Law Firm Revenues Drop in Q3

The AmLawDaily had a brief article about a survey released by Wachovia’s Legal Specialty group.  You can find the article here

BigLaw revenue is down over 8% as compared to the third quarter of 2008.  Billable hours fell 10%.   

National Law Journal’s 2009 List of the 250 Largest Law Firms

A story in today’s summarizes the results of this year’s NLJ 250 sruvey.  Among the more interesting findings are:

1.  Many firms’ attorney head count had dropped to their 2005 levels

2.  The number of associates at the top 250 firms had dropped an average of 8.7%, reversing a trend of rapid year on year growth since 2004

3.  45% of the NLJ 250 firms deferred their incoming associates

4.  42% of graduates heading to NLJ 250 firms were deferred

You should read the whole article, which contains lots of detail about specific firms.    

L.A. Entertainment Law Firms

The National Law Journal has an interesting read (via the NY Law Journal’s online edition) about out-of-town law firms opening up L.A. offices with Entertainment Practices.  It includes a useful overview of entertainment law practice.


Prediction: Large Law Firm Business Down 4.3% Next Year

The National Law Journal contains a story about an expert study predicting a 4.3% decline in corpoarte legal spending in 2010.  While spending on regulatory work and litigation is expected to increase slightly, the prediction is it will not be enough to offset declines in spending in the areas of real estate, corporate, intellectual property transactional, tax, and environmental work.      

Midsize Firms In Middle Markets

We’ve written about this before (here), but a recent article in the National Law Journal (via makes the point that more regional firms in cities whose economies were not so tied to capital markets are faring better during the current economic crisis.  Some are even taking advantage of the crisis to take on new talent and expand into other regions. 

CA Large Firm Associate Salary Survey

The Recorder, one of Norhtern CA’s legal dailies, published its annual associate salary and bonus survey in its October 5th edition.  We could not locate an online link, but the Library and the CDO both subscribe to the Recorder if you are interested in looking at the whole article. 

In reading the article, it becomes obvious that large law firms are still trying to figure out what to do in this area. There seems to be a consensus that each law firm is likely to respond differently, but that the status quo (annual, lock-step increases) will likely not hold.

It notes that only a few firms have officially announced that they are stepping back from the $160,000 first year BIGLAW starting salary, but that none have affirmatively announced a definite intention to stick to it going forward.  The suggestion was that firms will quickly conform to what they perceive their competition to be doing.

The author interviewed a legal business consultant who noted that firms were realizing savings in other ways — layoffs, salary freezed, deferrals — and most notably by simply hiring alot fewer new associates.  He speculated that large law firm hiring is down by one-third to one-half. 

The article has an accompanying chart that makes it easy to compare compensation figures for 20 large CA firms.         

Boutique Law Firms

Interesting article focusing on litigation boutiques in the National Law Journal (via the New York Law Journal’s website).  These are small law firms that do “BIGLAW” types of cases.  They are often started by lawyers from large law firms and are often the target of law firms looking to expand their business in certain areas through acquisitions.

One resource for finding boutique firms is the website of the International Network of Boutique Law Firms. 

Public Interest Employers and the Economic Crisis

WAMU (one of Washington DC’s public radio stations, which is based at American University) hosted a program last Thursday exploring how trends in the legal industry are affecting the public interest legal sector.

Participants included:  Jonathan Smith (Legal Aid Society of DC), Paul Igasaki (Equal Justice Works), Susan Hoffman (Crowell & Moring) and Matthew Pascocello (Washington College of Law).

Listen to the whole thing (about 1 hour) here.      

Death of A Law Firm: One Year Later

Interesting article in today’s Recorder — via — entitled “The Way Some Law Firms Die Now.”  It is mostly about the demise of Heller Ehrmann, but there is also iteresting commentary from consultants who discuss law firms’ “economic resilience” and what is (or was?) perhaps different about “homegrown” SF firms.     

Advice from the Non-Profit Sector: Typical Day of An Effective Job Seeker

Some helpful specific job search advice from executive search consultant Sally Carlson recently appeared in Blue Avocado, an information website for non-profits. 

Nearly all of it applies to the private sector as well.

Among other things, Carlson offers practical, concrete suggestions for building your network and describes a day in the life of an effective job seeker.