Each week NALP provides a summary of news articles of interest to legal career professionals.
For news in the public interest arena, see the news digest from Samuel Halpert, NALP's Director of Public Service Initiatives, at www.psjd.org.
September 22, 2023
- "Law Firm Leaders, GCs and Bar Leaders Outline DEI Recommendations in Wake of Affirmative Action Ruling," 09.20.23.
New York Law Journal reports on a set of "recommendations for law firms, employers, the judiciary and law schools in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action" from a New York State Bar Association task force.
- "With diversity efforts under fire, New York bar gives blueprint for the legal profession," 09.20.23.
Reuters reports that the group presented an "industrywide blueprint for maintaining and increasing the ranks of law students, judges, and attorneys from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented within the legal profession while staying within the bounds of the law."
- "Eliminating Standardized Test Requirements, Ending Legacy Admissions Key To Diversity In Wake of U.S. Supreme Court Ruling," 09.20.23.
The announcement on the New York State Bar Association website, along with a link to their full report.
- "The Year the Global 200 Law Firms Returned to Earth With a Bump," 09.19.23.
Law.com International analyzes their Global 200 rankings and observes, "For the first time since at least 2018, revenue at the highest-grossing 200 law firms in the world, as ranked by Law.com International, remains more or less flat — inching up by just over 1% to hit $188 billion as a collective."
- "California could be next state to bypass the bar exam," 09.21.23.
Reuters reports that the California State Bar's Board of Trustees "voted to gather public comments on a proposed new program in which law graduates would receive provisional licenses and work under the supervision of an experienced attorney for four to six months while being paid. During that time, candidates would compile a portfolio of work that would be graded by the state bar. Those who earn a passing grade on their portfolios would become fully licensed in California without taking the bar exam."
- "The 'Embodiment of Uplift': Law Deans Pay Tribute to JoAnne Epps," 09.20.23.
The Legal Intelligencer has this article in memory of JoAnne Epps, who was serving as Temple University's acting president and who was previously dean of Temple's Beasley School of Law.
- "A New Legal Blitz on Affirmative Action," 09.20.23.
Inside Higher Ed examines the ongoing efforts of Students for Fair Admissions, including new lawsuits they have filed and older ones that they are working to revive.
- "A New Campaign to End Unpaid Internships," 09.20.23.
Inside Higher Ed reports that "the National Association of Colleges and Employers [NACE] is taking a firm stance against unpaid internships, arguing in a new campaign — called Unpaid Is Unfair — that such internships should be outlawed nationally."
- "Unpaid Internships and the Need for Federal Action," May 2023.
Read NACE's position statement.
- "A 'Lost Generation' of High School Graduates," 09.20.23.
Inside Higher Ed reports on The National Student Clearinghouse's 11th annual "High School Benchmark Report" which shows that "Only about one in eight of those students who were 'supposed' or expected to enter college in fall 2020 had enrolled…. The enrollment rate was even lower among students who graduated from 'high poverty' high schools, where only one in 15 enrolled."
- "NextGen Bar Educators Talk What To Know About New Test," 09.19.23.
Law360 reports, "The NextGen bar exam is set to debut in July 2026. Law360 Pulse spoke to two bar exam educators about what legal employers and law schools should know about the new exam." (Subscription required.)
- "July bar pass rates are improving, especially in Florida," 09.18.23.
Reuters reports, "Florida's July bar exam pass rate increased 8 percentage points this year — following an early trend of strong results across the country…. Among the 14 jurisdictions that have unveiled their results, all but three have seen increases or matched their overall pass rates from the previous July."
- "Ahead of the Curve: How T14 Law Schools Feel About Law Firm 'Precruiting'," 09.18.23.
Law.com's Christine Charnosky summarizes the two articles on "precruiting" that appeared last week and adds, "As for what have traditionally been considered the top three law schools — Yale Law School, Stanford Law School and Harvard Law School — the policies for precruiting vary drastically, and I want to highlight these since they didn't make it into our two OCI stories."
- "Why Colleges Can't Quit the U.S. News Rankings," 09.16.23.
The New York Times examines the reasons behind colleges' participation in the U.S. News rankings, noting that administrators feel "a sense of futility — U.S. News vows to rank schools even if they drop out — [that makes them] feel that the easiest, clearest path is compliance, however unenthusiastic it might be."
- "2024 U.S. News College Rankings Released With Biggest Methodology Changes In History, Including First-Ever Measure Of Faculty Research," 09.19.23.
More on this year's college rankings from TaxProf Blog, including links to stories in a variety of other media.
- "Charlotte's the largest US city without a law school. Elon University aims to change that," 09.15.23.
The Charlotte Observer reports, "Elon University leaders are working to expand its law school in North Carolina with a new location in Charlotte."
- Charlotte, N.C., is a law school desert. This university wants to change that," 09.19.23.
Reuters reports, "Elon University said on Tuesday it plans to offer a part-time juris doctor program in Charlotte starting next fall, pending approval by the ABA."
- "How Students' Motivations for Attending Law School Have Changed," 09.13.23.
U.S. News & World Report looks at some preliminary results of LSAC's 2022 matriculant survey, which will be coming out later this year, and reports, "High-paying salaries, prestige and furthering academic and career goals were at the top of the list for why students wanted to go to law school over a decade ago. But these days, most students say the thing inspiring them is a desire to do good."
- "Statement from AASE Concerning the NextGen Bar Exam," 09.06.23.
The Association of Academic Support Educators released this statement outlining their concerns about the NextGen bar exam scheduled to be administered in July 2026.
- "Law firm Stroock in talks with Pillsbury as merger hunt continues," 09.21.23.
Reuters reports, "Months after law firms Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and Nixon Peabody ended discussions for a possible merger, Stroock and another New York-headquartered firm, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, said Thursday that they are engaged in talks of their own."
- "Bar Groups Mull Succession Planning Rules Amid Law Firm Closures," 09.21.23.
Law.com's Barometer newsletter reports, "Lawyer governing bodies in at least two states [California and Pennsylvania] have discussed potential rules mandating succession planning at law firms, coinciding with the dissolution of several firms."
- "Some Big Law Associates Are Raking In Six-Figure Origination Bonuses — And Others Want In," 09.22.23.
The American Lawyer reports on a few firms that provide origination credit to non-partners.
- "Lengthy Pay Guarantees Were Already the Exception, And Could Be Getting Rarer," 09.21.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Compensation guarantees aren't unusual for partners making lateral moves. But lengthy, multiyear guarantees are, and they might be getting rarer, according to some legal industry recruiters."
- "'We Don't Overbook the Airplane': Why Pre-OCI Recruiting Hasn't Taken Off at Midsize Firms," 09.19.23.
Law.com Pro Mid-Market reports that, so far, precruiting has been concentrated in large law firms in the Northeast region and is less prevalent in other markets.
- "Today's Job Market Is Extra Bleak For Junior Lawyers," 09.18.23.
Law360 reports, "The current job market is particularly challenging for associates to navigate, with law firms hiring less, taking longer to recruit for positions, and generally giving the most junior lawyers a cold shoulder when they do hire, recruiters tell Law360 Pulse." (Subscription required.)
- "Where Do Big Law Associates Live the Largest?," 09.19.23.
The American Lawyer compares associate salaries with cost of living and reports, "If you want to stretch your Big Law associate dollar as far as possible, move to Texas, the Southeast or the Rust Belt. Those three regions tended to have the best combination of high base compensation and low cost of living." (NALP members should note that NALP has published a buying power index for many graduating classes and that the 2023 index will be available in the October issue of the Bulletin+.)
- "New York's Move to Pay Transparency Likely to Spread Nationally," 09.18.23.
This op-ed piece in Bloomberg Law predicts, "Pay transparency appears to be the wave of the future. As more states consider and adopt pay transparency legislation, we likely will see more transparent practices going forward."
- "The Flight to Quality and Workplace Experience," 09.22.23.
This op-ed at Law.com observes, "What seemed almost a near certainty a year ago — that law firms would fully and permanently embrace work-from-home — is experiencing a seeming reversal," and outlines some of the measures firms are taking to balance stricter RTO policies with amenities to make the office more appealing.
- "'Serious Pushback' on RTO Policies Complicates Otherwise Brightening In-House Hiring Market," 09.20.23.
Law.com reports on Major, Lindsey & Africa's newly released "Global In-House Counsel Market Conditions Q3 2023" report, which shows that hiring for in-house counsel is booming but that "Companies hiring are having to balance candidates' desire for flexibility with employers' increasing desire to have workers in the office."
- "Law Firms Find 'Back to the Office' Means Different Things For Different People," 09.19.23.
Law.com International reports, "Law firm leaders may repeatedly cite cultural cohesion when justifying the need for lawyers and staff to spend more time together in the office. But at global firms, a one-size-fits-all solution is proving harder to achieve precisely because they straddle multiple cultures, all home to differing expectations for how work gets done."
- "How Core Weeks and Days Boost Return to Office," 09.18.23.
This article from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) looks at how some companies are implementing core days/core weeks to help improve the return to office and provides suggestions for consideration.
- "Remote GC Revolution Fizzles Out as Employers Flock to 'Hard Hybrid'," 09.17.23.
Corporate Counsel reports that "the era of the remote GC is officially over. While such arrangements still crop up from time to time, as they did before the pandemic, employers generally have closed the door on the option, recruiters say."
- "Diversity Officers Chart New Course Amid Political, Legal Storms," 09.22.23.
Bloomberg Law interviews two corporate diversity officers and examines the varying pressures in the DEI space, from conservative foes who are fighting against the programs to members of Gen Z who are "[demanding] robust diversity initiatives to foster a sense of belonging at work."
- "Anti-affirmative action group, emboldened by US Supreme Court, targets scholarships," 09.22.23.
Reuters reports, "A non-profit group opposing race-based education policies [the Equal Protection Project of the Legal Insurrection Foundation] has filed more than a dozen U.S. civil rights complaints this year against universities, challenging the legality of offering minority scholarships, summer study and residency programs to promote racial diversity."
- "Equal Justice Works CEO On Diversifying Public Interest Law," 09.20.23.
Law360 reports, "Verna Williams of Equal Justice Works says she remains committed to diversifying public interest law, even as the legal industry deals with challenges to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts." (Subscription required.)
- "Big Law DEI Under Attack From Affirmative Action Foe," 09.20.23.
Activist and affirmative action opponent Edward Blum has filed suit against two of the country's largest law firms, arguing his recent victory at the US Supreme Court means their diversity, equity, and inclusion fellowships are now illegal. What does this mean for the future of DEI efforts in Big Law? Bloomberg Law reporters Tatyana Monnay and Riddhi Setty discuss on the latest episode of Bloomberg's On the Merits podcast.
- "How the Work of Diversity Professionals Benefits All Employees," 09.19.23.
The American Lawyer has this op-ed that provides "examples of effective operational impact and change led by diversity professionals that benefit all members of the workplace."
- "Judges, Attys Must Pay Special Attention To Implicit Bias," 09.18.23.
Law360 reports, "While everyone has implicit bias, judges, lawyers and court staff can be particularly susceptible to unconscious prejudices, and their biases can have a greater impact on the people they encounter, according to a webinar held Monday." (Subscription required.)
- "New Jersey rolls back mental health disclosure for new lawyers, following national trend," 09.21.23.
Reuters reports that New Jersey's Supreme Court will revise their bar admission application to "limit its mental health and substance abuse disclosure requirement for those applying to join the bar as attorneys," joining New York, Ohio and Virginia among states that have eliminated such questions.
- "Feeling 'Trapped?' A Common Pitfall of Our Profession and How to Overcome It," 09.20.23.
The Young Lawyer Editorial Board of The Legal Intelligencer asserts that "It is possible to both be a good lawyer and have a robust personal life" and outlines steps that young lawyers can take if they are considering a job change.
- "Legal education's day of reckoning approaches," 09.21.23.
Jordan Furlong looks at the work that generative AI is suited for — namely the basic work currently done by new associates — and contemplates the "likeliest responses by law firms to the spectre of low-skilled new talent arriving in workplaces where there's no low-skilled work for them to do."
- "Will Innovation Help Law Firms and Clients Control the 'Cost Monster'?," 09.19.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Law firms are renewing their efforts on automation, hiring leaders devoted to invention and creativity, and creating new tools themselves that could ultimately make business cheaper for both sides. Clients are taking notice, too. And in many cases, they're driving the change."
September 15, 2023
- "The Black-White Student Debt Gap Among Law School Graduates," 09.12.23.
The September issue of The Practice focuses on student debt, and the lead article, based on the After the JD research from the NALP Foundation, offers in-depth analysis of the "large disparities in how this student debt crisis is distributed and felt."
- "Current Bar Exam Will Sunset After July 2027 Administration," 09.11.23.
Law.com reports, "The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) recently announced that after the NextGen exam launches in July 2026, the July 2027 bar exam will be the last administration of the current NCBE bar exam."
- "Despite Department of Ed guidance, universities may be cautious with outreach offerings," 09.14.23.
ABA Journal reports, "Following the recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion that found race-conscious college admissions to be unconstitutional, some universitiesworry their minority outreach programs may be in jeopardy." (Subscription required.)
- "Ahead of the Curve: Are Rankings 'a Substitute for Thinking'?" 09.13.23.
Law.com's Christine Charnosky questions the efficacy of using ranking lists in decision-making, citing research published by the American Psychological Association that shows that ranking lists "confer great benefits on the top-ranked option, magnifying the differences between it and all other choices and blinding people to important details that might otherwise affect their decision-making."
- "New bar exam shaves three hours off testing time," 09.12.23.
Karen Sloan at Reuters reports, "The new bar exam set to debut in July 2026 will be about three hours shorter than the current one."
- "Harvard Law Grads Give Boston Cold Shoulder, Take Jobs Elsewhere," 09.11.23.
Bloomberg Law takes a deep dive into data about where Harvard Law graduates take jobs, reporting, "More than 90% of the 2,374 Harvard Law School graduates between 2019 and 2022 took first-year jobs outside of Massachusetts…. By contrast, only about 30% of Columbia Law grads left New York during the same stretch, the data show. About 62% of Stanford Law grads left California, 61% of Georgetown's newest lawyers left Washington, and 70% of University of Chicago Law grads took jobs outside of Illinois."
- "Aspen Publishing Acquires License to Administer JD-Next Admissions Exam," 09.08.23.
Law.com reports, "Aspen Publishing has acquired the exclusive license from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law to administer the JD-Next law school admission test."
- "Aspen Publishing inks deal for Univ of Arizona's alternative law school admission program," 09.08.23.
Reuters also has this story and reports, "Aspen, a company best known for producing legal textbooks and study aids, said on Friday that it has acquired an exclusive five-year license to run JD-Next, an 8-week series of online legal courses that culminates in an exam."
- "The 2023 Summer Associates Survey: Part 2," 09.12.23.
Law360 has released the second part of their summer associates survey. (Subscription required for all Law360 articles.)
- "These Firms Were The Top For Their Summer Associates," 09.12.23.
- "Job Promises For Summers Decline As Firms Play It Safe," 09.12.23.
- "Summer Associates Wary Of AI's Potential," 09.12.23.
- "Thinking Differently: Facilitating Entrepreneurship In Law Firms," 09.08.23.
This op-ed in The American Lawyer argues that law firms need to encourage lawyers to be more entrepreneurial and outlines tips to "provide all the necessary support that lawyers need to deliver legal services, but allow them independence, flexibility and control in the manner of working."
- "How to Build the Law Firm of the Future," 09.08.23.
Law.com takes a deep dive into the challenges facing law firm leaders and ways to minimize risk and maximize productivity.
- "The 'Attorney Concierge' Era for Business Development Professionals Is Over," 09.14.23.
The American Lawyer reports that, amid a shortage of marketing and business development personnel, "more law firms are starting to empower business development officers to proactively generate business tips and leads for the firm."
- "Public defender caseload standards from 1970s due for overhaul, study says," 09.13.23.
Reuters reports, "The 50-year-old national standards for public defender caseloads are overly broad and too high to ensure adequate representation of indigent clients, according to a study released Tuesday that recommends more nuanced guidelines."
- "Public Defender Schedules Are So Swamped It Probably Isn't Constitutional," 09.14.23.
Above the Law has more.
- "Bye-Bye, OCI? Law Firms Pursue 'Free Market' Alternatives to 'Artificial' Campus Recruiting," 09.13.23.
The American Lawyer has this analysis of pre-OCI recruiting (or "precruiting").
- "With 'Exploding Offers' and 'Elite' Advantages, Early Campus Recruiting Gets Mixed Reception," 09.15.23.
The second installment in the series reports, "While some schools and firms welcome more opportunities for students to engage with prospective employers throughout the academic year, others express concern about the added pressure and toll it takes on students' mental health earlier in their law school careers."
- "Say Farewell To OCI Hell: Biglaw Firms Are Now Relying On Precruiting To Fill Their Summer Associate Classes," 09.14.23.
