I was reading the latest layoff announcement (this time Foley and Lardner) and a thought suddenly occurred to me. Given the enormous downward pressure on legal fees and the predictions that corporate counsel will reduce outside legal spending in 2010, maybe these layoffs are only going to accelerate the decline of Biglaw. After all, a high percentage of lawyers leaving large firms will end up at smaller firms where they have lower billing rates.
Pushing more legal talent out the door will increase the supply of talented lawyers who are willing to work for considerably less than their old billing rates.
So in essence, Biglaw is creating an army of hungry lawyers who will be pitching themselves as a much cheaper alternative (i.e. Biglaw training at small law prices). The sell will be more effective for former partners, counsel and senior associates; but there are plenty of those who have been shown the door so watch out Biglaw!