Paul Hastings had a flat year, with a slight decline in revenue and profit. The interesting part of its financial reporting is that it mentioned fewer partners. This could be a trend. Goodwin Procter had a 2.5% increase in gross revenues for last year. One reason why was fewer equity partners. That just happened with retirements and less hiring. It wasn't strategic but it could become so.
The model of the law firm could include not only fewer associates but also fewer partners, both equity and plain vanilla. Therefore, fewer associates might be on the partner track. Fewer will make it to partner. And partners will have to step up bringing in new business if they don't want to be forced into retirement.
The law game is now no different from that across professional services. It's all about new business development.