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Author Topic: Is the era of biglaw over forever?  (Read 4384 times)

Jake_MONDATTA

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I am the Lorax

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Re: Is the era of biglaw over forever?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2009, 08:49:54 PM »
No, I think it's just a market correction.  You could only pay too many people too much money for so long.

EdinTally

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Re: Is the era of biglaw over forever?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2009, 09:56:49 PM »
Quote
he [Philip K. Howard] touched on the firm’s current troubles by suggesting that as the bottom line increases in importance, the traditional role of the lawyer as a trusted counselor slips away.

“To the extent that lawyers are simply churning out the same problems one after the other and are treated as factors of production to be laid off or not because of market forces or marginal declines in profitability,” he said, “the emotional and professional commitment that goes along with being an adviser and a solver of problems begins to diminish.

Sounds like the legal field has caught up with the rest of the employment market; lack of loyalty between employer and employees. 

Not knowing much about BigLaw, I was still surprised that some firms routinely took out short term loans to pay employees.  Doubt this is the end of BigLaw though.

wrhssaxensemble

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Re: Is the era of biglaw over forever?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2009, 09:42:08 AM »
Doubtful. But I sure hope so.

botbot

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Re: Is the era of biglaw over forever?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2009, 10:41:18 AM »
As you work your way into the legal world, you will (should) quickly realize how silly it is to group all large law firms together. 

Some will come, some will go.

nealric

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Re: Is the era of biglaw over forever?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2009, 09:09:49 PM »
Predictions of the "death of biglaw" are about as absurd as predictions of the "death of capitalism" being floated about.

If you look at the earnings numbers being put out by Amlaw- it's pretty clear that while the firms were definitely hit, there is no Armageddon going on. The fact of the matter is that there is legal work out there that simply requires a large firm. No matter how brilliant or hard-working they may be, a 5 attorney firm can't handle a multi-billion dollar deal.
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Jake_MONDATTA

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Re: Is the era of biglaw over forever?
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2009, 10:00:18 PM »
Predictions of the "death of biglaw" are about as absurd as predictions of the "death of capitalism" being floated about.

If you look at the earnings numbers being put out by Amlaw- it's pretty clear that why the firms were definitely hit, there is no Armageddon going on. The fact of the matter is that there is legal work out there that simply requires a large firm. No matter how brilliant or hard-working they may be, a 5 attorney firm can't handle a multi-billion dollar deal.

I really disagree with the first part.  There's nothing absurd about the idea that gargantuan law firms are not eternal.  I mean, a few decades ago people would've said the same thing about the idea that gargantuan auto companies are not eternal.

botbot

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Re: Is the era of biglaw over forever?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2009, 10:21:01 AM »
Predictions of the "death of biglaw" are about as absurd as predictions of the "death of capitalism" being floated about.

If you look at the earnings numbers being put out by Amlaw- it's pretty clear that why the firms were definitely hit, there is no Armageddon going on. The fact of the matter is that there is legal work out there that simply requires a large firm. No matter how brilliant or hard-working they may be, a 5 attorney firm can't handle a multi-billion dollar deal.

I really disagree with the first part.  There's nothing absurd about the idea that gargantuan law firms are not eternal.  I mean, a few decades ago people would've said the same thing about the idea that gargantuan auto companies are not eternal.

Toyota, Honda, VW, etc

No individual firm is eternal, but some legal work requires a ton of attorneys.  The current BIGLAW model will shift and change, but large firms are here to stay.

nealric

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Re: Is the era of biglaw over forever?
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2009, 10:23:14 PM »
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I mean, a few decades ago people would've said the same thing about the idea that gargantuan auto companies are not eternal.

Yes, because GM has been replaced by mom and pop auto manufacturers. My point is that the nature of certain practice areas is that they require the resources a large firm can provide. Individual auto companies are certainly not eternal, but the nature of manufacturing cars is that it requires a very large company to do economically.

I'm not saying the Cravath model will exist for evermore. All I'm saying is that as long as there are fortune 500 companies and billion dollar mergers there will be biglaw in some shape or form.
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Re: Is the era of biglaw over forever?
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2009, 10:44:07 AM »
It depends on what you mean by "the era."

Biglaw will remain just because as long as this country exists, lawyers will be needed; to the extent that this country exists as a capitalist society, lawyers will be greatly needed.

However, I submit that what this financial crisis has shown us is:

(i) Biglaw is not impervious to economic woes as we all assumed it was as little as 2 years ago
(ii) Biglaw must really sit back and take a long, hard look at the way we do business


Extravagant summer programs, car service home every night, free dinners, $160k starting salaries for people we effectively selected after their first year of law school...

All of these things are contributing factors.  Whatever "the era" is from here out on I think it has to be different b/c now the mortality of Biglaw has been exposed.  We know Biglaw can be hurt, even killed.  So we have to be cognizant of the contributing factors to that mortality and conduct ourselves accordingly.

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