt." ("NYU parents and graduate students collectively borrowed $3.4 billion in federal Plus loans over the past decade, more than at any other university in the U.S., public or private.") (Subscription required.)

December 17, 2021

    Top Stories

  1. "New law student enrollment jumps 12%, risking job market glut," 12.15.21.
    Reuters reports that "the number of first-year law students nationwide increased nearly 12% this fall, according to data released Wednesday by the American Bar Association…there are 42,718 new Juris Doctor students at the 196 law schools accredited by the ABA, up 4,516 from 2020." ("Law schools admitting significantly larger starting classes run the risk of flooding the hiring market with graduates in three years and pushing down employment rates.")

    1. "Overall, law schools see increase in 1Ls and decrease in non-JD students," 12.15.21.
      The ABA Journal also has this story: "There is an 11.8% increase in first-year law students for the 2021 admissions cycle, compared to 2020, according to data released Wednesday by the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar."

    2. "Law School Enrollment Is Way Up-But Will the Job Market Ever Be Able to Match It?," 12.15.21.
      More on this from Law.com.

  2. The Feel-Goods

  3. "Hopeful Images From 2021," 12.10.21.
    The Atlantic has published a collection of "images from the past year of personal victories, families and friends at play, expressions of love and compassion, volunteers at work, or simply small and pleasant moments." (Hat tip to Jessica Buchsbaum)

  4. NALP News

  5. "Longtime chief of legal jobs tracking group prepares to retire," 12.10.21.
    Karen Sloan, writing for Reuters, reports that Jim Leipold is stepping down after 18 years from his role as leader of the National Association for Law Placement.

    1. "NALP Executive Director Announces Retirement After 18 Years," 12.09.21.
      And Law360 has the story.

    2. "A New Day for Jim and a New Day for NALP," 12.09.21.
      And ICYMI, here is the December 9 member announcement about NALP's upcoming executive director transition.

  6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  7. "Diversity Lab Names 20 'Inclusion Champion' Firms, and Their Best Practices," 12.15.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "twenty Big Law firms have been dubbed Inclusion Champions by legal diversity organization Diversity Lab for their progress in diversity representation and tracking." ("Additionally, through the success of these firms, Diversity Lab has identified six empirically-backed strategies that make for a more diverse organization.")

  8. "Rushing to Meet Client Demands, Law Firms Risk Alienating Diverse Lawyers," 12.15.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "law firms have dedicated a great deal of focus to increasing diversity, but many are falling short on enacting meaningful changes to improve equity and inclusion…that undermines retention efforts, and causes law firms to continue falling short of moving the needle."

  9. "The striking race gap in corporate America," 12.15.21.
    The Washington Post reports that "eighteen months after the country's leading businesses pledged to address racial inequality within their ranks, a Washington Post review of the 50 most valuable public companies reveals that Black employees represent a strikingly small fraction of top executives — and that the people tapped to boost inclusion often struggle to do so." ("According to the analysis, only 8 percent of "C-suite" executives — the highest corporate leaders, often those reporting to the CEO — are Black.")

  10. "Women Earn $2 Million Less Than Men in Their Careers as Doctors," 12.06.21.
    The New York Times reports that "female doctors make less than their male counterparts starting from their very first days on the job, according to a large new study…over the course of a 40-year-career, researchers estimated, this pay gap adds up to at least $2 million."

  11. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Back to Work

  12. "The End of a Return-to-Office Date," 12.11.21.
    The New York Times reports that with the advent of Omicron, more and more companies are abandoning their January return to work plans.

  13. "4 Ways to Cultivate Resilience in 2022," 12.09.21.
    The New York Times reports that "mental health has become its own pandemic during the pandemic, with soaring rates of anxiety, depression and burnout, but some studies show that a substantial portion of adults have found ways to function and even thrive, in spite of dealing with the global health crisis and societal upheaval."

  14. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  15. "How Law Schools Fared on the July 2021 California Bar Exam," 12.13.21.
    The Recorder reports that "the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law alumni notched the highest pass rate on the July 2021 California bar exam among first-time test-takers from Golden State schools."

  16. "Let Them Cheat: The Problems With Remote Bar Exam Software," 12.09.21.
    Two practicing lawyers in California, writing for The Recorder, mount a case against the monitoring software that has been used during recent online bar exams.

  17. Law Schools and Law Students

  18. "Law schools move exams online, citing fresh virus fears," 12.16.21.
    Reuters reports that "at least three law schools abruptly moved their final exams online this week after their universities announced new campus closures tied to COVID-19." (Cornell University, New York University and George Washington University.)

  19. "With GRE restrictions lifted for law schools, some urge caution," 12.16.21.
    The ABA Journal writes about some of the likely implications of the recent decision to allow ABA-accredited law schools to accept the Graduate Record Examination from applicants in lieu of the Law School Admission Test, including the almost certain fact that some students will now prepare and take both tests.

  20. "Law School Rankings By Fall 2021 Median LSAT Scores," 12.16.21.
    The TaxProf Blog provides a ranking of law schools based on median LSAT scores.

  21. "From 'Best Professors' to 'Best Quality of Life,' These Law Schools Were Ranked High by Students," 12.15.21.
    Law.com reports that "the Princeton Review released its Best Law Schools for 2022 on Tuesday, which isn't a straight ranking of the best law schools but instead includes the top 10 schools in each of 14 categories."

  22. "How Law Schools Fared on the July 2021 California Bar Exam," 12.13.21.
    The Recorder reports that "the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law alumni notched the highest pass rate on the July 2021 California bar exam among first-time test-takers from Golden State schools."

  23. "The ABA's Approval of the GRE 'Caught Everybody Off Guard'-But Will It Be a Game Changer?," 12.13.21.
    Law.com reports that "in a surprising move, the American Bar Association has opened the door for law schools across the country to begin accepting applicants' scores from Graduate Record Examinations, but whether the GRE will ever achieve anything close to equal footing with the more traditional Law School Admissions Test depends on a number of hard-to-predict factors."

  24. "Why This Villanova Program Could Be a 'Great Blueprint' for Law School Innovation," 12.10.21.
    Law.com reports that "Villanova's College of Professional Studies' Interdisciplinary Immigration Studies Training for Advocates program is an example of a school offering opportunities for legal paraprofessionals."

  25. Law Firms and Lawyers

  26. "The Unpleasant Truth About Law Firm Culture," 12.17.21.
    In this thoughtful critique of law firm culture, Jordan Furlong, writing for The American Lawyer, provides helpful suggestions for aligning value and culture.

  27. "Faced With Associate Anxiety, Big Law Scrutinizes Work Allocation Systems," 12.15.21.
    The Recorder reports that with Big Law corporate talent increasingly mobile, firms are looking to improve the integration of new associates by rethinking work allocation systems. ("Industry observers and talent development personnel say the pandemic exacerbated flawed methods of assigning work by bringing physical and mental barriers of integration to the forefront. On the physical side, associates were limited in establishing organic connections in an office environment. And that's led to increased feelings of anxiety, and sometimes awkwardness, among associates seeking to forge relationships with senior lawyers and advocate for their own career development.")

  28. "Quinn Emanuel Promotes Record Number to Partner," 12.15.21.
    Law.com International reports "Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has welcomed its largest class of new partners in the firm's history."

  29. "Susman Godfrey Year-End Bonuses Soar Above Market Rate," 12.15.21.
    The Texas Lawyer reports that "Susman Godfrey, the Houston-based litigation boutique, announced bonuses on Wednesday that far exceed the market rate at Big Law firms."

  30. "Law firms torn on office returns as COVID-19 questions swirl," 12.14.21.
    Reuters reports that "Goodwin Procter this week told its U.S. lawyers and staff that working in the office will be entirely voluntary until mid-March, citing the evolving state of the pandemic…[and notes that] firms are now balancing fears of a potential Omicron wave with optimism that vaccines are defanging the virus, even if it's here to stay."

    1. "Goodwin Pushes Return Date to Mid-March Amid Uncertainty Over Omicron Variant," 12.14.21.
      More on the Goodwin decision from The American Lawyer.

  31. "Bonuses and Beyond: Law Firms Wrap Up Lucrative Year With Record-High Rewards," 12.13.21.
    The American Lawyer provides analysis of the most recent bonus season and a firm by firm wrap-up of how it all ended up.

  32. "Sidley Announces Market Bonuses, Following a Year of Raises and New Perks," 12.13.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that Sidley Austin has announced year-end bonuses, special bonuses and additional amounts for top billers.

