Weekly News Digest for Legal Career Professionals

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

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



November 20, 2020


    Top Stories

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

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have a lot to teach us about bravely moving forward into a place of authenticity and liberating our thinking from outdated constructs that have held us back for so long."


  3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

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


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

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


  7. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

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


  9. Law Schools and Law Students

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  16. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

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

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

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

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

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


  22. International Law Firms

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

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

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

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


  27. Higher Education

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

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

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

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



November 13, 2020


    Top Stories

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

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

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

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

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


  3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


  18. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

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

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

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


  22. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  31. International Law Firms

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

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

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

  35. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

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


  37. Higher Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



November 6, 2020


    Top Story

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


  2. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

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


  4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


  13. Law Schools and Law Students

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

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

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

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


  17. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

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

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

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

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

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

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


  24. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

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


  26. Higher Education

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



October 30, 2020

Top Stories

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

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

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

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

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


  3. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

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

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

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


  7. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


  19. Law Schools and Law Students

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


  21. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

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

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

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

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

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

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


  28. International Law Firms

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

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

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

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

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


  34. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

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


  36. Higher Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




  45. Past News Digest Issues



    October 23, 2020


      Top Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    3. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

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

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

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

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

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

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


    10. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


    25. Law Schools and Law Students

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

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

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


    29. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    39. International Law Firms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



    October 16, 2020


      Top Stories

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

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

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

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


    4. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

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


    6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


    16. Law Schools and Law Students

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

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

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

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


    21. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    30. International Law Firms

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

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


    33. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

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

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


    36. Higher Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



    October 9, 2020


      Top Stories

    1. "Justice Department Sues Yale University Over Admissions Practices," 10.08.20.
      The Wall Street Journal reports that "the Justice Department filed a lawsuit Thursday against Yale University, alleging the school violated federal civil-rights law by discriminating against Asian-American and white applicants in undergraduate admissions." (Subscription required.)

    2. "Trump Administration Announces Overhaul of H-1B Visa Program," 10.06.20.
      The Wall Street Journal reports that "the Trump administration announced an overhaul of the H-1B visa program for high-skilled foreign workers that will require employers to pay H-1B workers significantly higher wages, narrow the types of degrees that could qualify an applicant and shorten the length of visas for certain contract workers." (Subscription required.)

    3. "Women are leaving the workforce in droves," 10.02.20.
      The Boston Globe reports that "four times more women than men dropped out of the workforce in September, according to economic data released Friday, affirming fears that women's careers are collapsing under the pressures of caring for and educating children through a pandemic."

      1. "The Virus Moved Female Faculty to the Brink. Will Universities Help?," 10.06.20.
        The New York Times reports that the pandemic has made the "issues that women in academia are now facing…more severe…[exacerbating] longstanding gender gaps that already cause universities to hemorrhage female faculty, particularly women of color, and will require measures that go beyond institutional responses to the pandemic."


    4. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

    5. "National Bar Exam Leader Defends Online Test Amid Reports of Tech Failures and Poorly Written Questions," 10.08.20.
      Karen Sloan, writing for Law.com, speaks with Judith A. Gundersen, president and CEO of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, about the first-ever multi-jurisdiction online bar exam that was offered this week "to get her assessment of how things went, address concerns over the content of the online exam's questions, and what she makes of reports that some online test takers were forced to urinate on themselves during the test."

    6. "States Say the Online Bar Exam Was a Success. The Test Taker Who Peed in His Seat Disagrees," 10.07.20.
      Law.com reports that "bar examiners across the country on Wednesday reported that the first large-scale remote bar exam in history went well, and that nearly everyone who sat for the test was able to complete it…[and] most [examinees] did not encounter technical problems." (And the poor headline choice award of the week goes to…)

      1. "The Online Bar Exam Is Over (for Most)-Cue the Postmortem," 10.06.20.
        Law.com reports that "bar examinees across the country continued to face technical problems on the second day of the first-ever national online bar exam, though it appears that the vast majority of the more than 30,000 people taking the test were able to complete it." (More than 30,000 law graduates in 18 jurisdictions took the online bar exam this week.)

      2. "First Day of National Online Bar Exam Goes Off-With Some Hitches," 10.05.20.
        Law.com reports that "three of the five largest bar exam jurisdictions in the country kicked off their online exams on Monday…[with] some technical problems."

    7. "Lowering Bar Exam Cut Scores Will Increase Diversity Without Harming Public," 10.07.20.
      The TaxProf Blog highlights a new article from two academics who conducted an empirical study of all California bar exam takers across 11 years of exams and found that a lower cut score would have substantially reduced the racial and ethnic impacts of the bar exam.

    8. "'Serious Reexamination' of Bar Exam Looms as Grads Sit for Test," 10.06.20.
      Bloomberg Law reports that "as state after state has struggled with how to administer the bar exam in the wake of the pandemic…the traditional bar exam soon could become a thing of the past."

    9. "California Supreme Court Rebuffs Calls to Make Bar Exam Open Book," 10.02.20.
      The Recorder reports that "rejecting a request by 15 law school deans, California's Supreme Court will not make next week's bar exam open book."


    10. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

    11. "Numerical Diversity Hiring Targets Attract Government Scrutiny," 10.08.20.
      The Wall Street Journal reports that "the U.S. Labor Department is investigating companies with federal contracts that have included specific numerical goals in their pledges to increase diversity, arguing that these resemble illegal quotas and could potentially discriminate against white applicants and other groups, according to people familiar with the matter." (Subscription required.)

    12. "5 Legal Tech Tools Keeping Diversity and Inclusion Measures in Motion," 10.08.20.
      Legaltech News provides "a look at some of the legal tech tools developed to foster diversity."

    13. "'We Should Look Like the Communities Where We Work': Firms Sign on to Program to Improve Diversity in Staff," 10.08.20.
      The American Lawyer writes that "with the reinvigoration of D&I efforts fueled by social and racial justice protests that started over the summer and continue today, the momentum is there for firms to start looking beyond focusing solely on affinity groups, inclusion efforts and recruiting diverse candidates in their attorney ranks, but also for the business staff that make running a law firm possible."

    14. "McDonalds Hires Its First-Ever Legal Director for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion," 10.08.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that "McDonalds is looking to hire its first-ever legal director for diversity, equality and inclusion in a push to advance its global work in the area."

    15. "Pointing to 'Pivotal Moment,' Wiley Rein Hires Its First Chief Diversity Officer," 10.07.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Washington, D.C.-based Wiley Rein has created a new chief diversity officer position, bringing on former Deloitte consultant Rashida MacMurray-Abdullah."

    16. "Sidley Austin to Boost Summer Associate Diversity in DOL Pact," 10.06.20.
      Bloomberg Law reports that "Sidley Austin LLP will offer more diversity and inclusion scholarships for summer associates and paid internships in Los Angeles and New York, as part of a settlement with the U.S. Labor Department."

      1. "Sidley Austin will provide scholarships, internships to law students to settle Labor Department diversity probe," 10.08.20.
        More on this important story from the ABA Journal.

    17. "Diversity Is Not Socially Distanced," 10.05.20.
      This commentary piece in Corporate Counsel argues that "diversity in hiring is suffering from social distancing [and call on] general counsel and human resources leaders to double down on their commitment to sourcing candidates thoroughly and creatively."

    18. "The psychological obstacles to achieving diversity in the legal profession," 10.01.20.
      A law firm partner, writing for the ABA Journal, identifies "some psychological factors standing in the way of progress [in the face of] the legal profession's failure to retain women and minorities [despite the fact that] law firms genuinely want their diversity numbers to improve."


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

    20. "Lawyer Mental Health Is Facing Its Greatest Challenge, But Increased Empathy May Be the Byproduct," 10.02.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the mental health of lawyers and law firm staff—an already precarious thing—and placed it in a more fragile state."


    21. Law Schools and Law Students

    22. "Davis Polk Delivers $500,000 Grant to Columbia-Sponsored Legal Clinic in Harlem," 10.07.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Davis Polk & Wardwell issued a grant of $500,000 [to] a Columbia Law School program, staffed by students, that provides free legal advice for nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs and community groups in Harlem."

    23. "Fall 2021 Law School Admissions Season Opens With A Bang: Applicants Are Up Over 35%, With Biggest Increases Among The Highest LSAT Bands," 10.05.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that "law school applicants are up 30.5%, and the number of LSAT scores are up 26.9%."

      1. "Applicants Flock to Elite Business Schools to Ride Out the Coronavirus Pandemic," 09.29.20.
        The Wall Street Journal reports that "applications to some top-tier M.B.A. programs are soaring this year after schools extended application deadlines and loosened their standardized testing requirements amid the Covid-19 pandemic." (Subscription required.)


    24. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

    25. "Skadden, Goodwin Pass on Fall Bonuses," 10.08.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Goodwin Procter both announced late Thursday they will forego fall bonuses, electing to keep their original bonus schedules."

      1. "As Some Leading Firms Abstain for Now, Are the Fall Bonus Wars Over?," 10.07.20.
        More on the current bonus season from The American Lawyer: "It appears that firms are no longer falling in line to match fall bonuses."

      2. "Paul Weiss: COVID-19 Bonuses 'Would Not Be Appropriate'," 10.06.20.
        The American Lawyer reports that "Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison has joined other high-earning firms such as Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Kirkland & Ellis in electing not to issue special "COVID-19? bonuses to its employees, citing concerns over how such an action would resonate with its clientele."

    26. "Dragged Down by Finance and Energy, the Lateral Market Has Cratered," 10.08.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "the lateral market has seen a 30% year-over-year drop in activity, with a select few areas such as bankruptcy and data privacy actually seeing more movement amid the pandemic."

    27. "Baker Botts Lays Off 50 Staff, Citing Pandemic-Driven Business Changes," 10.08.20.
      The Texas Lawyer reports that "Baker Botts will cut 50 staff firmwide on Oct. 15 due to a 'fundamental workplace shift,' joining a number of other Am Law 200 firms in eliminating positions as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect firm business and operations."

    28. "Sheppard Mullin Conducts Staff Layoffs, Restores Pay," 10.06.20.
      Law.com reports that "Sheppard Mullin has joined several other law firms in making a combination of compensation and staffing decisions amid the ongoing and uncertain COVID-19 climate," laying off 22 of the 44 staff it had previously furloughed and rolling back any remaining pay cuts.

    29. "Big Law Doing More Than Dabbling in New Law, Report Finds," 10.06.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "thirty-five firms out of the Am Law 100 have launched captive alternative legal service providers."

    30. "New Virtual Firm Grows With Talent From Big Law," 10.06.20.
      Law.com reports that amid the remote working environment, virtual law firms have been expanding their ranks, and takes a look at San Francisco-founded Scale where 30 of the firm's 40 lawyers have worked in Am Law 100 firms and have joined the firm since the pandemic struck.

    31. "A Different World: For Attorneys, It's Not the Same Job at an ALSP," 10.06.20.
      This piece from Legaltech News looks at what career progression and advancement look like for lawyers working at alternative legal service providers: "lawyers in ALSPs are being told to think less like an attorney and more like a business."

    32. "Big Law Firms Prosper Despite Covid-Impaired Economy," 10.05.20.
      The Wall Street Journal reports that "many large law firms have excelled financially this year, even as some clients in sectors ranging from hospitality to retail have suffered, [and noting that] the most elite firms say they are on track for a record year." (Subscription required.)

    33. "'I Don't Think Money Is the Answer': How Firms Can Preserve Young Talent," 10.05.20.
      In this fourth installment of a four-part series looking at how actions firm have taken during the pandemic are negatively impacting younger lawyers, The American Lawyer writes that "firms still rely heavily on basic monetary compensation to show appreciation and inspire loyalty," though experts argue that is not the path to success.

    34. "COVID-19 is Driving Long-Term Changes in Big Law for Remote Work, Fees, Hiring," 10.05.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "law firms are undergoing deep evaluations on how to adjust their business operations, changes that will likely come sooner because of the pandemic."

    35. "How Law Firms Are Handling the 'Most Interesting' Budgeting Season in Years," 10.05.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that law firms are facing a great deal of uncertainty as they try to game various scenarios for 2021, including the prospect of lower expenses and lower income for the foreseeable future.

    36. "Why lawyers can't jump: the innovation crisis in law," 10.04.20.
      This post in the Legal Evolution blog argues that "the legal profession suffers from a paucity of innovators, a tendency to package minor changes as major innovations, confusion about the origins and elements of innovation, and cultural and personal traits that inhibit or outright quash innovation."

    37. "Lateral Associate Hiring Has Overtaken Organic Hiring, Reflecting Big Law's Hunger for Immediate Growth," 10.05.20.
      The American Lawyer reports on last week's release of the "Keeping the Keepers IV" report by the NALP Foundation and Major, Lindsey & Africa, noting that "associates are [now] more likely to be hired laterally than through the typical, organic entry-level hiring process."

      1. "Sounding the alarm on associate attrition," 10.02.20.
        More on the NALP Foundation's latest associate attrition report from Reuters.

    38. "New C-Suite Role Gains Steam in Big Law, as Lathrop Adds Position for Client Service," 10.02.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that more and more large law firms are adding a chief client officer role to their C-Suite.


    39. International Law Firms

    40. "Axiom Cuts Headcount in Germany and Switzerland," 10.08.20.
      Law.com International reports that "flexi-lawyer firm Axiom has cut some of its staff following a reorganisation of its sales, client and lawyer support teams in Germany and Switzerland."

    41. "BCLP Cuts 4% of Headcount, Reorganises Practice Areas and Restores Salaries," 10.07.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has cut 4% of its global workforce since commencing a strategic review of its business last year, alongside reorganising its practice groups."

    42. "Singapore Launches 10-year Road Map to Encourage Innovation in the Legal Sector," 10.05.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Singapore's Ministry of Law has launched a 10-year plan, called the Technology and Innovation Roadmap (TIR), aimed at encouraging and supporting its legal industry and aspiring law students in their embrace of technology and innovation."


    43. Higher Education

    44. "Diversity Work, Interrupted," 10.07.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "some institutions have begun to cancel diversity, equity and inclusion programs in response to a Trump order."

