Just like most Americans, the legal industry has been obsessed over the past decade with super-sizing. The AmLaw 100 has super-sized head count, PPEP (profits per equity partner), RPP (revenue per partner), revenue generated, etc.

We’ve already seen the first casualty of the economic downturn with Heller Ehrman’s inability to make it to the altar with any of its suitors. I’ve been speaking with my colleagues across the country and there is a lot of belt tightening, layoffs and fewer hires going around – some of it due to necessity. For most of us, it is out of prudence. We don’t know what’s coming around there corner.

Coupled with our personal portfolios tanking, it can all be a bit depressing

Then I read this article, Mid-sized law firms see silver lining in cloud over Wall St. It’s not just my Pollyanish thinking, there is a bright spot in today’s economic climate, and it is shining on the small and mid-sized firms.

Many smaller shops are hopeful that the slowing economy will actually be good for their business, as clients looking to cut their legal budgets may consider shifting work from larger, pricier firms in New York and other major cities.

Economic uncertainty and downsizing at major firms could also translate into lower associate attrition and more recruiting options, say attorneys at several midsize firms.

With fewer ties to the financial sector’s heavy hitters, smaller firms say they are experiencing less fallout from the recent economic turmoil than their big-firm counterparts — atleast for the time being.

So while all the news out there isn’t good, the outlook can be for many of us.