  33. "Law Firms Are Struggling to Make the Hybrid Model Work," 12.13.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "getting phased office returns right is still the most pressing challenge facing law firms heading into 2022, according to a new report this week, which also found some firm leaders believe the current norm of part-time, in-person work is presenting more hurdles than that initial wave of the pandemic that sent most everyone home 100% of the time."

  34. "No One Is Immune From Talent War Insanity," 12.13.21.
    Law.com International reflects on the current war for talent and its impact on law firms.

  35. "The Opportunity of a Generation: Why Firms Need to Get It Right With Associate Talent," 12.13.21.
    Two writers from LMA, writing for The American Lawyer, write that "[in order for law firms to] continue to be successful and keep younger generations engaged in the legal profession…partners need to focus on developing a culture of collaboration- both in terms of providing more hands-on direction in the day-to-day work, as well as providing mentorship and support to associates in achieving their long-term goals, whether or not those include making partner."

  36. International Law Firms

  37. "Slaughter and May Ups NQ Pay For Third Time in 2021," 12.17.21.
    Law.com International reports that "Slaughter and May has upped its newly qualified lawyer salaries once again in 2021, rejoining its Magic Circle rivals in this year's pay war."

  38. "Germany's Pay War Gets New Front Runner as Three More Firms Enter Fray," 12.16.21.
    Law.com International reports that "three more German law firms have entered the newly qualified salary war, with one of the trio topping current market leader Hengeler Mueller, as competition for new talent heats up in Germany."

  39. "The Talent War Strikes in Asia: The Time for a Promotion Is Now," 12.16.21.
    Law.com International reports that law firms in Asia "are trying to boost their partnership head counts to meet client demand and…increasingly, that has meant luring counsel and associates from other firms, having them join as partners."

  40. "Linklaters is latest law firm to nix 'lockstep' pay model in hot hiring market," 12.16.21.
    Reuters reports that "Linklaters on Thursday said it is changing how it pays partners, becoming the latest major firm to move away from a strictly seniority-based lockstep compensation system."

    1. "Linklaters Modifies Lockstep With Three Key Changes," 12.16.21.
      Law.com International reports that "Linklaters has voted to modify its lockstep model, making three key changes in the latest example of firms adapting their compensation schemes to better suit modern times."

  41. "Remote-Work Schedules, Off-Hours Commuting, Less Travel: European Firms Adjust to an Omicron World," 12.14.21.
    Law.com International reports that as a result of Omicron, "law firms in Europe are similarly adjusting their practices by extending remote working, favoring off-hours commuting and curtailing international travel."

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

  43. "'People Expect More': How In-House Lawyers Are Working to Slow the Great Resignation," 12.10.21.
    Corporate Counsel reports that "having a mission-driven culture, and making sure workers are confident in its authenticity, has become a key way for companies to recruit and retain talent, in-house lawyers say."

  44. Higher Education/Secondary Education

  45. "Harvard won't require SAT or ACT through 2026 as test-optional push grows," 12.16.21.
    The Washington Post reports that "Harvard University will extend for four years a policy begun soon after the coronavirus pandemic emerged that allows aspiring students to apply without SAT or ACT scores - a landmark development for a fast-spreading movement that aims to limit the role of the standardized exams in college admissions."

December 10, 2021

    Top Stories

  1. "Law Firms Made Historic Gains in 2021. They'll Be Hard to Maintain in 2022.," 12.09.21.
    The American Lawyer reports on the release of the Citi Hildebrandt 2022 Client Advisory, which found that "amid a Great Resignation and lingering uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, law firms had one of the strongest years on record in 2021." (Revenue was up an average of 14.7% and demand was up 6.6%.)

    1. "Growth in demand for law firm work hit highs in 2021, report says," 12.09.21.
      Reuters also has this story: "Law firms experienced rate and demand increases in 2021 at levels not seen in over a decade, but should moderate their expectations somewhat for next year, according to the Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group and Hildebrandt Consulting's latest annual client advisory."

    2. "Overworked Big Law Can't Find Enough Lawyers With Demand Surging," 12.09.21.
      Roy Strom at Bloomberg Law writes that the growth in client demand for legal services reflected in the newest Citi data suggest that the "golden era" of Big Law, not seen since the Great Recession, has returned.

    3. "Lawyer burnout is 'a real issue' as demand for legal work outpaces growth in lawyer head count," 12.09.21.
      And the ABA Journal reports on the Citi report, zeroing in on lawyer burnout and the keen talent for competition.

    4. "The Cost of the Talent War: Bonuses, Raises Drive Up Big Law Compensation Expenses by Double Digits," 12.10.21.
      More American Lawyer analysis of the findings from the Citi/Hildebrandt client advisory: "The frantic war for talent this year—and all of the financial incentives firms have deployed to better compete—has driven up compensation expenses at Am Law 200 firms by double digits on average, with firms in the top 50 seeing a more than 16% increase in compensation expenses."

  2. "4.2 million Americans quit their jobs in October as workers continued to search for better opportunities," 12.08.21.
    The Washington Post reports that "some 4.2 million Americans quit their jobs in October as churn in the labor market continued to mark the economic recovery nearly two years into the pandemic, according to a report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics." ("The number of people who left jobs for other opportunities in October made up 2.8 percent of the workforce.")

  3. "Cravath Adopts Modified Lockstep Compensation System," 12.06.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Cravath, Swaine & Moore, after 50 years of a straight lockstep compensation model, is moving to a modified lockstep system."

    1. "In the Midst of a Talent War, Lockstep Can't Last-Even at Cravath," 12.06.21.
      The American Lawyer provides analysis of the Cravath move: "Cravath, Swaine & Moore's decision to move away from the pure lockstep model that has defined the firm for decades marks a pivotal moment in Big Law and an indirect admittance of one of the biggest trends in the past few years: pure lockstep firms are losing favor in the war for top talent."

    2. "Cravath abandons strict pay model, joining most law firm peers," 12.07.21.
      Reuters has this story as well: "Wall Street law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore said Monday it is changing how it pays its partners, moving away from a strictly seniority-based compensation system that it has long embraced. In adopting a so-called modified lockstep system, Cravath is following in the footsteps of other firms, including Davis, Polk & Wardwell, that now determine pay according to partners' contributions along with their tenure."

  4. The Feel-Goods

  5. "24 Days of Cookies," 11.30.21.
    I grew up watching Graham Kerr and Julia Child, racing home from grade school to catch The Galloping Gourmet on TV. I've loved cooking ever since, so in this festive holiday season herewith is this year's New York Times collection of holiday cookie recipes.

    1. "Guinness Pie."
      And while we're at it, this is a reliable New York Times recipe for a cold winter's night (you can skip the trotter gear and even the grated cheddar cheese, and use store bought pie pastry or puff pastry to make your life easier): "This is a dish that delivers good cheer and contentment in equal measure."

  6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  7. "Georgetown students renew push for reparations to descendants of enslaved people," 12.09.21.
    The Washington Post reports that "Georgetown University student leaders are pressing the school to act more quickly on a promise to help descendants of enslaved people sold in the 19th century to pay off debts at the school."

  8. "Morrison & Foerster Joins Growing Roster of Big Law Firms with Diversity Billable Hour Credit," 12.08.21.
    The Recorder reports that "Morrison & Foerster will offer up to 50 billable hours for diversity and inclusion efforts to all timekeepers globally, beginning in 2022."

  9. "Group Backed by Top Companies Moves to Combat A.I. Bias in Hiring," 12.08.21.
    The New York Times reports on the formation of the Data & Trust Alliance: "Artificial intelligence software is increasingly used by human resources departments to screen résumés, conduct video interviews and assess a job seeker's mental agility. Now, some of the largest corporations in America are joining an effort to prevent that technology from delivering biased results that could perpetuate or even worsen past discrimination."

  10. "White Privilege," 12.06.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that a new study documents the significant advantages of white students (and sometimes Asian students) over Black and Latinx students in the college admissions process.

  11. "Hawaii Law Dean's 'Leadership Lab' Aims to Debunk the Myth That Diverse Future Leaders Are Hard to Find," 12.03.21.
    Law.com speaks with Camille Nelson, dean of the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law, about the school's Leadership Lab, an innovative program that is designed is to train students who are traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession to eventually assume leadership roles in the legal industry.

  12. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Back to Work

  13. "Stressed? Worn Down? It's Time to Be Your Own Life Coach," 12.08.21.
    The Wall Street Journal has some timely self-help advice: "The ability to mentally coach yourself is particularly important now, as we head into another unexpectedly hard season." (Subscription required.)

