Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Is This a Good Sign?

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....


  1. You're always doom and gloom. Why can't this be a good sign. I think this means that hiring is picking up. I don't see this as a bad thing at all.

  2. Anyone who thinks this is a legitimate "recovery" is smoking crack. The legal industry is doomed, as are most young lawyers.

  3. Angel is only being realistic. The legal industry is unlikely to ever recover back to the same levels as the 90s. It is also unlikely that we'll see real change to the either the legal system or the way law schools train lawyers. The people who have benefited from this archaic system will want things to stay the way things are even if half of their T14 classmates or 99% of the TTT grads have their lives and careers ruined. Those lucky to get hired and keep their jobs in Biglaw until they are junior associates will be the ones to fill in-house positions. Biglaw will continue to hire a little over half of the people out of the T14 schools and a few lucky folks from the rest. The only good thing about all of this is that it might force a lot of the TTT law schools to close down once more people read our law school scam blogs and there is a significant drop in law school applications. The legal industrial complex will likely shrink significantly - as it should - over the next several decades. Most of the sh*tlaw jobs will eventually be outsourced. Young law grads and those who have been laid off will be forced to start a new career or remain as temp workers. There will be very few opportunities in the legal market and it will remain that way for most of our lives.

  4. @9:12
    It's not doom and gloom per se, but it doesn't suggest that recent graduates will have any chance at the new positions (if you compare experience desired for law firms to corporate counsel, firms tend to be hiring attorneys with 3+ years of experience whereas corporations are looking for 5+). Moreover, it says that in a cost cutting measure, corporations are hoping to utilize outside counsel less, suggesting lower demand for firm associates is on the way.



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