      1. "Colleges Comb Diversity Programs for Content That Could Trigger Feds," 10.07.20.
        More on this from The Chronicle of Higher Education, noting that the Trump administration order banning certain topics from diversity-and-inclusion training programs provided by federal contractors and federal grantees has colleges and universities scrambling to review the content of their diversity training programs. (Subscription required.)

    45. "Study: Black Borrowers More Likely to Never Be Able to Repay Student Debt," 10.06.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that according to a new study from JPMorgan Chase, "Black student loan borrowers are twice as likely as white borrowers to be projected to never be able to pay off their student loan debt, a result of systemic inequities in society."

    46. "Trend Shows Judges Refusing to Dismiss Cases Against Universities Demanding COVID-19 Refunds," 10.05.20.
      Law.com reports that "several judges have come out with the first rulings from among hundreds of class actions seeking refunds for university and college tuition and fees tied to the COVID-19 shutdowns, [noting that] most of them have refused to dismiss claims of breach of contract."



    October 2, 2020


      Top Stories

    1. "The covid-19 recession is the most unequal in modern U.S. history," 09.30.20.
      The Washington Post provides infographics that show "job losses from the pandemic overwhelmingly impacted low-wage, minority workers [and] seven months into the recovery, Black women, Black men and mothers to school-aged children are taking the longest time to regain their employment."

    2. "Most People Can't Afford Legal Help. 1 Reformer Wants To Change That," 09.29.20.
      This piece from NPR's Planet Money argues that the currently unfolding bar exam disaster "offers an opportunity to reconsider how we regulate the practice of law in America." ("With Barmageddon fast approaching, law school graduates may soon face something even scarier than a dysfunctional remote test: a future in which they have to compete with other professionals in providing legal help.") (Hat tip to Michelle Gage for this one.)


    3. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

    4. "Americans Want In-Person Bar Exams, Poll Finds," 09.30.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "a new poll commissioned by the National Conference of Bar Examiners finds that the vast majority of Americans support the requirement that new lawyers pass the bar before they can practice law."

    5. "Judge Denies Law Grads' Suit Over Bar Exam Accommodations," 09.30.20.
      The Recorder reports that "a federal magistrate judge on Wednesday rejected a plea by three disabled law school graduates to take next week's [California] bar exam at home instead of in-person at a remote testing location."

    6. "Law Profs, Students Ask Georgia Justices to Halt Next Week's Online Bar Exam," 09.30.20.
      According to the Daily Report, a group of law school faculty members and law students have asked the Georgia Supreme Court to take steps to change or postpone the bar exam plans in place for next week.

    7. "Critics Say DC's New Diploma Privilege Was 'Designed to Fail.' These Examinees Want to Fix It," 09.28.20.
      The National Law Journal reports that "a group of eight examinees on Friday filed an emergency petition with the U.S. District of Columbia Court of Appeals asking for a rule change to an examination waiver program that the court rolled out a day earlier…[asking] the court to instead impose a six-month supervised practice period, which they say is more in line with other jurisdictions…[arguing that DC's] three-year requirement is too onerous and will dramatically limit the number of people who opt for the examination waiver."

      1. "DC Won't Expand Diploma Privilege Program. 'We Feel Like Laboratory Test Subjects,' Examinees Say.," 09.29.20.
        Law.com reports that "the District of Columbia Court of Appeals will not alter the limited diploma privilege program it unveiled last week, as a group of bar examinees had requested."

    8. "Pa. Diploma Privilege Bill Is a Hail Mary Pass for Law Grads," 09.24.20.
      The Legal Intelligencer reports that three diploma privilege bills introduced last week by state lawmakers in Pennsylvania.


    9. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

    10. "Truth and Reconciliation in the Legal Profession," 10.01.20.
      In the October issue of the NALP Bulletin, James Leipold writes that "we have prioritized outcomes for white people over Black people in the legal profession, whether explicitly or implicitly, whether deliberately or inadvertently, there has been systemic preference and advantage for white law school graduates over Black law school graduates, and for white lawyers over Black lawyers."

    11. "Can Shareholder Derivative Lawsuits Help Move the Needle on Corporate Board Diversity?," 10.01.20.
      The Recorder reprints an article from Litigation Daily that reports on the growing number of shareholder derivative lawsuits seeking to force companies to diversify their corporate boards.

    12. "Microsoft Recognizes Perkins Coie, Latham & Watkins for Diversity Efforts," 09.30.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that "Microsoft Corp.'s Law Firm Diversity Program, which has been operating for 12 years, continues to spur changes within the law firms that handle [its] legal matters…on Wednesday recognized two of its outside firms, Perkins Coie and Latham & Watkins, for standing out among the other 12 to 15 firms that participate in the diversity program."

    13. "12 Global Financial Services General Counsel Call for Greater Diversity & Inclusion in Legal Profession," 09.30.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that "the legal leaders of 12 financial institutions published an open letter Wednesday calling for greater inclusivity in the legal profession and laying out three pillars to further diversity and inclusion initiatives."

    14. "'For White People': Watch the Video as Black Lawyers Open Up About Microaggressions," 09.29.20.
      This Law.com podcast, the first in a series of roundtable discussions on racism in the legal profession, focuses on the "sustained trauma" caused by microaggressions toward Black attorneys in the workplace. (Podcast)

    15. "Nine Steps to Building a Truly Effective Women's Affinity Group," 09.29.20.
      Lauren Stiller Rikleen, writing for The American Lawyer, argues that "a women's affinity group should craft a framework to identify and rectify impediments to success," and provides nine suggestions for doing so.

    16. "Necessary Numbers: Lack of Diversity Data in Complex Practice Areas Leads to Exclusion," 09.25.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports on diversity disparities between different practice groups: "Bankruptcy, along with life sciences and intellectual property practices, for example, are historically led by white male attorneys."

    17. "General Counsel Share Their Side of the Diversity Hiring Story," 09.25.20.
      This piece in Corporate Counsel looks at some of the challenges facing GCs as they try to push for more diversity on all fronts.


    18. Law Schools and Law Students

    19. "Should Law Schools 'Cancel' SCOTUS Titan John Marshall?," 10.01.20.
      Law.com reports that "both the University of Illinois at Chicago John Marshall Law School and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law have formed committees to weigh removing the name of early U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, in light of new research that he owned hundreds of slaves."

    20. "Atlanta's John Marshall Starts Scholarship Foundation Ahead of Nonprofit Conversion," 10.01.20.
      According to the Daily Report, "Atlanta's John Marshall Law School has established a nonprofit foundation to provide scholarships to students in financial need as part of its push to convert to nonprofit status."

    21. "Most Firms Are Failing the Climate Change Test, Law Student Group Concludes," 10.01.20.
      Law.com reports that a newly formed Yale-based student group, Law Students for Climate Accountability, has released its Climate Change Scorecard, which assigns a letter grade to each Vault 100 firm based upon their climate-related litigation, transactional, and lobbying work.

    22. "Back to (Law) School, COVID-Style," 10.01.20.
      This Slaw post by the Dean of the law school at the University of Western Ontario, reflects on the challenges and silver linings of the start of the new school year during the pandemic.

    23. "LSSSE: New Research Provides Insight Into Diversity And Inclusion In Law School," 09.30.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports on the release of the latest Law School Survey of Student Engagement findings, including data from a new Diversity and Inclusiveness Module that LSSSE began offering this year; among the most significant findings is that "almost a quarter (23%) of Black law students believe their schools do 'very little' to foster support for racial/ethnic diversity on campus, compared to just 6.8% of White students."

      1. "New report looks at how law students view their schools' diversity work," 09.30.20.
        More on the new LSSSE findings from the ABA Journal: "Law schools say they are focused on improving diversity. But students still feel marginalized based on race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status."

    24. "Penn Law Nets $50 Million Donation to Support Public Interest Students," 09.29.20.
      The Legal Intelligencer reports that the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School has received a $50 million from the Robert and Jane Toll Foundation that will go toward scholarships and fellowship opportunities for students pursuing public interest careers.

    25. "Suffolk Is Twelfth Law School To Offer Hybrid Online J.D.," 09.25.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that Suffolk University Law School has launched a pioneering new hybrid JD program.


    26. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

    27. "Law Firm Merger Activity Appears to Be Bouncing Back," 10.01.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "according to an Altman Weil report released Thursday, Q3 saw 20 law firm merger announcements, a sharp increase from the seven mergers that took place in Q2, and a slight one compared to the 17 combinations in Q1…but overall, the number of mergers this year remains significantly lower than they were in 2019."

    28. "Minnesota will launch legal paraprofessional pilot program," 10.01.20.
      The ABA Journal reports that "Minnesota is joining the gradually growing roster of states allowing nonlawyers to handle some legal tasks in hopes of providing greater access to justice." ("The Minnesota Supreme Court issued an order Tuesday approving a pilot project that will permit 'legal paraprofessionals' to provide legal services in two practice areas with a high percentage of self-represented litigants: landlord-tenant disputes and family law.")

    29. "Kirkland Again Tops New Partner Promotion Record," 10.01.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that Kirkland & Ellis announced Thursday that it has promoted 145 new partners.

    30. "'We Decided to Create Change': 3 Ex-Big Law Vets Launch New Black-Owned Firm," 09.30.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "three Black veterans of ill-fated Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht have joined together to launch a new firm in New York City, with the dual aims of delivering top-quality legal services and nurturing diverse talent."

    31. "Starved of Professional Development, Minority Associates Are Fleeing Big Firms, Report Finds," 09.30.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "minority associates are leaving law firms at higher rates and much earlier in their careers when compared with their white colleagues as minority associates become disillusioned with their firms' attempts at professional development," according to a new report from the NALP Foundation.

      1. "Law firms lost 15 associates for every 20 they hired, NALP Foundation study finds," 10.01.20.
        More on the NALP Foundation's Keeping the Keepers study from the ABA Journal.

    32. "Fall Bonuses Split Big Law, as More Holdouts Emerge," 09.30.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "fall bonuses continue to divide the legal industry, as more firms announce rewards for work done during the pandemic, while rivals-such as Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Kirkland & Ellis-have found common ground against the concept."

    33. "First-Ever Virtual Summers Liked Substantive Work Best-But Wanted More Food," 09.29.20.
      The Daily Report parses the responses to The American Lawyer's 2020 Summer Associate Survey from summer associates at big law firms in the Southeast.

    34. "The New Abnormal: How Firms and Lawyers Can Adapt to the Pandemic-Altered Present," 09.28.20.
      The Young Lawyer Editorial Board of The American Lawyer offers some suggestions for what firms and attorneys can do to help adjust to protracted periods of remote working.

    35. "Law Firm Culture Will Determine Whether Younger Attorneys Sink, Swim or Simply Float Away," 09.28.20.
      In this third installment of a four-part series looking at how actions firms have taken during the pandemic are negatively impacting younger lawyers, The American Lawyer writes that "competition for talent is growing more fierce as more junior attorneys realize they have options outside of their current firms or even away from Big Law, and culture plays a larger role than ever in firms attracting and retaining the talent that can push them ahead of their competitors."

    36. "Is Remote Hiring a Way to Explore Expansion? Some Firm Leaders Think So," 09.28.20.
      The Legal Intelligencer reports that "some law firm leaders are trying to capitalize on the new environment by focusing their hiring on remote lawyers, which allows them to optimize the space they have and to keep overhead low while continuing to expand into new markets."

    37. "Despite Drawbacks, Firms Push Ahead With Remote, Outsourced Support Staff," 09.28.20.
      Legaltech News reports that "more law firms are turning to remote and outsource models to support their administrative tasks."

      1. "Thompson & Knight Outsources Document Processing, Marketing Work," 09.28.20.
        The Texas Lawyer reports that "Thompson & Knight will open an administrative center in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday to handle business services in partnership with Williams Lea, as the Texas firm is the latest Am Law 200 firm to outsource back-office tasks, a trend that has accelerated with the COVID-19 pandemic."

    38. "Law Firm Leasing Activity Plunged in the First Half as Shutdowns Hit Major Cities," 09.25.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "law firm leasing activity has slowed by nearly a third in the first six months of 2020 when compared to 2019 as the novel coronavirus pandemic forces firms to reckon with how they use office space."

      1. "'Law Firms Simply Do Not Need the Physical Space They Currently Occupy': Taylor English's Chris Wilson on Why Offices Are Becoming Obsolete," 09.25.20.
        And Law.com has this related podcast.

    39. "Arizona Firms Quietly Explore Opportunities From Ownership Rules Change," 09.25.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "in Arizona, the first state in the U.S. to do away with the prohibition on nonlawyer ownership of firms, attorneys in midsize and large firms are…quietly forming committees to explore the prospect of their own businesses being transformed."


    40. International Law Firms

    41. "Ince Axes 50 Staff In Latest Cost-Cutting Drive," 10.01.20.
      Law.com International reports that "U.K. listed law firm Ince has laid off 50 employees, including fee-earners, as the firm looks to make further cuts in costs."

    42. "Japan: Lawyers and Big Business in the Land of No Lockdown," 09.29.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Japan's legal industry has faced unique challenges in its attempts to continue functioning normally… [including] working around a proud commuter tradition, overcoming 'ancient' IT systems to work remotely, and shifting away from long held practices of 'being seen to be working'."

    43. "A&O-Backed LawTech Centre Launches University Degree in Northern Ireland," 09.28.20.
      Law.com International reports that "the University of Ulster's legal innovation centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has launched a new degree offering to bridge the gap between lawyers and legal technologists." ("…the centre's new degree offering hopes to shape lawyers who are well-versed in legal tech as well as the traditional law.")

    44. "Six Months On: How Germany's Legal Industry Has Faced the Pandemic," 09.28.20.
      Law.com International reports that "major German law firms are confident of a return to normality amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, buoyed by the rapid adoption of digitisation and remote work."

    45. "Australian Law Firms Are Tapping Into Non-Legal Services to Bolster Growth," 09.25.20.
      Law.com International reports that "law firms in Australia are expanding their consulting offerings to tap into what they say is clients' desire for broader advice and services."