  14. "Gen Z most stressed by coronavirus, citing pandemic toll on careers, education and relationships, poll says," 12.07.21.
    The Washington Post reports that "Gen Z is feeling the stresses of the pandemic more than any other age group, according to a U.S. survey released Monday." ("Higher proportions of Americans between ages 13 and 24 say the pandemic has made their education, career goals and social lives more difficult, compared with millennials and Gen X.")

  15. "Work-Life Balance Finally Happened. Then They Were Called Back to the Office.," 12.06.21.
    Addressing the current return to work moment, The Wall Street Journal writes: "Any return-to-work dates that were once stuck in limbo are now being added back to the calendar. Some workers are excited to be returning to pre-pandemic normalcy. For others, it feels like a loss. After coping with the panic and upheaval of the spring of 2020, enduring months of virtual school and health worries, they finally saw the payoff this fall: the autonomy to work how they wanted, while many other parts of life finally calmed. Now that balance feels like it's being taken away." (Subscription required.)

  16. "CEO Dads," 12.01.21.
    In Lori Mihalich-Levin and Jason Levin's Parents at Work podcast, where they interview moms and dads in various professional roles, they speak with Bob Spagnoletti, CEO of the DC Bar, who opens up about what it was like to adopt a child with his husband and what they needed to navigate as a same sex couple.

  17. Law Schools and Law Students

  18. "'Innovation Averse' Law Schools Risk Missing Out on the Legal Industry's Regulatory Renaissance," 12.08.21.
    Law.com writes that "big changes are happening in the legal industry, but most law schools are ignoring these innovations-to the detriment of their students." ("If law professors and legal educators and law school administrators aren't in tune with how the practice of law is changing…then we're doing a great disservice to our students.")

  19. "More U.S. colleges turn to law schools to find their next president" 12.07.21.
    Reuters reports that "the past year has seen in uptick in law deans tapped for college or university presidencies…Law deans at Boston College, Cornell, UC Irvine and, most recently, SMU have left to run other schools."

  20. "Law Students Protest Research Database Contracts With ICE," 12.06.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "students at multiple law schools are pressuring administrators to sever ties with LexisNexis and Westlaw, which they claim help the Department of Homeland Security target undocumented immigrants."

  21. "Law school as a teen? These aspiring lawyers are on the fast track," 12.03.21.
    Karen Sloan, writing for Reuters, explores the relatively rare phenomenon of teenagers attending law school, noting that "a few students each year start law school before they can legally vote."

    1. "A few years after graduating from high school and college concurrently, 19-year-old preps for February bar," 12.08.21.
      More on youngsters in law school from the ABA Journal.

  22. Law Firms and Lawyers

  23. "Will Rising Equity Partner Pay Force Firms to Adjust the Search for New Talent?," 12.09.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "a growing profit pool may make it easier for law firms to reward their top-performing equity partners without dinging steady performers, but surging profitability figures are also likely to complicate firms' choices when it comes to elevating and pursuing new partners."

  24. "As More Firms Dole Out Bonuses, Several Give Extra to Big Billers," 12.08.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Morrison & Foerster and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson have jumped into the bonus fray, matching the standard set by Cravath, Swaine & Moore and tacking on additional rewards for high-performers that could exceed the special bonus standard set by Davis Polk & Wardwell."

    1. "Law Firms Stalled After Cravath Bonus, but Fall in Line to Follow Davis Polk," 12.07.21.
      The American Lawyer reports that "while Cravath, Swaine & Moore kicked off this end-of-year bonus season, Davis Polk & Wardwell's announcement Monday that it would tack an extra 20% "special bonus" has the rest of Big Law following this compensation leader for the fourth time in the past year and a half."

    2. "Davis Polk Matches Cravath and Adds 20% 'Special Bonus'," 12.06.21.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Davis Polk & Wardwell has entered the annual bonus fray, matching the standard set by Cravath, Swaine & Moore in late November and adding a 20% "special bonus" for the all but the class of 2021."

    3. "Paul Weiss, Paul Hastings and Debevoise Match Davis Polk Bonuses," 12.06.21.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Paul Hastings and Debevoise & Plimpton have now matched the Cravath bonus scale…they are also following Davis Polk & Wardwell, which on Monday announced a 20% "special bonus" on top of the boosted scale."

    4. "Law firm bonus wave continues, with boost from Davis Polk," 12.07.21.
      More on the bonus season from Reuters.

  25. "With Profits and Hours Rising, the Stakes Are High for Equity Partner Comp Allocations," 12.07.21.
    The American Lawyer reports on the pressures on partner compensation in an environment where profits and hours are rising and loyalty is dipping.

  26. "Reaching for the stars: Our second annual legal workplace survey," 12.07.21.
    The Canadian Lawyer writes about the results of its latest survey that asked law firms and lawyers across Canada working in a wide range of practice areas to comment on topics that relate to what makes a five-star workplace, finding that mentorship and culture are key factors in creating a firm lawyers love to work for.

  27. "Young Lawyers Summit: Navigating the headwinds of the legal profession," 12.07.21.
    The Canadian Lawyer reports on the proceedings at the recent Young Lawyers Summit, noting that historically underrepresented and racialized lawyers described discouragement in a particular geographic environment, and being one of only a few Black lawyers in a firm, as career advancement obstacles.

  28. "Work Hard, Be Successful and Prioritize Family: Attorneys Share the Silver Linings of Pandemic Parenting," 12.03.21.
    In last week's episode of Law.com's Legal Speak podcast, a dozen attorney-parents reveal their proudest accomplishments juggling parenting and lawyering during the pandemic. (Podcast)

  29. "Big Law Budget Pressure Is Back," 12.02.21.
    Law.com reports that "the era of forced savings is coming to an end and inflationary factors will present leaders with tough choices."

  30. International Law Firms

  31. "Big Law Firms Offering Jobs Without Interviews in Response to Deal Surge," 12.03.21.
    Law.com International reports that "some of the world's biggest law firms have started offering lawyers jobs without interviewing them, in the latest example of the war for talent reaching new heights." ("Several major U.S., European and U.K. law firms are responding to the spike in deal work by offering roles to junior lawyers, generally those with between one and five years' post-qualification experience, on the strength of their CVs alone.")

  32. Higher Education/Secondary Education

  33. "Solicitor General Tells Supreme Court Not to Take Affirmative Action Case," 12.09.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging the court not to take the case involving Harvard University's affirmative action policies."

    1. "Biden DOJ Urges Justices Not to Hear Challenge to Harvard Admissions Policy," 12.08.21.
      More on this from Law.com.

  34. "Medical Schools Saw Record Applications, Diverse Classes," 12.08.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "applications to medical school soared by 17.8 percent for the 2021-22 academic year, reaching a record 46,758, the Association of American Medical Colleges announced Wednesday…among the 22,000-plus students who began medical school this fall, those self-identified as Black rose by 21 percent from 2020-21, followed by increases of 8.3 percent among Asian students and 7.1 percent among those of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin."

December 3, 2021

    Top Stories

  1. "Seeing Long Careers and Burnout Ahead, Many Young Lawyers Want Less Work," 11.29.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "a new survey found top lawyers, driven by preferences of younger and women lawyers, want to work fewer hours." ("Younger lawyers are more conscious of work-life balance, and believe their careers will last longer than those of older colleagues.")

  2. "Remote Work Is Failing Young Employees," 11.22.21.
    This guest essay in The New York Times by the authors of a new book called Out of Office describe a generation of early career workers who have felt adrift during the Covid-19 pandemic: "All were grateful to be employed, but many felt left behind, invisible and, in some cases, unsure about how to actually do their jobs. While their companies adapted their workflows to function outside the office, few spent the time to craft policies to mentor young professionals, many of whom found themselves stuck on their couches, attempting to decipher cryptic emails and emojis sent over Slack."

  3. The Feel-Goods

  4. "A cat got stuck in a tree for five days. It took more than 30 people to get him down.," 11.26.21.
    Cats are gonna be cats, and sometimes it takes a village. This week's feel-good from The Washington Post comes courtesy of Mary Beal.

  5. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  6. "ABA Council Revises Diversity Proposal for the Second Time This Year, Once Again Seeking Public Comment," 12.02.21.
    Law.com reports that "the Council of the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has, for the second time this year, released a revised version of a proposal aimed at bolstering its existing diversity and inclusion standard."

    1. "In Response To Criticism, ABA Releases Revised Proposed Diversity Accreditation Standard For Notice And Comment," 11.23.21.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that following criticism of the ABA's proposed new diversity accreditation standard, the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar on Friday sent a revised version out for notice and comment.

