In THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, GameStop's Chief Executive Officer Paul Raines is quoted observing, " ... our (electronic industry's) internal rate of change has to be greater than the external rate of change." The article by Ann Zimmerman focuses on how the brick and mortar consumer electronics store might be able to survive. But the challenges the industry faces mirror those of the legal sector.
The official report from Citi Private Bank's Law Firm Group and the Hildebrandt Institute indicate that 2012 could be as tough as 2009. Layoffs could became routine again. Recently David Lat at Abovethelaw.com received word from sources at Winston & Strawn that there were stealth layoffs and low hiring of summers at the Chicago office. Layoffs of associates in litigation could hit W&S's New York office in the fall.
Yet, the legal and the business media are not reporting an upheaval in how law firms operate. That's what is alarming. Retail in general, not only for consumer electronics, is experimenting with every aspect of how things used to be done. Because of that process some stores such as Macy's and Wal-Mart are doing fine. A few years ago there were those who had written off retail.
If the legal sector doesn't have its Come To Jesus moment, the layoffs will resume in volume. When searching for a position, lawyers who have choices should analyze the business model. If it is old-line, that might not be the place to be.