Down times in 2009

March 8, 2010
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Was 2009 really the worst year for the legal market in the past 50 years? Apparently so, according to a report released earlier this month analyzing the legal market last year and trends expected for this year.

Hildebrandt Baker Robbins consulting firm and Citi Private Bank claim last year was really bad – so bad that most attorneys practicing now are too young to remember a worse time.

Demand for legal services declined at a faster pace in 2009 than in 2007 and 2008, outside counsel spending dropped, billing and collection realization rates fell, and many in the legal community lost their jobs. More than 5,000 attorneys lost their jobs last year with the top 250 law firms in the country; thousands more attorneys, paralegals, and other legal professionals lost jobs. I’d say last year was pretty bad.

Looking ahead to 2010, the report may see a glimmer of hope for recovery, but nothing to get excited about. Although fewer legal workers have lost their jobs recently, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will still be cost-cutting measures, which could include jobs. In trouble could be partners, whose numbers grew during the downturn. Chances are profits per equity partner will be flat or up slightly, but it’s dependent on location, practice, clients, etc.

The report also emphasizes the impact rate increases during 2001 through 2007 had on the growth of law firms and the legal market. Firms often increased rates 6 to 8 percent each year, but now clients are pushing back. This push back is likely to stick around for a while. The report encourages firms to implement new models for pricing legal services, as well as recruiting and retaining attorneys, and partnering with other service providers.

It’s a “buyers market” right now. Have you seen any changes in your firm to respond to any of the issues addressed in the report?
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  1. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  2. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  3. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  4. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  5. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

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