  7. "Law Firms, In-House Counsel Ramp Up Mentorship for Diverse Law Students," 11.30.21.
    The Daily Business Review reports that law firms in South Florida are ramping up diversity efforts by reaching out to more HBCUs and by providing mentorship and career opportunities to diverse law students.

  8. "Gay Men Earn Degrees at Highest Rate, Study Finds," 11.30.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "gay men earn undergraduate degrees at the highest rate of any group in the U.S., according to a new study on sexual orientation and academic achievement." ("Roughly 52 percent of gay men in the U.S. have a bachelor's degree, compared to 36 percent of all adults and about 35 percent of straight men, the study found.")

  9. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Back to Work

  10. "Students Face Acute Mental Health Needs During Pandemic Learning," 12.02.21.
    Richard Jochelson, writing on behalf of the Council of Canadian Law Deans for Slaw, reviews recent research on the degradation of law student mental health during the pandemic: "What we learned is that many law students are suffering during this pandemic. In some cases, the suffering extended to self-harm, depression and a feeling of hopelessness. These feelings were exacerbated by the heavy workload of law school, which seemingly has not abated during the Pandemic."

  11. "Baker McKenzie Scraps Meeting-Free Wellbeing Initiative," 11.30.21.
    Law.com International reports that "Baker McKenzie has scrapped an initiative designed to reduce stress among its U.K. workforce." ("The firm has pulled the plug on its "well-being Wednesday" initiative, which had encouraged its people to keep Wednesdays free of internal meetings, and keep between 1 and 2pm completely meeting free.")

  12. Law Schools and Law Students

  13. "Law Society of Ontario defers vote on eliminating mandatory minimum wage for articling students," 12.02.21.
    Canada's Law Times reports that "the Law Society of Ontario has put off deciding whether to nix a previously approved plan to apply a minimum wage to articling placements, which was proposed by a majority of the Professional Development and Competence Committee."

  14. "ABA Gives Law Schools Go-Ahead to Use GRE," 12.01.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that the American Bar Association announced Tuesday that it will permit law schools to accept the Graduate Record Examination instead of the Law School Admission Test for admissions decisions.

    1. "After ABA's blessing, will law schools rush to use the GRE in admissions?," 12.01.21.
      Karen Sloan at Reuters is also following this story.

    2. "ABA Council Votes to Let Law Schools Accept GRE Scores in Lieu of LSATs," 11.30.21.
      Law.com reports that "in an unprecedented move, the Council of the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has voted to allow law schools to accept applicants' scores from Graduate Record Examinations instead of the Law School Admissions Test."

    3. "Starting now, the GRE can replace the LSAT in law school admissions," 11.30.21.
      The ABA Journal reports on this development: "In a closed session, the council of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar recently voted in favor of allowing law schools to accept Graduate Record Examination scores from applicants in place of Law School Admission Test scores. The change is effective immediately."

  15. "With Release of LSAT Scores Today, Law School Applications Expected to Spike," 12.01.21.
    Law.com reports that "November's Law School Admissions Test scores were released as scheduled at 9 a.m. ET this morning, and while analysis of the scores likely won't be available for a few days, according to a Law School Admission Council (LSAC) spokesperson, the expectation is that the already sky-high number of law school applicants and applications in the U.S. will rise even further."

    1. "Law School Applicant Data Down Slightly From 'Super-Heated' 2020-21 but Remains Red Hot," 11.30.21.
      Law.com reports that the most recent figures from LSAC show a 4.9% year-over-year decline in applicants and a 3.5% decline in law school applications.

    2. "One-Third Of The Way Through The Fall 2022 Law School Admissions Cycle: Applicants Are Down 4.4% And In All LSAT Bands (Especially 170-180 (-13.6%)), Except 150-159 (+0.3%)," 11.29.21.
      The TaxProf Blog also provides an update on the current law school application volume.

    3. "Law school applicants are down, breaking five-year streak," 11.29.21.
      More on this from Karen Sloan at Reuters.

  16. "Ohio law school back in compliance with program standard, ABA legal ed section's council finds," 11.29.21.
    The ABA Journal reports that "following a finding that the Cleveland State University's law school did not meet an ABA accreditation standard regarding program resources, it has since demonstrated compliance, according to recent notice from the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar."

  17. "New law school diversity program has a twist: Guaranteed admission," 11.29.21.
    Reuters reports that "ten U.S. law schools have agreed to offer one-year deferred admission and scholarship money to promising, underrepresented candidates whose initial applications don't make the cut, according to AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for access and affordability in legal education." ("To keep their place at the participating schools, including Willamette University College of Law and the University of St. Thomas School of Law, applicants will have to complete a year-long program designed and administered by AccessLex to improve their Law School Admission Test scores and give them additional foundational skills and knowledge.")

  18. "UConn Rolls Out Masters of Law Program for Corporate Compliance Officers," 11.24.21.
    The Connecticut Law Tribune reports that "the University of Connecticut School of Law is rolling out a new masters of law program spurred by the increasing market demand for legally trained corporate compliance officers."

  19. "Penn State Dickinson Law announces plans for Antiracist Development Institute," 11.23.21.
    Penn State Dickinson Law has announced that it will be "creating an Antiracist Development Institute (ADI), a program offering organizations across the country systems design-based approaches to implementing antiracist practices, processes and policies throughout each of their functions." (Dickinson Law has received gifts to launch the ADI from the LSAC, AccessLex, and NALP.)

  20. "'A Texas-Sized Commitment to Fort Worth': Texas A&M Law School Plans Massive New Campus," 11.19.21.
    The Texas Lawyer reports that "after tripling its enrollment over the past four years, Texas A&M University School of Law now sets its sights on collaborating with Fort Worth and private industries to create a new research campus in downtown Fort Worth."

    1. "Texas A&M in talks to host national law firm on new campus," 11.19.21.
      Reuters reports that "Texas A&M could become the first U.S. law school to house a major law firm on campus…Law dean Robert Ahdieh said in an interview Friday that he is in talks with several national law firms to locate offices on the new downtown Fort Worth campus the school is planning."

  21. Law Firms and Lawyers

  22. "Big Law's Talent Shortage Raises Vexing Questions on 'Quality'," 12.02.21.
    Bloomberg Law reports that the number of law school graduates hired by large law firms has steadily increased over the past decade, noting that "if the trend line from the last decade continues unabated, Big Law would hire about 37% of law school graduates by 2040."

  23. "The Great Juggling Act: How Working Parents Have Kept Law Firms—and Kids—Thriving Through It All," 12.02.21.
    The American Lawyer takes a careful look at working parent lawyers who are both struggling and thriving in the new reality of hybrid work.

  24. "Arent Fox and Schiff Hardin to Merge, Creating a New Am Law 100 Powerhouse," 12.01.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Washington-based Arent Fox and Chicago-headquartered Schiff Hardin have signed a formal agreement to merge, effective March 1, 2022, forming ArentFox Schiff."

    1. "Arent Fox, Schiff Hardin will merge to form $475 mln revenue firm," 12.01.21.
      More on this from Reuters.

    2. "How ArentFox Schiff Becomes a Serious Contender in the Hunt for New Business and the War for Talent," 12.02.21.
      The American Lawyer has a follow-on story about this merger: "With gross revenues of around $333.6 million, Arent Fox was ranked 107th in the Am Law 200, while total revenues exceeding $173.9 million put Schiff Hardin in 163rd place. Based on this year's Am Law rankings, ArentFox Schiff's total revenue of more than $509 million would propel the new firm into the Am Law 100 at No. 78, just below Crowell & Moring."

  25. "Midsize Law Firms Are Seeking Mergers Amid Succession Challenges," 12.01.21.
    The Recorder reports that "a desire to secure leadership for the future is driving midsize firms to resume merger talks and strike deals that were largely put on hold in the wake of the pandemic."

  26. "Kirkland Shortens Track to Equity Partnership," 12.01.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Kirkland & Ellis is shortening the amount of time it takes for its lawyers to qualify for equity partnership."

    1. "Kirkland's Shorter Partner Track Will Likely Make Waves, Industry Watchers Say," 12.02.21.
      The American Lawyer writes that "with the partnership track lengthening throughout the legal industry and law firms seeking out any advantage they can in the talent market, Kirkland & Ellis' announcement Wednesday that it is shortening its equity partnership timeline from 10 to nine years is sure to make waves in the legal industry."

  27. "A Viral LinkedIn Post Births a New Legal Mentoring Organization," 12.01.21.
    The American Lawyer reports on the origin story of the new Legal Mentor Network-a nonprofit organization that has already grown to include roughly 250 mentors and 1,000 mentees.

