I read with interest the WSJBlog’s take on the Morgan Lewis Bockius announcement, BigLaw Gloom, In Hopes of Avoiding Doom: Morgan Cuts 2010 Program.

On the surface, and intellectually, I understand why firms are cutting their summer programs. They have a glut of associates currently on staff, and by pushing back their start dates for the 2009 class, there are no job openings.

But, Morgan Lewis is “among the biggest revenue-earners in the nation” and continues to rank 12th amongst the AmLaw 100. While their revenue per lawyer was down slightly in the latest charts, their profits per equity partner went up slightly to $1.45 million with total compensation per partner at over $1 million.

Are these cost saving measures necessary to the survival of the firm as a whole, or to the pocketbooks of a few? Will the profits per equity partner go down at these firms in 2009? Or are the changes being made to the business model to ensure that current partner compensation will not be impacted by the recession.

So, here’s my question: “What responsibility do we (currently employed at any level, in any firm) have to those who are not employed?”

I am a true capitalist, and I have no qualms about making more money than the guy down the street. However, I am also a moral person and I do wonder what my role is during these down times. What am I expected to contribute or sacrifice?

As an employer, I am making sacrifices to keep my personal employee’s job secure. I find myself working hard to lend a hand to my friends who are currently unemployed, whether in my industry or not. I pass along any and all job leads, I review resumes, I recommend my trusted friends for consulting positions.

The same questions can and should be asked of the legal industry as a whole.

What are the moral responsibilities of the legal vendors, law firms, law schools, legal placement agencies, bar associations and the like to those who have been displaced, laid-off, or, in the case of the Class of 2010, have few, if any, job opportunities?

What about the Legal Marketing Association, Association of Legal Administrators, The Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP) and the other professional associations dedicated to the legal industry?

I know that LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters (parent company to Westlaw) have stepped up and are offering programs of assistance to displaced attorneys via Lend-a-Hand and Between Cases.

But what about everyone else?? What about you??