It was way back in 2007 that the bubble burst in the legal sector. Before it did the legal and business media were speculating how much higher than $170,000 would base compensation rise to for first year associates in metro areas.
But that was then - bubble dynamics. Bubbles do burst. After a while, as Megan McArdle points out in NEWSWEEK in an article on higher education, what folks expect is "a return to a nice, sustainable equilibrium." Instead what occurs, she explains, is chaos.
Doesn't that make sense of what's occurring in the legal sector? No, things haven't fallen into place. There are still many JDs who were attending law school or were associates around 2007 who are still stranded. They are not practicing law and they are not making their way on an alternate career path. Although applicants to law schools are down about 20%, that's not enough to cool off the glut. Because BigLaw revenue growth is slow or flat and expenses creeping up, partners are being eased out. Meanwhile in B2C, pro se is forcing lawyers to sell unbundled services and LegalZoom is eating a lot of their lunches.
Lawyers aren't used to chaos. Perhaps that's why those I encounter are denying its existence. Vultures get to eat off their hope.