  28. "DLA Piper Joins Associate Bonus Fray, Exceeding Cravath for Top Producers," 12.01.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "firms have been slow to match Cravath, Swaine & Moore's year-end bonus scale since the New York stalwart kicked off the season on Nov. 22, but global giant DLA Piper jumped into the fray Wednesday, giving its highest performing U.S. associates the opportunity to outpace Cravath."

    1. "Cravath Kicks Off Big Law Year-End Bonuses," 11.22.21.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Cravath, Swaine & Moore has become the first major law firm to announce its year-end bonus structure for 2021…the firm has upped the ante from the status quo of the previous two years, giving a prorated $15,000 bonus to first-year associates and $115,000 to those in year eight."

    2. "Cravath kicks off year-end bonus season with payouts reaching $115K," 11.22.21.
      More on this from Reuters.

    3. "Matching Begins in 2021 Big Law Year-End Bonus Season," 11.23.21.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft have matched Cravath, Swaine & Moore's year-end bonus scale for 2021, a sources at the firms confirmed Tuesday, as more are expected to react to market leaders in the coming days."

    4. "More law firms join end-of-year bonus race following Cravath," 11.24.21.
      And Reuters has more on this one as well.

  29. "Is the Brass Ring of Partnership Tarnished for Young Lawyers?," 11.30.21.
    The American Lawyer's Young Lawyer Editorial Board write that "for many who might once have aspired to partnership, the shine appears to be coming off."

  30. "3 decades ago, legal headhunting required more time for fewer placements," 11.29.21.
    This ABA Journal Asked and Answered podcast features NALP author Valerie Fontaine and her colleague Marina Sirras talking about how legal recruiting has changed over the years, including an incredibly hot job market for 2021.

  31. "Cultivating Art, Not Argument, at a Los Angeles Law Office," 11.24.21.
    The New York Times reports that "the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has given over space in its offices overlooking the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles to the creation of art."

  32. "Prosecutor pay isn't keeping up with inflation, even as some case backlogs grow, study author says," 11.24.21.
    The ABA Journal reports that "the average starting salary for prosecutors in 31 larger cities was $68,506 at the start of 2020, according to a survey by a Lafayette College professor in conjunction with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys."

  33. "As Talent War Escalates, Law Firms Fear Business Pros Getting Poached," 11.23.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that law firms aren't just fighting for talented lawyers: "A duel for talented nonattorney staff members-from secretaries and litigation support professionals to financial analysts and strategic C-suite leaders—is also a top concern."

  34. "Will Associates Benefit From Early Career Milestones?," 11.23.21.
    More on the Sidley story from The American Lawyer, and some reflections on what it might mean for the industry: "Sidley Austin's new structure for associate promotions creates opportunities for advancement well before the partner stage. Will it help retain young talent?"

  35. "COVID-Era Expense Savings Mostly Gone, Firm Leaders Say," 11.23.21.
    According to this piece in the Daily Business Review, "last year, law firms earned significant profits after saving on travel, office expenses, marketing, events and other expenses tied to the pandemic, but this year, most of those expenses are back, according to area firm leaders."

  36. "30% of these lawyers would like to work fewer hours; those most dissatisfied are younger and female," 11.23.21.
    The ABA Journal reports that "thirty percent of surveyed 'standout lawyers' would like to work fewer hours, while 53% are satisfied with the hours that they are working…another 17% wanted more hours, according to the Thomson Reuters midyear survey of nearly 1,200 lawyers who were identified as standouts by their clients."

  37. "Partner Classes Are Bigger, But Getting Equity Is Still a Steep Climb at Law Firms," 11.22.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "record financial years, a tight talent market and differing philosophies on what it means to be a partner are driving many Big Law firms to promote record partnership classes this year."

    1. "McGuireWoods, Akin Gump Promote Record Partner Classes, While Steptoe's Class Features Strong Diversity," 11.19.21.
      The National Law Journal reports that "following months of rising demand across the board, some law firms in and around Washington, D.C., are promoting bigger, and more diverse, partnership classes."

    2. "Simpson Thacher and Weil Gotshal Announce Steep Rise in Partner Promotions," 11.24.21.
      Law.com International reports that "Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Weil, Gotshal & Manges have announced their partner promotions for 2022, with both unveiling significantly more than last year."

  38. "At the End of a Profitable Year, Firm Leaders Brace for 'Uncertain' 2022," 11.22.21.
    The Legal Intelligencer reports that "Philadelphia's Am Law 100 firms may be headed toward another banner year at the close of 2021, although uncertainties around in-person gatherings, travel and policy changes under the Biden administration make it difficult to budget for 2022."

  39. "Amid Partner Promotions and Equity Partner Exits, Akerman Breaks Revenue and Profit Records in 2021," 11.19.21.
    In a sign of things to come, the Daily Business Review reports that "after climbing six spots on the Am Law 100 rankings last year, Akerman saw another year of top-line and bottom-line growth, announcing Thursday that gross revenue was up 9.3% and profits per equity partner up 21% in fiscal 2021."

  40. "As a first-year lawyer during the pandemic, I needed to reflect to reconnect," 11.19.21.
    In this thoughtful essay in the Canadian Lawyer by a 2020 law school graduate writes: "I have been reflecting a lot lately on the passions and interests that I had before law school and have felt disconnected from my initial pursuits, which led me there in the first place."

  41. "'A Great Relief': Midsize Firm Aims to Differentiate Itself by Helping Pay Associates' Law School Debt," 11.19.21.
    Law.com reports that "as the Big Law talent wars continue to rage across the country, a midsize law firm in the Midwest has come up with a way to both attract new talent and make current associates feel valued…Graydon, which has 75 attorneys in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, is starting a student loan repayment program for its associates."

  42. "'Ripe for Growth': Three Regions Are Targets for Law Firm Expansion in 2022," 11.19.21.
    Law.com reports that "a recent survey found that 50% of law firm business professionals believe their firms will likely expand into new territory, with most of those respondents pointing to the Southeast (59%), Midwest (52%) and West (50%) as fertile territory."

  43. International Law Firms

  44. "Baker McKenzie Eyes Eventual Hybrid Work Scheme in Latin America," 12.02.21.
    Law.com International speaks with Buenos Aires-based Gustavo Boruchowizc, regional chair for Latin America at Baker McKenzie, about the firm's plans in a region that has experienced a comparatively high rate of deaths per capita from the virus.

  45. "German Firm Increases Salaries Above Magic Circle and US Rival Rates," 11.25.21.
    Law.com International reports that "German firm Gleiss Lutz is the latest major law firm to up its junior associate salaries in the region, boosting pay for its newly-qualified associates to up €150,000 and putting its rate ahead of Magic Circle and international rivals."

  46. Higher Education/Secondary Education

  47. "U of California Will Be Test-Free in Admissions," 11.22.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "admission to University of California campuses will from now on be done without standardized tests, UC provost Michael Brown said last week."

  48. "First wave of public servants awarded student loan forgiveness through temporary program," 11.20.21.
    The Washington Post reports that "the Education Department has notified 30,000 people of their success in this initial round…a temporary expansion of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which cancels outstanding federal student debt held by public servants after 10 years of on-time payments."

November 19, 2021

    Top Stories

  1. "A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September as labor market tumult continued," 11.12.21.
    The Washington Post reports that "a record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September, as workers took advantage of the surge in job openings across the country, a sign of how labor market imbalances continue to complicate the economic recovery 20 months into the pandemic."

    1. "The number of U.S. workers quitting their jobs in September was the highest on record.," 11.12.21.
      More on this from The New York Times: "Employers are still struggling to fill millions of open jobs — and to hold on to the workers they already have."

  2. "Big Law's Great Resignation: Why I Don't Believe the Hype," 11.12.21.
    Vivia Chen, writing for Bloomberg Law, argues that for large law firms, the Great Resignation represents more churn than lawyers actually leaving Big Law: "Despite all the commotion about how Big Law can't hold onto its talent, lawyers are still flocking to major firms."

  3. The Feel-Goods

  4. "The Secret Power of Reconnecting With Old Friends," 11.16.21.
    The Wall Street Journal writes about the value of connecting with old friends, especially now: "There's a special boost that only old friends can give us." (Subscription required.)

  5. "Hershey unveiled its largest Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and called it a Thanksgiving pie. 3,000 sold out in hours," 11.15.21.
    USA Today reports that "Hershey has released a Reese's Thanksgiving Pie, the largest Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ever made…it's 9 inches long and 3.25 pounds of solid peanut butter and chocolate." (Hat tip to Fred Thrasher)

  6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  7. "How This Diversity-Minded Talent Startup Took a Hit, Then Thrived Amid Covid," 11.19.21.
    The American Lawyer takes a look at the success of startup Legal Innovators as they pursue their goal of upending the traditional law firm hiring model to deliver a more diverse talent pool.

