Archived Posts

Avalanche alert

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Filed under: Big Firms, Finance, Recession, Talent

“[F]irms still have too many lawyers,” says the Chicago Tribune in the course of a rather grim 2009 forecast for American law firms. That might not be a problem for too much longer, because we’re about due for another round of bloodletting. But the next stage of the inexorable rationalization of the private bar won’t… Read more »

Deconstructing prestige

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Filed under: Big Firms, Marketing

I’m currently taking part in an intriguing conversation at Legal OnRamp about the reasons why GCs hire prestigious, big-name law firms. A recurring theme in the discussion is that in-house lawyers often default to using big, well-known (and often highly inefficient) firms because of the protection these firms’ prestige affords to corporate counsel. Just as… Read more »


Renovating or tearing down?

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Filed under: Big Firms, Billing, Innovation

I grew up in a small city of about 80,000 and went to law school in a similarly sized town, so my first experience of a major metropolitan center was when I began working in downtown Toronto. I remember being a little overwhelmed by the massive bank towers in the financial district — not a… Read more »

India: Beyond legal process outsourcing

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Filed under: Globalization, Outsourcing

The symmetry was remarkable. Magic Circle icon Clifford Chance caused major waves in the mainstream legal media this week by announcing plans to cut up to 80 lawyers from its flagship London office, about 10% of the legal professionals there. The move, following layoff notices issued to 20 litigation associates in CC’s New York office… Read more »


Law21 honoured with CLawBies

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Filed under: Law21

I don’t have any other words for it — I’m honoured and humbled that Law21 received the Best Canadian Law Blog Award, and tied (with David Bilinsky’s marvellous Thoughtful Legal Management) for the Practice Management Award, in the 2008 edition of Steve Matthews‘ CLawBie Awards for Canadian legal blogging. It’s just a huge compliment when… Read more »

Regeneration

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Filed under: Innovation

Thacher Proffitt & Wood, a 160-year-old US law firm established the same year The Communist Manifesto was published, the Second French Republic was founded and Wyatt Earp was born, will close its doors tomorrow. Following failed merger talks with Spalding & King, Thacher Proffitt arranged for 100 of its lawyers, including its managing partner, to… Read more »


Thank you

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Filed under: Law21

I was preparing what I figured would be my last post before Christmas, a thank-you card to everyone who reads and has linked to this blog since its inception in January. But then along came another reason to be grateful and another person whom  I want to thank. Dennis Kennedy has released his 2008 Best… Read more »

Watch for falling dominoes

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Filed under: Big Firms, Law School, Publishing

I don’t think Detroit’s automakers scored a $17 billion care package from the White House because anyone seriously thinks the cash will staunch the gaping holes in their business models and turn them into American Toyotas. More likely, the US government feared a massive ripple effect throughout the faltering wider economy if even Chrysler went… Read more »


The failure of billable-hour compensation

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Filed under: Billing, Compensation

Two ugly stories from the mainstream legal media at least give us the opportunity to consider an under-publicized way in which the billable hour poisons the profession. First is this National Law Journal article about how law firms are responding to the recession (short answer: myopically). Among other things, firms are laying off staff and… Read more »

The new leverage

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Filed under: Big Firms, Clients, Solo & Small Firm, Talent

Bad news on the economic front continues to pile up — you don’t need the links from me — and the legal profession is finding its ride increasingly bumpy as a result. Wachovia’s legal specialty group reports that partners in large law firms are bringing in less revenue for the first time since approximately the… Read more »


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