    46. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

    47. "Fall Hiring in Full Swing Despite Pandemic: September 2020 In-House Moves," 09.30.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that despite COVID, "chief legal officer and general counsel posts are still being filled."


    48. Higher Education

    49. "CDC Cites Rise in Young Adults With COVID-19," 09.30.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "the number of young adults with COVID-19 rose by 55 percent from early August to early September, as most colleges were bringing students back to their campuses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new report published Tuesday."

    50. "An Especially Stressful Time for Dreamers," 09.30.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "undocumented immigrant college students, or Dreamers, are experiencing higher levels of anxiety about their legal status and increased financial and personal stresses due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey."

    51. "Colleges: Financial Toll of Coronavirus Worse Than Anticipated," 09.29.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "the coronavirus pandemic has taken an even deeper financial toll on colleges and universities than expected."



    September 25, 2020


      Top Story

    1. "How Did a Young, Unknown Lawyer Change the World?," 09.24.20.
      Linda Greenhouse, writing for The New York Times, tries to assess Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's accomplishment: "She envisioned a world different from the one she had grown up in, a better world in which gender was no obstacle to women's achievement, to their ability to dream big and to realize their aspirations. Then she set out to use the law to usher that world into existence."


    2. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

    3. "District of Columbia Adopts Diploma Privilege in Bar Exam's 11th Hour," 09.24.20.
      Law.com reports that "the District of Columbia Court of Appeals on Thursday adopted a diploma privilege program that will allow recent law graduates to be admitted to practice without taking the bar exam, provided they practice under the supervision of a local attorney for three years." (Utah, Washington, Oregon and Louisiana have already taken similar measures.)

    4. "Cheating. Frozen Computers. Typing Lags. Bar Examinees Raise Red Flags Over Looming Online Test," 09.23.20.
      The New York Law Journal reports that in a letter to the New York State Board of Law Examiners this week, examinees registered for the online exam that will be offered Oct. 5 and 6 urged bar authorities to move to an open-book, unproctored exam or a diploma privilege system, citing multiple technical and security issues with the online exam as planned.

    5. "California State Bar exam, delayed amid pandemic, becomes contentious," 09.22.20.
      The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the many challenges facing California bar exam would-be test takers, with law grads battling recent fire-related displacements in addition to the pandemic and uncertainty over an online exam.

    6. "Bar exam in hotel rooms offered test-takers social distancing and private bathrooms," 09.22.20.
      The ABA Journal reports on the recent administration of the bar exam in Texas, where "each candidate took the test in his or her own [hotel] room with their doors open while proctors patrolled the floors, offering technical assistance and watching for any testing irregularities."

    7. "Supreme Court Attorney Proposes Alternative Bar License Path for Recent Law Grads," 09.18.20.
      The Recorder reports that "the principal attorney to [California] Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye on Friday floated the idea of allowing some law school graduates who failed past bar exams to become fully licensed lawyers without attempting to pass the test again if they complete a two-year supervised practice program."


    8. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

    9. "A Movement, Not a Moment: Law Firms Need to Discuss Racial Inequality Now," 09.24.20.
      A law firm COO and a law firm HR and operations manager, writing together for The Legal Intelligencer, urge that "the time has come for firms to get with it and really get talking about the social injustices and racial inequalities that continue to plague our firms."

    10. "Could Mergers Be a Solution to Big Law's Lack of Diversity?," 09.23.20.
      The American Lawyer suggests that large law firms might be able to at least partially solve their diversity problem by merging with women and minority owned firms.

    11. "In-House Counsel Share How They Help Create Diverse Pipeline to Leadership Roles," 09.22.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports on the proceedings at the California Minority Counsel Program's virtual conference that took place this week, where a panel agreed that "general counsel and in-house attorneys with management responsibilities should play a greater role in identifying and fostering underrepresented talent who have the potential to assume leadership roles."

      1. "Women of Color in Corporate Legal Speaking Out on Racial Justice Could Lead to Systemic Change," 09.23.20.
        More on the California Minority Counsel Program from Corporate Counsel: "Women of color being given a greater opportunity to speak out on racial injustice and a greater willingness of others to sit and learn in their discomfort will move the needle in corporate diversity and inclusion efforts."

    12. "Hispanic Representation: How BigLaw Can Do Better," 09.22.20.
      Law360 writes that "as law firms look to create diverse and inclusive workplaces, it will be vital for them to address the current stark underrepresentation of Hispanic and Latino lawyers, who make up only 2.5% of firm partners while accounting for just over 18% of the US population."

    13. "Inclusion in Law Firms Should Be About Everyone-Not Just Lawyers," 09.18.20.
      This American Lawyer opinion piece argues that "by failing to address the need for enterprise-wide D&I…law firms are only partially delivering on the full commitment that clients want and expect."


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

    15. "The Pandemic Is Affecting Young Lawyer Mental Health, and Secrecy at Firms Doesn't Help," 09.23.20.
      The American Lawyer reports on the spike in anxiety and depression among young lawyers, writing that opaque law firm communications often exacerbate the situation.

    16. "New Report Addresses Mental Health of Students of Color," 09.22.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports on the publication of a new report that "addresses the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and economic fallout on the mental health of young people of color."


    17. Law Schools and Law Students

    18. "Seattle Is Eleventh Law School To Offer Hybrid Online J.D.," 09.24.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that Seattle University School of Law will offer a new part-time hybrid-online JD program, starting fall 2021.

    19. "UCLA Law Secures Record-Breaking Gift From Native American Tribe," 09.23.20.
      The Recorder reports that "the University of California at Los Angeles has secured the single largest donation on record from a Native American tribe to a law school—$15 million that will fund full-ride scholarships for students who aspire to careers in tribal law."

    20. "You accepted a clerkship; now what? A to-do list for before your first day," 09.23.20.
      A civil litigator and former law clerk, writing for the ABA Journal, offers "advice to incoming clerks on what they should do to prepare for the experience."

    21. "Online LSAT Gets a Thumbs Up From Law Schools," 09.22.20.
      Law.com reports that "in a recent survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep, 92% of responding admissions officers said they will evaluate applicants equally whether they took the traditional Law School Admission Test or the shorter, online version dubbed the LSAT-Flex."

    22. "Wyoming Law Shifts Online Amid COVID-19 Outbreak," 09.21.20.
      Law.com reports that "the University of Wyoming College of Law appears to be the first law school in the country to shift classes online due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among its students."


    23. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

    24. "How Can Law Firms Thank Associates Without 'Throwing Money at Them'?," 09.25.20.
      The American Lawyer asks, "given the precariousness of the COVID economy, and the damage it has wreaked, are there other ways firms can show appreciation for their associates when bonuses are out of the question?"

    25. "BigLaw Firms Are Divided On When To Onboard First-Years," 09.23.20.
      Law360 reports that "postponed bar exams and other coronavirus-spurred challenges have created a divide in how BigLaw is approaching first-year associate start dates…many firms have pushed off those dates [while others] are moving forward with onboarding in the fall."

    26. "For 2020 Summer Associates, Social Events Went Virtual, and Sometimes Quirky," 09.23.20.
      The Texas Lawyer takes a look at some of the virtual summer events Texas firms dreamed up for their virtual summer associates, including "high-stakes trivia competitions, mixology classes and virtual tours of the homes of lawyers who collect art."

    27. "How Midsize Firms Fit Summer Associates Into the New Normal," 09.23.20.
      The Legal Intelligencer reports on the small, successful, virtual summer programs at two Pennsylvania firms: "For smaller firms with a smaller summer class, there were fewer anxious students to reassure, but the communication was still crucial."

    28. "Concerns Over Burnout and Retention Arise, Even as Firms Improve Collaboration," 09.23.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that a new report from Robert Half finds that despite the efficiencies created by new technologies and remote work, morale has suffered during the pandemic, and managers worry about keeping top talent.

    29. "Sullivan & Cromwell, Debevoise, Simpson Thacher Roll Out Bonuses," 09.22.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Sullivan & Cromwell, Debevoise & Plimpton and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett have all rolled out special fall bonuses for their associates, as some firms continue to wade into the bonus war."

    30. "The 2020 Global 200: Ranked by Revenue," 09.21.20.
      The American Lawyer publishes it's annual ranking of 200 global law firms by gross revenue, with Kirkland again sitting comfortably atop the list, and noting that "one hundred and thirty-nine of the firms have more lawyers in the United States than anywhere else, while 25 have the greatest proportion of their lawyers in the United Kingdom."

      1. "For the Global 200, Last Year Was the Calm Before the Storm," 09.21.20.
        The American Lawyer provides analysis of its Global 200 rankings data, writing that "before the world was transformed in 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic, the global legal industry turned in another strong year in 2019."

      2. "The 2020 Global 100: Ranked by Profits Per Equity Partner," 09.21.20.
        More from The American Lawyer, with Wachtell again comfortably atop this list of the 200 largest global law firms ranked by profits per equity partner.

      3. "The 2020 Global 200: Ranked by Head Count," 09.21.20.
        And Dentons sits comfortably atop The American Lawyer's ranking of the 200 largest global law firms arrayed by lawyer headcount.

    31. "'The Best You Could Do': Summer Associates Rate Their Unusual, COVID-Influenced Experiences," 09.21.20.
      The American Lawyer reports on the results of its latest Summer Associate Survey, which measured summer satisfaction during the pandemic: "Most summers surveyed agreed that their firms made the most of the experience."

    32. "How Market Perception Fuels Leadership Behavior During a Downturn," 09.21.20.
      In the second of a four-part series looking at how actions firms have taken during the pandemic are negatively impacting younger lawyers, The American Lawyer writes that as part of a multipronged effort to manage reputation during the pandemic slowdown, "some firms have started to essentially award retention bonuses to associates in order to keep them happy during a down time."

    33. "Midsize Firms Are Weathering the Storm, but Must Remain Vigilant," 09.18.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "according to a survey by Citi Private Bank's Law Firm Group covering the first half of the year, firms outside the Am Law 200 saw revenue decline by 0.5% year over year, while demand was down 2.2%."

    34. "Seyfarth Joins Firms Balancing Layoffs With Restored Compensation," 09.18.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Seyfarth joins Baker McKenzie, Davis Wright Tremaine, Nixon Peabody, Squire Patton Boggs and Venable on a list of firms that in recent weeks have cut staff positions-with Baker McKenzie also shedding lawyers-while fully or partially restoring pay to professionals and attorneys alike."

    35. "Divergent Paths on Bonuses: Irell Matches Davis Polk as Kirkland Opts Out," 09.18.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Irell & Manella is the latest firm to match the fall associate bonus scale set by Davis Polk & Wardwell, while Kirkland & Ellis has reportedly announced that it won't be entering the fray."

    36. "Partners Are Richer Than Ever. But Happier?," 09.18.20.
      Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, tries to find meaning in the data from the most recent MLA partner comp survey and concludes that money does not buy happiness.

    37. "Futurist for Hire - Alt-Legal Jobs React to Recession," 09.18.20.
      Bloomberg Law reports about the future of "alternative legal" jobs for lawyers, including roles in e-Discovery, legal operations, project management, compliance and privacy.


    38. International Law Firms

    39. "How to Improve Diversity at The Bar," 09.24.20.
      A barrister in the UK, writing for Law.com International, shares practices that can be used to increase the number of black and minority ethnic barristers.

    40. "Freshfields Hands Out Special US Associate Bonuses," 09.24.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has joined the throng of U.S. outfits handing out special bonuses to its associates in the country."

    41. "Freshfields Makes History With Female Senior Partner As New-Look Top Team Elected," 09.24.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has appointed a new-look senior leadership team, led by current Asia managing partner Georgia Dawson as its next senior partner. Dawson makes history as the firm's first female senior partner and is one of few women to be appointed to the position across top international firms."

    42. "In Australia, Law Firms Have Stayed Busy, With No Signs of Slowing," 09.21.20.
      Law.com International reports that "law firms-and, indeed, the broader Australian economy-have held up comparatively well in the face of the global crisis."


    43. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

    44. "Historic Utah and Arizona Changes Have Legal Marketplaces, Tech Providers Eyeing Expansions," 09.21.20.
      Legaltech News, following up on Utah and Arizona's August announcements allowing nonlawyers to provide some legal services in their states, reports that "for companies that were already providing legal services for consumers and small businesses, the Utah and Arizona decisions provided new opportunities to expand into markets that have been repeatedly documented as lacking access to lawyers."


    45. Higher Education

    46. "Major Changes to Student Visa Rules Proposed," 09.25.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "the Trump administration is set to publish a new proposed rule today that would set fixed terms of up to four years for student visas and establish procedures for international students to apply to extend their stay and continue studying in the United States."

    47. "A First Look at Fall Enrollment Shows a 2.5% Dip Among Undergraduates," 09.24.20.
      The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, released on Thursday, shows a 2.5-percent dip in undergraduate attendance this fall." (Subscription required.)

    48. "More Bad News for the SAT," 09.23.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that more than half of the people registered to take the SAT in September and October, hundreds of thousands of students, will not be able to do so because testing sites remain closed due to the pandemic.



    September 18, 2020

      The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

    1. "New York's Diploma Privilege Bill Looks Dead, but Lawmakers Continue to Push the Court," 09.16.20.
      The New York Law Journal reports that "state lawmakers are once again trying to persuade the New York Court of Appeals to adopt a diploma privilege option that would allow law graduates to be licensed without taking the bar exam—after their legislative approach appears to have failed."

    2. "Law Grads With Disabilities Sue State Bar Over Exam Accommodations," 09.15.20.
      The Recorder reports that "three law school graduates with disabilities have sued California's state bar and the National Conference of Board Examiners, alleging that the organizations are forcing them to take the October bar exam in person in violation of state and federal disability laws."

    3. "Law Grad Says He's Being Retaliated Against For Bar Exam Criticism," 09.15.20.
      The Daily Report writes that a Florida International University law graduate who has been a vocal critic of the Florida Board of Bar Examiner's handling of the bar exam is facing a character and fitness challenge to his Florida bar application.

