About three years ago, THE ECONOMIST warned about the glut of educated, particularly those preparing for law careers. At the time, it predicted probably one out of nine in law school would ever make partner. Perhaps THE ECONOMIST was too optimistic.
The Great Recession has given law firms a wonderful cover story for promoting fewer senior associates to partnership. And that's exactly what's happening in New York firms, reports Nate Raymond in THE NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL.
Not that anyone who isn't a star or well-connected in the mighty underground network at law firms should have expected to have a shot at partnership. That's not the game. Actually, lawyers tell me it never was. The aware entered the game with the objective to get as much experience as possible. Then, in their seventh, eight, ninth or 10th year of being an 80-hour or more a week associate, when they were cut from the team, they had the skills to look lower in the food chain for legal jobs.
That game is just more transparent now and with the rationale of increased cost-efficiency. Just like every other aspect of 21st-century capitalism - and Tom Peters has been warning about this since his 2003 "Re-imagine!" - the game is about being a player. Players plan and execute every move strategically, that is, in a what's in it for me fashion. Yes, they do care about the clients. And that's strategically shrewd. That book of business could be portable. But, no, they don't care about the law firm. Anyway, that law firm probably operates for success in another era. Not for '09 slouching into '10.