Above the Law weighs in.
- "Productivity, Demand Growth More Common Outside the Am Law 200 This Year," 09.12.23.
Law.com Pro Mid-Market reports, "Comparing the first half of 2023 to the first half of 2022, the survey found that 61% of midsize firms reported an increase in productivity, defined as net hours worked per lawyer, whereas 23% of Am Law 200 firms reported the same. And 74% of unranked firms reported an increase in demand, defined as total hours billed, versus 59% of Am Law 200 firms."
- "Building cohesion in the post-pandemic law firm," 09.14.23.
Jordan Furlong's column this week looks at the lack of lawyer engagement (which he calls "cohesion") and how to remedy the situation, arguing, "So how do you build cohesion in an organization with a hybrid workplace? You do it by recognizing that the absence of full-time physical co-location means you're going to have to work harder to achieve what used to come naturally. Cohesion is no longer cost-free."
- "What is the future of remote working in the law firm world?," 09.13.23.
This episode of the ABA Journal's Legal Rebels podcast looks at "the future of remote working, how firms can promote and maintain their culture if large numbers of their lawyers aren't coming to the office, and other changes that have taken hold in the legal industry." (Subscription required.)
- "Are Law Firms' Real Estate and Tech Spending Invariably at Odds? It's Not That Simple," 09.11.23.
The American Lawyer' The New Normal series looks at the complex relationship between real estate and technology, the two biggest expenses for law firms, which can "both compete for resources and be utterly dependent upon each other."
- "Law.com Trendspotter: Blanket Attendance Mandates Reveal the 'Core' of Law Firm RTO Struggles," 09.11.23.
Law.com looks at trends from RTO articles over the past few weeks and reports, "As a number of law firm leaders and industry consultants have pointed out, the key to true flexibility likely lies in better coordination: allowing practice groups to determine their own in-office cadences and finding ways to eliminate unnecessary commutes to half-empty spaces."
- "How Husch Blackwell's Virtual Office Prioritizes In-Person Connections," 09.08.23.
Law.com's Legal Speak podcast talks with the managing partner of Husch Blackwell's virtual office about the pros and cons of virtual practice as well as "how his virtual team strives to be the most connected team members at the firm."
- "The Law Firm Disrupted: What I've Learned About the New Normal," 09.08.23.
Law.com's Law Firm Disrupted column notes, "The office remains indivisible from the law firm experience, even after several years that demonstrated that, on a certain level, the work can get done from anywhere."
- "Blum Lawsuits Stress Test Law Firms' DEI Commitment, Execution," 09.14.23.
The American Lawyer looks at the impacts of recent lawsuits on law firm diversity programs, fellowships, and scholarships and predicts that, "given Blum's stated intention to target contracting and employment as well as fellowships and scholarships, diverse staffing and mentorship programs may be the next programs to draw scrutiny."
- "Gibson Dunn Changes Diversity Award Criteria as Firms Face Suits," 09.13.23.
Bloomberg Law reports, "Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher changed the eligibility criteria for its diversity scholarships, becoming at least the second major law firm to take the step as rivals face lawsuits targeting similar programs."
- "Racial Stereotypes' Use May Doom Some Employers' DEI Initiatives," 09.13.23.
Two lawyers, writing for Bloomberg Law, point out that "Racial stereotypes arise in many contexts, but within the employment sphere, DEI initiatives have the potential — sometimes inadvertently — to implicate racial stereotypes in a negative manner" and provide some guidance to employers on avoiding stereotypes in their DEI programs.
- "How elitism is killing us: Law firm elitism," 09.12.23.
The National Jurist reports, "The current hiring models for law firms and law schools don't make economic sense, says Indiana Bloomington law professor William Henderson, but elitism has a way of perpetuating itself." (Subscription required.)
- "How elitism in legal hiring is killing legal education, diversity and American society," 09.07.23.
The first part of this series is in preLaw magazine. (Subscription required.)
- "Why Many Black Partners Are Unhappy With Their Law Firms," 09.11.23.
Law360 reports, "A recent report by legal recruiting firm Major Lindsey & Africa says that more than a quarter of Black partners surveyed who made a lateral career move say they left their previous law firm because of disparate treatment due to race." (Subscription required.)
- "Female GCs Who Break Into Fortune 1000 Earn Big Bucks, But Men Hold Most of the Jobs," 09.06.23.
Corporate Counsel reports, "Female general counsel at Fortune 1000 companies received slightly higher total compensation than their male counterparts last year, but they continued to be drastically outnumbered."
- "Introverted Lawyers: Agents Of Change In The Legal Profession," 09.12.23.
TaxProf Blog has a link to this article in The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics that examines the impact of introverts on the legal profession: "Despite the emphasis placed on extroverted traits, research reveals that introverts bring powerful qualities and prized skills to the practice of law, such as empathy, collaborative leadership and negotiation styles, intrinsic and ethically centered motivation, and complex problem-solving skills."
- "Wellness Initiatives Are Nice, but They Aren't Solving the Root Problem: Engagement," 09.11.23.
Tracy LaLonde, writing for Law.com, argues that "the core problem facing many attorneys today is not just stress and burnout. It's a lack of engagement with their work — involvement, commitment and enthusiasm for work and workplace," and offers tips to help improvement engagement.
- "Consolidation Is Significantly Altering the Legal Tech Landscape in 2023," 09.14.23.
Law.com's The Baromenter newsletter reports on the amount of merger activity in the tech space and some of its impacts, including on pricing, access to justice, talent, and training.
- "Legal Tech Vendors Are Taking On Generative AI Education. Are Attorneys Welcoming It?" 09.14.23.
Legaltech News reports that "The last couple of weeks have seen more legal tech providers come out with free, educational resources seeking to teach the legal industry about the issues, risks and benefits that come with generative AI and large language models (LLMs)" but that firms and lawyers alike are also seeking other sources of technology education.
- "Law School Admission Test takers hit with tech problems, again," 09.08.23.
Reuters reports, "Law School Admission Test takers encountered technical glitches on Friday — the second time in two months that examinees have faced such problems."
September 8, 2023
- "White Men Not Lacking for Legal Jobs Despite DEI Suits' Claims," 09.07.23.
Bloomberg Law has this article by NALP Executive Director Nikia Gray which looks at NALP data that shows the progress toward diversity in the legal profession is "dismal" and concludes, "Whether or not Perkins Coie's and Morrison & Foerster's fellowship programs are ultimately deemed lawful, the legal industry is not an equitable industry. Diverse students who attend law school don't have the same career prospects after graduation as their White peers. Failure to address these issues isn't only morally reprehensible, it's equally likely to result in lawsuits."
- "What do you want the future to be?," 09.07.23.
Big thinker Jordan Furlong urges us to "look beneath this sector's present-day problems to identify the choices that produced them, and then envision the new and better legal world tomorrow that would result from making new and better choices today."
- "The College Access Index Returns," 09.08.23.
The New York Times has updated their College Access Index, which is designed to "shine a light on economic diversity at nearly 300 of the country's most selective colleges, public and private."
- "'Ridiculous': Some Law Schools Falling Behind on Data Privacy Education," 09.07.23.
Law.com reports, "While law firms' data privacy practices have been growing to address the legal challenges that organizations face, law schools aren't quite keeping up with the market's demand for qualified data privacy professionals."
- "The WSJ/College Pulse College Rankings: Measuring Outcomes, Not Inputs," 09.06.23.
The Wall Street Journal just released their new college ranking list based on "how much a college improves its students' chances of graduating on time, and how much it boosts the salaries they earn after graduation."
- "Oregon Supreme Court to vote on bar exam alternative," 09.05.23.
Reuters reports, "The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday will vote on a proposal to allow law school graduates to become licensed after working for 675 hours under the supervision of an experienced attorney, as an alternative to the bar exam."
- "What the Public Really Thinks About Higher Education," 09.05.23.
A recent survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education found ambivalence toward college education and widespread support for alternative paths, and notes, "People view higher education as an important means for individual attainment, but not necessarily for the greater good." (Subscription required.)
- "'The world is rapidly evolving': How Gen Z is rethinking the idea of college," 09.05.23.
Business Insider reports, "The widening gap between the value and the cost of college has started to shift Gen Z's attitude toward higher education."
- "New Study: The Law Schools Overperforming — and Underperforming — Ultimate Bar Passage Rate Expectations," 09.05.23.
Law.com's Christine Charnosky looks at a recent study "examining how schools are either 'overperforming' or 'underperforming' with regard to their ultimate bar passage rates."
- "U.S. District Court Dismisses Whistleblower's Claim That Rutgers Created Fake Jobs For Graduates To Raise Business School Ranking," 09.02.23.
TaxProf Blog has the Law360 story on this situation: "Rutgers University defeated, for now, a proposed class action by a part-time Master of Business Administration student accusing it of inflating its business school's rankings by misrepresenting post-graduate employment statistics, after a New Jersey federal judge found the plaintiff based his claims on a program he wasn't enrolled in."
- "Ban or Embrace? Colleges Wrestle With A.I.-Generated Admissions Essays," 09.01.23.
The New York Times looks at the debate surrounding the use of AI tools in college applications, noting that "The easy availability of A.I. chatbots like ChatGPT, which can manufacture humanlike text in response to short prompts, is poised to upend the traditional undergraduate application process at selective colleges — ushering in an era of automated plagiarism or of democratized student access to essay-writing help. Or maybe both."
- "Toronto Law School to Return $450,000 Donation to Amazon Amid Criticism Over Transparency," 08.31.23.
Law.com International reports, "The University of Toronto's prestigious law school is giving back a US$450,000 donation from Amazon in light of reports that the source of the funding was not disclosed."
- "New Law Firm Associates Should Master the Art of Managing Up," 09.08.23.
Katie Aldrich, director of coaching and program strategy at Fringe Professional Development, writing for Bloomberg Law, offers advice for new associates on working with supervisors and navigating workload.
- "Readers' Poll Results: Lawyers and Staff Foresee More Law Firm Layoffs, but Caution Against 'Overcorrecting'," 09.05.23.
Law.com reports, "A majority of respondents to a recent Law.com readers' poll said they're expecting more law firm layoffs before the end of the year. But many said they're wary of the oft-cited reasoning that firms are over capacity, particularly when it comes to support staff."
- "US legal jobs declined in August, hitting 2023 low," 09.01.23.
Reuters reports, "The U.S. legal services sector lost 4,200 jobs in August, new Labor Department data showed on Friday, reaching its lowest level so far this year."
- "Could 'Core Hours' Help Firms Balance Mandates With Flexibility? Few Are Willing to Try," 09.07.23.
The American Lawyer examines the concept of "core hours," an idea that technology companies and others have adopted but that "has largely been a nonstarter in the law firm world, owing both to lawyers' expectations of autonomy and to the nature of their relationships with clients."
- "Hoteling: A White Flag Of Surrender In Law Firms' RTO Push?," 09.06.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Law firm leaders and consultants say hoteling, wherein colleagues can reserve a desk in advance, has emerged as the most popular flexible office option in the legal industry. Its popularity has outpaced desk sharing, where multiple employees agree to share a unit according to a predetermined schedule, or hot-desking, where employees can use open desks on a first-come-first-serve basis."
- "Flexibility Is a Talent Attractor, But It Comes With Its Own Challenges," 09.05.23.
Now that we are past the Labor Day holiday, when many law firm in-office work mandates took effect, The American Lawyer looks at the pros and cons of such mandates, noting, "While there hasn't been a huge rush of candidates looking to explore their options in light of law firms' return strategies just yet, many are likely doing a 'mental calculus' on what works best for their life."
- "Behind the lines of Texas A&M's diversity war," 09.06.23.
The Washington Post reports on the "anxiety among many faculty and students about what the new Texas law banning activities related to diversity, equity and inclusion…will mean for what is taught, who is hired and how universities support students."
- "Generation Gap Widens as New Lawyers Redefine Success," 09.06.23.
Starbucks corporate counsel director Brittany Johnson, writing for Bloomberg Law, argues that "The current generation of early career lawyers truly is different. But, it isn't because they lack work ethic or drive to succeed. The differentiating factor is how the new generation of lawyers defines themselves."
- "Morrison Foerster Changes DEI Fellowship Criteria Amid Lawsuit," 09.06.23.
Bloomberg Law reports, "Morrison Foerster has changed the language of candidate's eligibility criteria for its DEI fellowship on the heels of a lawsuit targeting the firm's DEI fellowship program."
- "US law firm alters diversity fellowship criteria after lawsuit," 09.06.23.
Reuters also has this story, noting the firm "has removed language specifying that the fellowship is only open to Black, Hispanic, Native American or LGBT applicants, according to a flyer for the program on its website."
- "Law firm opens diversity fellowship to all students after lawsuit," 09.06.23.
And The Washington Post also reports.
- "We Can't Step Backwards on Progress Toward Colorblind Justice," 09.06.23.
Former Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court Peggy Quince, writing for Bloomberg Law, asserts, "All of the diverse groups that make up the tapestry of America have contributed to its growth and development. All need to be included in its future."
- "Legal attacks on diversity programs present crucial test for companies," 09.05.23.
This op-ed at Reuters argues that corporate diversity programs are entirely legal and proper but emphasizes, "there is plenty of cause for concern that companies will acquiesce to the mounting pressure."
- "Color of Justice: All-White Benches Persist in US District Courts," 09.05.23.
Bloomberg Law reports on the diversity of the U.S. judiciary, with data showing, "Twenty-five districts across the US have never had a non-White judge. Almost half are districts that serve their entire state."
- "'Robot Bosses' Spur Lawmaker Push to Police AI Job Surveillance," 09.08.23.
Bloomberg Law has this interesting deep dive on the role of artificial intelligence in hiring workers, tracking employee productivity, and even firing them (clearly "terminating" is not the right word here), and reports, "The widespread use of these tools — 78% of employers in a 2021 Express VPN survey reported using the technology — has drawn increasing scrutiny on the Hill and in a growing number of state legislatures."
- "In a World Without Affirmative Action, Technology Will Be Key to Ensuring Equitable Outcomes for All," 09.07.23.
This commentary in Legaltech News, written by a technology vendor, argues that "When many firms are facing increased budget scrutiny and financial performance pressure, technology solutions that increase the scope and efficiency of recruiting as well as the accuracy and fairness of hiring are a key resource successfully used by many industries, but still virtually untapped in the legal industry."
- "An Empirical Analysis Of Practice-Based Technology Training In Law Schools," 09.07.23.
TaxProf Blog links to an article in The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics in which the authors "recommend solutions law schools may implement to increase technology instruction, services, and infrastructure to meet ethical standards."
- "BigLaw Neglects LinkedIn As Clients Flock To Platform," 09.06.23.
Law360 reports, "BigLaw firms are neglecting LinkedIn, overlooking a key client development tool even as corporate counsel regularly use the business-focused social media platform, according to a new report." (Subscription required.)
- "For Law Firms, Launching Generative AI Chatbots Requires More Than Just Novel Technology," 09.06.23.
Legaltech News reports that "at least six firms have [recently] rolled out internal chatbots underpinned by generative AI," and examines "the tightrope walk between allowing their attorneys access to generative AI, while mitigating the risks that come with using the nascent technology for legal work."
- "Forget ChatGPT — Law Firms Are Launching Their Own Gen AI Chatbots," 09.07.23.
Law.com's Barometer newsletter examines why law firms are creating their own generative AI chatbots and predicts it is "likely more law firms will release their own generative AI chatbots in the months to come. Whether these tools evolve into mainstay products within firms, or just act as a stepping stone to prepare attorneys for more advanced generative AI-powered offerings in the future, is yet to be seen."
September 1, 2023
- "Partners Are Frustrated With 'Zoom Associates.' But Will Threatening Their Bonuses Change That?," 08.28.23.
The American Lawyer reports that senior lawyers are frustrated with the skills and attitudes of new associates and asks, "will measures like tying bonuses to office attendance make a difference? Will it actually lead to an improvement in associates' skills and performance?"
- "What Law Firms Can Do to Upgrade Their 'Zoom Associates'," 08.30.23.
The American Lawyer proivdes suggestions for how to "address skill deficiencies and tensions between partners and associates."
- "The Generations War comes to the law firm," 08.30.23.
Jordan Furlong tweeted about this article and received such vitriolic replies that he wrote this column in response, in which he counsels, "Law firm leaders, I urge you to recognize [that] law firms are becoming something different, in real time, and it's perfectly natural that this transition creates tension and upheaval. But the more you fight it, the longer it will take and the harder it will be. Law firm associates, I urge you to open lines of communication with your law firms' leaders and keep them open. Understand where they're coming from, empathize with the sense of loss they're experiencing, and begin preparing for the day you lead these firms and this profession in your chosen direction."
- "The Law Firm Disrupted: The Generation Gap in Big Law Is Real, but It's Broader Too," 08.31.23.