    4. "Make October's Bar Exam Open-Book, California Law Deans Tell Justices," 09.14.20.
      The Recorder reports that "the deans of 15 California law schools have asked the state Supreme Court to drop remote proctoring of the online October bar exam and to make the test open-book."


    5. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

    6. "How a Midsize Firm Is Systematically Mapping Diversity Efforts Across the Talent Pipeline," 09.17.20.
      The Daily Report takes a look at "how one midsize firm is systematically addressing all phases of the pipeline, from recruitment to retention and promotion—and it could offer lessons for other firms seeking to improve diversity."

    7. "As Mansfield-Certified Firms Hit 100, Diversity Lab Announces New Midsize Firm Program," 09.15.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "one hundred law firms are now "Mansfield 3.0" certified, an increase of more than 40 firms over the previous year, according to legal diversity organization Diversity Lab."

    8. "Legal Tech is Catching Up to Diversity Efforts. Now They Have to Get Ahead," 09.15.20.
      Legaltech News reports that "legal tech companies have joined law firms, legal departments other sectors of the industry in promoting diversity and inclusion, and broader racial justice in U.S. society."

    9. "UC Law Deans Unite to Defend Critical Race Theory Amid Trump Attacks," 09.14.20.
      The Recorder reports that "the deans of the five law schools within the University of California system have banded together to defend critical race theory in the face of attacks from the Trump administration, which recently barred federal employers from offering training on the subject."

    10. "How Will Widespread Remote Working Affect Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Efforts?," 09.14.20.
      Corporate Counsel takes a look at some of the challenges to corporate diversity initiatives that are posed by the pandemic remote working regime.


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

    12. "ABA Well-Being Pledge Gathers Steam, as Number of Firm Swells in 2 Years," 09.17.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "in the two years since the American Bar Association asked law firms and other employers of lawyers to commit to combating substance use and related mental health issues in the profession, the number of signatories to its pledge has grown from 13 to nearly 200."

    13. "Struggles with mental health could get worse as winter looms," 09.16.20.
      The Boston Globe reports that "the change in seasons has many mental health experts worried that an already tenuous landscape will worsen…[noting that] six months of turmoil and uncertainty have left two out of five Americans with feelings of depression or anxiety."

    14. "Big Firms' Office Use Is Still Voluntary-With Few Takers," 09.16.20.
      According to the Daily Report, "Atlanta's large firms are in no hurry to fully reopen their offices during the COVID-19 pandemic, after most reopened for voluntary reentry in June."

    15. "Mommy-Shaming Big Law Moms During COVID," 09.15.20.
      Vivia Chen, writing for The American Lawyer, suggests that "the pressures of the pandemic has escalated the stakes of mommyhood to new heights on all fronts-personal, political and moral."


    16. Law Schools and Law Students

    17. "More NALP Salary Data For The Law School Class Of 2019," 09.17.20.
      The TaxProf Blog highlights the updated NALP bimodal salary curve for the Class of 2019.


    18. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

    19. "Associate Bonus Wars Rage Even in 2020, but Should Some Firms Sit It Out?," 09.17.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "the annual associate bonus war is heating up, pandemic or not, driven by a still red-hot talent market and the uneven financial impacts of 2020 so far."

      1. "Milbank Matches Bonus Scale, Will Pay Out Extra For Top Performers," 09.17.20.
        The American Lawyer reports that "Milbank has matched Davis Polk & Wardwell's bonus scale, informing associates of a special one-time bonus to be paid out by next month."

      2. "Davis Polk, Cooley to Reward Associates With Special Bonuses," 09.15.20.
        The American Lawyer reports that "Davis Polk & Wardwell is the latest to announce associate bonuses in September, following bonus news from Cooley, as big firms move to reward attorneys for their work during the pandemic."

    20. "Littler Reinstates Pre-Pandemic Pay, Joining Other Big L&E Firms," 09.17.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Littler Mendelson, the largest labor and employment firm in the country, announced Thursday that it will be reinstating full pay for all who are still actively working at the firm in the U.S., Mexico and Canada."

    21. "The COVID Pandemic Could Kill the Partner Office," 09.17.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "with partial or full-time remote work expected to remain an option at most firms even once the health crisis has ended, many are contemplating changes to their private offices" including smaller single-sized offices for all.

    22. "New Matter Generation Back to Pre-COVID-19 Baseline, but Worries Remain, Survey Finds," 09.17.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that new survey research shows that "overall new matter generation is mostly back to pre-pandemic levels and many larger legal markets are continuing to trend up…but more than half of surveyed respondents still have concerns about the future financial success of their firms, layoffs remain high, and apparently over one-third of U.S. consumers believe law firms are not currently providing legal services due to the pandemic."

    23. "Why Law Firms Seem to 'Eat Their Young' During Downturns," 09.16.20.
      In this first installment of a four-part series in The American Lawyer that looks at how actions firms have taken during the pandemic are negatively impacting younger lawyers, the author argues that associates have suffered the brunt of the negative impact of the pandemic.

    24. "Winston & Strawn Eliminates Some Staff Positions, Opening Support Services Center," 09.15.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Winston & Strawn has confirmed that it is eliminating some employee positions, adding to a list of Big Law firms that have recently laid off staff, citing changes in the legal industry."

    25. "Male Partner Compensation Grew at Nearly Twice the Rate of Female Partner Comp in Last 10 Years," 09.15.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "male equity partners in major law firms saw an increase of 42% in their overall compensation over the past decade, while female equity partners saw 22% growth, the biennial study on partner compensation by legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa found in its latest results."

    26. "Returning to the Office? At Some Firms, There's an App for That," 09.14.20.
      The Legal Intelligencer reports that Blank Rome and Greenberg Traurig, among other firms, have developed apps designed to facilitate employees' return to the office by providing basic health screening related to COVID.

    27. "Dentons Partially Rolls Back Cuts and Outlines Voluntary Retirement Program," 09.11.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Dentons US announced in a lengthy memo Friday that it is rolling back its austerity measures while also implementing a voluntary retirement program for staff."

    28. "Davis Polk's Changes Highlight Increasing Focus on Partner Comp During Pandemic," 09.11.20.
      The American Lawyer provides some analysis and insight into the likely motivations behind Davis Polk's decision to modify its longstanding lockstep partner pay system.

    29. "As COVID-19 Creates Curveballs, Firms Pivot Practices to Keep the Work Coming," 09.11.20.
      According to The American Lawyer, "firms of all sizes are marketing ad hoc multidisciplinary practice groups to meet pandemic-related client needs, a move aimed to boost demand even as the COVID-19 economic downturn takes a toll on revenue."

    30. "The Human Centered Skills Fundamental for Lawyers," 09.11.20.
      A consultant, writing for Corporate Counsel, identifies the seven most important skill areas for a general counsel — purpose, culture, leadership, talent, creativity, collaboration, and innovation.


    31. International Law Firms

    32. "DLA Piper Expands Consulting, Legal Services Offering," 09.16.20.
      Law.com International reports that "DLA Piper is expanding its roster of legal services and consulting products under its fledgling brand, Law&, with the aim of turning the firm into an all-in-one client service provider."

    33. "UK Top 50 Analysis: Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Better," 09.15.20.
      Law.com International reports that in addition to the Coronavirus disruption, political uncertainty with the U.K. general election late last year and the continuing confusion about Brexit have dampened financial results for top U.K. law firms.


    34. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

    35. "General Counsel Need to Be Ready for New California Board Diversity Mandate," 09.16.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that "in-house leaders for California-based companies should be preparing for new state legislation that requires boards of directors to include members of underrepresented communities and imposes hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for violations of the diversity mandate."

    36. "Diversity Push Barely Budges Corporate Boards to 12.5%, Survey Finds," 09.15.20.
      The New York Times reports that "the boards of the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies remain overwhelmingly white [despite pledges by corporations] to increase the number of Hispanic, Black, Asian-American and other underrepresented members on their boards."

    37. "With Outside Legal Bills Shrinking, General Counsel Look Harder for More Cost Savings," 09.15.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that "as the novel coronavirus outbreak drives corporate legal departments to look for new ways to rein in costs, some in-house leaders are turning to legal spend management firms to suss out additional savings."


    38. Higher Education

    39. "NACAC Releases 'Roadmap for Change'," 09.18.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that the National Association for College Admission Counseling has released a new report that calls on leaders in higher education to "begin basing policy and practice on the premise higher education is a public good and enact public policy that recommits our nation to postsecondary access and success."

    40. "Should Harvard's Admissions Process Be Race-Blind? Attorneys Face Off at Appellate Court," 09.16.20.
      Law.com reports on the Wednesday federal appellate court arguments challenging Harvard University's race-conscious admissions process.

    41. "Low-income students are dropping out of college this fall in alarming numbers," 09.16.20.
      The Washington Post reports that "as fall semester gets into full swing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, schools are noticing a concerning trend: Low-income students are the most likely to drop out or not enroll at all, raising fears that they might never get a college degree." ("Enrollment trends so far show especially steep drops among Black students and rural White students.")

    42. "More Pandemic Consequences for Underrepresented Students," 09.16.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "students of color and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds have been more likely to suffer hardships as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and are in need of support from their colleges, a new survey of students at large, public research institutions found."


    September 11, 2020


      Top Story

    1. "For 2020, Revenue May Fall, but Profitability Is Largely Expected to Hold," 09.10.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Nearly six months after the arrival of COVID-19 in the United States forced the shutdown of wide parts of the economy, it's become apparent that the law firm world, as a whole, has managed to avoid the worst of the pain….Most of the firms are seeing a decline in revenue, but they are indicating that that decline is almost matched, if not exceeded, by decreases in expenses."


    2. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

    3. "Pennsylvania High Court Rejects Diploma Privilege… Again," 09.10.20.
      The Legal Intelligencer reports that "the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday denied a petition calling for a diploma privilege that would allow recent law graduates to be licensed without taking and passing the bar exam."

    4. "2020 Bar Applicants Held Hostage by Hubris," 09.08.20.
      A 2020 law school grad, writing for The Recorder, criticizes decisions that have been made about the California bar exam and argues that "the court and the bar have the duty to take a hard look at the systems and processes they have created and endorsed."

    5. "Allowing Law School Graduates To Practice Law Without Taking A Bar Exam Through A Diploma Privilege Does Not Put The Public At Greater Risk Of Attorney Misconduct," 09.07.20.
      The TaxProf Blog highlights a new paper by two academics that concludes "a study of the Wisconsin State Bar disciplinary system demonstrates that there is little difference in the protection of the public between admitting law students to the practice of law by a diploma privilege versus requiring passage of a bar examination."

    6. "Will October's Online Bar Exams Implode? Takers Request 'Stress Tests' to Find Out," 09.04.20.
      Law.com reports that test-takers who will use the ExamSoft system to take the bar exam online in October are complaining that the system has not effectively been stress-tested, and are sounding alarms about the likelihood of technology failures during the exam itself.


    7. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

    8. "How law firms can increase diversity among equity partners," 09.10.20.
      A multiethnic female lawyer who is an equity partner at a large law firm, writing for the ABA Journal, shares her personal story in the hopes that it will help other women lawyers and inspire changes to law firm culture.

    9. "Corporate Counsel, Big Law Join Lawyers for Racial Justice Initiative," 09.10.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that "Corporate counsel from the Bank of New York Mellon Corp., General Electric Co., Johnson & Johnson, Verizon Wireless, Dell Technologies and several other sizable companies have joined with major law firms and a national network of pro bono lawyers [Lawyers for Racial Justice] as part of an effort to drive systemic change and racial justice."

    10. "Law Schools Tackle Racism and Injustice With Two-Day 'Teach-In'," 09.08.20.
      Law.com reports that "eight law schools have partnered to present 10 online seminars looking at racism and inequality in the law and the legal profession."

    11. "Amid Black Lives Matter Movement, a Different Lateral Market for Black Partners," 09.04.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that there has been "an uptick in firm interest in hiring Black lateral partners since May, when the murder of George Floyd sparked protests and conversations about racial injustice around the country."

    12. "In their shoes: Stories of systemic racism from the legal profession.," 08.26.20.
      National Magazine, the official periodical of the Canadian Bar Association, invited legal professionals to share their stories about their experience with racism. (Hat tip to Kara Sutherland for this one.)


    13. Mental Health/Remote Work/Remote Learning

    14. "Mental Health Needs Rise With Pandemic," 09.11.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "several recent surveys of students suggest their mental well-being has been devastated by the pandemic's social and economic consequences, as well as the continued uncertainty about their college education and postcollege careers."


    15. Law Schools and Law Students

    16. "400 Of 700 Michigan State Law Students Cannot Access Their Student Loans Due To Gymnastics Scandal, Integration With University," 09.09.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that "most law school students at Michigan State University are still waiting to receive their student loans more than a week after classes began as officials grapple with federal consequences stemming from the Larry Nassar investigation."

    17. "Vanderbilt Law Review members donate fees to support minority students with ABA diversity scholarship," 09.09.20.
      The ABA Journal reports that the leaders of the Vanderbilt Law Review have donated their annual dues to the ABA's Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund, a diversity legal scholarship program, "to do their part to fight racial injustice in the law."

    18. "10 Legal Writing Tips for Law Students," 09.09.20.
      This post in the Canadian online legal magazine Slaw provides "10 legal writing tips, which we hope will be useful for most kinds of legal writing."

    19. "Classmates' comments should be confidential, Harvard Law says in new social media policy," 09.08.20.
      The ABA Journal reports that "if you are a Harvard Law School student making a social media post about something said in class, you should not write it in a way that identifies the speaker to those who were not there, according to a new policy at the school."


    20. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

    21. "Davis Polk Changes to Modified Lockstep Compensation for Partners," 09.10.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Davis Polk & Wardwell is moving to a modified lockstep system for partner compensation, the firm confirmed Thursday."

    22. "Ropes & Gray Launches Voluntary Associate Deferral Program," 09.10.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Ropes & Gray has kicked off a voluntary one-year deferral program for its incoming first-years, who are due to start in January….The firm will pay participants an $80,000 stipend to work at a public interest group or nonprofit. They may also take a $38,800 stipend—20% of first-year starting pay—to take a personal sabbatical doing whatever they wish, except for practicing law at a law firm."