  8. "Historically Black Colleges Are Top Drivers of Social Mobility, Report Says," 11.18.21.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "Historically Black colleges and universities are better vehicles for social mobility than are other institutions, according to a new report by the United Negro College Fund's Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute." (Subscription required.)

  9. "Attorney Billing Rates Show Racial Disparities," 11.17.21.
    Law360 reports that "among attorneys who have the highest billing rates, Asian and white practitioners charge more than Black, Hispanic and Latino lawyers, illustrating possible disparities in how firms treat those practitioners, according to data released Wednesday."

  10. "Incorporating DEI Into an Evolving Litigation Practice," 11.16.21.
    A member of a law firm's diversity, equity and inclusion committee, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, argues that "there is a growing need to facilitate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts into the evolving area of litigation."

  11. "Black Student Borrowers Skip Meals to Cut Costs," 11.15.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "a recent survey found that 44 percent of student loan borrowers at historically Black colleges and universities and 29 percent of Black borrowers at predominantly white institutions reported skipping meals to cut costs."

  12. "'The System Is Broken': Black Partners in Big Law Say Recruiting, Retention Practices Must Change," 11.12.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that according to Black partners from Davis Polk, Gunderson and Cooley who participated in a panel discussion Thursday hosted by Legal Innovators, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and NALP, "there are greater systemic problems the industry must address to make meaningful change."

    1. You can view the full NALP-hosted panel discussion from last week: From Glass Ceiling to Crystal Stair: Shattering Myths around the Road to Partnership for Black Lawyers.

  13. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Back to Work

  14. "The Worst of Both Worlds: Zooming From the Office," 11.16.21.
    The New York Times writes about the mushy middle ground we are living through right now where 8 percent of Manhattan office workers are back in the office full time, 54 percent are fully remote and everyone else — nearly 40 percent — is hybrid: "Work life for many is in a mushy middle ground, and what's at stake isn't just who is getting talked over in meetings. It's whether flexibility is sustainable, even with all the benefits it confers."

  15. "Employers should approach employee alcohol and substance abuse with balance and empathy," 11.15.21.
    Law Times of Canada writes that "with the increased use of drugs and alcohol during the pandemic, employers should consider an employee's substance abuse from a safety perspective and understand they may have a disability that requires accommodation."

  16. "Campus Counselors Are Burned Out and Short-Staffed," 11.15.21.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that counselors on college campuses are having trouble keeping up with the demand for their services. ("For decades, a growing number of students with psychiatric and neurodiverse histories, conditions, and medications have been enrolling in college. From an access standpoint, that's been terrific. From a counseling standpoint, however, it has meant a professional state of siege. Counseling centers are trying to keep up with requests for care, but that was challenging for most of them even before the emotional havoc wreaked on students by Covid-19 and political and social unrest. Keeping up is even harder now. More students are asking for help; their suffering is more acute; and the pandemic has made it harder for centers to recruit counselors.") (Subscription required.)

  17. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

  18. "Are remote learning and burnout to blame for declining bar pass rates?," 11.16.21.
    The ABA Journal writes that "bar exam pass rates dropped in July 2021, and some fear another decrease for 2022 graduates nationally because most candidates will have experienced at least half their legal education during the pandemic." ("Related problems mentioned by academics include getting used to online learning, isolation, anxiety and exhaustion.")

  19. "California bar offers free tests, adjusts scores after bar exam glitches," 11.15.21.
    Reuters reports that "the State Bar of California has taken the unusual step of adjusting the scores of 2,429 test takers who encountered tech problems during the online July 2021 bar exam, and it's giving nearly 1,300 of them who failed another try at no extra cost."

    1. "Pass Rate on California's Bar Exam Slips Even as Bar 'Adjusts' Scores Due to Tech Issues," 11.12.21.
      The Recorder reports that "the pass rate on California's July 2021 bar exam dipped to 53%, even as the state bar adjusted the scores of thousands of test-takers who experienced some of the widespread technical problems with the online test."

    2. "California Bar Exam Pass Rate Falls As Bar Adjusts Scores Of 31% Of Examinees Impacted By ExamSoft Tech Issues," 12.13.21.
      More on this from the TaxProf Blog.

  20. Law Schools and Law Students

  21. "A Letter To Students On The Meaning Of Work And Professional Formation," 11.18.21.
    The TaxProf Blog highlights a new law review article by Benjamin Carpenter from St. Thomas that aimed at students and their professional formation.

  22. "Akin Gump Funds Fellowship, $1M Endowment for Howard Law in Name of Storied Partner Vernon Jordan," 11.18.21.
    The National Law Journal reports that "in the name of partner Vernon Jordan, Akin Gump has created a $1 million endowment for Howard Law School's library…the firm will also provide two fellowships a year to Howard Law students and Jordan will also have a faculty chair at the school named after him."

  23. "Which law grads wind up at the richest firms? New study mines LinkedIn for clues," 11.17.21.
    Reuters reports that "the University of Chicago Law School has the greatest percentage of recent alumni working at the 10 highest-grossing U.S. law firms, followed closely by the University of Virginia School of Law and Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, according to a recent study tracking graduates' outcomes." ("Georgetown University Law Center and Harvard Law School had the largest alumni cohorts at those firms, 477 and 465 respectively, but failed to crack the top 10 because of their much bigger class sizes.")

    1. "New Report: These Two Non-T14 Law Schools Are Among Your Best Bets for Landing at an Am Law 10 Firm," 11.17.21.
      More on this from Law.com: "Prospective law students hoping to land a job at a top-grossing law firm upon graduation may want to broaden their law school search a bit, according to a new ranking of the top Big Law feeder schools that suggests some institutions outside the T14 can lead to impressive salaries—without equally impressive student debt."

  24. "Reducing Debt And Increasing Access To The Profession: An Empirical Study Of Graduate Debt At U.S. Law Schools," 11.17.21.
    The TaxProf Blog highlights a new Journal of Legal Education article by Scott Norberg and Stephanie Garcia that provides a review of their findings from an empirical study of the nature and scope of law graduate debt across U.S. law schools.

  25. "Diverse Group of Law Deans, Faculty Teams Up With ETS to Improve Legal Education 'Life Cycle'," 11.16.21.
    Law.com reports that "in an effort to assist law students across the continuum, Educational Testing Service has established a new Legal Education Advisory Council aimed at enhancing fair and equitable pathways to law school and beyond." ("ETS said it wants to reach everyone from prospective students considering law school to graduates seeking legal employment. The formation of LEAC will help reevaluate how law school aspirants, students and graduates are recruited, prepared, assessed and licensed, according to ETS.")

  26. "Georgetown Law Sees Surge in Applications," 11.15.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that "the law school at Georgetown University, which receives more applications than any other law school, saw applications increase by 41 percent this year, more than the national average of 26 percent."

  27. "25% Of The Way Through The Fall 2022 Law School Admissions Cycle: Applicants Are Up 2.3%, But Down In All LSAT Bands (Especially 170-180 (-11.2%)), Except 150-159 (+11.4%)," 11.15.21.
    And the TaxProf Blog provides an update on the current admissions cycle.

  28. "'Close the Library': Mental Health Changes Law Schools Should Make Now, According to New Associates, Current Students," 11.12.21.
    This piece in the Daily Report provides a list of the top 3 suggestions suggested by lawyers and law students for what professors can do to improve students' mental health during law school.

  29. Law Firms and Lawyers

  30. "A Year After Largest Partner Class Ever, Cravath Returns to 5-Year Average," 11.18.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Cravath, Swaine and Moore announced Wednesday evening that it had promoted six partners in its 2021 class, about half of what it did last year but almost right on par for the firm's 6.4 per-year average over the last five years."

  31. "Sidley Launches 'MBA-Level' Development Program, Gives Associates New Titles," 11.17.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "starting Jan. 1, Sidley Austin will begin a new associate development regimen, complete with MBA-level executive training programs at top schools such as Harvard University and Northwestern University as well as new titles for associates to better reflect their roles within the firm."

    1. "Can management titles and MBA coaching keep law firm associates from jumping ship?," 11.18.21.
      More on this development at Sidley from Reuters: "Sidley Austin's decision to beef up the titles of its senior and mid-level associates and dispatch them to top MBA programs for training is a savvy move in the bare-knuckled fight for law firm talent."

  32. "Big Law Continues Rapid Expansion Throughout the US," 11.17.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "after two Am Law firms announced plans to open their doors in new markets last week, three more followed suit Wednesday, launching offices in Virginia, California and Utah."