Dan Packel echoes this thought in this week's Law Firm Disrupted column for Law.com, saying "it doesn't seem like the 'this is how it's always been done' rhetoric is persuading anyone these days. And the current partners and leaders who come to terms with this sooner will likely be in the best place to position their firms for the long run."
- "July MBE National Mean Scaled Score Ticks Up Slightly," 08.31.23.
Law.com reports, "The national Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) mean scaled score for July was 140.5, an increase of 0.2 points compared to last year's mean of 140.3."
- "Free speech is a hot topic at law schools. Should the ABA get involved?" 08.31.23.
Karen Sloan at Reuters reports, "The [ABA] law school accrediting body on Wednesday said the public has until Sept. 29 to weigh in on a proposal to mandate written free speech policies protecting the exchange of ideas and prohibiting disruptive activities."
- "ABA Sends Out For Notice And Comment Proposed Law School Accreditation Standards On Academic Freedom And Freedom Of Expression, Learning Outcomes And Assessment, And Library and Information Resources," 09.01.23.
TaxProf Blog also has this storye.
- "A First Generation Law Student's Thoughts About the 1L Year," 08.29.23.
In this opinion piece in The Legal Intelligencer, a law student shares her experience as a first generation law student and notes, "the most valuable resources and communities I had in law school were those I found in affinity groups."
- "Big Law in September Will Raise Volume on Billing and Collections Push," 08.31.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Law firms' ability to bring in revenue and profit growth in 2023 will hinge on how well they can bill and collect before the calendar turns. And law firms will likely start stepping up billing and collection efforts in September as the fourth quarter looms, analysts say, especially in light of demand declines in the industry this year."
- "On Better Terms: What should we do with 'nonlawyer'?," 08.29.23.
A lawyer writing for the ABA Journal considers whether there is a better way to express the differences between those who are lawyers and those who are not.
- "Big Law's Use of 'Visiting Attorneys' in Spotlight After Lawyer's Arrest," 08.29.23.
The National Law Journal reports on "the role of 'visiting attorney' arrangements in Big Law, why several large firms utilize the system, and the vetting that goes into employing such attorneys."
- "Did the Pandemic Derail Client-Level Succession Efforts?," 08.28.23.
This analysis in The American Lawyer looks at client succession planning (or the lack thereof), noting that firms can ease the process by "encouraging a team approach to client relationships, introducing associates to clients and putting them in positions where they can have significant client contact, helping the firm retain clients even as an attorney retires."
- "Should I Stay or Go? 8 Questions Partners Facing a Merger Need to Answer," 08.28.23.
This opinion piece from Law.com International advises "If you are a partner in a firm facing a potential merger, it is vital to consider early on how the deal could impact you" and provides key questions to consider.
- "States Put New Spin on Pay Gap Laws With Promotion Transparency," 08.29.23.
Bloomberg Law reports, "As a growing share of US companies are forced to tell job applicants and employees upfront how much they'll pay for work, lawmakers are beginning to ask them to be equally transparent about opportunities to get a promotion."
- "2023 GC Compensation Survey: Pay Rises, but So Does Friction With Shareholders," 08.28.23.
Corporate Counsel reports on their 2023 General Counsel Compensation Report, which shows that among publicly traded companies, "GC compensation is rising against a backdrop of C-suite pay increasing overall, … partly [in] response to the Great Resignation and to fierce competition for talent, which caused many companies to make special retention payments to avoid losing talent."
- "What the Legal Industry Can Learn From the Rise and Fall of a Lewis Brisbois Spinoff," 08.25.23.
The American Lawyer's LegalSpeak podcast breaks down the circumstances around the rise and fall of the Lewis Brisbois spinoff firm and discusses what the legal industry can learn from the situation.
- "Law Firm Closures Highlight a Tale of Two Markets," 08.25.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "A variety of factors are contributing to the diverging trajectories of midsize law firms this year, analysts say. Some are seeing success because of their additional flexibility and remote work opportunities for talent, the rise of countercyclical practices, and aggressive rate hikes. But this segment of the market is still vulnerable to large, existential threats, such as aging lawyers, a lack of succession planning, and less diversity of client business — any one of which could topple a smaller firm."
- "Survey: Remote Work Isn't Going Away — and Executives Know It ," 08.28.23.
Harvard Business Review reports on the Survey of Business Uncertainty from Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, the University of Chicago, and Stanford, which predicts that "While the future extent of remote work remains uncertain, there's little chance we will see a big return to the office. Remote technologies will only get better, and employees will gravitate to firms with more flexible policies."
- "Back in the office? Fine. But not from 9 to 5," 08.28.23.
The Washington Post declares, "The era of sitting at your desk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is over," with employees utilizing flexible schedules and spending less time in the office.
- "Firms Are Tracking Office Attendance, But Seek to Avoid a 'Big Brother' Environment," 08.23.23.
Law.com Pro Mid-Market reports, "Many firms are considering attendance as one measure of performance, indicating that some office policies remain in flux as development, training and mentoring concerns remain at the forefront."
- "Good Business or Big Brother? In-Office Tracking is a Contentious Subject and Messaging Matters," 08.31.23.
The American Lawyer reports on one firm that is not only tracking attendance but also "rolling out a system called 'Colleague Connect,' which would allow employees to search a firm-wide database to see who is in the office at any given time."
- "Diversity Program Foes Turn to Civil War-Era Law in Court," 08.31.23.
Bloomberg Law reports, "Several suits filed on behalf of White workers following the US Supreme Court's decision outlawing affirmative action in higher education are banking on a Civil War-era statute guaranteeing equal rights to Black Americans to challenge the legality of corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion policies."
- "GOP AGs Warn Top Firms Against 'Unlawful' DEI Policies," 08.31.23.
Law360 reports, "America's top law firms have received a letter from Republican state attorneys general from Montana, Kentucky, Iowa, Arkansas and Kansas who say programs under the label of 'diversity, equity, and inclusion' are illegal in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent affirmative action ruling." (Subscription required.)
- "SCOTUS' Blow to Affirmative Action in Higher Ed Is 'Threat' to Diverse Judiciary, Bar Coalition Warns," 08.31.23.
New York Law Journal reports, "A dozen New York bar associations called the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike race-conscious admissions in higher education a threat 'to the pipeline of diverse candidates for the legal profession and, ultimately, for the judiciary.'"
- "How Firms Stack Up On Gender Equity," 08.29.23.
Law360 Pulse's 2023 law firm survey shows that "while women are a growing presence at law firms, a glass ceiling remains in place. Women now make up a majority at the associate level, but make up just one-quarter of equity partners." (Subscription required for all Law360 articles.)
- "A Deep Dive Into Law360 Pulse's Women In Law Report," 08.29.23.
- "Representation In The Ranks: How Firms Are Faring," 08.29.23.
- "How Female Leaders Approach Remote Work Policies," 08.29.23.
- "Glass Ceiling Shows Cracks As More Women Lead Law Firms," 08.30.23.
- "These Firms Have The Most Women In Equity Partnerships," 08.30.23.
- "DEI Chief Roles Hard to Fill Amid Wavering Commitments, Lawsuits," 08.28.23.
Bloomberg Law reports, "Law firms are struggling to keep executive diversity, equity, and inclusion roles filled amid new challenges to hiring programs aimed at candidates from underrepresented backgrounds."
- "The Battle for DEI in the Court of Public Opinion," 08.25.23.
The Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Davis Wright Tremaine, writing for The Recorder, argues that "Those who are fighting DEI efforts misunderstand and mischaracterize the work. There seems to be a significant disconnect between their characterization of the work and what the work actually is."
- "American Bar Association denounces 'attack' on law firm diversity initiatives," 08.25.23.
Reuters reports, "The American Bar Association president said on Friday that the organization is 'deeply troubled' by recent challenges to law firms' diversity programs that have followed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision rejecting affirmative action in colleges and universities."
- "ABA Condemns Attacks On Law Firm Diversity Efforts," 08.25.23.
Law360 "also reports on this story. (Subscription required.)
- "ABA President Mary Smith Releases Diversity Statement," 08.28.23.
Law.com also has this story.
- "Statement of ABA President Mary Smith RE: Diversity programs at law firms," 08.25.23.
Read the ABA's statement here.
- "How To Tackle Career Burnout And Determine If You're Ready For A Career Change ," 08.31.23.
Career coach Wendi Weiner, writing for Above the Law, offers tips for overcoming burnout.
- "If law schools prohibit ChatGPT in writing, can they back it up?" 08.31.23.
The ABA Journal looks at recent law school policies prohibiting use of artifial intelligence and notes that any consequences "would be difficult to carry out because there are no good tools to detect the technology in writing…. And even if there were, offerings such as ChatGPT will continue to evolve and likely outfox anything created to catch it." (Subscription required.)
- "These law students got to use AI on final exams. How'd they do?," 08.29.23.
Karen Sloan at Reuters reports, "Low-performing law students scored higher on final exams when given access to artificial intelligence, while their high-performing classmates performed worse when using the technology, a new study at the University of Minnesota found."
- "Legal Research Consolidation Is Setting Off Some Alarm Bells, but It May Be Temporary," 08.29.23.
Legaltech News looks at the market for legal research software, which is currently dominated by LexisNexis and Westlaw, and predicts that artificial intelligence "may enable smaller players to provide legal research capabilities within their solutions."
- "ABA taps prominent lawyers to tackle AI risks, opportunities," 08.28.23.
Reuters reports, "The American Bar Association said Monday that it is forming a new group to assess how AI will impact the practice of law and to probe ethical questions that the technology poses for the legal profession."
August 25, 2023
- "US law firms face continued financial challenges after productivity declines: new report," 08.21.23.
Reuters reports, "The law firms surveyed by Wells Fargo's Legal Specialty Group reported a drop in productivity during the first six months of 2023," with headcounts up, client demand down, and lawyers billing fewer hours than in the same period of 2021.
- "Law Firms Are Still Grasping for the 'Other Side' of Uncertainty," 08.21.23.
The American Lawyer reports on the Wells Fargo mid-year survey that shows "Big Law remains in something of a holding pattern, as 'economic clouds' continue to stall big transactions and firms are continuing to absorb hits to productivity while waiting for better times."
- "Biglaw Firms Have Too Many Lawyers With Attorney Productivity At An Historic Low," 08.21.23.
Above the Law shares their two cents.
- "The Law Firm Disrupted: Costs For Professionals Are Rising, But Are They Still Undervalued?," 08.24.23.
Law.com's Law Firm Disrupted column reports that in 2023, "Not only did the number of non-legal staff grow at a higher rate (4.8% overall) than the number of lawyers across the sample, but non-legal staff compensation shot up: growing 10% in the latest survey on top of an 8% increase in the first six months of 2022. Meanwhile, compensation for lawyers grew just 2% in the first half of 2023."
- "How to Kill Your Culture in a Minor Recession, According to Midlevels," 08.22.23.
The American Lawyer this week released results of their annual Midlevel Associates Survey, and this article looks at how midlevel associates feel about firm culture.
- "The 2023 Midlevel Associates Survey: The Rankings," 08.22.23.
The ranking chart.
- "Did You Try Turning It Off and Back On Again? Midlevels Rank Their Firms on Tech," 08.22.23.
This article reports on how the midlevel associates felt about their firms' technology.
- "Associates Say the Darndest Things: 2023 Edition," 08.22.23.
The American Lawyer publishes some of the most telling quotes from the Midlevel Associates Survey.
- "The High Art of Keeping Big Law Worker Bees Pleased (Or at Least Pleased Enough Not to Leave)," 08.23.23.
This op-ed in The AmLaw Litigation Daily observes that midlevel associates are "a notoriously hard-to-please bunch. They've got enough experience to know the choice assignments from the grunt ones. And they often sit at a career axis point, where they have to figure out if law firm life — and particularly life in their specific law firm — is for them or if they want to move on to something else."
- "Law schools' admission essays revamped after Supreme Court affirmative action ruling," 08.23.23.
Reuters reports, "Legal education experts say many law schools have modified their application essays to gain a deeper understanding of candidates and their backgrounds without running afoul of the [Supreme Court's affirmative action] ruling."
- "Legal Education in World of AI Should Follow Medical Model," 08.22.23.
An op-ed by a law professor writing for Bloomberg Law notes that legal education "changed only marginally for many decades" and asks, "Can we do more to make law school-affiliated hands-on experiences not only necessary but sufficient for licensure as a lawyer?"
- "New law schools opening with smaller-than-expected classes have high hopes," 08.21.23.
Karen Sloan at Reuters reports on new law schools that have opened or are planning to open soon: Wilmington University School of Law, Jacksonville University College of Law, and High Point University.
- "Actions Taken By Council Of ABA Section Of Legal Education In Friday's Meeting," 08.21.23.
TaxProf Blog has a summary of actions taken at the recent meeting of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.
- "Law Schools Can Apply for Variance to Admit Students Without LSAT," 08.18.23.
Law.com reports that during the recent ABA meeting, managing director of ABA accreditation and legal education Bill Adams commented, "We're aware that in light of the recent Supreme Court opinion [invalidating affirmative action], many schools, maybe all schools, are taking a new look at their admissions policies. So we do welcome schools who, in considering their policies, may want to apply for a variance that would permit them in this policy period to admit some students without an LSAT."
- "ABA's Academic Freedom Proposal Sent Out for Notice and Comment," 08.18.23.
Law.com reports that the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has voted "to send the newly created Standard 208, Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression, out for notice and comment. The standard addresses the interrelated topics of academic freedom and freedom of expression since the development of the law and effective legal education require free and robust inquiry, exposition and the exchange of ideas."
- "ABA: Students Can Now Earn Up to 50% of Credits Remotely for JD," 08.18.23.
Law.com reports, "Law students can now earn up to 50% of their credits remotely, which is up from one-third of credits previously, while pursuing their J.D."
- "To what extent could law school libraries be digital? ABA LegalEd Section seeks public comment," 08.18.23.
ABA Journal outlines all of the proposals. (Subscription required.)
- "A&O Shearman: The Compelling but Unspoken Rationale," 08.25.23.
The American Lawyer takes an in-depth look at the issues behind the proposed merger of Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling.
- "How to Manage Partner Compensation Expectations in a Challenging Year," 08.25.23.
A consultant, writing for The American Lawyer, looks at partner compensation issues and provides tips on how firms can improve their process.
- "Latest US Firm Shrinks China Presence as Latham Closes in Shanghai," 08.18.23.
The American Lawyer reports that Latham & Watkins is the latest firm to close their China outpost.
- "Ailing Firms Value Independence, Autonomy Over Survival, Delaying Vital Merger Talks," 08.18.23.
The American Lawyer looks at why some firms arrive too late to a merger decision, including a desire for autonomy, fear of power struggles, or even overestimating their firm's position.
- "2023 Could Turn Out All Right, If Law Firms Can Collect on What They're Owed," 08.24.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "while revenue growth slowed from the first quarter, firms could end 2023 with decent revenue growth if they are able to collect strong levels of mid-year inventory," according to Citi Global Wealth at Work's Law Firm Group.
- "Prepare to Communicate More Law Firm Leadership Transitions," 08.22.23.
This article in the New York Law Journal notes that leadership transitions "can cause anxiety and uncertainty — especially if firms don't have a clear and consistent messaging" and provides tips for creating effective communication plans.
- "The 5 Top Law Firm Business Development Trends of 2023," 08.21.23.
This Law.com article summarizes the findings of a recent survey "focused on several key areas, including structures and budgets, sentiment and compensation, business development activity trends, threats, obstacles, collaboration and evaluation metrics."
- "Leveraging Lateral Partner Recruiting Strategies in a Down Market," 08.21.23.
This commentary by a search consultant writing for Law.com outlines three possible issues in lateral recruiting and proposes solutions.
- "In Current Market, Billing Discipline 'More Critical Than Ever'," 08.22.23.
The American Lawyer notes that "Some large law firms are doubling down on billing discipline, as Big Law clients take longer to make payments and the legal industry continues to see demand declines," even penalizing lawyers who take too long submitting their time.
- "Top 10 Biglaw Firm Threatens To Dock Bonuses By Up To 50% For Late Timesheets," 08.16.23.
Above the Law actually broke this story last week.
- "Law Firms of the Future Will Be Different in Three Critical Ways," 08.21.23.
This op-ed in Bloomberg Law predicts three main ways that law firms will be transformed in the foreseeable future, including how firms are structured and the use of artificial intelligence to deliver services, evaluations, and education.
- "'The Vibe Is Changing': Flexible Law Firms Struggle to Get Attorneys on the Same Page," 08.24.23.
The American Lawyer reports that return-to-office mandates are generally not the norm on the West Coast but notes, "Despite the continued preference for some flexibility, differing opinions are rising to the surface. Among them, some associates are seeking out training and mentoring in an in-person environment. And some are finding that they're returning to empty offices."
- "Law Firm Leasing Activity Rebounds to Highest Post-Pandemic Point," 08.23.23.
Law.com reports, "U.S. leasing activity in the first half of 2023 was the highest it's been since the pandemic, as more firms push for a return to the office."
