Many Small Firms Doing OK in the Downturn

The New York Lawyer profiles some small firm practitioners who are thriving despite the current state of the economy.  The article suggests at least a couple of reasons for this:  first, they are leaner and may be able to provide better value to clients who have become even more cost sensitive.  Second, many have niche practices which are less subject to ebbs and flows in the market.  You can read the article here.

Revenue and Profitability Numbers for Some Bay Area Law Firms

The Recorder surveyed seven of the largest “homegrown” (their phrase) Bay Area law firms and reported some information about where these firms stood at the end of 2008.  The article can be found on the website here.   

Not surprisingly, at most places, the top-line number was up, but profits-per-partner dropped. 

Market For Buying Patents Still Strong

Despite the current state of the economy, the market for purchasing patents continues to increase, according to an article in the Recorder, the Bay Area’s legal newspaper.   The reason for this, the article reports, has more to do with defending against lawsuits rather than innovating.    

AmLaw’s Law Firm Leader Survey

The American Lawyer’s article about the results of their annual law firm leader survey is definitely worth a read.   Among the survey’s findings:  nearly three-quarters of these leaders are expecting to increase their firms’ headcount in 2009.  Another theme that emerges from the responses is that there is still a great deal of uncertainty about how firms are going to do next year.  A significant minority believes that profits will be flat or may even decrease.  There are also some interesting comments about associate attrition and business diversification.          

News from the World of Small Firms Somewhat Optimistic

A reporter’s view of the Bay area small firm market is that, while they are being more aggressive about trimming spending, they are busy with client work and they are, to some extent hiring.

Some Firms Expecting Increase in Regulatory Work features an article from the Legal Intelligencer reporting that firms are expecting more work as a result of an anticipated post-election push to pass new regulation in the financial sector (and, to some extent, in the area of environmental law).

Fellowships — Opportunity Builders

A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal’s Career Journal highlights fellowships as a way of opening new doors on one’s career path.  The article talks about the White House Fellowship program and quotes Boalt alum (and former White House fellow) Diane Yu who talks about her own career path. 

The CDO will be hosting an informational conference call about the White House Fellows Program with Boalt alums who served as fellows   

The Art of Networking

A recent article in the Marketing the Law Firm Newsletter offers some good pointers on how to connect with clients.  The adivce is equally applicable to the job search context.  The author was here at Berkeley Law last year presiding over our Business Etiquette Dinner and discussion.   

For more on networking, see the “Career Development and Job Search Skills” section of the CDO website.  We also have some good recent print resources on the Art of Networking available in the CDO Library.

How Silicon Valley Is Likely To Be Affected By Current Economic Conditions

In case you missed it in this past Sunday’s SF Chronicle, here is a link to an interesting article about how the economic downturn is likely to impact emerging technologies (Clean Tech, biolfules, etc), which make up a larger part of the Silicon Valley’s business sector.

Litigation Practices Not As Busy As Some Expected

The popular wisdom is that, in an economic downtown, firms’ transactional practices slow down, but that new litigation and bankruptcy matters often make up for this loss of business.  Today’s NY Lawyer reports that litigation practices have, in fact, not picked up in several areas of the country (although it appears that NYC is currently bucking this trend).