  33. "Management by Fear Is Becoming Ineffective at Law Firms," 11.17.21.
    The American Lawyer writes that "the days of managing through fear and or intimidation are numbered if firms want to keep their increasingly mobile young talent…effective modern managers use communication and mutual respect to inspire good work."

  34. "Baker Donelson Looks to Law Students to Learn From Corporate Market's Innovation Efforts," 11.17.21.
    Legaltech News speaks with David Rueff, Baker Donelson chief client solutions officer about the firm's new Innovator Fellowship Program with the University of Richmond School of Law.

  35. "Young lawyers are increasingly saying no to big law firms because of the gruelling hours. Inside the efforts to woo them back," 11.16.21.
    The Globe and Mail out of Toronto reports that an increasing number of law graduates are turning away from large law firms in Canada as potential employers: "The pandemic has led millennial and Gen Z lawyers and law students to reassess their priorities…many young associates are being targeted by U.S.-based law firms…Canada's big law firms have been caught in the middle, making the already difficult task of recruiting and retaining the next generation of lawyers even more taxing." (Hat tip to Kara Sutherland)

  36. "Big Law Looks to Canada, Australia to Fill Out Corporate Ranks in the Bay Area," 11.16.21.
    The Recorder reports that "firms in the Bay Area, grappling with unprecedented demand for transactional work, are expanding their search for talent beyond U.S. borders…Kirkland & Ellis and Cooley, among others, have grown their midlevel corporate associate ranks from top firms in Canada and Australia…about 43% and 17% of Bay Area associates hired in the last nine months at these two firms, respectively, have come from the international talent pool."

  37. "Attorney recruitment fears temper law firms' bullish outlook," 11.16.21.
    Reuters reports that "law firm business leaders are optimistic about client demand and profits over the next year, but they're increasingly worried about the escalating war for attorney and staff talent," according to survey results released Tuesday by Thomson Reuters and Georgetown Law's Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession.

    1. "Despite Talent Issues Worrying Big Law Business Leaders, They Remain Confident About the Future," 11.16.21.
      More on these new survey results from The American Lawyer: "A new survey of C-suite professionals, pricing analysts and other business-minded firm leaders found that recruiting and retaining talent, staff poaching and salary increases were the most commonly identified high-risk factors to firm profitability."

  38. "Capitalizing on 'Best of All Worlds Environment,' Law Firms Largely See Revenues Rise Through Third Quarter," 11.15.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "fueled by deals, revenue at law firms grew by 14% for the first nine months of 2021, continuing the pace set during the first half of the year, and far exceeding 6% growth during the same period in 2020, according to results of the Wells Fargo Legal Specialty Group Nine-Month 2021 Check-in Survey." ("While the Am Law 50 posted the highest revenue growth for the period, revenue grew during the period at 93% of firms.")

  39. "Do Associates Know What They're Really Being Paid For?," 11.12.21.
    This American Lawyer piece by leadership coach and former attorney Lauren Krasnow, makes the case that few associates really understand what they are being paid for, which is not their billable hours; she suggests law firms might be better places if it were made more explicit that associates are paid for their conscientiousness, availability, and potential.

  40. "Law Firm Talent Wars: They're Not Just for Associates Anymore," 11.12.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "due to shifting workplace preferences and a reemergence of trial work out of a pandemic-era stupor, litigation practices large and small are facing high rates of churn among legal support professionals, giving an often undervalued sector of the legal industry's workforce an upper hand in recruitment."

  41. International Law Firms

  42. "'They Used Me For a Pitch, Then Excluded Me': How Major Law Firms are Using Their Black Lawyers to Mislead On Diversity," 11.16.21.
    UK Legal Week reports that "a Law.com International investigation has uncovered how tokenism is rife across the UK's legal industry with a host of Black and minority lawyers describing how their names and images were used on client pitches and promotional materials they had nothing to do with."

  43. "Clifford Chance Ups UK Associate Base Pay, But Amounts Lag Behind Its German Rates," 11.12.21.
    Law.com International reports that "Clifford Chance has become the latest major U.K. law firm to increase salaries for its most junior associates in London, boosting newly-qualified pay to the rate set by its Magic Circle peers earlier in Autumn."

  44. Higher Education/Secondary Education

  45. "Undergraduate Enrollment Has Continued Its Decline," 11.18.21.
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "new data released Thursday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show a continued downward slide in undergraduate enrollment." ("So far this fall, undergraduate attendance has dropped 3.5 percent compared with a year earlier. Since fall 2019, undergraduate enrollment has declined nearly 8 percent.") (Subscription required.)

  46. "Rise in International Students at U.S. Colleges This Fall Reverses Pandemic Decline," 11.13.21.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that "international-student enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities is showing signs of a rebound this fall after plummeting when the pandemic pushed classes online last year and the Trump administration all but closed the nation's borders." (Subscription required.)

    1. "International Enrollments Begin to Recover," 11.15.21.
      Inside Higher Ed also has this story: "The number of international students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities has begun to rebound following a precipitous pandemic-related drop in international enrollments last fall, according to new data being released today."

    2. "International Enrollments Tumble Below One Million for the First Time in Years, and Covid Is to Blame," 11.15.21.
      And from The Chronicle of Higher Education: "The number of international students at American colleges declined precipitously during the Covid-19 pandemic, with new enrollments tumbling 46 percent in fall 2020, a steeper decline than for any other student group…preliminary snapshot, however, shows rebounding enrollments this fall." (Subscription required.)

  47. "Business Schools Respond to a Flood of Interest in E.S.G.," 11.13.21.
    The New York Times reports that "as the number of jobs focused on environmental, social and governance issues grows, M.B.A. programs are updating their courses to meet demand from students and recruiters."

November 12, 2021

    Top Stories

  1. "Law firms tout bumper crops of new partners amid talent war," 11.11.21.
    Reuters reports that "thanks to record profitability combined with cutthroat battles for attorney talent at major firms, at least five firms are promoting their largest groups of new partners on record…and it's still early in the season."

    1. "Polsinelli, Perkins Coie Among Firms Touting Larger, Diverse Partner Classes," 11.11.21.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Polsinelli announced its largest partner class ever, joining a slew of Am Law 100 firms over the last month or so that've set new benchmarks on size and diversity with their partner promotions."

  2. The Feel-Goods

  3. "Double take off at Heathrow as 'excited' passengers take advantage of US reopening borders to UK travellers," 11.08.21.
    There have been a lot of stories about happy, reunited families this week as the US opened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers from the UK, Europe, and certain other countries. This story from Sky News features a double takeoff at Heathrow as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operated a synchronised departure to celebrate the end of the US travel ban — with a classic UK journalist's caption for the video: Double take off for the double jabbed to the US. (Hat tip to Jessica Buchsbaum, British spellings left intact.)

  4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

  5. "Lack of Understanding Hampers Military Veteran Recruitment in Big Law," 11.11.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that military veterans make up just 2.8% of Big Law attorneys although they make up 6-7% of the general population.

  6. "As Diversity Awareness Grows, So Too May Discrimination Claims, Employment Lawyers Say," 11.11.21.
    The Legal Intelligencer reports that many labor and employment lawyers have observed an uptick in employees demonstrating more awareness of their rights: "[The] surge of awareness of racial injustice in the wake of the murder of George Floyd…may have engendered unintended consequences for organizations that fail to follow through—claims from employees who are now primed to recognize discrimination and retaliation when it happens."

  7. "Big Law Is Recruiting Aggressively to Hire Associates of Color," 11.11.21.
    Business Insider reports that "big law firms are dangling big career opportunities to court attorneys of color during the associate hiring frenzy." (Business Insider has a pretty ruthless paywall. You may also be able to access a free version of this article here.)

  8. Mental Health/Wellness/Remote Work/Back to Work

  9. "The Rules on Face Masks at the Office Are Changing," 11.07.21.
    The Wall Street Journal reports that "some big U.S. employers have dropped workplace mask requirements as Covid-19 cases fall and vaccination rates rise." (Apple, Amazon, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. recently relaxed employee mask guidelines.) (Subscription required.)

  10. Law Schools and Law Students

  11. "'A New Generation of Changemakers': New Yale Law Program Aims to Give Grads a Broader Professional Skill Set," 11.11.21.
    More on Yale Law School's curriculum changes, first reported by Reuters last week, here from Law.com: "The new Tsai Leadership Program at Yale Law School will provide…new courses and opportunities for professional development. Coursework in the program includes accounting, corporate finance, statistics, ethics and emerging issues related to technological change, Big Data and globalization."