- "Conservative activist sues 2 major law firms over diversity fellowships ," 08.22.23.
The Washington Post reports that "The conservative activist behind the Supreme Court's upending of affirmative action in college admissions is suing two corporate law firms for their fellowships aimed at bolstering diversity, an escalation of a broader campaign to dismantle diversity initiatives in the private sector."
- "Activist Behind Supreme Court Affirmative Action Cases Is Now Suing Law Firms," 08.22.23.
The Wall Street Journal also reports on this.
- "Conservative Group Sues BigLaw Firms Over DEI Fellowships," 08.22.23.
Law360. (Subscription required.)
- "Perkins Coie, Morrison Foerster Sued Over DEI Programs," 08.22.23.
- "Activist behind US affirmative action cases sues major law firms," 08.22.23.
- "Lawsuits Over Big Law Diversity Fellowships Prompt Firms to Scrutinize DEI Program Language," 08.23.23.
The American Lawyer.
- "Activist who succeeded in ending affirmative action targets law firms' diversity efforts," 08.23.23.
ABA Journal. (Subscription required.)
- "Screening firms, other employer 'agents' can be liable for bias- Calif. court," 08.21.23.
Reuters reports, "The California Supreme Court on Monday said businesses that perform employment-related tasks for other companies, such as screening job applicants, can be held liable for discrimination under state law" and "because state law defines the term 'employer' to include an employer's 'agents,' workers can sue third-party businesses for independently engaging in discrimination."
- "Bar application mental health questions: pertinent or unhelpful and stigmatizing?," 08.23.23.
Traci Cipriano, a psychologist and formerly practicing lawyer writing for Reuters, asks, "is there in fact a connection between misconduct and mental illness?" and concludes that "Bar application character and fitness questions both reflect stigma as well as perpetuate it."
- "General counsel respond to BigLaw attorneys' concern over extreme client demands," 08.21.23.
Last week, The American Lawyer wrote about the impact of unreasonable client demands on lawyers' mental health. This week, ABA Journal has responses from general counsel, who point out that "working in a firm includes adhering to a level of responsiveness that could sometimes affect the personal lives of lawyers." (Subscription required.)
- "Leverage technology, not lawyers," 08.25.23.
Jordan Furlong writes, "The role of the law firm associate has never looked more tenuous than it does now. It's threatened from one direction by law firms' fixation on hiring lateral partners, and from the other by the implications of Generative AI's rapid advance into law firm workflow," and argues that "The challenge and opportunity ahead for law firms is to start turning 'associates' into 'partners' from Day One."
- "Big Law's AI Challenge Drives New Conversation About Training," 08.25.23.
Bloomberg Law reports that, though there is little agreement on whether and how law firms should use artificial intelligence, they agree that training is critical: "Firms are trying to quickly devise comprehensive internal training regimens, even as the technology advances. They want to avoid pitfalls that range from from exposing sensitive client data to inaccurate information."
- AI Regulation Is Picking Up Steam in State Legislatures," 08.24.23.
Corporate Counsel reports that state legislatures are starting to focus on artificial intelligence: "Lawmakers' concerns run the gamut from deepfakes to discrimination and bias in hiring. Also front and center is how the technology can impact jobs, influence elections, or make up information out of thin air."
- "How will leveraging AI change the future of legal services?," 08.23.23.
This Reuters op-ed looks at areas of legal training and the profession that will need to be updated in the face of artifial intelligence, including professional development, billing and compensation structures, and the law firm business model.
- "UX is the X-Factor for Remote Work Efficiency," 08.22.23.
Legaltech News discusses the importance of user experience (UX) in remote work environments and provides tips for how to make sure your organization's remote work tools are providing the most productivity.
- "Where Generative AI Will Likely Have the Most Impact in Law Firms," 08.22.23.
Legaltech News reports on a session from the International Legal Technology Association's conference (ILTACON) where "panelists attempted to paint a picture of how generative AI might impact different areas within the law firm and transform industry staples such as the billable hour or client interactions."
- "'Market Pressure' And Office Mandates Aren't Going To Work Long-Term," 08.21.23.
Joe Patrice from Above the Law opines on office work mandates and how firms can actually utilize flexibility, noting that "firms haven't even really begun to utilize the tools out there to build an office community."
- "Should Law Firms Ban Or Embrace Generative AI?," 08.21.23
LexisNexis vice president Olga Mack, writing for Above the Law, argues that "law firms can benefit by carefully crafting a use policy to monitor and guide lawyers" in using artificial intelligence and provides tips for crafting an effective AI use policy.
August 18, 2023
- "August LSAT Plagued by Tech Issues: 'Proctoring More Stressful Than the Exam Itself'," 08.14.23.
Law.com reports on the "plethora" of issues that plagued the LSAT over the weekend.
- "LSAT offers re-test after delays plague first-ever hybrid exam," 08.14.23.
More from Reuters.
- "Problems With Law School Test Frustrate Thousands," 08.14.23.
And from Inside Higher Ed.
- "LSAT Org 'Deeply Sorry' For Testing Problems, Offers Retakes," 08.14.23.
Law360 reports, "Acknowledging issues with staffing, systems and technology that caused lengthy delays for hundreds of people who were set to take the Law School Admission Test - better known as the LSAT - remotely over the weekend, the organization that administers the test has announced the last-minute addition of two retesting days for this coming weekend." (Subscription required.)
- "Demand for in-person LSAT swells after remote exam misfires," 08.17.23.
Reuters reports, "About 5,000 remote LSAT takers told the council they encountered exam problems on Aug. 11 and 12, such as being locked out of the test or facing delays while connecting with proctors," and as a result LSAC is "increasing capacity at in-person test centers for the next regularly scheduled exam on Sept. 8 and 9 due to heightened demand."
- "Federal guidance shows how colleges may still address race in admissions," 08.14.23.
The Washington Post reports, "Six weeks after the Supreme Court rejected race-based affirmative action in college admissions, the Biden administration spelled out scenarios Monday in which race or ethnicity could continue to play what officials view as a lawful role in the process of recruiting, admitting and enrolling students" and shares some of those scenarios.
- "Feds Release Guidance in Wake of Supreme Court's Ruling on Admissions," 08.14.23.
The Chronicle of Higher Education also has this story. (Subscription required.)
- "Biden administration urges colleges to pursue diversity after Supreme Court ruling," 08.14.23.
More from Reuters.
- "Administration Urges Colleges to Pursue Diversity Despite Affirmative Action Ban," 08.14.23.
And The New York Times.
- "ABA weighs new free speech rule for law schools," 08.15.23.
Reuters reports that the ABA's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will consider a new rule requiring law schools to "develop their own free speech policies under the ABA proposal, but those policies must protect the rights of faculty and staff and students to communicate controversial or unpopular ideas and safeguard robust debate, demonstrations, or protests. They must also forbid disruptive activities that hinder free expression or substantially interfere with law school functions or activities."
- "West Virginia Law School Faces Major Cuts As Part Of University's 'Unprecedented' Budget Retrenchment," 08.15.23.
TaxProf Blog looks at developments at West Virginia University: "On Friday, West Virginia University announced sweeping budget cuts, including terminating 7% of faculty."
- "The Florida Bar backs rules change on law school grads," 08.14.23.
The Jacksonville Daily Record reports that "The Florida Bar board of governors endorsed a new program to allow law school graduates to practice under certain limited conditions before they pass the state Bar exam."
- "It's Official: Penn State's Two Law Schools Will Be Reunited," 08.14.23.
Law.com reports, "Pennsylvania State University has officially decided to reunite its two law schools — Penn State Dickinson Law in Carlisle and Penn State Law at University Park — into one institution called Penn State Dickinson Law, with its primary location in Carlisle and a substantial presence at University Park."
- "The Fall 2023 Admissions Season: Applicants Are Down 1.9%, As Law Schools May Reduce Enrollment Due To Dramatic Changes In U.S. News Rankings Methodology," 08.14.23.
TaxProf Blog breaks down the latest law school application data from LSAC.
- "Higher Ed's Hybrid Workplace Looks as if It's Here to Stay — With Some Misgivings," 08.11.23.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a recent survey that shows some ambivalence toward hybrid work among higher ed administrators and faculty while also noting, "Most respondents said their work force was operating on a hybrid basis, and more than three-quarters of those working in a hybrid setting didn't want to go back to a fully in-person work environment." (Subscription required.)
- "Lewis Brisbois Defector Firm Loses 25 Attorneys, Marks End," 08.17.23.
Bloomberg Law reports, "The law firm that sprouted from a Lewis Brisbois mass exodus is ending operations, as at least another 25 attorneys left."
- "Schnader Waited Too Long to Merge, While Stroock's Fate Lies in the Balance," 08.16.23.
This analysis from The American Lawyer looks at similarities and differences between two law firm merger cases.
- "Choate Hall & Stewart Cuts 5% of Workforce, Citing Slow Demand," 08.14.23.
Law.com reports, "Boston law firm Choate Hall & Stewart laid off 5% of its attorneys and staff last week amid a slowdown in client demand."
- "Dentons Just Lost 7,000 Lawyers. Is It Still The Biggest Firm?," 08.08.23.
Law360 reports, "Even as it loses just over 7,000 lawyers through a split with its Chinese business, Dentons continues to call itself the world's largest global law firm and has reaffirmed its commitment to its current strategy, which has included rapid growth through combinations." (Subscription required.)
- "Amid Layoffs and Attrition, Law Firms Are Planning More Staffing Adjustments," 08.18.23.
The American Lawyer reports that many Big Law firms are "planning to make changes to their support staff structure over the next two years, including centralizing teams and upping secretary-to-lawyer ratios, as well as outsourcing," and calls out a number of factors that are impacting law firm staffing, including increasing staff attrition, decreasing demand, and rising costs.
- "The Law Firm Disrupted: Where's the Proof of the In-Office Premium?," 08.17.23.
Law.com's Dan Packel looks at return-to-office mandates and wonders whether there is any data to back them up, noting that "firms that have heretofore taken advantage of new opportunities and ways of working could be closing the door on strategies that may have already paid off, based on a hunch alone."
- "The Pitch for Fully Remote Lawyers Is Becoming More Difficult," 08.16.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Some law firms are still adding fully remote lawyers. But with the latest tightening of attendance policies, and with a few firms folding in previously remote workers to physical offices, that kind of recruiting is more the exception rather than the rule right now in Big Law, analysts say."
- "Returning to the Office Won't Get 'Zoom Associates' Back Up to Speed," 08.15.23.
Law.com Pro Mid-Market has this analysis of training gaps and generational differences and notes, "many law firms seek to fill gaps in legal proficiency and social skills by encouraging or demanding more office attendance, but not all midsize firm leaders are convinced that office attendance on its own will be enough."
- "'Predominantly an In-Office Firm': Davis Polk Renews NYC Lease, With 30,000 More Square Feet," 08.15.23.
The American Lawyer reports that Davis Polk has "renewed its lease at 450 Lex and is adding an additional 30,000 square feet to the footprint, bringing its total to over 700,000 square feet in the building across 23 floors. The new 25-year lease is now the largest by square footage in New York in 2023 to date."
- "Major Lindsey Leader Splits to Launch New Recruiting Shop, Bringing Paul Hastings Strategist," 08.15.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "After more than a decade of leading Major, Lindsey & Africa's law firm headhunting division and Washington, D.C., office, Jeffrey Lowe parted ways with the global search firm this month to launch a rival recruitment firm."
- "If You're a Remote Employee, You Can Still Be Eligible for FMLA," 08.14.23.
Bloomberg Law has this analysis on remote workers: "The Department of Labor issued guidance earlier this year that addresses telework and how remote employees should be counted to determine if they qualify for FMLA leave."
- "In Big Law, 'Flexibility' Is A Word For All Seasons," 08.14.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Even as law firms are marching toward a 'new normal' in office attendance that looks like the old one, Big Law firms of all kinds are still framing their office work arrangements as 'flexible.'"
- "London Legal Recruitment Market Suffering Quietest Spell For Years," 08.11.23.
Law.com International reports that in the U.K., "Job vacancies are down 35.5% year-on-year," and notes, "2023 is set to be the quietest year for top tier U.K. law firm recruitment since 2020, according to fresh research and industry recruiters."
- "For Now, V&E Going It Alone Among Texas Firms on Mandatory 4 Days in Office," 08.11.23.
Texas Lawyer reports, "Vinson & Elkins is one of a handful of Am Law 200 firms moving to a mandatory four days in the office for lawyers, but other large Texas-founded firms may be slower to take the same step."
- "Shifting the Balance: Addressing Power Imbalance in Law Firms for a More Inclusive Future," 08.16.23.
This opinion piece in The National Law Journal argues that "By breaking down hierarchical barriers and embracing diversity, law firms can harness the collective power of their team members, leading to increased creativity, innovation and overall firm growth."
- "Anti-DEI Suit Against Starbucks Goes Down Drain, But Other Suits Likely," 08.15.23.
Law.com reports, "The dismissal Friday of a conservative activist group's lawsuit attacking Starbucks' diversity, equity and inclusion efforts is unlikely to dissuade other critics of DEI and environmental, social and governance from filing similar lawsuits, legal observers say."
- "Divided Maryland Supreme Court Rejects 'Sexual Orientation' as Protected Employment Category Under State Equal Pay Law," 08.15.23.
Law.com reports, "the Maryland Supreme Court declined to expand employment protections for members of the LGBTQ+ community, concluding that a state equal pay law at issue does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."
- "Gender Diversity: Firms Must Jump Off the Bandwagon and Focus on What Works," 08.14.23.
This opinion piece in Law.com International argues that, while progress has been made on gender diversity in the legal profession in the U.K., "at present we are not seeing enough focus on the changes that make a real difference."
- "How the Billable Hour, Among Other Factors, Pushes Women Out of the Legal Profession," 08.11.23.
Law.com's "Legal Speak" podcast looks at reasons that might "explain the steady and significant attrition of women from law firms relative to the number of women entering the profession as associates."
- "It shouldn't be this easy for companies to walk back their DEI commitments," 08.01.23.
Quartz looks at "the shift away from DEI, ESG, and other acronyms of so-called stakeholder capitalism" and predicts which types of programs may have staying power.
- "Big Law Facilitates Unreasonable Client Demands, Clients Say," 08.17.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Unreasonable and inhumane demands from clients are stressing lawyers out and damaging their mental and physical health, according to a recent American Lawyer survey on mental health in the legal profession." The article notes that partners are more likely to blame clients and associates are more likely to blame partners and firm leaders for the "unsustainable pace of work."
- "The Five Best States for Aspiring Lawyers (Including Ga.) — And Five You Want To Avoid," 08.17.23.
Daily Report picks up this story from Wealth of Geeks on a recent list that purports to rank states by factors such as affordability, job prospects, and mental well-being.
- "Thomson Reuters Officially Acquires Casetext for $650 Million as Deal Closes," 08.17.23.
Law.com reports, "On Thursday, Thomson Reuters' acquisition of legal research company Casetext for $650 million in cash became official."
- "This is how the billable hour dies," 08.16.23.
Legal futurist Jordan Furlong looks at the impact generative AI will have on the billable hour and recommends that firms "assemble some of your most creative, forward-thinking people, and ask them: 'If the firm could no longer bill our work by the hour, how could we turn a profit?'"
- "We've Been Working With AI for Decades and Shouldn't Stop Now," 08.16.23.
The Young Lawyer Editorial Board at The Legal Intelligencer writes, "The bottom line is that AI is pervasive. So, why are we resisting ChatGPT, Bard and other chatbot technologies? Why are we suddenly so terrified of AI when it is already so engrained into our lives?"
- "Firms' Back Offices Brace for Generative AI Impact," 08.16.23.
The American Lawyer observes, "exactly how generative AI developments will bolster — or threaten — non-legal jobs is still an open question. But some firm professionals are already preparing for how their capabilities could expand, and their responsibilities could shift, going forward."
- "New Legal Professionals Should Learn to Use AI to Their Advantage," 08.15.23.
A London law professor, writing for Bloomberg Law, "shares how legal educators can use emerging technology to help future generations of legal professionals by deploying peer support and learning tools."
- "Law Firms Explore New Pricing Strategies In A ChatGPT World," 08.11.23.
Law360 reports, "The billable hour isn't going away anytime soon, but generative artificial intelligence has some law firms speculating about the future of pricing models." (Subscription required.)
- "These Women Tried to Warn Us About AI," 08.10.23.
If you've been wondering why some people are sounding alarms about artificial intelligence, Rolling Stone has this excellent explainer that outlines problems with facial recognition, biased language models and resume scanners, exploitation of low-wage support workers, and more, concluding, "AI is not magic. [Large language models] are not sentient beings, and they won't become sentient. And the problems with these technologies aren't abstractions — they're here now and we need to take them seriously today."
- "Leading your law firm into the Gen AI Era," 08.08.23.
