Yep, It Really Is That Bad

Bitter Newsroom Lawyer, News & Views

Confirmed: Your job has never been this bad. And you’re probably not getting a bonus. At least if you’re working in a law firm, that is. As Citi Private Bank’s Dan DiPietro recently reported in American Lawyer, it looks like 2008 will be the worst year for law firms since 2001. One of the main reasons—aside from the generally crap state of the economy—is that there are just too many lawyers glutting the halls of Big Firms nationwide. “Because law firms continued to add lawyers to their ranks despite the drop-off in demand,” DiPietro explains,”firms experienced a slowdown in productivity comparable to the second quarter of 2001 and lower than every other second quarter between then and now.”

In a particularly cruel twist, DiPietro reports that the slowdown is hitting the most profitable firms the hardest, with profits down by as much as 15%. Top-tier firms, he explains, “tend to rely on certain kinds of transactional work, such as high-end private equity deals, securitization and structured finance, and also tend to have a higher percentage of clients in the financial services sector.” And we all know how well that sector’s been doing lately.

Lest you’re ready to slit your wrists with the edges of your (empty) timesheets, “there is a silver lining,” according to DiPietro. “A bad year…will enable firms to take steps that partners would resist in a good year—winnowing out unproductive lawyers and applying greater discipline to expense control.”

Sweet!  We’re all gonna get…er…fired or paid less? Hm. Not exactly the pep talk we were looking for. [AmLaw Daily]

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