    23. "Ogletree Fully Rescinds Pay Cuts, Citing 'Strong Pipeline' of Business," 09.09.20.
      According to the Daily Report, "Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, citing a recent improvement in business, has fully rescinded pay cuts for lawyers and staff that the national labor and employment firm instituted in May."

    24. "From a Small Firm to a Big Firm: Some Lessons I've Learned From Both," 09.09.20.
      A law firm associate, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, provides her personal insights about the similarities and differences between working at large and small law firms.

    25. "Adjusting the COVID-19 Response: How Law Firms Are Altering Austerity Measures," 09.08.20.
      The American Lawyer provides an update of its firm-by-firm listing of pandemic-related austerity measures implemented (and now in some cases rescinded) by law firms.

    26. "Eversheds Sutherland Partially Pays Back Cut Comp, but Pay Cuts Will Remain," 09.08.20.
      According to the Daily Report, "Eversheds Sutherland is partially paying back a 10% cut in compensation to its U.S. lawyers and staff that the firm preemptively instituted in early May."

    27. "Utah Approves Rocket Lawyer for New Regulatory Sandbox," 09.08.20.
      Legaltech News reports that "Utah's Supreme Court unanimously approved Rocket Lawyers application to join the state's pilot program, which allows nonlawyers to provide certain traditional legal services and authorizes new legal business models."

    28. "At Working Mother's Top Firms for Women, Female Equity Partner Gains Were Slight," 09.08.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that Working Mother magazine has released its annual list of the best law firms for women based on demographics, mentorship programs and flexible work policies, and noting that "flexible work schedules were prominent among the winners [this year]."

    29. "The Pandemic Has Put Associate Development Back on the Back Burner," 09.07.20.
      Law.com reports that "after decades of deprioritizing associate development and well-being…the pressures of the pandemic are beginning to endanger any recent progress made on that front."

    30. "Election Day Becomes a Holiday at More Big Firms, but Will It Stick?," 09.07.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Crowell & Moring and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan have joined a growing list of Big Law firms giving their employees paid time off to participate in the 2020 U.S. elections."

    31. "Hogan Lovells Makes Some Lawyers Whole, Restoring Pay Retroactive to June," 09.04.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Hogan Lovells will reverse pay cuts for U.S. associates that were instituted on June 1, with the restoration retroactive to that date, effectively making the associates whole for that three-month period."

    32. "Troutman Pepper, Ending Pay Cuts, Hopes to Repay Withheld Comp," 09.04.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "two months after its merger became effective during the pandemic, Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders told its lawyers and staff some good news Friday: pay cuts are ending, and the firm still intends to repay the cut amount by the end of the year."

    33. "Jobs Report: US Economy Adds 1.4 Million Jobs, Legal Adds … Nothing," 09.04.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "while the U.S. economy overall added 1.4 million jobs in August, buoyed by almost 250,000 temporary census workers that will be laid off at month's end, the legal vertical added exactly zero jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly jobs report."


    34. International Law Firms

    35. "HSF Allows Partners, All Staff To Work Remotely 40% Of Time," 09.11.20.
      Law.com international reports that "Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has become one of the latest international law firms to expand its remote working policy in light of changes to the industry's working habits amid the COVID-19 pandemic."

    36. "Six Months On: How Africa's Lawyers Are Coping In the Pandemic," 09.09.20.
      Law.com International reports on the impact of the pandemic on law firms in Africa, including the hardest hit in South Africa that have been subjected to the five-month hard lockdown.

    37. "The Top 25 Firms With the Most LGBTQ+ Lawyers," 09.08.20.
      Law.com International provides a ranking of the top 25 firms with the biggest proportion of lawyers identifying as LGBTQ+ in the U.K.


    38. Higher Education

    39. "Analysis: Students of Color Less Likely to Have Paid Internships," 09.10.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "Black students are more likely to be in unpaid internships and participated in more unpaid internships than their white peers, according to new research from the National Association of Colleges and Employers."


    September 4, 2020


      The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

    1. "Applicants Sitting For Online Georgia Bar Exam Must Sign Liability Waiver Releasing Any Potential Claims Against ExamSoft And Bar," 09.03.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that "applicants planning to sit for the October 5-6 online Georgia bar exam must sign a liability waiver releasing any claims they may have against ExamSoft, the Georgia bar, and the state of Georgia."

    2. "Small Cohort of July Bar Exam Takers Post Impressive Gains on the MBE," 09.02.20.
      Law.com reports that while the test-taking cohort was smaller, "the average score on the Multistate Bar Exam [administered in July]…shot up five points for those who took the bar in July as compared to July 2019, according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners."

      1. "Why did the average scaled score for the July multistate bar exam improve?," 09.02.20.
        The ABA Journal reports that the mean scaled score for the July 2020 multistate bar exam is 146.1, compared to 141.1 in July 2019, and provides speculation that "people had more time to study this summer-thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic."

      2. "The Few, The Proud, The July 2020 Multistate Bar Exam Survivors: Average Score Hits All-Time High, 88% Fewer Takers," 09.03.20.
        More on this from the TaxProf Blog.

    3. "Are Online Bar Exams Feasible and Fair? Software Testing Group Isn't So Sure," 09.02.20.
      Law.com reports that "a national software testing organization has identified several potential technical problems with the online bar exams that many states are planning to administer in October."

    4. "State Bar Posts Draft Rules for Provisional Licensing Program," 09.02.20.
      The Recorder reports that "California's state bar is asking for public comments on a proposed provisional licensing program that will allow recent law school graduates to practice law temporarily without taking the bar exam." (The state bar has published a six-page draft rule laying out what will be required.)

    5. "Lawmakers Ask Justices to Retroactively Apply New Lowered Bar Exam Passing Score," 09.01.20.
      The Recorder reports that "state lawmakers early Tuesday called on California's Supreme Court to reconsider its decision not to apply a new, lower passing score on the bar exam retroactively."


    6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

    7. "In Bostock's Wake, Look for More Diversity Training, Sex Bias Cases and LGBT Workers Living Openly," 09.03.20.
      Two law firm lawyers, writing for the Daily Report, provide guidance in the wake of the Bostock decision that protects employees who have been discriminated against because of sexual orientation or gender identity: "Diversity training becomes more important as employers adjust to the ruling. It's time to update handbooks and reset policies—not time to cut the training budget. In addition to training, employers will have to actively police and immediately stop negative and derogatory behavior to set and enforce a new standard and cultural modification."

    8. "More Minority, Women General Counsel at Top US Companies Than Ever Before," 08.31.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that "the population of minority and women general counsel for top U.S. companies grew in 2019 to the highest number that the Minority Corporate Counsel Association has recorded in the past 15 years."

      1. "The Table in the Boardroom: Ways to Increase Diversity," 09.01.20.
        In this commentary piece in Corporate Counsel, a former GC to several Silicon Valley startup offers three suggestions for increasing diversity on a board of directors or an advisory board.

    9. "How Ropes & Gray Hit 31% Female Partners: Its Women's Group Is Not Just For Mommies.," 08.31.20.
      Vivia Chen, writing for Law.com, reports that at a handful of major Am Law 100 firms, women are cracking the 25% female equity partner ceiling.


    10. Mental Health/Remote Work/Remote Learning

    11. "Get Comfortable at Home: Big Firms Plan to Allow Remote Work for Rest of Year," 09.03.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that a majority of law firms expect to allow work from home through the end of the calendar year, but expect to have lawyers back in the office sometime in 2021.

    12. "Six Months Into the New Normal, What Do Lawyers Miss, and
      What's Improved?
      ," 09.03.20.
      The Daily Report speaks with lawyers who are six months into the pandemic-induced remote work posture: "Lawyers reported overwhelmingly that they miss people—especially colleagues with whom they plot strategy, share lunch and exchange ideas, handshakes and hugs. As for improvements, lawyers praised videoconferences for depositions and simple court matters as saving countless hours."

    13. "To Improve Lawyer Well-Being, Let's First Specify the Problem," 09.03.20.
      A clinical psychologist and consultant to law firms on wellbeing and health, writing for the New York Law Journal, writes about "the importance of establishing a contemporaneous process for identifying the organization-specific dynamics (i.e. the problem) that contribute to stigma, isolation, incivility, lack of control…[and concludes that] with the problem identified, legal employers would then be armed with the knowledge they need to properly target the problem and deliver lasting, effective, well-being solutions for their workforce."

    14. "How to Set Up School at Home for Students of All Ages," 09.01.20.
      This piece in The Wall Street Journal offers advice for setting up successful at-home learning environments for students in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. (Subscription required.)

    15. "In Back-to-School Shuffle, Junior Partner Moms at a Crossroads," 08.31.20.
      Law.com takes a look at the pressure the ongoing remote work posture and remote schooling is putting on women partners who are also raising children.

    16. "How to Stay Focused While Working From Home," 08.30.20.
      The Wall Street Journal writes that as the pandemic and remote working drag on, "continuing to stay focused has become more challenging," and provides advice from experts on ways to boost concentration. (Subscription required.)


    17. Law Schools and Law Students

    18. "Interning in a Pandemic: Overcoming Challenges and Lessons Learned," 09.02.20.
      Two law students, writing here for The Legal Intelligencer, recount their virtual summer internship experiences with law firms.

    19. "One student's career journey into legal tech," 08.20.20.
      This Legal Evolution blog post a 2019 law grad charts his course to a post-graduation job with a technology startup.


    20. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

    21. "Skadden Trims Staff Ranks Across US Offices," 09.03.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is the latest firm to lay off staff, joining several other Big Law firms that have downsized their staffing levels amid the pandemic."

    22. "Nixon Peabody Makes Another Round of Layoffs While Restoring Some Staff Pay," 09.03.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Nixon Peabody confirmed on Thursday that it is laying off staff while also restoring some pay cuts for those still at the firm, joining a growing list of Big Law firms making the dual moves."

    23. "More Cuts Coming as Firms Slim Down to Keep Partner Pockets Full," 09.02.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that following layoffs at three Am Law 100 firms this week, "legal industry watchers anticipate further reductions to attorneys and staff as firms use the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to tighten up their operations."

    24. "More lawyers are embracing the gig economy while working remotely, experts say," 09.02.20.
      ITbusiness in Canada reports that "the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is fueling an increasingly active gig economy within the legal industry."

    25. "What Is the Future of Lawyers' Jobs?," 09.02.20.
      This Slaw post argues that tomorrow's lawyers will need to look beyond traditional legal jobs.

    26. "Layoffs Hit Two Am Law 100 Firms," 09.01.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Baker McKenzie and Davis Wright Tremaine announced layoffs on Tuesday while also confirming plans to roll back some pay cuts."

    27. "Can Law Firms Fix the Leadership Gap Before It's Too Late?," 09.01.20.
      The managing editor of The American Lawyer writes that most law firms lack adequate leadership training and development programs.

    28. "Arrested Development: Younger Associates Are Taking Longer to Develop," 08.31.20.
      According to The American Lawyer, "[among younger attorneys] practice leaders are noticing a trend of delayed full utilization, often brought about by lack of opportunity and direct mentorship."

    29. "Fisher Phillips Reverses Pay Cuts for Lawyers and Staff," 08.31.20.
      The Daily Report writes that Atlanta-based Fisher Phillips has fully restored pay for its salaried lawyers and staff.

    30. "Hogan Lovells, Littler Mendelson Join Firms Making Nov. 3 a Paid Day Off," 08.31.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Hogan Lovells and Littler Mendelson, have recently made public announcements that their respective firms will allow for paid time off on Nov. 3 for employees to vote or take part in other civic-minded activity aimed at raising voter turnout."

    31. "What Are Your Associates Really Thinking? Young Lawyers' Brutally Honest Advice to Their Firms," 08.31.20.
      The American Lawyer shares some of the candid responses obtained during its recent Midlevel Associates Survey.

    32. "Kilpatrick Townsend Restores Pay for Attorneys and Staff," 08.28.20.
      The Daily Report reports that "Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton is one of the latest firms to restore pay cuts that it instituted in April in anticipation of further economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic."

    33. "Firms That Keep Pay Cuts in Place May Lose Ground in Hiring Market," 08.28.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "firms that have taken a conservative approach to finances as they steer through the pandemic, by keeping austerity measures firmly in place, may be viewed less favorably by potential lateral hires or law students than competitors that imposed no cuts or that quickly restored pay once their actual revenue beat forecasts."

    34. "What's Behind Some Pushing to Get Back to the Office?," 08.28.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "factors such as gender, location and even politics can play a role in how motivated attorneys and staff are to actually be in the office."

    35. "Arizona OKs Outside Ownership of Law Firms," 08.28.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Arizona is set to become the first jurisdiction in the United States to allow outside ownership of law firms, after the state's Supreme Court voted this week to eliminate rules prohibiting fee sharing."

      1. "Arizona's Ownership Rules Have Major Implications for Consumer Law, the Big Four, Lit Funders and More," 09.01.20.
        This piece in The American Lawyer looks ahead to the possible implications of the regulatory changes that have been made in Arizona: "In eliminating restrictions on outside ownership of law firms starting in January, the state's Supreme Court could pave the way for a proliferation of new legal businesses looking to assist individuals with needs like wills, divorces and real estate transfers."

      2. "Why AZ's 'Legal Paraprofessional' Push Could Lead to Major Shift in Legal Market," 09.02.20.
        More from The American Lawyer on the regulatory changes in Arizona: "While a comparatively small legal market, Arizona's push to allow nonlawyers to practice law could open the door for larger, more influential markets to do the same."

    36. "The Future of the Firm Beyond COVID-19," 08.28.20.
      This New Jersey Law Journal piece from an architect and a designer who work with law firms takes a look at the future of the law firm office space, noting that only 10% of U.S. lawyers say they want to work from home full-time.


    37. International Law Firms

    38. "Squire Latest Law Firm Set to Make UK Cuts," 09.04.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Squire Patton Boggs is the latest law firm to announce U.K. specific cuts to its workforce…[noting that] the cuts will affect administrative staff only."