Jordan Furlong examines vulnerabilities and opportunities presented by generative artificial intelligence, noting, "Like it or not, the legal sector's Generative AI Era has begun. Law firms need to recognize this fact, absorb its implications, and deal with its ramifications and opportunities as quickly and decisively as they can."
August 11, 2023
- "ABA says law firms should look beyond grades, class rank to boost associate diversity," 08.07.23.
Reuters reports that the ABA's House of Delegates has adopted a new resolution, submitted by the Law Student Division, that argues, "'In order to create a more diverse and inclusive legal profession, it is crucial for law firms to reevaluate their hiring practices, particularly during the [on-campus interview] process.'"
- "ABA: Law Firms Should Look Beyond Grades, Class Rank To Boost Associate Diversity," 08.08.23.
TaxProf Blog also has this story, including a link to the text of the resolution.
- "ABA Pushes Big Law on Diversity With Recruiting Guidance," 08.10.23.
Bloomberg Law looks at the ABA resolution and its potential impact in 2024 and beyond, calling it "a challenge for laggards to act."
- "Pronouns should be respected and trans youths protected, ABA House says," 08.08.23.
ABA Journal reports that the House of Delegates passed two resolutions relating to challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Resolution 604 encourages the use of an individual's preferred pronouns and recommends that law schools allow for optional self-reporting of those pronouns, and Resolution 606 urges governments "to oppose or repeal laws and policies that target transgender youths and people."
- "Law review student editors should get academic credit or pay, ABA says," 08.09.23.
Reuters reports that the ABA's House of Delegates "approved a resolution urging law schools to offer either academic credit or pay to students who serve as editors of law reviews or other academic journals."
- "As in-person LSAT returns, most test-takers go remote," 08.10.23.
Reuters reports, "More than half — 61% — of the 19,463 aspiring lawyers registered for this month's LSAT have opted to complete it remotely, while 39% wanted to take it in-person at test centers, according to the Law School Admission Council."
- "New Jacksonville Law School Doubles 1L Enrollment In Its Second Year (From 14 To 27)," 08.09.23.
TaxProf Blog has the story from the Jacksonville Daily Record reporting, "Twenty-seven students will compose the second cohort of juris doctor candidates at the Jacksonville University College of Law."
- "Working Group Drafts Potential Licensing Alternative to California Bar Exam," 08.09.23.
The Recorder reports that a California working group has drafted a proposal to allow law school graduates "to earn their bar cards by completing hundreds of hours of supervised practice and demonstrating their knowledge and competence through a scored portfolio of their work — all in lieu of passing the traditional two-day bar exam."
- "Online-Only California Law School to Change Name in Effort to Have Grads Sit for Indiana Bar," 08.07.23.
Law.com reports, "A non-ABA-accredited online law school based in California, which has been petitioning the Indiana Supreme Court to allow its students to sit for the Indiana bar, is changing its name as part of that process."
- "Concord To Change Name To Purdue Global Law School; With $12,420 Tuition, Dean Will Not Seek To Become A Top 100 School Or 'Horn In Indiana University's Action'," 08.11.23.
TaxProf Blog also has this story.
- "For First Time, U.S. Releases Data on Student Basic Needs," 08.04.23.
Inside Higher Ed reports that the most recent Department of Education National Postsecondary Student Aid Study included questions about food insecurity and homelessness, and the new data shows that "[undergraduate and graduate] college students face higher rates of food and housing insecurity than the general population."
- "A global law firm separates from its Chinese partner, citing cybersecurity and data rules," 08.10.23.
The Washington Post picks up a story that has also been in the legal news media this week, noting, "The decision by Dentons follows warnings by business groups that global companies are postponing or shifting investment away from China due to concern about an expanded anti-espionage law, tighter controls on business, a data security crackdown and raids on foreign consulting firms."
- "Norton Rose Fulbright Mentorship Academy Targets Rising Nonmanager Staff," 08.08.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "In search of the next generation of leaders in its information technology, development, client value, innovation, marketing, business development and finance departments, Norton Rose Fulbright has tapped 26 high-achieving nonmanagers from the firm's U.S. offices for a senior-level mentorship academy in Houston this month."
- "'We Aren't MBAs': Law Firm Partners Outsource Growing Admin Duties To Business Pros In Newly Created Positions," 08.07.23.
Law.com Pro Mid-Market reports, "Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, midsize firms have been expanding their C-suites with operations specialists and promoting administrators to leadership positions in recognition of the bifurcation in skills between lawyers and business managers."
- "Dechert to Let Current Summers Defer Start Date to Fall 2025," 08.07.23.
The Legal Intelligencer reports, "Dechert is giving its current summer associates the opportunity to defer their start date at the firm from the fall of 2024 to the fall of 2025."
- "Top 50 Biglaw Firm Offers Optional Deferral To Incoming Associates," 08.07.23.
More on this from Above the Law.
- "'Stay Interviews' Help Law Firms Adjust to Young Lawyers' Changing Needs," 08.11.23.
The American Lawyer reports that "at firms that want to keep their associate talent once the lateral market picks up again, 'stay interviews' are helping talent managers understand the evolving needs of their post-pandemic workforce — including second- and third-year associates who began their legal careers during remote work."
- "No One Gets There Alone: The Value of Mentorship Programs in the Legal Profession," 08.10.23.
This op-ed in the New York Law Journal encourages lawyers to serve as mentors to newer lawyers and even those still in the pipeline, arguing, "regardless of your circumstances or background, you can make an impact as a mentor simply by being willing to share experiences, have a little empathy, and (in some cases) make a lot of 'track changes.'"
- "Big Law Associate Deferrals 'Bleed Into East Coast'," 08.10.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "A couple of months ago, only West Coast law firms had deferred their summer classes. Now large law firms rooted in the East Coast and Midwest…have reportedly joined the fray. And the movement may continue spreading east, some legal industry observers say, as overcapacity, particularly in the associate ranks, continues to roil the Am Law 100."
- "Lateral Partner Moves Surge in Chicago, With Strong 'Momentum Going into 2024'," 08.10.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Along with Charlotte and Nashville, Chicago saw some of the highest growth in lateral partner moves in the last quarter."
- "Vinson & Elkins Mandates Four Days in Office, as Movement Spreads Outside New York," 08.09.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Vinson & Elkins is the latest large law firm to move to a four-day in-office work schedule. The policy, effective Sept. 11, applies firmwide" and includes international offices.
- "As Pressure Grows for In-Office Mandates, Washington Law Firms Likely to Face 'Resistance'," 08.07.23.
The National Law Journal reports that, though pressure is mounting for firms to mandate in-office time, "Law firms in D.C. — many of which are operating on a schedule of three days in the office — are likely to face more resistance to in-office mandates, and they could go as far as to use flexible workplace arrangements as leverage to retain and recruit talent, suggested several area recruiters."
- "Unionizing Big Law Associates Is Tough Sell in Competitive World," 08.07.23.
Bloomberg Law looks at two recent instances of law firm associates unionizing and breaks down the reasons that "Big Law partners need not fear unionization among their firms' associate ranks."
- "Law firms saw rising demand in Q2, report says," 08.07.23.
Reuters reports, "Demand increased 1.5% year-over-year, with bankruptcy, labor and employment, litigation and antitrust among practices that helped drive growth, according to the latest edition of the Thomson Reuters Institute's Law Firm Financial Index."
- "Countercyclical Work Elevates Most of Legal Industry in Q2," 08.07.23.
The American Lawyer reports on the most recent Thomson Reuters Law Firm Financial Index and notes, "A boom in countercyclical legal work, growing billing rates and better realization powered a quarter of increased demand across the legal industry."
- "Big Law and Midsize Firms Are Charting Different Paths to Growth," 08.09.23.
The American Lawyer looks at data from the Thomson Reuters reports and observes, "Am Law 100 firms have tried to cut head count and expenses, midsize firms have sought to bolster revenue, and the Second Hundred have sought 'to find a Goldilocks zone between the two.'"
- "Need to Hire Workers in a Hot Job Market? Let Them Do Some Remote Work," 08.05.23.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "With employers fighting for a limited pool of office workers, those offering remote-friendly jobs appear to have the upper hand. Companies that allow at least one day of remote work each week increased staffing at nearly twice the rate in the year ended in May than those with full-time office requirements."
- "Layoff Season Winds Down as Law Firms Firms Prepare for Demand Uptick," 08.04.23.
The American Lawyer reports that, in spite of recently reported layoffs, "July was the strongest month of the year for some recruiters in corporate associate placements. And even recruiters who haven't felt the demand uptick said the firms they work with are holding onto talent to avoid being short-staffed if demand picks up later this year."
- "US legal jobs declined in July, Labor Dept says," 08.04.23.
Reuters reports, "The U.S. legal services sector lost 1,200 jobs in July, new Labor Department data showed on Friday, as scattered layoffs continued this week at large U.S. law firms."
- "Why BigLaw Should Be Light-Handed With Layoffs," 08.01.23.
Law360 reports, "A handful of law firms have cut back on their attorney ranks this year amid a slowdown in legal work, but the industry as a whole appears to be taking a measured approach to downsizing talent, a move that will likely benefit firms in the long run."
- "Creating the Ideal Interview Setting for Neurodivergent Candidates," 08.09.23.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) published this article on how to interview and evaluate neurodivergent job candidates.
- "The Legal Assault on Corporate Diversity Efforts Has Begun," 08.08.23.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "Conservative legal activists successfully challenged the use of affirmative action by universities. Now they are going after diversity initiatives widely deployed across American corporations. Some companies are already reconsidering their efforts."
- "Black Women Lawyers Still Experience, See Discrimination in Workplace, Survey Finds," 08.08.23.
The American Lawyer reports on a recent survey by the National Bar Institute that asks black women lawyers about their experiences with discrimination and offers employers a "roadmap for improvement."
- "Supreme Court Ruling on Affirmative Action Was Wrong, Asian American Student Organizations Say," 08.07.23.
Teen Vogue publishes an open letter from the Coalition of Asian American Student Organizations which argues, "Affirmative action was never a flawless policy, but it was a crucial component in this comprehensive effort toward justice. We must continue to grapple with long histories of exclusion, and without race-conscious policies, this struggle becomes that much harder."
- "Gender Equity Group Unveils Anti-Harassment Men's Program," 08.07.23.
Law360 reports, "Women Lawyers On Guard, an organization focused on workplace issues related to gender equality, has released a report laying out a proposed program to better educate men on how to intervene and help combat sexual harassment and misconduct, arguing that tackling the problem will require more engagement with men." (Subscription required.)
- "Beyond the Numbers: Clients Want to Know About Culture of Diversity at Law Firms," 08.04.23.
This Law.com podcast episode talks with Lloyd Freeman, chief diversity officer at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, about "where Big Law firms are moving the needle the most when it comes to DE&I, as well as where they're continuing to fall short."
- "The Next Affirmative Action Battle May Be at West Point," 08.03.23.
The New York Times reports that, although military academies were specifically excluded from the Supreme Court's recent affirmative action ruling, they may now become the next target for Students for Fair Admissions.
- "The Future of Legal Is Female — But It Comes With a Cost," 08.01.23.
This analysis from Bloomberg Law looks at data from their Law School Preparedness Survey and concludes, "While women are making great strides in the legal profession, they're doing so at a time when legal education is much more expensive, forcing many students to incur more debt. And the price tag can't be ignored, especially when you factor in the gender pay gap and retention issues in leadership positions."
- "Women Underrepresented In Leadership Positions, Overrepresented In Law School Debt," 08.10.23.
Above the Law has more on this story.
- "APA Takes Aim At Mental Health History Questions For Attys," 08.07.23.
Law360 reports, "The American Psychological Association is calling for the removal of mental health history questions for those seeking to become licensed attorneys, arguing that prospective lawyers shouldn't be required to reveal whether they've ever been treated for or diagnosed with a mental illness." (Subscription required.)
- "Stop asking aspiring lawyers about their mental health, psychology group says," 08.08.23.
More from Reuters.
- "What Does 'Life-Work' Integration Mean When You're A Lawyer Mom? (Part I)" 08.03.23.
This op-ed published by Above the Law argues that work-life balance is the wrong construct and that changing your view of the relationship between life and work "not only betters your mental health and relationship with work but actually increases the quality and productivity of your work, leading to a more satisfying and creative, less stressful career."
- "What Does 'Life-Work' Integration Mean When You're A Lawyer Mom? (Part II)" 08.10.23.
The second installment encourages "acknowledging that your employees aren't only employees but also parents, spouses, caregivers, and unique individuals with passions and interests all their own."
- "ChatGPT on Campus: Law Schools Wrestle With Emerging AI Tools," 08.11.23.
Bloomberg Law looks at how law schools are grappling with the issue of generative AI and notes, "Students need to become fluent in what AI can and cannot do."
- "Don't Write That Confidential Email In Public! AI Can Now Snag Keystroke Sounds With 95 Percent Accuracy," 08.10.23.
Joe Patrice at Above the Law notes that "researchers have trained an AI to use an iPhone mic to detect and translate the sounds of user keystrokes."
- "EEOC Settles First-of-Its-Kind AI Bias in Hiring Lawsuit," 08.10.23.
Bloomberg Law reports, "The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settled its first-ever AI discrimination in hiring lawsuit, reaching an agreement with a tutoring company that allegedly programmed its recruitment software to automatically reject older applicants."
- "Legal Recruiting Startup Flo Recruit Raises $4.2 Million, Eyeing Expansion of Law School Network," 08.08.23.
Legaltech News reports, "On Tuesday, Austin-based legal recruitment and software startup Flo Recruit announced that it closed a $4.2 million seed round, hoping to fuel the expansion of its newest product, along with its reach within law schools."
- "Can AI Help Law Firms Solve the Boom-Bust Hiring Cycle?," 08.07.23
The American Lawyer looks at whether artificial intelligence can help law firms predict demand as well as how it can help automate or supplement tasks currently done by lawyers.
August 4, 2023
- "Class of 2022 Employment and Salary Outcomes Shatter Records — Future Classes May Face a Tougher Market," 08.02.23.
This week NALP released Selected Findings from the Class of 2022 Employment Report and Salary Survey. This year's data show that the vigorous market recovery from the pandemic, combined with the so-called "talent wars," propelled the Class of 2022 beyond even the impressive employment outcomes of the Class of 2021, in several cases shattering employment and salary records altogether. The employment rate for the Class of 2022 was 92.1%, the best employment rate recorded since the Class of 1987, when the rate was just slightly higher, at 92.2%. Read the full report, the press release, and more here.
- "Talent wars led to record-high salaries for class of 2022 law grads, new NALP report says," 08.02.23.
- "Amid Historic Hiring Climate, New Lawyer Pay Soared," 08.02.23.
Law360 Pulse (subscription required)
- "Talent Wars Drive Class of 2022 Law Graduates to Record-High Salaries," 08.03.23.
- "Check Out The Record-Breaking Starting Salaries For Recent Law School Grads," 08.03.23.
Above the Law
- "Law School Class Of 2022 Employment And Salary Outcomes Shatter Records," 08.04.23.
- "Columbia Law Is Taking Heat, But Law Schools Accepting Video Submissions Isn't New," 08.03.23.
Christine Charnosky at Law.com reports, "Columbia Law School briefly required a video statement to be submitted by law degree transfer applicants — and has since been taking heat from it in the media, being accused of skirting a new law on affirmative action — but other law schools have required or accepted video submissions for years, according to a review of those policies."
- "Licensing barriers keep people with criminal records from education and training," 07.28.23.
The Washington Post looks at the range of laws preventing people with criminal records from accessing training and licenses, including the story of a law graduate who struggled to be admitted to the bar because of his criminal record.
- "Incoming law students are wildly overconfident about their academic performance, study finds," 07.25.23.
Reuters reports on a recent law review article showing that "When asked to predict their class rank at the start of law school, the average new student expected to end up near the top 25% after the first year, according to the study that appears in the University of Illinois Law Review. Nearly all of the more than 600 surveyed students — 95% — believed they would end up in the top half of the class, while more than 22% of students predicted they would be in the top 10%."
- "'Virtually all' incoming law students think they will be in the top half of their class, new study finds," 07.26.23.
ABA Journal also reports on this story.
- "Bill Adams to Step Down From ABA Next Year," 07.25.23.
Law.com reports, "Bill Adams, managing director for accreditation and legal education at the American Bar Association since 2020, will be stepping down from his position in May to retire."
- "2023 Has Been the Year of Law School Leadership Changes," 07.24.23.
Law.com's Christine Charnosky, writing in her Ahead of the Curve column, catalogs the many changes in law school leadership this year.
- "Law School Dean Turnover Nears 33% In 2023," 07.25.23.
Taxprof Blog breaks out some statistics based on Charnosky's list.
- "Assessing the Diversity of U.S. Law Deans After a Flurry of Leadership Changes," 07.31.23.
This week's Ahead of the Curve column analyzes the diversity of the deans in last week's list.
- "Schnader Harrison to Cease Operations," 08.03.23.
