Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fundamental changes coming in practicing law? Wishful but doubful

The always insightful Patrick Lamb has a great post about his participation in a meeting on predictions for business in 2008, and the word is not good. Calling it a perfect storm, Patrick wonders whether a down economy combined with lawyers charging outrageous fees to clients might cause a backlash against such firms, leading to fundamental changes.

I agree with Patrick that the hourly rates being charged are often insane, as are the salaries being paid to new law graduates. You basically have the choice these days of hiring me or Patrick or a second year associate at a large firm, and trust me, we'll run circles around a second year just because of sheer experience. And, unlike Howard Beale, while the clients may be mad as hell not enough are saying they won't take it anymore. Until that happens, then they will just take it and you'll see more of the same. But I hope Patrick is right and people come to the realization that the current system is broken. We might benefit from it and some firms and lawyers may suffer bigtime, but in the end I think it will be better for the legal profession in the long run.