    39. "Law Firm Office Returns: How Countries of the World Compare," 08.31.20.
      Law.com International breaks down which countries are nearing a return to the office, and which are encouraging remote working.

    40. "'A Game Changer': Industry Reacts to Linklaters' 50% Remote Working Rule," 08.28.20.
      Law.com International reports that "partners across the U.K. legal industry have [had mixed reactions] to a new agile working policy brought in by Linklaters, which will let the firm's staff—including partners—work remotely for up to 50% of the time beyond COVID-19."


    41. Higher Education

    42. "Court Bars U. of California From Using ACT and SAT for Fall-2021 Admissions," 09.01.20.
      The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "a California judge on Monday granted a preliminary injunction immediately barring the University of California system from using the ACT and SAT…[after] plaintiffs cited state and federal disability laws in arguing that disabled students' access to standardized tests is 'either impossible or impaired' because of disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic." (Subscription required.)

      1. "U of California Barred From Considering SAT/ACT Scores," 09.02.20.
        More on this from Inside Higher Ed.

    43. "The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Making College Students Question the Price of Their Education," 08.28.20.
      The Wall Street Journal reports that college students across the country are pushing back against the tuition and fees being charged by colleges and universities that are offering online learning this semester instead of in-person classes. (Subscription required.)

    44. "College Is Everywhere Now," 08.28.20.
      This much circulated New York Times article reports that some college students are choosing to attend their remote classes not from their parents' homes or their campus apartments, but from exotic and far-flung places, often banding together to rent group homes in places such as Hawaii and Montana. (Privileged people are going to do privileged things…)



    August 28, 2020


      The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

    1. "Note the New Date for the Florida Bar Exam," 08.26.20.
      The Daily Business Review reports that "the Florida Board of Bar Examiners has rescheduled the bar exam for Oct. 13, with allowances that permit testing to potentially continue until Oct. 14 for candidates receiving test accommodations."

    2. "New York Tries to Reassure Test Takers About Online Bar Exam," 08.26.20.
      Bloomberg Law reports that "the New York Board of Law Examiners is trying to allay concerns that the many strict rules surrounding the state's online bar exam in early October are navigable, and won't result in false allegations of cheating."

    3. "Public Interest Organizations Back Diploma Privilege for Law Grads," 08.20.20.
      Law.com reports that "more than 125 public interest law organizations…sent a letter to the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the 30 jurisdictions that are planning either for in-person bar exams next month or online October exams, asking them to adopt an emergency diploma privilege that would enable law graduates to be licensed without taking the bar exam."

    4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

    5. "Black Female Lawyers on Confronting Racism at Work: 'You Don't Have Time to Get Angry'," 08.25.20.
      The Connecticut Law Tribune speaks with the managing partner of McCarter & English and the executive director of Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity in Connecticut, both Black women, about new initiatives that are underway to combat racism in the profession.

    6. "A Personal Priority: Ford Motor Co. Takes A Hands-On, Multifaceted Approach to Driving Diversity," 08.25.20.
      Corporate Counsel takes a look at how Bradley M. Gayton, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, Ford Motor Co., has made diversity a personal priority.

    7. "Why They Left: Black Lawyers on Why Big Law Can't Keep Them Around," 08.24.20.
      The American Lawyer spoke with several Black lawyers who left large law firms: "[They] described…the challenges they encountered, even while acknowledging that new opportunities played an important role in drawing them away from their firms, whether toward a nonprofit, an in-house legal department or a new firm. Faced with a lack of mentorship, or an unattainable promotion to partner, or cultural isolation, they joined the scores of Black attorneys who leave Big Law each year."

    8. "Black Firm Leaders Drive Big Law Social Justice Efforts," 08.24.20.
      Bloomberg Law reports that "Big Law firms led by Black chairmen, managing partners or presidents are backing up their efforts on social justice and anti-racism with their money and their time."

    9. "Diversity and Inclusion Meets Virtual Lawyering," 08.24.20.
      This letter to the editor in the New York Law Journal argues that in addition to evaluating the amount of office space needed to practice law in the new normal, "the pandemic…presents an opportunity for law firms to concomitantly look afresh at how they address diversity and inclusion."

    10. "'We Want a Movement, Not a Moment': Despite Skepticism, Law Firms Haven't Relented on Racial Justice," 08.21.20.
      Law.com reports that so far "the country's biggest law firms have not relented on their efforts to promote racial justice…using a combination of financial contributions, direct action and internal programs to push for progress."

    11. Law Schools and Law Students

    12. "Ohio Law Schools Explore Merger," 08.28.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "the University of Akron and Cleveland State University announced Thursday they will explore a merger between their two law schools, the University of Akron School of Law and the Cleveland Marshall College of Law."

    13. "The Value Of A Law Degree By College Major: $45,000 Humanities/$29,000 STEM Per Year For Life," 08.26.20.
      The TaxProf Blog highlights a new Journal of Legal Education article by two law professors that estimates the increase in earnings from a law degree relative to a bachelor's degree for graduates who majored in different fields in college.

    14. "Purdue, Two Other Online Law Schools Receive California Accreditation," 08.26.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that "on Friday, California accreditation was given to three online law schools — the Concord Law School at Purdue University Global, the Northwestern California University School of Law and the St. Francis Law School."

    15. "2 law schools dinged for bar pass standard are now found to be in compliance," 08.25.20.
      The ABA Journal reports that "of the 10 law schools to receive public notice in May that they were out of compliance with Standard 316, Florida Coastal School of Law and the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law are the first to demonstrate compliance."

    16. "ABA Legal Ed council addresses reporting requirements amid law schools' COVID-19 concerns," 08.17.20.
      The ABA Journal reports that at its recent Council meeting, "the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar [agreed to] review fewer law school files with individual student information for purposes of employment outcomes reporting…[and] the section has established a committee to address reporting bar exam pass rates [as a result of delayed bar exams]."

    17. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

    18. "Fly-Fishing and All-Night Layovers: How McGuireWoods Got Face-to-Face With Summer Associates Despite COVID Challenges," 08.27.20.
      The American Lawyer reports on the McGuireWoods hybrid in-person and virtual summer program: "McGuireWoods believed face-to-face interaction was crucial for the summer experience, especially as many law students were already dealing with isolation after their semesters abruptly went remote."

    19. "The Pandemic Gives Young Lawyers a Chance to Reconsider Their Career Path," 08.26.20.
      The American Lawyer's Young Lawyer Editorial Board writes that "young attorneys, during and after the pandemic, should evaluate their current position and consider whether their practice area or firm is likely one to survive and thrive in the coming years, and whether the pandemic period is a time for reflection or even a shift away from practice."

    20. "As Big Firms Get Ready for First-Year Associates, Concerns Remain Over Training, Retention," 08.25.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "law firm leaders and legal industry observers said they don't expect a three-month delay to have much impact on associates' career development or law firms' workflow…but the changes for first-year associates in 2020 raise longer-term concerns about how well firms will be able to train and instill firm culture in new associates working from home and whether that could affect associate retention in the long run."

    21. "What Are the Chances of First-Year Associate Cancellations?," 08.25.20.
      The American Lawyer suggests that "a concern is percolating among deferred first-year associates: Will their offers get rescinded amid the economic chaos this year?," but then reports that "firm leaders and legal industry observers say they do not expect 2020 first-year associate classes to be canceled."

    22. "Overcoming the Next Big Hurdle for Remote Law Firms: Efficiency," 08.25.20.
      The CEO of a legal technology consultancy, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, writes that "as many law firms and their corporate clients continue to work remotely, they need to increase efficiency in this nontraditional environment," and suggests a few places to begin.

    23. "Utah Broke the Lawyer Fee-Sharing Mold. Now Other States Watch With Interest," 08.25.20.
      Legaltech News reports that "reform advocates said they are seeing growing momentum for regulatory change in the wake of Utah's recent development and a widening access-to-justice gap."

    24. "Inside Virus-Era Supreme Court: How Clerks Adjusted to New Reality," 08.25.20.
      The National Law Journal speaks with a clerk who recently completed his term with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch about how the pandemic and remote working changed the rituals and routines of the Court and its workers.

    25. "In a Remote Environment, Talent Development Is Fraught With Risks," 08.25.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that many months into the pandemic crisis, law firms are now tacking "complex questions around safety and equity…[including] how firms are going to train, coach and develop their talent in an effective and equitable manner at a time when the circumstances of their dispersed workforces are both inconvenient and inconsistent."

    26. "'It Will Never Be the Same': Why Greenberg Traurig's Co-President Wants to Get Back to the Office," 08.25.20.
      Brad Kaufman, co-president and global chairman of professional development and integration for Greenberg Traurig, writing for The American Lawyer, writes about what he misses about in-person working, and why he thinks remote work will never replace working in his office with his colleagues.

    27. "The 2020 Midlevel Associates Survey: The Rankings," 08.24.20.
      The American Lawyer publishes the results of its annual Midlevel Associates Survey, finding that, in general early-career lawyers are as satisfied as ever with their law firms.

      1. "As They Navigate the Pandemic, Midlevel Associates Say Law Firm Transparency Is Paramount," 08.24.20.
        According to The American Lawyer, its Midlevel Associates Survey confirms that "early-career attorneys are increasingly satisfied with the openness of firm leadership, how firms communicate about making the partnership, and the opportunity to build relationships with partners."

      2. "Work-Life Balance Remains a Top Concern for Associates," 08.24.20.
        The American Lawyer reports that its Midlevel Associates Survey shows that "millennial associates place a higher value on personal time than their Gen-X and baby boomer predecessors, and they value workplaces that give the green light for time off to recharge and refresh."

      3. "When It Comes to Tech, Associates Say Firms Lack Touch," 08.24.20.
        The American Lawyer's Midlevel Associates Survey also reveals that midlevel associates overwhelmingly want their firms to make better investments in tech.

    28. "Holland & Knight, Stoel Rives Partially Restore COVID Pay Cuts," 08.24.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "two more Am Law 200 firms have announced that they will partially restore pay cuts to attorneys and staff made earlier this year: Holland & Knight and Stoel Rives."

    29. "Big Law Firms Are Forcing Out More Unproductive Partners as Recession Stalls Profits," 08.21.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "Am Law 100 firms are shedding unproductive partners to feed more money to high performers and prevent other firms from poaching their most valuable talent."

    30. International Law Firms

    31. "Reed Smith Cuts 19 London Roles Including Lawyers," 08.26.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Reed Smith has cut 19 roles in its London office…[including] 13 lawyers and six professional services staff."

    32. "Linklaters To Allow Partners, Staff To Work Remotely Up To 50% Of Time," 08.25.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Linklaters has enacted a new global agile working policy…[that] will allow lawyers and employees — including partners — to work remotely for up to 20-50% of their time."

    33. "Kennedys To Pay Out Salary Increases and Bonuses After COVID-19 Delay," 08.24.20.
      Law.com International reports that "U.K. Top 50 law firm Kennedys has announced it will pay out salary increases and bonuses across its global network after freezing salary reviews earlier this year amid the coronavirus lockdown."

    34. "Nearly Half Of Legal Workers Are 'Dreading Going Back To The Workplace'," 08.21.20.
      Law.com International reports that "almost half of the U.K.'s legal workforce is anxious about returning to the office following the lifting of the coronavirus lockdown, according to a survey looking into the impact of remote working on the sector."

    35. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

    36. "Diversity Lab Announces Mansfield Rule-Certified Legal Departments," 08.27.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that "Diversity Lab announced Thursday that 19 of the 22 legal departments that signed on to the pilot version of the Mansfield Rule: Legal Department Edition have been Mansfield-certified."

    37. "GCs Looking for Jobs Post-Pandemic Should Flex Cybersecurity and Crisis Management Muscles," 08.20.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that the pandemic challenges may ultimately be good for the careers of in-house lawyers: "The good news is that the experience of successfully weathering those [COVID related] storms could give in-house counsel a much needed boost to the next rung on the career ladder."

    38. Higher Education

    39. "Cases Spike at Universities Nationally," 08.26.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that many of the colleges and universities that have brought students back for in-person classes are now seeing outbreaks of COVID-19 among students, noting that "many of the most visible and serious outbreaks are in the Southeast United States."

      1. "Universities sound alarm as coronavirus cases emerge just days into classes — 530 at one campus," 08.25.20.
        More on the from The Washington Post: "colleges and universities that brought students back to campus are expressing alarm about coronavirus infections emerging as classes have barely started, raising the possibility everyone could be sent home."

      2. "Tracking Coronavirus Cases at U.S. Colleges and Universities," 08.26.20.
        The New York Times provides this searchable list and infographic that tracks the number of COVID-19 cases at individual colleges and universities across the U.S.

    40. "Justice Department increasing attacks on affirmative action in college admissions," 08.23.20.
      The Boston Globe reports that "the US Justice Department's recent complaint that Yale University discriminated against Asian American and white applicants in its admissions process opens a new front in the Trump administration's fight against affirmative action in college admissions…signaling the administration is expanding its attack against longstanding policies aimed at increasing diversity on campuses."

    41. "A Detailed Look at the Downside of California's Ban on Affirmative Action," 08.21.20.
      The New York Times reports on the results of new research evaluating the impact of the ban on racial preferences in admission to the California's public universities: "A comprehensive study released Friday finds that by nearly every measure, the ban has harmed Black and Hispanic students, decreasing their number in the University of California system while reducing their odds of finishing college, going to graduate school and earning a high salary. At the same time, the policy didn't appear to greatly benefit the white and Asian-American students who took their place."



    August 21, 2020


      Top Stories

    1. "Chapel Hill and Notre Dame Are Just the Beginning," 08.19.20.
      The Chronicle of Higher Education writes that based on the experiences of UNC and Notre Dame this week, "learning in person this fall may be harder to pull off than some college leaders anticipated." (Subscription required.)