Law.com reports, "Longtime Philadelphia firm Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis is closing after nearly 90 years."
- "'Lawyer Mindset' at Odds With Succession Planning Best Practices," 08.02.23.
The Legal Intelligencer looks at issues surrounding succession planning in law firms, including "the psychology of attorneys and their approach to business decisions, the structure of law firm power, and changes in generational attitudes toward leadership."
- "Katten Lays Off Lawyers and Staff While Deferring Some Associates," 08.01.23.
The American Lawyer reports that Katten Muchin Rosenman has laid off some lawyers and staff and is deferring some associates to February 1.
- "Armstrong Teasdale Lets Go of 24 Staff, 11 Lawyers," 07.31.23.
The American Lawyer says that "Armstrong Teasdale is the latest firm in the Am Law 200 to lay off attorneys and staff this year."
- "Resistance to Change a Threat to Midsize Firms, Despite Revenue Gains," 07.28.23.
Law.com Pro Mid-Market sums up a new report from Clio in which a Clio analyst argues that "lagging metrics illuminate a larger problem…that midsize firms are more likely to fall into a state of complacency that breeds a resistance to change management."
- "This Biglaw Firm Will No Longer Release Its Financial Results To The Media," 07.28.23.
Above the Law reports that two (international) law firms have announced they will no longer share financial information with the media and asks "Is this a trend in the making?"
- "Mishcon drops 'unhelpful' PEP metric," 07.21.23.
The Law Society Gazette (U.K.) reports, "London and international firm Mishcon de Reya has announced a double-digit increase in profit and turnover — but it will no longer publish profit per equity partner."
- "Freshfields to cease releasing financial data directly to media," 07.26.23.
The Global Legal Post reports, "The new policy will be regarded as a defensive one in some quarters, especially given the impending Allen & Overy Shearman merger. However, there will also be sympathy among the firm's peers, many of which periodically complain that the profit-per-equity partner (PEP) metric, which isn't included in LLP filings, is misleading."
- "Lawyers form union at employment law firm Outten & Golden," 07.27.23.
Reuters reports that associates at a boutique labor and employment law firm have unionized.
- "Associates At This Law Firm Just Unionized! Will Associates At Other Firms Follow Along?," 07.28.23.
Above the Law offers their thoughts on this story.
- "Rainmaking in law firms: neither mystical art nor exact science," 07.27.23.
The author of this opinion piece for Reuters argues, "Business development might feel like a mystical art or inexact science to the 'untrained' legal professional, but that doesn't mean developing capability and strength in it is unattainable. Indeed, it's highly attainable when you boil it down to basics."
- "Vote of No Confidence: Partner Exits More Often Result From Strategy, Management Miscues," 07.27.23.
Law.com reports, "Lateral partners are most often leaving law firms over disagreements about management and strategy, even more so than arguing over compensation and remote work options, new survey results show."
- "The No. 1 Thing Killing Lateral Partner Satisfaction," 07.27.23.
Law360 reports, "The quickest way to create an unhappy lateral partner is by overpromising and underdelivering in areas vitally important to the new additions, including the level of practice support to be provided, the firm's financial health and the quality of management, according to a report released Thursday." (Subscription required.)
- "Mid-Sized Law Firm Attys Unhappy Despite Big Business," 07.27.23.
Law360 reports, "While mid-sized law firms have greater hourly rates and a better work-life balance than their smaller counterparts, a new report issued Thursday finds employees of these firms are unhappy with a host of other challenges." (Subscription required.)
- "As BigLaw Leaders Age, Path To Partnership Lengthens," 07.27.23.
Law360 reports, "The path to partnership has lengthened at the top U.S. firms as BigLaw leaders age and delay retiring, according to a new report stressing the importance of succession planning." (Subscription required.)
- "Data Highlights BigLaw's Succession Problem," 07.26.23.
Law360 reports, "BigLaw organizations are largely unprepared for succession because old partnership models are becoming less desirable and stubborn leaders are reluctant to retire or shift policies to ensure their firm's futures, experts say." (Subscription required.)
- "The Evolving Role of Big Law Leadership," 07.24.23.
The American Lawyer takes a look at how law firm leadership roles have changed, especially since Covid: "A faster pace. More laterals coming and going. More mobile clients. Global political and domestic social happenings that require public positions. Hybrid work. Remote work. Artificial intelligence. Firm chairs and managing partners are facing new demands from challenges and events in the last few years."
- "'How Do I Do That?' The New Hires of 2023 Are Unprepared for Work," 08.02.23.
The Wall Street Journal reports that lack of hands-on experience due to remote learning is causing productivity issues in the workplace and notes, "The shortcomings run the gamut from general knowledge, including how to make change at a register, to soft skills such as working with others. Employers are spending more time and resources searching for candidates and often lowering expectations when they hire."
- "Why So Many Second Hundred Law Firms Are Looking for Combinations," 08.02.23.
Law.com looks at the reasons behind recent merger activity, including "a fragmented industry and a perpetual drive to increase market share, a lateral market that underscores the difficulty of growing by 'ones and twos,' the culmination of long-held strategies, and an openness from smaller firms to do deals."
- "We're now finding out the damaging results of the mandated return to the office — and it's worse than we thought," 08.01.23.
This opinion piece in Fortune looks at some recent studies relating to employee attitudes about return-to-office mandates, noting that "Flexible work policies have emerged as the ultimate edge in talent acquisition and retention."
- "Associate Lateral Moves Remain Depressed Even as Partner Moves Bounce Back," 08.01.23.
The American Lawyer reports on new data that shows "Partner lateral moves neared last year's historic hiring pace in the second quarter of 2023, while associate lateral moves continued to lag behind as law firms work to reshape their workforce."
- "Now's The Time To Entice Big Law Attorneys With Opportunities For Leadership, Business Development," 07.31.23.
Analysis by Law.com Pro Mid-Market makes the case that the current legal market offers opportunities for mid-sized firms to acquire talent from larger firms and for lateral lawyers to gain better chances for partnership and firm leadership.
- "In the Wake of Hybrid Work, Firms Get Creative in Using Their Space," 07.28.23.
Law.com reports, "Law firms are continuing to get creative with their floorplans, with some adapting to new hybrid working schedules by finding new uses for free space and others adding amenities in an effort to draw attorneys back to the office with the overall goal of increased efficiency."
- "In Setting Office Attendance Policies, Southeast Law Firms Forge Their Own Paths," 07.28.23.
Daily Report looks at in-office mandates and reports, "As more law firms move to mandate four days of office work per week for their attorneys, Southeast firms are forging their own paths, with policies that combine flexibility for older lawyers and some level of in-office training for new associates."
- "What This Law Firm Has Learned From Being Remote for 20 Years," 07.28.23.
The founder of a distributed law firm, writing for Bloomberg Law, argues that "Recent years only herald the beginning of the remote working revolution. Much of the workforce in the legal industry have tried it and see it as part of their future. Firms need to act now to stay ahead of this trend, or risk becoming overtaken by more agile, flexible competition."
- "Ropes Is Latest Law Firm to Require Lawyers to Work Four Days a Week in Office," 07.27.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Beginning on Nov. 6, lawyers [at Ropes & Gray] will need to work in the office Monday through Thursday, while Friday will continue as an optional remote work day."
- "Ropes' Move to 4 Days in the Office Includes International Offices," 08.01.23.
The American Lawyer reports that Ropes & Gray has clarified that their new policy applies to lawyers in all offices and notes that "consultants said remote work is becoming a defining issue for firms."
- "An Inflection Point? Big Law's Path to Office Mandates," 07.26.23.
Law.com looks at the dramatic change in attitudes toward remote work, noting, "Now 90% of firms either recommend or mandate in-office attendance for lawyers and staff, according to a recent survey, up from 67% at the start of the year."
- "Australian Law Firms Are Flexible About Flexible Work," 07.25.23.
Law.com reports, "Unlike many Big Law firms in the U.S., law firms in Australia are not making hard-and-fast rules about how much time lawyers are expected to spend in the office, and instead rely on guidelines or rules of thumb."
- "Merger Mania: Why Do Law Firms Want to Fall in Love?," 07.23.23.
This commentary in Law.com International looks at the law firm mergers that have happened so far in 2023 and the reasons behind them.
- "Hybrid Work Policies Reinforce 'Caste System' Among Lawyers and Staff," 07.21.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "The talent market for lawyers remains tighter than that for staff, but managers acknowledge the risks to "morale" from unequal expectations for office attendance."
- "Defining 'First Generation' in Different Ways," 08.03.23.
Inside Higher Ed reports, "Colleges and governments offer financial and academic support for these students, but there's no set standard among colleges for what the term means."
- "Workplace Affirmative Action Will Stay, Contractor Watchdog Says," 08.02.23.
Bloomberg Law reports, "A recent US Supreme Court decision on affirmative action in higher education has no impact on workplace diversity programs, according to the acting head of the federal contractor watchdog agency."
- "ANALYSIS: Partner Diversity Lags Despite Law Firms' DEI Efforts," 07.28.23.
Bloomberg Law offers this analysis of the impact of DEI programs and notes, "Even among firms recognized by Bloomberg Law as moving the needle in recruiting and retaining associates to align with the demographics of the country more closely, racial and ethnic diversity on the partner track continues to lag."
- "Ways to Ensure Your Evaluations Promote Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging," 07.28.23.
This op-ed piece in The Legal Intelligencer notes that "For many attorneys of color, as well as those with a disability, different ethnicity or sexual orientation, the performance evaluation process tends to spawn mixed feelings" and provides tips to help employers eliminate bias in the evaluation process.
- "Law360's Diversity Snapshot: Representation in the Ranks," 07.25.23.
Law360 released their most recent diversity snapshot ranking: "Law360's latest Diversity Snapshot ranking provides a window into the demographic realities of law firms at the end of 2022, a year of robust hiring for many law firms before some business areas began to cool. Here's a more detailed look at the representation of minority attorneys at the associate and partner levels." (Subscription required for all Law360 articles.)
- "Law360's Diversity Snapshot: How Firms Stack Up," 07.25.23.
"Law firms are working to diversify their ranks, though progress remains slow. In this year's Diversity Snapshot, Law360 Pulse takes a look at how diversity in law firms' headcounts compares with what it could be based on the potential marketplace of new hires."
- "Law360's Diversity Snapshot: What You Need To Know," 07.25.23.
"Firms continue to face pressure to diversify their attorney workforce, and they are slowly but surely making progress, according to this year's Diversity Snapshot. Here's our data dive into minority representation at law firms in 2022."
- "DEI Roundup: 3 Lessons For Law Firms," 07.26.23.
"For many firms seeking to build diverse teams, simply having a diversity, equity and inclusion program is no longer enough. Experts share their thoughts on how to strategize with Law360 Pulse as we revisit our coverage of three firms that succeeded in greatly improving their diversity metrics."
- "GCs Really Want To Help Firms Improve On Diversity," 07.26.23.
"General counsel want law firms to provide attorneys from historically underrepresented groups to staff their matters and to hear about firms' plans for diversifying the pipeline. They're also willing to devote their own time to help firms improve on their ability to deliver in these areas."
- "These Firms Have The Most Diverse Equity Partnerships," 07.26.23.
"Law firms have made only modest progress in moving the needle on diversity, particularly at the equity partnership level. Still, a few are setting a new standard and actively increasing their representation of attorneys of color."
- "The Hidden Career Cost of Being Overweight," 07.24.23.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "Weight stigma is rarely talked about at work, but it pervades workplaces everywhere, employees and hiring managers say. Study after study shows heavier people are paid and promoted less than thinner colleagues and are often stereotyped as lazy or undisciplined."
- "Big Law Leaders Aren't Losing Sleep Over Sen. Tom Cotton's Anti-DEI Threats," 07.24.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "While the (mostly Am Law 100) firms to which the letters were addressed have not responded publicly, consultants who speak with firm leaders regularly said no one is losing sleep over Cotton's letter."
- "Slaughter and May Becomes First Top UK Law Firm to Set Social Mobility Targets," 07.24.23.
Law.com International reports on efforts by one U.K. law firm to "increase the representation of lower socio-economic background (LSEB) individuals across all levels."
- "The Rise and Fall of the Chief Diversity Officer," 07.21.23.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "In interviews, current and former chief diversity officers said company executives at times didn't want to change hiring or promotion processes, despite initially telling CDOs they were hired to improve the talent pipeline. The quick about-face shows company enthusiasm for diversity initiatives hasn't always proved durable, leaving some diversity officers now questioning their career path."
- "Law Firms' DEI Programs Not Flouting Law, Experts Say," 07.21.23.
Law360 reports, "Most law firms need not worry about Republican Sen. Tom Cotton's claim earlier this week that their diversity, equity and inclusion programs may have run afoul of federal law in the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, legal experts tell Law360 Pulse." (Subscription required.)
- "Stop Multitasking. No, Really — Just Stop It," 07.29.23.
This op-ed in The New York Times argues that "restoring our capacity to live sequentially — that is, focusing on one thing after another, in turn, and enduring the confrontation with our human limitations that this inherently entails — may be among the most crucial skills for thriving in the uncertain, crisis-prone future we all face."
- "The 1,800-Hour Year: Pipe Dream or Essential for Lawyers' Well-Being?" 07.27.23.
The American Lawyer reports that "ultra-high billable hour targets and minimums appears to detract from their recent efforts to improve lawyers' mental health" and settles on 1,800 hours as a reasonable target.
- "Big Law, Nixing ChatGPT for Legal Work, Seeks Secure AI Solution," 08.03.23.
The American Lawyer looks at the varying approaches law firms are taking to generative artificial intelligence.
- "MIT Task Force Proposes Principles for the Responsible Use of Generative AI in Legal," 08.03.23.
Legaltech News reports that MIT has formed a Task Force on Responsible Use of Generative AI for Law and that this task force recently released a draft of seven principles for responsible use of AI in the law.
- "AI In Law School: A Leap Into The Unknown," 08.02.23.
Law360 reports, "Law students and law professors across the U.S. find themselves in a strange moment. Many people in law schools recognize the importance of new artificial intelligence technologies, but in the few months since ChatGPT splashed onto the scene, no clear consensus has emerged on how law schools should handle it." (Subscription required.)
- "Holland & Knight Creates Chief Knowledge & Innovation Officer Role as Legal Tech Explodes," 07.31.23.
Daily Business Review reports, "Holland & Knight is looking to grow its technology capabilities with the addition of a chief knowledge and innovation officer."
- "Law Firms Playing Catch-Up With Training, Looking for ROI on Current Tech Tools," 07.31.23.
The Legal Intelligencer reports, "Although some firms are looking to gain an edge on the competition and are looking at training aimed at newer technology…the larger trend at play is that law firms are returning to and refreshing the ways they use their current technology instead of adapting their training to new technology."
- "Big Law Is Leaning Into AI for Bias-Free Hiring and Retention," 07.28.23.
Law.com reports, "At least a dozen Big Law firms have adopted technology that incorporates artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and behavioral psychology to root out implicit biases in hiring, expand their candidate pools and address long-term retention goals."
- "Legal Professionals Say The Industry Is Not Ready For AI," 07.27.23.
Law360 reports, "Despite all the hype over artificial intelligence, legal professionals seldom use AI to complete work, due in part to a lack of preparedness surrounding systems and data, according to a survey report released on Thursday." (Subscription required.)
- "Michael Best Creates AI-Focused C-Suite Role," 07.26.23.
The American Lawyer reports that Michael Best has become one of the first law firms to create a C-suite position focused specifically on artificial intelligence.
- "A Welcome Boon or a Dreaded Replacement? Paralegals Split on Generative AI," 07.25.23.
Law.com reports, "A recent report from Wolters Kluwer and Above the Law found that a majority of legal professionals see generative AI replacing certain back-office and support positions, with 41% believing the technology is a threat to paralegals specifically."
July 21, 2023
- "The NALP Foundation and NALP Release Joint Study of U.S. Law School Alumni Employment and Satisfaction for the Class of 2019," 07.19.23.
NALP and the NALP Foundation this week released their tenth joint study, Law School Alumni Employment and Satisfaction, for the Class of 2019. This annual study examines recent graduates' employment status, compensation, and mobility, as well as satisfaction dimensions indicating how well alumni felt their legal education prepared them for practice. Read more here.
- "Atty Satisfaction Up, But Law Grads Of Color Face Hurdles," 07.19.23.
Law360 reports, "Most attorneys are satisfied with their jobs three years after leaving law school, but graduates of color still face workplace challenges while mental health continues to be an issue, particularly for women lawyers, according to a study released Wednesday." (Subscription required.)
- "Recent Law School Grads Are Remarkably Content With Their Current Jobs," 07.19.23.
Above the Law featured the report in their Trivia Question of the Day.
- "New NALP Survey Shows 85% Job Satisfaction — But Increased Debt — Among 2019 Law School Grads," 07.20.23.
And Law.com: "The class of 2019 law school graduates have higher overall job satisfaction and some are earning more as compared with previous classes, but many also have more student loan debt."
