It seems as if the decades of reaping Corporations for legal fees are over. Corporations have wised up and decided that outside counsel is too expensive, when you can bring attorneys in-house. It's about time.
There were many days, while working for Big Law, that I wondered what the hell the in-house legal department does on a daily basis--if not my job. Of course, I do live by the saying, "He who represents himself has a fool for a client." However, there are many things that need to be done in a case that don't have to be moved to outside counsel right away. At the very least, in-house counsel and outside counsel should be working in conjunction to save money and time. Not to mention the fact that it is probably more effective to work with attorneys who were probably witness to the incident and know facts, custom and practice and names--more so than any green associate at a big firm. I'm sure that the learning curve would be shortened if ALL the attorneys worked together.
Do I think this is a sign of the recovery? Heck no! I think this is a consolidation and simplification of legal services. For every in-house counsel that is working on a case, there will be two attorneys at the firm that aren't needed to do the same job. That's my estimate--from the cases that I have been involved in. So, this type of move is going to lend itself to a shrinking of the legal industry. Do you agree?
Also, in-house counsel positions are among the most coveted in the industry. Corporations, not being Big Law, don't adhere to their retarded business model. As such, to a Corporation, green attorneys from Harvard and Yale won't be the ideal candidates. Instead, attorneys with demonstrated skills in particular fields of law will be the ones to snap up these jobs--should they materialize.
I still think that there is/will be a lost generation of attorneys. Attorneys with under 3 years of experience and those that are in law school now will bear the brunt of the recession. They were laid off or never hired and will not be given the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to be considered in-house counsel material. As any lawyer knows, you know nothing the day you graduate from law school. A new grad would find it extremely difficult to pick up a slip and fall and make anything of it.
I'm still waiting to read some good news. One day....
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