      1. "Michigan State, Notre Dame Back Off From Fall Reopening Plans," 08.19.20.
        Inside Higher Ed reports that "the University of Notre Dame announced Tuesday afternoon it was suspending in-person classes for almost 12,000 students, moving undergraduate classes to remote instruction for two weeks while keeping students on campus and giving leaders a chance to reassess plans and a rising coronavirus infection rate [and] at virtually the same time Michigan State University asked undergraduates who had planned to live in residence halls to stay home and announced that it will transition classes planned for in-person instruction to remote formats."

      2. "After Only One Week, Chapel Hill Abandons In-Person Fall Semester," 08.17.20.
        The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday suddenly pulled the plug on its in-person fall semester, bowing to concerns about rapidly spreading Covid-19 infection both on and off campus." (Subscription required.)

      3. "Outbreaks Drive U.N.C. Chapel Hill Online After a Week of Classes," 08.17.20.
        More on this from The New York Times.

      4. "UNC Pulls the Plug on In-Person Fall. Will Other Campuses Follow?," 08.17.20.
        The Chronicle of Higher Education writes that "UNC's quick switch online is a jarring about-face, and may portend grim news for other campuses that have chosen to open for in-person activities amid high coronavirus infection rates around the country." (Subscription required.)

    2. "What I Learned on My Summer Internship: How to Work Alone," 08.18.20.
      The Wall Street Journal reports on the experience of college and high school students who had virtual summer internships in 2020: "What might be the strangest summer internship season ever is winding up for teenagers and college students around the country. Many spent their entire internships working remotely from childhood bedrooms. Others…showed up at mostly deserted office campuses. It wasn't all bad, for some it meant rare face time with the only other people around—the CEOs." (Subscription required.)

      1. "Law Students Overcome Hurdles During COVID-19 Pandemic," 08.18.20.
        Two summer associates, writing for the Daily Business Review, "discuss their experience working remotely during the most pivotal summer of their early legal careers."

      2. "Lessons Learned From the Year of the Virtual Summers," 08.14.20.
        The American Lawyer provides a debrief on lessons learned from this summer's virtual summer associate programs.


    3. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

    4. "Record Registrations for California's Online October Bar Exam," 08.19.20.
      The Recorder reports that "a record 12,000 would-be lawyers have registered to take California's October bar exam, even as uncertainty continues to swirl around the novel online test."

    5. "Software provider pulls out of remotely proctored bar exams because of technology concerns," 08.18.20.
      The ABA Journal reports that according to the leader of one of the companies that was to provide technology for remote bar exams, "there hasn't been sufficient development time or product testing for the technology."

    6. "'The Test Is Being Prioritized Over Graduates.' New York's Bar Plan Slammed by Examinees and Lawmakers," 08.18.20.
      The New York Law Journal reports on the proceedings at a virtual roundtable panel discussion about the state's lawyer licensing test held on Tuesday that involved recent law graduates, legal educators, and state lawmakers.

    7. "Florida Postpones Online Bar Exam Two Days Before the Test," 08.17.20.
      The Daily Business Review reports that "Florida has postponed the online bar exam it was due to administer Wednesday, citing technical problems."

      1. "Florida Postpones Bar Exam Three Days Before Online Test Due To Technology Failure, Announces Supervised Practice Program," 08.17.20.
        More on this from the TaxProf Blog.

      2. "Fla. Board of Bar Examiners' Inability to Structure a Sensible Bar Exam Is Indefensible," 08.17.20.
        A law firm partner, writing for the Daily Business Review, is critical of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners' handling of decisions about the state's bar exam administration during the pandemic.

      3. "Florida's Aug. 19 Online Bar Exam In Jeopardy As Software Crashes; Deans, Legislators Demand Plan B," 08.15.20.
        And the TaxProf Blog provides the backstory.

    8. "Hogan Partners, Law Deans Push for D.C. Diploma Privilege," 08.13.20.
      Bloomberg Law reports on a growing push for diploma privilege in D.C.

    9. "Law Professors Ask ABA to Shelve Bar Passage Rule During Pandemic," 08.13.20.
      Law.com reports that "a law professor group has renewed calls for the American Bar Association to suspend enforcement of its bar passage standard for law schools, arguing that the bar exam is in disarray amid COVID-19 and that schools should not be held to the same measures during the pandemic."


    10. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

    11. "Law firms to turn anti-racism alliance into nonprofit," 08.21.20.
      Reuters reports that "backers of a nationwide initiative by law firms, launched in the wake of George Floyd's death, to tackle systemic racism in the law are drafting paperwork to formalize it into an industry-funded nonprofit: The Law Firm Antiracism Alliance."

    12. "Miller Canfield, Debevoise Announce New Diversity and Inclusion Leaders," 08.20.20.
      Law.com reports that "Miller Canfield and Debevoise & Plimpton have each announced they are making some changes to their efforts around diversity and inclusion, with Miller Canfield promoting Michelle Crockett to be the firm's first chief diversity officer and Debevoise hiring former Hogan Lovells director of inclusion Leslie Richards-Yellen as its new director of diversity and inclusion."

    13. "The 2020 A-List: Female Equity Partner Scorecard," 08.20.20.
      The American Lawyer publishes its ranking of AmLaw 200 firms based on female equity partner percentage.

    14. "For Women, Leaving Big Law for a Midsize Firm Doesn't Mean Settling," 08.20.20.
      The newly elected managing partner of a midsize law firm, writing for The American Lawyer, argues that "Big Law would be wise to take a lesson from smaller, nimbler and more inclusive practices that welcome women and encourage them to take leadership and management roles."

    15. "Promoting Social Justice May Bolster Law Firm Recruiting," 08.18.20.
      The Legal Intelligencer writes that "law firms that put social justice in the forefront will be most likely to attract diverse talent, since many law students say social justice work should be essential as lawyers."

    16. "Despite Diversity Efforts, Fewer Than 10% of MDL Leadership Posts Are Going to Attorneys Who Are Not White," 08.17.20.
      Law.com reports that data gathered by ALM shows very little ethnic diversity among multidistrict litigation plaintiffs' leadership teams: "only 5% of appointments, on average, went to lawyers who identified as nonwhite in MDLs created from 2016 through 2019. About 4% of attorneys, on average, had undetermined ethnicity in the data, but, even when accounting for that factor, 91% were white."


    17. Mental Health and Remote Work/Remote Learning

    18. "Mental Health: The First Step Is To Talk About It," 08.20.20.
      The president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, writing for the New York Law Journal, urges lawyers to be more open about their own mental health struggles and those of the lawyers around them.

    19. "Remote School Is Now a Marathon, Not a Sprint. How Will Firms Support Parents?," 08.19.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that law firms face a higher burden in supporting parents who will continue to have children at home doing remote schooling in the fall and winter.

    20. "Lawyers Are Not Uniquely Unhappy, But They Abuse Alcohol At Very High Rates," 08.19.20.
      The TaxProf Blog highlights a new article in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies that finds that "contrary to the conventional wisdom, lawyers are not particularly unhappy. Indeed, they suffer rates of mental illness much lower than the general population. Lawyer mental health is not significantly different than the mental health of similarly-educated professionals, such as doctors and dentists…[but] rates of problematic alcohol use among lawyers, however, are high, even when compared to the general population."

    21. "Students Reporting Depression and Anxiety at Higher Rates," 08.19.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "about one-third of undergraduate, graduate and professional school students screened during the summer were found to have depression or anxiety, or both, which is a higher rate than seen in years past, according to a new report by the Student Experience in the Research University, or SERU, Consortium."

    22. "'The volume has been turned up on everything': Pandemic places alarming pressure on transgender mental health," 08.18.20.
      The Washington Post reports that "even as the coronavirus has upended lives throughout the country, it has taken a deep toll on the transgender community, a population that has long struggled with higher rates of mental illness and poor medical care because of discrimination and abuse."


    23. Law Schools and Law Students

    24. "Atlanta's John Marshall Names Gatewood as First African American Dean," 08.20.20.
      According to the Daily Report, "Atlanta's John Marshall Law School has named Jace Gatewood its permanent dean after appointing him interim dean on Jan. 1…Gatewood is the law school's first African American dean since its founding in 1933."

    25. "Cooley Law School to Close Campus in Grand Rapids," 08.19.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "Western Michigan University's Cooley Law School will close its Grand Rapids campus to right-size the school's infrastructure by consolidating all of its Michigan campuses into one central location in Lansing, Michigan, the state capital."

      1. "Cooley Law School will close another campus; 'not really enough students to make it work,' dean says," 08.19.20.
        The ABA Journal also reports on this development. ("The announcement comes a year after the law school announced closure of its Auburn Hills, Michigan, campus. The school also has a campus in Tampa Bay, Florida. Cooley Law School was once the largest law school in the nation, with nearly 4,000 students in 2010. The number had dropped to 1,156 students in fall 2019.")

      2. "Cooley Law School to Shutter a Second Campus in as Many Years," 08.18.20.
        More on this from Law.com.

    26. "Law Prof Hiring Is Down 50% This Year," 08.18.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that according to Brian Leiter, only 32 law schools have listed open tenure-track/tenured faculty positions in the initial AALS Faculty Appointments Register, down over 50% from last year.

    27. "Florida State Board Of Trustees Condemns Name On Law School Building," 08.18.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that "the Florida State University Board of Trustees is calling on the state legislature to change the name of its law school building," which is currently named after a Florida Supreme Court Justice who "openly defied the US Supreme Court in steadfastly resisting the racial integration of Florida's public law schools."

    28. "Albany, Columbia Law Deans Offer Insider Knowledge to Prospective Students," 08.18.20.
      Law.com and the New York Law Journal report on a new six-part online discussion series for prospective law students featuring deans from USC, Albany, Columbia, Colorado, Georgia, and Oregon.

    29. "New Mexico Law School Grapples With Aftermath Of Cyberattack As Classes Begin," 08.17.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that a cyberattack against the University of New Mexico School of Law is still causing havoc even as classes are set to begin this week.

    30. "Organ: Net Law School Tuition Trends Revisited," 08.17.20.
      Jerry Organ, writing for the TaxProf Blog, provides "analysis of net tuition trends through the 2018-19 academic year, highlighting that law schools still have not regained much pricing power yet." (Net tuition is an approximation of the tuition per student after accounting for scholarships.)

    31. "What is an excellent legal education? Answers based on data," 08.16.20.
      Evan Parker, writing for the Legal Evolution Blog, works with LSSSE data visualizations to make the case for data-driven education assessment.

    32. "Idaho Law School Accepts 110 Transfer Students, Hires 6 Faculty, From Closed Concordia Law School," 08.16.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that following the closure of Concordia Law School, the University of Idaho College of Law will absorb some of the closed law school's faculty and students.

    33. "Law in the Time of COVID: How UC Irvine Law's Dean Is Making It Work (From Home)," 08.13.20.
      University of California, Irvine School of Law Dean L. Song Richardson, with Law.com's Karen Sloan, "shares how she spends a typical day working from home, and how she finds time to unwind when home and work have merged."


    34. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

    35. "More Firms Are Partially Restoring Pay, but Full Salaries May Wait Until 2021," 08.20.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "about a dozen Am Law 200 firms have now restored — at least partially — their compensation for partners, lawyers and staff."

      1. "Reed Smith Partially Walks Back Pay Cuts for Lawyers, Staff," 08.19.20.
        The American Lawyer reports that "Reed Smith is the latest firm to announce it will partially restore some compensation to partners and staff, starting next month."

      2. "Fox Rothschild Rescinds Key Austerity Measures Implemented Due to COVID-19," 08.19.20.
        The Legal Intelligencer reports that "Fox Rothschild is rescinding some of its key austerity measures implemented in the spring to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic."

      3. "Sheppard Mullin, Katten Roll Back Pay Cuts," 08.18.20.
        The American Lawyer reports that "Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton and Katten Muchin Rosenman are the two latest Big Law firms to roll back parts of their austerity measures enacted due to the pandemic, joining a series of other firms that have recently done the same."

    36. "Despite the Coronavirus, Law Firms Grew Revenue in the First Half," 08.18.20.
      Jeff Grossman and Gretta Rusanow from Citi Private Bank's Law Firm Group, writing for The American Lawyer, report that despite the pandemic, law firm financial results for the first six months of the year were very good "as a result of the strong rate and revenue growth we saw in the first quarter, the focus on collection of strong first-quarter inventory levels, and expense curtailment across the industry."

      1. "Texas Firms Lagged the Industry in Flat First Half, but Expense Cuts Cushioned the Blow," 08.20.20.
        The Texas Lawyer reports that "law firms in the Texas region fared worse than those in most other regions during the first six months of 2020, according to a mid-year report from Citi Private Bank's Law Firm Group."

    37. "Associates Are Getting Squeezed, but Not Like During the Great Recession," 08.18.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "while associates are losing out on work to partners, dealing with pay cuts and not getting as much face time with partners…the situation isn't as dire as it was during the Great Recession…in part because of the lessons firms learned from that period."

    38. "As Election Day Nears, Law Firms Offer Paid Time Off to Boost Turnout," 08.18.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that a growing number of law firms will be giving paid time off for employees on Election Day.

    39. "The 2020 A-List: Meet the Firms Hot on the Heels of the Top Tier," 08.18.20.
      The American Lawyer publishes its A-List runners up — the A-List ranks firms based on both financial and social factors, including diversity, gender equity, associate satisfaction, pro bono contributions and revenue per lawyer.

    40. "After COVID-19 Hiring Slowdown, Lateral Moves Pick Up in August," 08.14.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "after an initial slowdown in Big Law lateral moves at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, hiring in August remains active."

    41. "Utah Justices Give OK to 'Regulatory Sandbox'," 08.14.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that Utah's Supreme Court has approved a pilot program that would allow nonlawyers to provide certain legal services.

      1. "Utah embraces nonlawyer ownership of law firms as part of broad reforms," 08.14.20.
        More on this from the ABA Journal: "The Utah Supreme Court has unanimously approved a slate of reforms that allow for nonlawyer ownership or investment in law firms and permit legal services providers to try new ways of serving clients during a two-year pilot period."


    42. International Law Firms

    43. "BLM Set To Close Two Offices and Cut An Additional 89 Roles," 08.19.20.
      Law.com International reports that "BLM is set to close two of its offices and has launched another redundancy consultation, its third in a year, as the U.K. firm continues to reshape how it operates."