- "NALP Survey Of Law School Class Of 2019: Job Satisfaction Improves, Debt And Mental Health Worsen," 07.21.23.
TaxProf Blog also has the story.
- "This U.S. World Cup Team Is One for the Ages. All the Ages," 07.21.23.
The New York Times profiles the U.S. women's national soccer team, with players aged 18 to 38, and their "unlikely bond in jokes, jabs and stories related to what may be their most notable feature: a generation gap."
- "Two-time Olympic cyclist turned 'bicycle attorney' talks about the road to bike law," 07.19.23.
ABA Journal has the story of a cyclist-turned-lawyer who turned his Olympic experience into a niche practice.
- "Cycling City lawyer quits US firm for 14,000km ride from Canada to Argentina," 07.17.23.
The U.K. website Legal Cheek brings us the story of the lawyer who quit Big Law to cycle across Canada (and maybe even further!)
- "ABA executive described as 'accessible' and 'real resource' for law deans set to retire next spring," 07.20.23.
ABA Journal reports on the planned retirement of Bill Adams, the ABA's managing director for accreditation and legal education.(Subscription required.)
- "New bar exam gets lukewarm reception in previews," 07.19.23.
Karen Sloan at Reuters reports, "The public got its first glimpse of the new bar exam set to debut in July 2026 when the organization designing it released a selection last week of sample questions — and some legal educators aren't impressed with what they saw."
- "'The Supreme Court Made It Harder, Not Impossible': Law School Leaders Talk Recruiting Without Affirmative Action," 07.18.23.
Law.com reports on a recent AALS panel discussing law school recruiting options in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling against affirmative action in admissions.
- "Is Biden's latest plan to cancel student debt vulnerable to legal challenges?" 07.17.23.
ABA Journal reports, "President Joe Biden's latest plan to cancel some student debt is based on a different law than the one before the U.S. Supreme Court, when it struck down a loan forgiveness program in June. But some conservative commentators say the new plan remains vulnerable to legal attacks."
- "Law Students Join Forces to Create Smoother Career Paths to Plaintiffs Work," 07.17.23.
The National Law Journal reports that "A new nationwide student organization aims to help young attorneys map a career path into plaintiffs work."
- "Ahead of the Curve: The U.S. Supreme Court's Affirmative Action Ruling Has Created a Perception Problem for Law Schools," 07.17.23.
Law.com's Ahead of the Curve column "examine[s] law school leaders' fears that the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision invalidating affirmative action in higher education could lead to demoralization among potential law school applicants."
- "Religious Accommodation Policies Lacking," 07.17.23.
Inside Higher Ed reports, "A recent study of 122 colleges and universities found that fewer than half of them have religious accommodation policies for students, and that most policies that do exist aren't especially comprehensive."
- "USC Gould Appoints First Black Law Dean," 07.17.23.
Law.com reports, "When the University of Southern California Gould School of Law appointed Franita Tolson as interim dean, she became the first Black dean in the law school's 123-year history and the first woman dean in more than 40 years."
- "Pressure mounts on colleges to ditch 'legacy' admissions factor," 07.16.23.
The Washington Post reports that the "Supreme Court ruling against race-based affirmative action has put new scrutiny on other admissions practices" including legacy admissions.
- "Golden Gate University Law School Says It Plans to Stay Open for at Least the Next Academic Year," 07.14.23.
Law.com reports, "The fate of Golden Gate University School of Law has been publicly in question for close to a month, but university officials reassured the GGU community that the law school will remain open for at least the 2023-24 school year."
- "How Summer Associates Can Maximize the Last Few Weeks on the Job," 07.21.23.
Two business development coaches, writing for Bloomberg Law, provide "concrete tips for summer associates to maximize the remaining weeks of their law firm programs and form networking connections for the future."
- "Fragomen Defers Hiring Decisions on Current Summer Associates to Early 2024," 07.19.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "The current summer associates of global immigration law firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy will have to wait until early next year to learn whether they have jobs at the law firm."
- "Orrick CEO Unpacks Latest Layoff Decision in the Face of Uncertainty," 07.19.23.
The American Lawyer speaks with Orrick's CEO about the reasoning behind their recent layoffs and deferrals.
- "Where Have All the 'Older' Magic Circle Partners Gone?," 07.18.23.
Law.com International looks at data surrounding partner retirements in the U.K., noting, "analysis of the ages of partners at the four largest Magic Circle firms…shows how the legal world remains a distinctly young person's game, with partner numbers tapering significantly at the 55-year threshold, and partners aged 60-plus becoming a fast-vanishing rarity."
- "Young Partners Need to Embrace an Ownership Mentality," 07.14.23.
This op-ed in Law.com maintains that "One of the most important expectations for these newly minted partners is for them to have an ownership mindset," and provides suggestions and resources for learning the business of law and creating a personal strategic plan.
- "Four Days In Office Reflects Big Law's New Management Attitude," 07.20.23.
Law.com's Barometer newsletter looks at return to office policies and makes some predictions about which firms will follow suit and which will not, noting, "beyond some in the Am Law 50, it's very likely the whole Am Law 200 will not make the shift. Some firms in other tiers may even take advantage of the differences to recruit and retain talent they otherwise could not attract."
- "Pipe Dream of In-Office Demands: How to Enhance Engagement and Make a Hybrid Model Work," 07.20.23.
This op-ed in The Legal Intelligencer looks at recent mandates for in-office work and asks, "In what instance has forcing an individual to engage in an activity compelled them to excitement for it?"
- "'We Won't Mandate': West Coast Law Firms Aren't Following Wall Street Back to the Office," 07.19.23.
The Recorder reports that West coast law firms are taking a different approach to the return to office: "Office mandates and attendance policing tactics don't send the right message about the office or the importance of in-person engagement, according to some West Coast firm leaders."
- "High-Growth Law Firms Are 'People Centric' And May Be Getting a Remote-Work Boost," 07.19.23.
The American Lawyer reports on a new Thomson Reuters report that shows "High-growth law firms aren't just better than their peers at generating revenue and profits. They also generally invest more in their people, and at the same time, they might be getting a boost from remote work."
- "People, Places & Profits, Part I: A Look at the Talent Decisions Across the Full Am Law 200," 07.17.23.
Law.com takes an in-depth look at this year's full Am Law 200 data set and explores "how firms are staffing across lawyer and business ranks and introduce a new metric tracking staff to lawyer ratios at law firms."
- "As Big Law Marches to Most Days in Office, Some 'Bank' Remote Days," 07.17.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Law firms pushing increased office attendance this fall are also counting on an idea that surfaced when Big Law first began working in-person after pandemic lockdowns: a 'bank' of remote days. The notion…is both a nod to how work has changed and an effort to win over skeptical lawyers who would rather have more flexibility."
- "How Gen X Is Shaping the Modern Legal Industry," 07.16.23.
An op-ed in Law.com International attempts to "draw some broad conclusions on the changing modern law firm and the role Gen X is taking in shaping it."
- "Midyear Reviews, Performance Plans Create Pretext for Future Layoffs," 07.14.23.
Law.com reports, "No news is good news if you're a Big Law associate short on hours this summer. As layoffs roll through the Am Law 100 this summer, many of the recent cuts framed as 'performance-related' have been tied to negative midyear reviews — reviews that didn't exist at many firms when demand was high."
- "Commission on Professionalism Launches New Statewide Initiative to Prevent Bullying in the Legal Profession," 07.13.23.
This press release from The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism announces "a significant new statewide initiative to assess the prevalence and impact of bullying in the legal profession and recommend best practices for preventing it. This initiative…is believed to be one of the first wide-scale research projects conducted in the U.S. on this topic."
- "In new admissions cycle, law schools are trying to avoid 'litigation bait' with race-neutral plans," 07.20.23.
ABA Journal looks at possible tactics law schools might use for admitting a diverse class, but notes, "universities should be 'very thoughtful' in documenting their rationale for changes made in light of the decision, because the planning records could be discoverable in litigation."
- "Big Law's Diversity Efforts May Be Illegal, GOP Senator Warns," 07.19.23.
Bloomberg Law reports that "the Republican from Arkansas sent letters Monday to 51 global and national law firms to warn them that their continued use of DEI programs and advice to their clients on these programs could violate federal law and land them in court."
- "Senator Puts Law Firms On Notice Over DEI Work," 07.18.23.
Law360 reports, "In letters to 51 law firm leaders Monday, Sen. Tom Cotton contended the firms' clients' — and their own — diversity, equity and inclusion programs may be violating federal law following the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision on affirmative action in higher education." (Subscription required.)
- "ANALYSIS: Three Years of Bloomberg Law's DEI Framework," 07.17.23.
Bloomberg Law reports, "US-based law firms are making slow progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, according to Bloomberg Law's third annual DEI Framework. This year's data shows a 3.5% increase in the number of historically underrepresented attorneys at the associate level, highlighting an opportunity for firms to promote diverse associates to partnership. The partner level hasn't shown much change in the past three years of surveys."
- "Reading Between the Lines on Affirmative Action," 07.17.23.
Inside Higher Ed looks at the broader implications of the Supreme Court ruling and what colleges and university need to do to prepare for them.
- "The 2023 Diversity Scorecard: Ranking Law Firms on DEI," 07.13.23.
The American Lawyer has released their 2023 Diversity Scorecard.
- "What SCOTUS's Affirmative Action Decision Means for Corporate DEI," 07.12.23.
Hat tip to Courtney Dredden Carter for this Harvard Business Review article, which asserts "the court has left plenty of room to continue advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace."
- "Republican state officials threaten legal action over company diversity policies," 07.14.23.
Reuters reports that 13 Republican attorneys general recently notified 100 of the largest U.S. companies that "certain workforce diversity policies could be illegal in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision effectively striking down affirmative action in higher education" and threatened legal action.
- "Republican AGs Tell Fortune 100 They're Ready to Pounce on Discriminatory DEI Programs," 07.18.23.
Corporate Counsel reports, "The letter to Fortune 100 firms is the latest evidence that, while the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last month striking down affirmative action in college admissions applies only to the education sector, it is emboldening critics of companies' increasingly aggressive programs to bolster workplace diversity."
- "The campaign against affirmative action shifts to corporate America," 07.19.23.
The Washington Post also reports on this story: "Warning against 'race-based quotas,' 13 Republican attorneys general have taken aim at company diversity programs, including Microsoft's 2020 pledge to double Black leaders and suppliers."
- "Navigating Law Cultures With Unreasonable Expectations While Protecting Your Peace," 07.19.23.
The Young Lawyer Editorial Board at The Legal Intelligencer writes, "The cumulative effect of the list [from the infamous Paul Hastings slide], which takes reasonable expectations to the extreme, has revived the ongoing debate over whether the expectations placed on attorneys are reasonable and realistic," and provides tips for protecting your mental health.
- "Law firms moving quickly on AI weigh benefits with risks and unknowns," 07.20.23.
ABA Journal reports, "generative AI is forcing firms to wrestle with the risks of using the new technology, which is largely unregulated."
- "What If AI Is Actually WORSE For Access To Justice?," 07.20.23.
Joe Patrice from Above the Law summarizes a Financial Times article that points out that AI and the data behind it are more accessible to those with the means to pay for it.
- "Legal Marketers and Business Developers Are Bullish on AI, Despite Some Firms Pushing Back," 07.18.23.
The Legal Intelligencer reports that while law firm leaders may be cautious about adopting artificial intelligence for legal practice, "when it comes to the marketing and business side of the legal industry, leaders are bullish about the prospects of AI assisting their overworked teams."
- "Harvard Launches New Initiative to Better Understand — and Shape — the Future of AI," 07.18.23.
Legaltech News reports that Harvard has created a new initiative that "aims to explore the new challenges and opportunities for the legal industry created by the rise of AI, from its potential to optimize legal services to the issues it creates in areas such as data privacy, discrimination or misinformation."
- "Baker & Hostetler Helps Georgia Law School Create Legal Tech-Driven Course," 07.18.23.
Daily Report has the story of the collaboration between Baker & Hostetler and Georgia State University's College of Law "to create one of the nation's first legal process engineering courses that focuses on the use of available technology in the legal profession," and notes, "The program now is among the few in the U.S. to prepare law students for attorney and non-attorney legal technology jobs."
- "GCs Increasingly See Top-Tier Tech as Powerful Lure in Talent Wars," 07.14.23.
Law.com reports, "Legal departments battling for talent increasingly are finding that if they're not fully embracing the power of technology to boost efficiency and automate rote, dull legal work, the most-sought-after up-and-coming attorneys are passing them by, or becoming so frustrated they quickly exit."
July 14, 2023
- "NCBE Releases Sample Questions for NextGen Bar Exam," 07.12.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "The National Conference of Bar Examiners released the first publicly available samples of two new question types that will be featured on the NextGen bar exam, which is set to launch in 2026."
- "NCBE Publishes First Samples Of New Question Types For NextGen Bar Exam," 07.12.23.
TaxProf Blog has a roundup of articles on this topic.
- "The Next Generation Of Bar Exam Questions: What They Are And Why They Still Suck," 07.13.23.
Joe Patrice from Above the Law shares his thoughts on the new bar exam questions released this week.
- "The 2023 Pro Bono Scorecard: National Report," 07.11.23.
The American Lawyer released their pro bono scorecard this week. Coverage is here and below.
- "'Post-Pandemic Reset' Affects Pro Bono Hours in 2022," 07.11.23.
"Even as industry demand slowed in 2022, pro bono hours, which fell off in 2021, recovered some but failed to return to 2020 levels."
- "Firms Are Beefing Up Pro Bono Teams With Specialists," 07.11.23.
"More Big Law firms are hiring lawyers to focus on specific areas of pro bono work, a move that makes the firms' priorities clear and offers a roadmap for growing other social programs."
- "Justice Is Served: Highlights From Big Law's Year of Impactful Pro Bono," 07.11.23.
The American Lawyer selected 15 pro bono cases that they feel "represent the very best of the legal industry's pro bono efforts in 2022."
- "Gallup: Americans' Confidence In Higher Education Hits All-Time Low," 07.12.23.
TaxProf Blog highlights a new Gallup poll that shows "Americans' confidence in higher education has fallen to 36%, sharply lower than in two prior readings in 2015 (57%) and 2018 (48%)."
- "Law Schools Must Embrace AI," 07.10.23.
Writing in The National Law Journal, Joseph Landau and Ron Lazebnik from Fordham Law School argue that law schools must grapple with artificial intelligence and say "this is the time to engage in strategic thinking and planning so that our students can learn to navigate this evolving landscape now and make important contributions to their fields once they graduate."
- "Ditching the LSAT Won't Fix the Profession, But It's a Good Start," 07.10.20
This op-ed by three lawyers writing for Bloomberg Law argues that "By striking down affirmative action admissions policies, the US Supreme Court has just made it more difficult for law schools to achieve educational equity and produce a diverse new generation of lawyers. Taking a critical look at standardized tests like the LSAT may be one of the best tools left to address the legal profession's diversity problem."
- "Tips for Maximizing the Homestretch of Bar Prep," 07.07.23.
This commentary in Law.com provides "recommendations for maximizing your final weeks of preparation."
- "Anxiety-Inducing Reviews May Hinder Law Firms' Training Efforts," 07.12.23.
The American Lawyer looks at training and performance evaluations at law firms, noting that "With less work to go around, a lack of formal training, and a bad rep around performance reviews, firms are still navigating significant challenges around training."
- "'Rates are Getting Crazy': General Counsel Intensify Calls to Overhaul the Billable Hour," 07.12.23.
Law.com International reports, "Propelled by economic pressures, the pandemic, and the rapid advancement of AI, the billable hour concept is perhaps facing its most serious challenge."
- "Stroock and Nixon Peabody Call Off Merger; Stroock Pursuing Other Combo Candidates," 07.07.23.
Law.com reports, "Stroock and Nixon Peabody have ended negotiations to form a single firm and Stroock has begun pursuing other merger candidates."
- "Ghosting In BigLaw: How To Come Back From Lack Of Feedback," 07.07.23.
NALP member Rachel Patterson, writing for Law360, discusses the issue of new associates being "ghosted" by their supervisors and offers tips for associates to get the feedback they need to succeed. (Subscription required.)
- "Legal Lateral Hiring Slump Continued Into Second Quarter," 07.12.23.
Law360 reports "The pace of law firm lateral recruitment continued to slow during the second quarter of the year, with hiring for counsel and associates declining the most and contributing to an overall 38% drop from the same time period a year ago, according to numbers provided by legal data company Firm Prospects LLC." (Subscription required.)
- "Weil Gotshal to Require Four Days of Office Attendance," 07.11.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Weil, Gotshal & Manges has become the latest New York law firm to require its lawyers to work in the office four days a week, just weeks after Wall Street peers made the same moves."
- "Four-day office rule gains traction among New York law firms," 07.11.23.
Reuters also has the story.
- "Third Major Biglaw Firm To Require 4 Days In Office," 07.11.23.
