Archive for June, 2009
Yesterday’s New York Times contained an article by Alan Feuer entitled “A Study in Why Major Law Firms Are Shrinking“. In sum, like many other industries, it has to do with the economy. It has to do with clients demanding lower rates. It has to do with clients demanding that more work be done at flat rates. It has to do with clients refusing to pay exorbitant fees to support the lavish lifestyles of law firm partners who, at the example chosen by the author, White & Case, reported a drop in partner profits in 2008: “the average profit per partner last year  was $1.6 million, down from $1.7 million the previous year, according to AmLawDaily, the Web site of The American Lawyer.”
Indeed, in the last two years White & Case has laid off 270 lawyers. Of those, 200 were recently notified that their jobs at White & Case had been eliminated. And the firm does not discriminate: junior associates as well as established partners have been let go. “Sometimes it was people who had recently joined the firm, but sometimes it was much-more-senior people at what seemed to be a natural break in their careers,” Mr. Verrier said of those who were let go.
Mr. Feuer laments that, “[t]he gentleman’s profession of the law is becoming a vestige of the past, removed enough from reality to be remembered, like phone booths or fedoras.”