  12. "Harvard Law gets $10 million for animal law program," 11.11.21.
    Reuters reports that "Harvard Law School has received a $10 million donation from the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights and Policy to endow its animal law program."

  13. "New 'most-cited' legal scholars list includes big names, few women," 11.10.21.
    Reuters reports that "a new list of the 50 most-cited legal scholars of all time, which appears in the latest edition of the University of Chicago Law Review, [includes only two women]."

  14. "Bad Education," 11.10.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports on a controversy at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law where the Black Law Students Association is demanding that a professor be fired.

  15. "Law schools brace for another application boom," 11.08.21.
    Reuters reports that "law school admissions officers are forecasting another competitive year, with a high volume of applicants and fewer scholarship dollars to go around."

    1. "More law school applicants with high LSAT scores are getting rejected, admissions officers say," 11.08.21.
      The ABA Journal reports that "Law school admissions officers are becoming choosier amid a surge in law school applicants…in a survey by educational services company Kaplan, 72% of law school admissions officers said they rejected more applicants with what they consider to be high scores on the Law School Admission Test than they did in the previous cycle."

  16. "LSAT maker expands business to include 'modern law' program," 11.05.21.
    Reuters reports that "the Law School Admission Council, a non-profit best known for producing the admission test used by law schools, is expanding its business and adding online courses for recent law school graduates and seasoned lawyers." ("The council announced this week that it has acquired the non-profit Institute for the Future of Law Practice, which provides online classes focused on modern law practice and problem solving, including topics like data analytics, business and finance operations…the institute…was founded in 2018 by Indiana University law professor Bill Henderson, Northwestern University law professor Daniel Linna, and law firm consultant Bill Mooz.)

    1. "LSAC acquisition of IFLP explained," 11.07.21.
      More on this from Bill Henderson and Kellye Testy in this post on the Legal Evolution blog.

  17. Law Firms and Lawyers

  18. "Separation Between Big Law Elites and the Rest Is Intensifying," 11.12.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "in Big Law, which was already showing obvious stratification in recent years, the elite and most profitable firms have pulled even further ahead in a dynamic only exacerbated by the pandemic." ("The residual effects of consolidation at the top of the industry can be seen in the current environment: the increasingly exorbitant arms race for talent, several-hundred-lawyer firms looking to quickly scale up through combinations, increasingly disparate financial outcomes, and constant rate increases at the leading firms while other firms face rate pressure.")

  19. "Lawyers Shuffle and Get Shuffled Amid High Demand and Tight Lateral Market," 11.11.21.
    According to the Daily Report, in Atlanta "a market full of movement includes some lawyers being repurposed to new practice areas to meet rising demand."

  20. "Contract lawyers face a growing invasion of surveillance programs that monitor their work," 11.11.21.
    The Washington Post reports that "facial recognition systems have become an increasingly common element of the rapid rise in work-from-home surveillance during the coronavirus pandemic…[and] contract attorneys have become some of America's first test subjects for this enhanced monitoring, and many are reporting frustrating results, saying the glitchy systems make them feel like a disposable cog with little workday privacy."

  21. "While Courting Stars, Law Firms Also Increasingly Look for Service Partners," 11.10.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "while Big Law firms are always seeking rainmakers, they're also looking to add service partners."

  22. "In Building a 'Workplace of the Future,' Am Law 200 Firm Includes Fertility, Adoption and Surrogacy Benefits," 11.10.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "Lowenstein Sandler announced this week that it is expanding its fertility, adoption and surrogacy benefits—another step in creating what the firm is calling the 'workplace of the future' as the country and industry emerge out of the pandemic."

  23. "Amid Unprecedented Talent Market, Referral Bonuses Make a Return," 11.10.21.
    The Legal Intelligencer reports that "financial incentives for attorneys who secure the employment of a former colleague for their current firm have come back into vogue in 2021 as firms seek a cost-effective method of onboarding laterals with preexisting work relationships."

  24. "Big Law Associates Still Feel Like a 'Cog in the Wheel.' Better Feedback Could Help," 11.10.21.
    The Recorder writes that "younger lawyers crave constructive feedback, but more senior lawyers are afraid to give it because talent is so mobile right now…[and] a lack of engagement, caused by lack of feedback, can make people more likely to leave."

  25. "'The Great Resignation': Employment Lawyers Advise How to Avoid Losing Talent During Pandemic," 11.10.21.
    According to the Daily Report, "employment lawyers are now advising corporate clients on how to mitigate a growing threat of employees resigning amid the pandemic as part of the Great Resignation."

  26. "As U.S. opens to travelers, globe-trotting lawyers may be harder to find," 11.10.21.
    Reuters reports that law firm travel volume is now at 30% of where it stood in 2019 and experts predict that is will only return to 65% of 2019's volume by the end of 2022.

  27. "As the Talent War Stokes Paranoia About Exits, Law Firms Employ Risky Retention Strategies," 11.09.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "as the legal industry's red-hot talent market reaches a boiling point, some law firm leaders are desperate to hold onto the people they have, sometimes using tactics that could backfire."

  28. "Law Firm Profit Metrics Still High, but Talent War 'Boiling Point' Nears," 11.08.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that the latest Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor Index report, "law firms are paying more for talent than ever before, but like other industries that've been hit by a so-called Great Resignation, they're also hemorrhaging it like never before, and the result is a diminished return on investment that could reach a boiling point in the near future." ("Direct expenses grew by 7.2% during the third quarter of 2021, driven mainly by increases in associate compensation relative to Q3 last year. But the report, which aggregates multiple factors to produce a score of law firm profitability, also clocked law firm turnover at 13.8% over the last 12 months.")

    1. "Law firms had another big quarter, but associate pay is taking a toll," 11.08.21.
      Reuters has more on the third quarter report from Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor Index: "Law firms saw increased demand, rates and productivity in the third quarter of 2021, but associate compensation hikes dragged on their bottom lines."

  29. "Survey Suggests the Path to Law Firm Partnership Is Getting Longer," 11.08.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the path to Big Law partnership is getting longer, analysts and new survey data suggest, as firms balance a slew of trends that make the 'brass ring' of the legal industry tougher to track down." ("Meanwhile, legal industry experts also say firms are using detours, such as counsel and nonequity roles, more often.")

  30. "Will California be the next state to permit nonlawyer paraprofessionals?," 11.08.21.
    The ABA Journal reports that "the State Bar of California is considering a proposal to have the Golden State join a small number of other jurisdictions in permitting nonlawyer paraprofessionals to provide legal advice and undertake other tasks typically handled by attorneys."

  31. "Legal Hiring Mirrored Strong Economic Growth in October," 11.05.21.
    The American Lawyer reports that "the legal profession added another 4,700 jobs in October, according to Friday's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation summary." ("Adding between 4,000 and 5,000 per month since this summer, legal has rebounded from the delta variant more steadily than the overall economy.")

  32. International Law Firms

  33. "White & Case Latest to Uplift London Associate Pay," 11.08.21.
    Law.com International report that "White & Case has become the latest firm to bump salaries for its London-based junior lawyers, with newly-qualified associates taking home an extra £10,000 a year from 2022."

  34. "Australian Firm Gives All Lawyers 15% Pay Raise After Record Revenue," 11.08.21.
    Law.com International reports that "Australian law firm Gadens is giving its lawyers a 15% pay raise—the third local firm in a week to offer a substantial increase in pay."

  35. "Too Much Work, Too Few Lawyers: Do Global Firms Have a Strategy?," 11.07.21.
    Law.com International questions whether the current environment is sustainable — a global law firm ecosystem where demand for legal services is up, the talent war rages on, salaries are soaring, and retention continues to be a problem.

  36. Higher Education /Secondary Education

  37. "Growing Latinx Enrollment, Not Enough Support," 11.10.21.
    Inside Higher Ed reports that according to new research, "more Latinx Californians than ever are graduating from high school and enrolling in higher education institutions, but these students still lack the support they need to attend college, transfer and earn degrees at rates on par with their white peers."

  38. "USC Pushed a $115,000 Online Degree. Graduates Got Low Salaries, Huge Debts.," 11.09.21.
    The Wall Street Journal used its front page Wednesday to report that "over the past decade, the University of Southern California has used a for-profit company to help enroll thousands of students in its online social-work master's program." ("The nonprofit school used its status-symbol image to attract students across the country, including low-income minority students it targeted for recruitment, often with aggressive tactics. Most students piled on debt to afford the tuition, which last year reached $115,000 for the two-year degree. The majority never set foot on the posh Los Angeles campus but paid the same rate for online classes as in-person students.") (Subscription required.)

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