By and large, BigLaw should be proud of the way it has reacted to the near collapse of our financial system as we appear to be teeter tottering away from the brink at least for the time being. To be sure, while we are at long last witnessing deals trickle back in and real transactions that require our servicing, bankruptcy and restructuring practices remain our life preservers. But once sacrosanct principles like no publicly disclosed layoffs have been left behind in the rubble along with associate salary and bonus wars. Also, alternative fee arrangements to the billable hour are becoming commonplace; skepticism of our financial sector clients and avoidance of the toxicity that has come to define it appears enhanced; partner level lateral market due diligence is virtually destigmatized; and practice area as well as personnel diversity and work-life balance and more humane work environments for all our attorneys and staff have emerged as the new holy grails. In short, our major law firms are now leaner, meaner, healthier and more competitive.
It of course remains to be seen whether we are simply in the eye of the storm or it is really behind us. Either way, no matter how long the current lull lasts, we urge that everyone keep in mind that storms are simply part of the market environment and the arrival of the next tempest is just a matter of time. What is key though is to avoid the manic swings that have defined our behavior over the last couple of decades by allowing the aforementioned positive changes to take root and by steering away from the notion that AmLaw chart ascent is in and of itself a laudable goal. That way, we will all be better situated to deal with the next jolt whenever it greets us.
Hanover Legal remains eager to do its part in making BigLaw a happier place, and we look forward to continuing to work with all of you as we welcome in this new work year!