Above the Law also reports this development, commenting, "The only real question is which other firms will take an iron-fist approach to office attendance. Now that three Biglaw firms are on board, it is officially a trend."
- "New York Law Firms Could Prompt More 4-Day Office Policies," 07.14.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "A recent push toward four days of in-office work has come from big, New York firms, and others could be enticed to follow, analysts say."
- "Law Firm Layoffs Continue Amid Midyear Reviews," 07.10.23.
Law360 reports, "Despite the U.S. economy showing resilience, some law firms across the country have been taking precautionary measures by trimming the ranks of associates and professional staff — sometimes using performance reviews as a means to enact their plans." (Subscription required.)
- "Big Law Partner Recruiting Picks Up Steam in DC," 07.10.23.
The National Law Journal reports on a "flurry" of partner hires in the D.C. area and notes, "In particular, Big Law continues to recruit heavily lawyers with Justice Department experience."
- "Associate Pay Rose at Many Southeast Law Firms, But Some Firms Still Pay Below Median," 07.07.23.
Daily Report picks up recent NALP research and reports, "After multiple rounds of associate pay hikes, several Southeast law firms, including large and midsize law firms in Atlanta, have starting associate salaries that are now at or above the industry standard, while many others in the region still have pay below the median for their size."
- "Big Law Firms Continue Downsizing Office Spaces Amid Hybrid Work Arrangements," 07.07.23.
Law.com reports, "Several big law firms have plans to shrink their Washington, D.C., offices soon, continuing the legal industry trend of smaller and more efficient offices in the wake of the pandemic and hybrid work arrangements."
- "Fox Rothschild to Reduce Phila. Office Space by Over 40%," 07.07.23.
The Legal Intelligencer reports on a similar situation in Philadelphia.
- "The Way Big Law Reacts to Economic Cycles Is Unrealistic, Unhealthy and Inhumane," 07.07.23.
This Law.com op-ed argues that Big Law firms' reactions to economic cycles are bad for associates and clients.
- "US legal jobs neared record levels in June, Labor Dept says," 07.07.23.
Reuters reports, "The U.S. legal services sector added 5,100 jobs in June, nearing a high-water mark that was set just last year, according to Labor Department data released on Friday."
- "What Happened When States Banned Affirmative Action?," 07.12.23.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) summarizes some of the research on the impact of eliminating affirmative action and provides some tips for HR professionals to maintain or increase diversity initiatives.
- "As Affirmative Action Ends, HBCUs Wait or Plan for the Fallout," 07.12.23.
Inside Higher Ed reports that some HBCU leaders "expect a deluge of applications from Black prospective students dismayed by the decision or anticipating being rejected by selective predominantly white institutions in higher numbers. Others believe the projected wave of new students is being overstated and have adopted a wait-and-see approach."
- "Lawyers Must Finish the Work After Affirmative Action's Demise," 07.12.23.
Danielle Holley, dean emerita of Howard Law School, writing for Bloomberg Law, encourages all of us to continue working to diversify the profession: "The end of affirmative action tests how committed we are as a society to providing opportunities for students of all racial backgrounds. Let's pass this test and double-down on our commitment to racial equity."
- "There Are More Disabled Lawyers At Work Than You Think ," 07.11.23.
Law360 reports, "People tend to underestimate the number of disabled lawyers in the workplace, but because many attorneys feel they need to project strength and not weakness, most of them hide their disability, according to several experts." (Subscription required.)
- "Words matter — Can your DEI policies be evidence of (reverse) discrimination claims?," 07.11.23.
Two attorneys writing for Reuters look at some recent cases related to discrimination and provide tips on creating and maintaining lawful DEI initiatives.
- "The High Court Didn't Kill DEI at Work. Employers Shouldn't Waver," 07.11.23.
Two EEOC employees, writing for Bloomberg Law, argue that in spite of the recent ruling against use of affirmative action in college admissions, "employers can — and should — maintain their commitment to advancing DEIA principles in their workplaces."
- "The Next Battle Over Colorblindness Has Begun," 07.10.23.
This opinion piece in The New York Times says, "Last month the Supreme Court sharply curtailed the use of race-based affirmative action in higher education. That's a big deal, but it's by no means the end of the campaign to eliminate race-conscious policies in education and elsewhere. Indeed, it's just the beginning. The next — and even more important — stage of the battle concerns the future of all race-conscious policymaking." (Subscription required.)
- "The future of affirmative action in the workplace," 07.09.23.
Vox.com reports, "The Supreme Court's decision to end affirmative action in college admissions could embolden actors to challenge the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts of employers."
- "SUNY Buffalo Law School faces discrimination complaint over 'students of color' program," 07.08.23.
TaxProf Blog has links to articles in the New York Post, Fox News, and other outlets reporting on "a federal civil-rights complaint against the State University of New York's Buffalo School of Law for running a summer program that gives preference to 'students of color' over white students."
- "No One Is Happy About Diversity Efforts at Work," 07.03.23.
The Wall Street Journal looks at the push/pull of affirmative action and perceived fairness in the workplace and reports that "Turnover in DEI roles is high, with rising layoffs and staff changes. Nearly 30% of workers who began a diversity-related role after mid-2020 have left the field altogether, according to employment data provider Live Data Technologies." (Subscription required.)
- "What Killing Affirmative Action Means for the American Workplace," 07.03.23.
A columnist for Time writes, "when we talk about affirmative action, much of the focus is what it means for colleges and universities, for individual students and their sincere hopes and dreams…. But it also matters a great deal what happens after those accepted to these institutions graduate. If we do not have a diverse group of students reflective of our country on campus, we will not…have a diverse professional workforce."
- "For Staff in Big Law, Supporting Too Many Lawyers Can Be 'Quickest Route to Burnout'," 07.10.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "In an era marked by large group moves in Big Law and widespread mobility, integrating laterals has become a larger responsibility for law firms, and firms are leaning more on professional staff to help laterals adjust to their new offices."
- "New York City's AI Hiring Bias Law Creates Hurdles for Companies," 07.13.23.
Bloomberg Law reports on the ramifications of a new law enacted in New York City that requires employers "to audit artificial intelligence systems for bias when using them in hiring and promotion decisions," noting that "The law comes amid a nationwide push to regulate AI's use at work from both lawmakers and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Illinois and Maryland have laws on the books regulating the use of AI in video job interviews, and other states are weighing their own legislation on AI bias in hiring."
- "Judges' Generative AI Orders Aren't Prompting Firms to Look Inward — Yet," 07.11.23.
Legaltech News reports, "While court orders requiring attorneys to disclose their use of generative AI for legal work aren't prompting many firms to reevaluate their technology products, that could change if such orders start to become more widespread."
- "From Mentorship to Multidisciplinary Collaboration: The Evolution of the Duty to Supervise," 07.11.23.
Olga Mack, writing in Legaltech News, looks at the duty to supervise and how that duty is evolving: "Its roots in mentorship and professional competence have evolved to encompass various responsibilities, including ethical conduct, technological integration, multidisciplinary collaboration, and client-centric approaches."
- "Mastering AI Supervision: A Teachable Skill for Modern Lawyers," 07.12.23.
Part 2 of the series: "Whether you are a seasoned lawyer or a recent law graduate, this guide will arm you with the knowledge and practical strategies you need to adapt to the rapidly evolving AI landscape and champion responsible AI implementation."
- "Unlocking Success in AI Supervision: Cultivating Mindsets and Skills for Lawyers and Measuring Impact," 07.13.23.
And Part 3: "Embracing AI in legal practice requires a comprehensive approach encompassing cultivating the right mindset, acquiring essential skills, and measuring impact."
- "ChatGPT Doesn't Have Ethical Obligations, But Attorneys Do," 07.11.23.
This op-ed in Bloomberg Law says "opting to ignore [generative artificial intelligence] is not the simple solution for lawyers," and offers best practices for responsible adoption of the tools.
- "Generative AI Slated to Shake Up Competition in Big, Midsize Law Market," 07.07.23.
The Legal Intelligencer reports, "Generative AI programs are not pricing out small or midsize law firms from being competitive in the legal market; in fact, law firm leaders and consultants expect a long-term increase in competition from midsize firms as they realize efficiencies from investing in the new technology."
July 7, 2023
- "Biden pledges new path to student loan relief after judicial setback," 06.30.23.
The Washington Post reports, "President Biden said he would take 'a new path' to provide relief for borrowers after the Supreme Court struck down his student loan forgiveness plan Friday."
- "Biden Proposes New Debt-Relief Plan After Supreme Court Rejects Initial Proposal," 06.30.23.
Inside Higher Ed also reports on this story and outlines details of the new plan.
- "Supreme Court Strikes Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness Plan," 06.30.23.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports on the recent ruling and argues, "Industry experts contend that the ruling highlights a need for additional support in tackling student loan debt and could spur a rise in student loan benefits in particular."
- "Young Lawyers Hit by US Supreme Court Rejection of Debt Relief," 07.03.23.
Bloomberg Law interviews some young lawyers about the impact of student debt.
- "Muller: Law Schools Should Rethink Admissions In Light Of The U.S. News Rankings Methodology Changes," 07.06.23.
TaxProf Blog features an article from Derek T. Muller that argues, "[F]ocusing on outputs (employment and bar passage) matters far more than inputs. So that means law schools need to rethink admissions (if they value USNWR rankings) as less about those two categories and more about what the incoming class will do after they graduate."
- "Here Are the Law Schools 'Overperforming' on Bar Passage Rates, According to New Study," 07.06.23.
Law.com reports on a recent Florida Law Review article in which "The authors identified overperforming and underperforming law schools based on the extent to which they surpassed predicted bar success, accounting for the students admitted in each law school cohort and state bar passage averages in the jurisdictions in which their graduates sit for the bar."
- "Hamilton: Student Professional Identity Formation: Building A Tent Of Professional Relationships," 07.06.23.
TaxProf Blog has a link to this Wake Forest Law Review article by Neil Hamilton on student professional identity formation.
- "Conservative legal group threatens to sue law schools over racial preferences," 07.05.23.
Karen Sloan at Reuters reports, "Law schools that give preferences to minorities and women in admissions and hiring risk getting sued by America First Legal, the conservative legal group warned in a letter to 200 U.S. law schools following last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision on affirmative action."
- "Harvard 'legacy' policy challenged on heels of affirmative action ruling," 07.03.23.
Reuters reports, "Three civil rights groups filed a complaint against Harvard on Monday, claiming its preferential policy for undergraduate applicants with family ties to the elite school overwhelmingly benefits white students, days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down its race-conscious admissions policies."
- "Why would anyone want to be a law firm managing partner?," 07.03.23.
This Reuters opinion piece looks at some positive and negative aspects of being a law firm managing partner.
- "GCs Keep Cutting Outside Counsel Panels, as Law Firms See Heightened Competition," 07.03.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "The pandemic may have accelerated the trend of companies winnowing down their lists of preferred providers."
- "Law Firm Mergers May Accelerate in Second Half of 2023," 07.03.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Law firm mergers remain on the rise and are due for 'an acceleration' as the year continues, according to a report on Monday. However, the number of combinations during the first half of 2023 is still below average, and negotiations over potential unions could become more volatile as they involve larger firms, analysts wrote."
- "Law firm mergers ticked up in first half of 2023, report says," 07.03.23.
Reuters also reports on this story, noting, "Law firm mergers are rebounding after deals dropped off during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the 28 mergers of 2023 are below the historical first-half average over the past 10 years."
- "As Law Firm Mergers Get More Complex, Fewer Are Crossing Borders," 07.06.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "Not only is the total in 2023 still below average, as larger and larger firms are gauging more and more complex combinations, but there are also fewer cross-border unions materializing, analysts say."
- "The business of law: keeping up with a dynamic profession," 07.06.23.
Ronald Wood from Major, Lindsey & Africa, writing for Reuters, looks at "how the growth and complexity of modern law firms requires young lawyers and partners alike who seek longevity to be adaptable, learn to develop business and periodically take a sober-eyed assessment of whether the path they're on is leading to their intended destination."
- "Law Firms' In-Office Push Is Pushing Some Parents Out," 07.05.23.
Law360 reports, "Single mother Allison Kite left her law firm and struck out as a solo practitioner after the firm made it clear she was not permitted to work remotely, even on days her daughter was sick or schools were closed due to inclement weather." (Subscription required.)
- "State Court Staffing Woes Reaching 'Crisis Levels'," 06.26.23.
Law360 reports, "In many parts of the country, state court leaders are raising the alarm about staff shortages and a tight job market that is luring away valuable court employees. All the empty seats, along with an influx of less-experienced new hires, are slowing the gears of justice and threatening key court functions, from front-door security checks to final case filings." (Subscription required.)
- "U.S. Supreme Court Decision Does Not Foreclose Legally Compliant DEI Initiatives in Corporate America," 07.06.23.
Corporate Counsel has this opinion piece on how to "review and reanalyze the programs, practices and initiatives in place to ensure they are legally compliant, while still advancing the goal of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within America's workforce."
- "Georgia Law Schools Will See Significant Effects From Affirmative Action Ruling," 07.05.23.
Daily Report looks at the impact the ruling will have on law schools in Georgia.
- "Affirmative action ruling could place target on US corporate diversity programs," 06.30.23.
Reuters reports that last week's affirmative action ruling "has no direct impact on employers because it does not involve workplace bias laws. But in finding that Harvard University and the University of North Carolina unlawfully considered race as a factor in the admissions process, the court may have laid the groundwork for future challenges to corporate diversity initiatives."
- "A Call to Action: Stay Calm and Carry On (Legally) in the Wake of Anti-DEI Directives," 06.30.23.
This opinion piece in The American Lawyer calls for organizations "to remain steadfast in their diversity efforts in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling ending affirmative action in universities."
- "Is It Time to Recruit From More Law Schools Following SCOTUS Affirmative Action Rulings?," 06.30.23.
This LegalSpeak podcast episode from Law.com "discusses the findings of the report and where Big Law firms are moving the needle the most when it comes to DE&I, as well as where they're continuing to fall short."
- "Affirmative Action's Demise Threatens Big Law Diversity Pipeline," 06.30.23.
Bloomberg Law reports on the impact of the Supreme Court's ruling, citing NALP research data, and quoting Executive Director Nikia Gray, who said, "The data doesn't lie to you. It's a way to look at it and really measure your progress and be honest about what progress — or not — is being made."
- "'Don't Run Out the Door in a Moment of Crisis': The Co-Authors of 'How to Leave the Law' Talk Timing Your Exit," 07.06.23.
Law.com interviews the authors of How to Leave the Law about their experiences and "how to know when it's time to seek that new career path."
- "Competitive Necessity, Job Disruptor: Legal Professionals Predict Major Generative AI Impact," 07.06.23.
Legaltech News reports, "Most legal professionals see law firms' use of generative AI as essential to their success, while still believing the technology is likely to replace back-office and support roles across the industry, according to a new report from Wolters Kluwer and Above the Law."
- "New York City Targets AI Use in Hiring: Anti-Bias Law Explained," 07.05.23.
Bloomberg Law has this explainer on the new law in New York City that "prohibits employers from using automated tools to screen candidates unless the software has undergone an independent review to check for bias against protected groups."
- "Law Firms Wooing AI Experts as Clients Demand 'More for Less'," 07.05.23.
Bloomberg Law reports, "As clients demand more for less, law firms are hiring growing numbers of staff who've studied technology not tort law to try and stand out from their rivals."
- "Corporate attorneys don't want to pay law firms for ChatGPT when they could use it themselves," 06.20.23.
Reuters reports on a recent survey from the Thomson Reuters Institute that shows corporate law departments think "Generative AI and public-facing platforms like ChatGPT can and should be used in legal work. Those positive feelings extend to corporate attorneys wanting their outside firms to utilize generative AI — but only if law firms create new value through that technology that the department can't achieve on its own."
- "LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters Weigh In on the Future of AI in Legal Research," 06.30.23.
Legaltech News asked LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters to "weigh in on issues including build vs. buy, which LLMs to use, securing AI talent and more."
- "All AI Isn't Generative AI: Lawyers See Court AI Disclosure Rules as Too Broad," 06.30.23.
Legaltech News looks at recent orders for lawyers to disclose their use of artificial intelligence, noting that "All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Similarly, not all artificial intelligence is generative artificial intelligence."
- "Kirkland & Ellis, K&L Gates, Proskauer Rose Affected in Wide-Ranging Data Hack," 06.30.23.
The American Lawyer reports, "The data of three Am Law 50 firms was accessed in a global data theft operation, according to the ransomware group claiming responsibility for the attack that has compromised the data of millions of individuals."
- "The Law Firm Disrupted: Vulnerabilities at the Office, Vulnerabilities at Home," 07.06.23.
Law.com's Law Firm Disrupted column delves further into this topic, asking, "now we're all back in our offices, and the pace of these intrusions only seems to be escalating. Does that mean the threat of remote work was overblown?"