This is the first installment of a new regular feature here at the Hildebrandt Institute Blog, Monday Clicks. In today’s inaugural edition, we find that it’s a mixed-bag when it comes to the legal economy (unless you’re one of the lucky firms topping AmLaw’s Global 100), the UK’s brave new era of legal services is proceeding at a rapid clip, and no one can agree on what to do about the law school dilemma.
- The results of HBR Consulting’s 2012 Law Department Survey are out. Legal spending is up worldwide (due in significant part to “extraordinary expenses” in the form of major transactions or big-ticket litigation), but so is investment in in-house staffing.
- The American Lawyer has released its 2012 Global 100 list. Baker & McKenzie and DLA Piper top the list of largest global firms by gross revenue. Skadden, Latham, and Clifford Chance round out the top five.
- The existing financial pipeline between Australia and Asia looks to be getting wider – Australasian Legal Business reports that Japanese investment in Australia is on the uptick, according to one legal insider.
- Legalweek.com reports that the Co-operative Group is planning to pilot “virtual law firms” at approximately 30 of the company’s bank branches in the UK. The legal market in the UK continues to evolve in the post-Legal Service Act era – LegalZoom will soon launch across the pond through a partnership with Co-operative Group competitor QualitySolicitors.
- Susan Hackett has penned a substantial two-part series for Corporate Counsel on the emergence of pricing directors at law firms. In discussing how economic demands have caused law firms to evaluate their pricing strategies, Hackett writes:
Given the increasingly competitive and tight economics of legal practice today, even in (especially in) the largest and most traditionally successful firms, the market has changed. Price can no longer be disconnected from cost, just as cost can’t be disconnected from the value provided.
Enter the pricing director.
- The New York Times’ DealBook has launched a series called “The Future of Big Law,” in which reporters and guest commentators discuss some of the major changes occurring in the legal industry. The series features entries on both new business models and the possible wisdom of retaining old models, as well as the opportunities and challenges facing the corporate bar in the wake of the Libor scandal.
- The Daily Beast business and economics blogger Megan McArdle interviewed Paul Campos, Colorado Law professor and author of the new book Don’t Go to Law School (Unless). They discuss declining law school applications and the job prospects of current graduates. Regarding the rising costs of a legal education, Campos tells McCardle:
Faculty salaries have doubled in real terms over the past 30 years. Administrative salaries have grown by much more, and the sheer number of administrative positions has exploded. Facilities are much nicer (this is known as the amenities race), and at law schools faculty-to-student ratios are much lower because of the pursuit of rankings. It’s just a crazy business model, all of which is enabled by no underwriting standards for student loans.
- As part of DealBook’s Future of Big Law series, commentator Steven M. Davidoff, professor of law and finance at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State, counters Campos’ arguments about the cost of law school:
I believe that law students do need more training in practical skills, but a focus on that is probably only going to make law school more expensive.
If all this talk of legal market economics is getting you down, Above the Law has a fun wrap-up of the how the NFL referee lockout reached a resolution last week, with a special focus on everyone’s favorite lawyer/referee/fitness buff, Ed Hochuli.
Posted by Emily Fisher with contributions by Marianne Purzycki