Really, it’s almost getting old, but another week, another round of layoffs. Greenberg Traurig reportedly is laying off real estate associates. And when the former practice group chair of any firm jumps ship, when the former firm-wide chair will reportedly be removed from the executive committee, do we really have to ask why Above the Law added Cadwalader to their dissolution watch list.
And, yes, it is horrifying to think of the impact of another 53,000 Citi workers laid off in this economy. The ripples will be felt across the nation.
As I was updating my AmLaw 100 charts, adjusting firm headcounts due to layoffs, noting which firms have dissolved, which have been acquired, which ones have been added to the “watch” lists, I couldn’t help but be overcome with all the red marks.
How different the business of law will be in two years. And I’m not just talking about how the AmLaw 100 will be missing many historic names, like Thelen and Heller, or the new names that will be added, or created via mergers and acquisitions.
Will the current economic crisis that is engulfing our industry, and the industries of our clients, finally force the business of law to look inward? Will law firms continue to be structured and financed the same? Will the billable hour FINALLY be replaced by a system that not only rewards the attorneys performing the work, but satisfies the client’s desire for value?
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have a Pollyanna attitude. For the opportunistic law firm, for the attorneys willing to take risks, now is the time to make their power play, blindside their alliances, and “outwit, outplay and outlast” their competition.