In Today’s Law Firm News: Both “Dark Days” and “Sunny Forecasts” links to two stories today:  one is about how the Lehman bankruptcy and the sale of Merrill Lynch is likely to affect Biglaw corporate practices.  A managing partner of a major NY firm is quoted as saying:  “It’s a question of whether you’re fortuitous enough to be representing a financial institution that survives or whether you represent one that’s not going to be around much longer.”  The article also points out that the plaintiffs’ bar will also likely be negatively affected.

The second story reports on one bright spot in the legal job market: the growth of in-house Clean Tech opportunities. 

The Value Of A Joint Degree

From time to time, we are asked whether pursuing a joint degree will enhance a student’s marketability.  The answer, of course, depends on the particular degree and who the potential employer is.  

A partner at a large NY law firm recently provided his take on this subject in a piece appearing in the Legal Times. 

Law Firms Comment on Hiring in a Downturn

Interesting article in the National Law Journal discussing how associate hiring is linked to predictions about the future direction of the economy. 

One large firm’s chairperson reported that they are shooting for the same summer associate hiring target as last year.  The NY office of another has decided to forego on campus recruiting entirely this year.  Both admit to the difficulty in trying to predict their need for associates two years out.  It’s definitely worth a read.       

Careers in Entertainment Law and Energy, Climate & Clean Tech Law

If you are interested in learning more about these practice areas, you should check out the career guides that were recently produced by two student groups here at Berkeley Law. 

The Boalt chapter of BERC — Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative — produced the Career Guide for Energy, Climate & Clean Tech Law and the Sports and Entertainment Law Society (SELS) wrote the Guide to Entertainment Law. 

We link to them from the Practice Area Exploration page of the CDO’s website.  

Thanks BERC and SELS for your great work!

Sobering Article on the State of the Legal Market

The head of Citibank’s Law Firm Group, which has analyzed trends in the legal industry over the last eight years, has written an excellent, but sobering article about current market dynamics across the industry (large, mid-size and small private firms).

Among other things, he concludes that law firms, which have gotten used to seeing +10% revenue growth over the past eight years, will likely experience no growth in profits this year or even a dip of as much as 10%. (This is a downward revision from Citibank’s projections of just six months ago). At the same time, expenses (nearly a quarter of which consist of associate compensation) have and are likely to remain high. Read the whole thing here.

The 50 Best Law Firms for Women

Working Mother, in conjunction with Flex-Time, a national consulting firm, has published its annual list of the 50 best law firms for women.  

It does not rank the 50, it just lists them alphabetically.

As with any survey or rankings list, it’s important to look at the methodology.  As we understand it, firms with 50 or more lawyers were invited to submit application materials, which were then graded, taking into account information about firms’ workforce profile, family-friendly benefits and policies, flexibility, leadership, compensation, advancement and retention of women.  According to a story about the list in the Recorder, 115 firms applied. 


Private Public Interest Law Firms

There are many for-profit law firms whose practices are mostly comprised of representing individuals and groups of people who are in need of help and cannot otherwise obtain representation. Identifying such firms is a difficult and somewhat imprecise task, but Harvard Law School’s Office of Public Interest Advising and Columbia Law School ‘s Center for Public Interest Law have made an attempt.

Regional Law Firms — Great Alternative to BIGLAW or Dying Breed — We Report, You Decide

The trend in the large law firm market toward consolidation (growth and expanded coverage through acquisition of small and medium sized firms) has continued over the past year (during which there were 55 U.S. law firm mergers). Recently, the Recorder, the local newspaper of the legal profession, profiled a few firms based here in the Bay Area that have bucked that trend (there are others not mentioned in the article). Who’s right? Are they right/wrong for you? Who knows? I found a reprint of the article on the web here. It raises some interesting issues that I thought would be timely as OCIP approaches.