A law professor at Emory believes that our existing system of legal education is in some great need of reform.
Law School: Make It Optional?
Why is a Mercedes education necessary for a lawyer seeking a Corolla legal practice?
Sounds a little extreme though he does raise some thought provoking questions about the ABA standards for legal education (i.e. does a “one size fits all” approach make sense for educating lawyers.)
Midlevel Associates Survey: Communication Breakdown?
The American Lawyer
Nearly 6,000 associates took part in The American Lawyer magazine’s 2005 Midlevel Associates Survey, offering, among other things, a glimpse of what upper management and youngish associates think of each other. Sometimes it’s not pretty. Are midlevels a bunch of “slackers,” or is slavish devotion to a firm simply no longer worth it? Is anyone even listening? Plus: See midlevels’ attitudes by locale as well as the best places to work.
For several years now, the American Lawyer has been surveying mid-level associates about their experiences in the largest law firms in the United States. But the AmLaw survey is just one of many information sources to consider when evaluating a law firm. For starters, if you look at the sample size from some of these firm, the number of respondants can be quite low. If you are going to look at these surveys, you should probably look back over a few years to see if there are trends. If a firm is consistently ranking high year after year, then that probably means something. But a survey is only one of many ways to evaluate what it might be like to work at a firm.
I have collaborated with my colleague, Dan Binstock (managing director of the BCG office in DC) to put together an article on the benefits of working with a search firm. In rereading the article, I realize that there is one potential benefit that we forgot to mention.
If you are a lawyer with great credentials but you have something in your background that needs explaining (e.g. a gap in employment, an involuntary termination), a recruiter can help you get over this hurdle by being your agent. In other words, the recruiter can explain the problem to potential employers in a more neutral way.
Another big merger is underway in the Boston legal community. Is the mid-sized firm showing further signs of weakening?
From Law.Com: “Edwards & Angell is joining forces with Palmer & Dodge, another New England law firm known for strengths in intellectual property and finance. The two firms set a Nov. 1 target date to complete their proposed deal. The newly combined firm, which will be called Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, will have 520 attorneys and nine offices in the United States, with 55 percent of its lawyers operating out of Boston.”
Even if there will now be two fewer firms in this middle space, it seems that rumors of the death of the mid-sized firm are quite exagerated. In Boston alone, several firms with 100+ lawyers are still having very profitable years. The AmLaw 200 still lists several firms that operate principally in New England.
Ellen Ostrow, a career consultant in D.C. who does a lot of work with lawyers, publishes a career newsletter that is very good. You can read her archive on her website and subscribe for free for future issues. The latest issue has a very good article on delegating.
I didn’t see the newsletter on delegating in her archives, yet, but I’m sure she would be happy to send it to you if you subscribe to her newsletter.
I recently published a career audit tool for law firm associates. You can link to this tool on the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly website. It is an exercise for any associate who wants to think more critically about their experience at their law firm.
For partners who are interested, I have also created a similar tool. Just send me an e-mail message and I will forward it to you.
Preti Flaherty Beliveau Pachios & Halley has come to Boston. This is the second time in a year that a Maine law firm has opened in the Boston market. Their business strategy sounds similar to that of a number of other mid-sized firms (mainly NH firms) who have come into Boston. The plan is to offer clients lower billing rates for work done in other offices.
Could the salary wars be starting again? In Silicon Valley that seems to be the case. My prediction: within 6 months, Boston firms will follow suit.