    44. "How South Africa's Law Firms Are Preparing for the Post-COVID Era," 08.18.20.
      Law.com International reports that "the pandemic has forced South Africa's major law firms to reinvent themselves, with many firms hinting at smaller offices and greater efficiencies."

    45. "'You Must Give Up Your Office If You Are Not In': Freshfields' New Policy in Remote-Work Age," 08.14.20.
      Law.com International and LegalTech News report that Freshfield's decision to downsize its London footprint has led to the implementation of "an 'office release system' which means someone else can use your office if you are working remotely."

    46. "COVID-19 Tests Law Firm Culture in Latin America," 08.14.20.
      Law.com International reports that "Latin America has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, challenging law firms to rethink the way they work in a region accustomed to long lunches and warm handshakes."


    47. Corporate Counsel/Legal Operations/Legal Technology

    48. "What Recession? Most In-House Counsel Aren't Worried About Losing Their Jobs," 08.18.20.
      Corporate Counsel reports that "a surprising number of in-house counsel feel insulated from the job losses that have occurred as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic and related financial crisis, according to a new survey from the Association of Corporate Counsel."


    49. Higher Education

    50. "S&P Report Anticipates Weakened Enrollments, Likely Revenue Loss," 08.19.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that: "Colleges across the board will see lower enrollments this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report from S&P Global Ratings shows. As a result, net tuition and auxiliary revenue will likely decline."

    51. "Colleges should rethink using standardized test scores for admissions, major counselors' group says," 08.19.20.
      The Boston Globe reports that a task force of the National Association for College Admission Counseling has called upon colleges and universities to rethink their use of standardized test scores as a factor in admissions during and after the coronavirus pandemic, saying that "relying on standardized test scores may exacerbate inequities in admissions."

    52. "As Colleges Move Classes Online, Families Rebel Against the Cost," 08.15.20.
      The New York Times reports that "incensed at paying face-to-face prices for education that is increasingly online, students and their parents are demanding tuition rebates, increased financial aid, reduced fees and leaves of absences to compensate for what they feel will be a diminished college experience."



    August 14, 2020


      Top Stories

    1. "Law School Grads Hit 12-Year Employment High Before Pandemic," 08.12.20.
      Bloomberg Law reports on the release of NALP's employment and salary outcomes findings for the Class of 2019: "The last law school graduating class before the coronavirus pandemic notched a near record high employment rate, a new report found, but it warned that the virus is likely to squelch similar outcomes in the coming years."

      1. "Pandemic poised to wipe out recession rebound in law grad hiring, associate pay," 08.12.20.
        More on this from Reuters: "Employment rates and pay for recent law school graduates were just starting to surpass their pre-2008 recession levels in 2019, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Association for Law Placement — progress that could be erased by the economic carnage of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020."

      2. "New Lawyer Salaries Crept Up in 2019, but COVID-19 Is Likely to Stymie More Increases," 08.12.20.
        Law.com also has this story: "It took a decade, but the median starting salary among those who graduated law school in 2019 finally eclipsed the $72,000 high mark held by the class of 2009—which were the last to enjoy a relatively strong employment market before the 2008 recession sent things into a tailspin."

      3. "Salaries and job rates up for 2019 law grads, reaching highest point since Great Recession," 08.12.20.
        The ABA Journal also reports on the latest NALP employment and salary findings.

      4. "Record-Breaking Employment Rate For Law School Class Of 2019 Stopped Dead In Its Tracks By Pandemic," 08.12.20.
        And finally, Above the Law weighs in with its take on the new employment numbers.

      5. "Historic Salary Highs For Recent Law School Graduates," 08.13.20.
        And Above the Law takes note of the new historically high salary figures measured by NALP for the Class of 2019.

      6. "Class of 2019 Attains Highest Employment Rate in 12 Years as Uncertainty Looms for Class of 2020," 08.12.20.
        You can find the NALP press release, the Selected Findings Report, the National Summary Report for the Class of 2019, and a recording of Tuesday's webinar presentation on the new employment outcomes findings here.

    2. "Justice Dept. Accuses Yale of Discrimination in Application Process," 08.13.20.
      The New York Times reports that "the Justice Department on Thursday accused Yale University of violating federal civil rights law by discriminating against Asian-American and white applicants, an escalation of the Trump administration's moves against race-based admissions policies at elite universities."

      1. "Justice Department accuses Yale of illegal bias against White, Asian American applicants in admissions," 08.13.20.
        The Washington Post reports that "the Justice Department declared Thursday that a two-year investigation of Yale University's admissions has found that the Ivy League school illegally discriminates against White and Asian American applicants in the highly competitive process of choosing an undergraduate class."

      2. "Justice Department v. Yale," 08.14.20.
        Inside Higher Ed reports that "the Justice Department told Yale University Thursday that it had to change its admissions policies to no longer consider race and ethnicity because of violations of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act."

      3. "Justice Department Accuses Yale of Racial Discrimination in Admissions. But What About the Evidence?," 08.13.20.
        The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that "the U.S. Justice Department on Thursday said that Yale University had discriminated against white and Asian American applicants for admission, violating federal civil-rights law. Race, the department said, is the "determinative factor" in hundreds of the institution's admissions decisions each year…[but notes that] the Justice Department's announcement almost certainly does not signal the end of race-conscious admissions programs as we know them…nor does it necessarily mean that Yale is in the wrong." (Subscription required.)

      4. "Yale Discriminated by Race in Undergraduate Admissions, Justice Department Says," 08.13.20.
        The Wall Street Journal reports that "the Justice Department said Yale University has discriminated against Asian-American and white applicants, issuing its findings roughly two years after opening an investigation into the school's admissions practices." (Subscription required.)


    3. The Bar Exam and Law Grad Licensing

    4. "In lieu of an in-person UBE, some jurisdictions with online bar have reciprocity agreements," 08.13.20.
      The ABA Journal reports that absent the Uniform Bar Exam, a development that was providing growing portability for bar exam results, individual states are having to craft state-by-state reciprocity agreements to allow for the portability of the new emergency measure online bar exams that are being offered in many jurisdictions.

    5. "'I Understand the Anxiety and the Anger,' Says Top Bar Exam Official," 08.13.20.
      Speaking with Karen Sloan from Law.com, "National Conference of Bar Examiners President Judith Gundersen shares her thoughts on how the current bar exam cycle is going, whether online exams are feasible, and how the diploma privilege movement is changing the conversation."

    6. "Test-takers express safety concerns, fears from in-person bar exam-including lack of masks, unclean bathrooms," 08.10.20.
      The ABA Journal reports on widespread student fears and anxiety about taking in-person bar exams during the pandemic.

    7. "Pennsylvania High Court Rejects Calls for Diploma Privilege," 08.10.20.
      The Legal Intelligencer reports that "the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has formally rejected calls from law deans, recent law graduates and the state's largest bar associations to adopt an emergency diploma privilege amid the COVID-19 pandemic."

    8. "California Justices Won't Retroactively Lower Bar Exam Passing Score," 08.10.20.
      The Recorder reports that "California's Supreme Court said Monday it will not retroactively apply the lower passing score on the bar exam despite pleas to do so from hundreds of law school deans, graduates and state lawmakers."

    9. "Law School Deans, Recent Graduates Urge Maryland To Be Fifth State To Adopt Diploma Privilege During COVID-19," 08.10.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that "Maryland law school deans and recent graduates are calling on the state's highest court to waive the bar exam for new lawyers, citing concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic."

    10. "Fla. Bar Exam Software Sows Chaos For Grads," 08.10.20.
      Law360 reports that "a group of law graduates asked the Florida Supreme Court for help Monday as they deal with data security breaches, overheated computers and malfunctioning facial recognition features in the remote bar exam software that will be used for the online Florida bar exam scheduled for Aug. 19."

      1. "Test-Takers Say Florida's Online Bar Exam Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen," 08.11.20.
        More on this from the Daily Business Review.


    11. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Racial Justice

    12. "3 Ways Law Firms Can Guard Diversity Gains During Crisis," 08.13.20.
      This piece in Law360 offers "three concrete steps managing partners can take to show true leadership on equity."

    13. "Eliminating Unconscious Bias in Legal Starts With an In-House Job Description," 08.12.20.
      Corporate Counsel writes that "eliminating unconscious bias and getting more diverse candidate slates for in-house attorney positions begins in the description of a job posting."

    14. "Racism's Hidden Toll," 08.11.20.
      This New York Times op-ed highlights the grim fact that even before COVID-19, "Black people died at higher age-adjusted rates than white people from nine of the top 15 causes of death, [and] Black people are three times more likely than white people to contract the coronavirus, six times more likely to be hospitalized as a result and twice as likely to die of Covid-19." (With helpful but startling infographics)

    15. "Diversity in ADR: Time for Another Uncomfortable Conversation," 08.10.20.
      This Law.com column makes the point that only about 4% of alternative dispute resolution professionals are people of color.


    16. Mental Health and Remote Work/Remote Learning

    17. "I Started Khan Academy. We Can Still Avoid an Education Catastrophe.," 08.13.20.
      The founder of Khan Academy, writing for The New York Times, provides concrete advice about how to improve online teaching and learning.

    18. "Admit It, You Do Laundry During Work Video Calls," 08.12.20.
      This Wall Street Journal piece assesses the current state of our work lives: "More than five months into the pandemic, people are dropping their online facades on Zoom. Exhausted by days jam-packed with online meetings, many are giving up the pretense of a boundary between work and private lives. Instead, they are seizing on videoconferences as chunks of time to also garden, walk the dog, watch TV and exercise." (Subscription required.)

    19. "Coronavirus Turmoil Raises Depression Risks in Young Adults," 08.10.20.
      The Wall Street Journal reports that social isolation and vanished opportunities caused by Covid-19 bring a mental-health toll for those on the cusp of careers and adulthood: "The pandemic and its economic fallout are taking a toll on the mental health of many Americans. But the burden is perhaps greatest for those on the brink of adulthood, young people who are often seeing their dreams of careers, romances and adventures dashed." (Subscription required.)


    20. Law Schools and Law Students

    21. "Three Tenured Professors Request New Mexico Law School To Delay Tomorrow's Start Of On-Ground Classes Due To COVID-19 And Cyber Attack," 08.11.20.
      The TaxProf Blog reports that "a group of tenure track School of Law professors at the University of New Mexico have formally requested a delay in the start of the fall semester."


    22. Law Firms and Lawyers (North America)

    23. "Partners' Gain Is Associates' Pain as Hours Move Upstream,"08.13.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "law firm partners are taking a larger share of available work during the pandemic, driven by client demand and anxiety about billable hours, and associates are paying the price."

    24. "Already Out of the Office, Talent Flocks to Distributed Firms," 08.12.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that with most lawyers now working remotely, the appeal of working for "distributed" or virtual law firms is growing, as is the share of work going to these lower cost legal services providers.

    25. "Call It a Crisis: Law Firms Need to Quickly Respond to Needs of Working Parents," 08.12.20.
      Two coaches from Volta, writing for The American Lawyer, provide a list of five concrete things that law firms can do to support working parents during this crisis.

    26. "Navigating an Uncertain Legal Market," 08.12.20.
      Writing for the New York Law Journal, an attorney who started her career when the legal market was devastated by the Great Recession offers "advice to young attorneys who are navigating today's challenging hiring sector and law students who are looking ahead to an uncertain future."

    27. "Overall Demand Down for Big Law, But Rate Growth Hits All-Time High. Why?," 08.10.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "the overall demand for legal services dropped 5.9% from the same point last year, marking the largest drop in year-over-year quarterly demand since 2009, according to [data] from Thomson Reuters…but within that drop, the average rate billed jumped up 5.2%."

    28. "Recession Highs: How Some Firms Are Ahead in 2020," 08.10.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "the pandemic and current recession are further dividing the legal industry, as some large firms have struggled to meet their budget this year while others are doing better than last year."

    29. "Susman Godfrey Elects First Woman Managing Partner," 08.10.20.
      The Texas Lawyer reports that "filling a role open with the death of Susman Godfrey founder and managing partner Stephen Susman, the Houston-based trial firm selected Los Angeles partner Kalpana Srinivasan as a managing partner to serve alongside longtime managing partner Neal Manne."

    30. "Firm Leaders Find More Frequent, Transparent Communication Key During Pandemic," 08.10.20
      The American Lawyer reports that the many changes brought about by the current pandemic mean that managing partners must be "even more frequent, open and empathetic in communicating with the rest of the firm."

    31. "Legal Job Growth Sputters as COVID-19 Resurgence Dampens Outlook," 08.07.20.
      The American Lawyer reports that "the legal sector, comprised of attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries and others who make their living in the law, saw a loss of 64,000 jobs in the April report [from the Bureau of Labor Statistics] as the industry was hit hard by pandemic related layoffs and austerity measures."

    32. "For Big Law's Working Moms, Pandemic Could Have a Silver Lining…Seriously!," 08.07.20.
      Law.com speaks with Quinn Emanuel partner Maaren Shah who says that "business development activities that previously disadvantaged women are being replaced by new ways of connecting with clients that level the playing field." (Podcast)


    33. International Law Firms

    34. "DLA Piper Global Revenue Jumps 8.5% to Hit £2.1B," 08.11.20.
      Law.com International reports that "DLA Piper grew its global revenues by 8.5% in the last financial year to hit £2.1 billion, while its non-U.S. business revenue surpassed the £1 billion mark for the first time."

    35. "Pandemic Crisis Shows 'US Firms Have a Better Culture Than UK Rivals'," 08.11.20.
      Law.com International reports that the COVID-19 pandemic response has challenged the conventional wisdom that UK law firms have a better culture than US law firms.


    36. Higher Education

    37. "August Wave of Campus Reopening Reversals," 08.12.20.
      Inside Higher Ed reports that "hundreds of colleges have reversed or altered their reopening plans in the past several weeks after taking stock of COVID-19 testing availability, student and faculty safety concerns, state regulations and the worsening public health crisis."

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