By The Lawyer Staff

The first signs of recovery?

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  • Slightly off-topic, but what bugs me most is that lawyers and journalists alike seem to not understand the distinction between "less" and "fewer". There should be no recovery for a lawyer who can't explain it.

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  • I agree, but I fear we may be fighting a losing battle...

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  • This is most welcome. In the rest of the general press everything is so miserable it makes the rest of us miserable, so well done.

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  • In relation to how law firms will structure themselves in the future: Although associate-to-partner leverage has, and is being, reduced, the real issue is the relative increase in the number of non-equity partners.
    The increasingly larger ranks of non-equity partners are effectively acting as senior leverage, while helping the equity partners (who have the real business generating talent) to protect their already reduced profit shares.
    Law firms are in fact giving up the pyramid model. They are hoping to in future to build 'diamond shape' models - the top tip being an ever tighter group of equity partners, the chunky middle part senior associates past 4PQE and non-equity/salaried/fixed share/local partners (ie senior leverage for want of another name), the lower end the junior associates/junior leverage - who in the future will increasingly be paralegals and contract attorneys.

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  • I think we may see gearing adjust slightly over the next 18 months but long term? I don't see a dramatic shift that will alter the system long term.

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  • I can see some firms moving to ratios of 1:1 or 1:1.5. If you want to focus on the high-end advisory stuff, much of the other work can be outsourced or
    given to an alliance firm in India.

    Obviously this raises some issue with the partnership track, and promoting future generations of partners, but surely not insurmountable.

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  • The whole point is that leverage was so high, you couldn't count the associates on a deal even if you wanted to. So it would be right to say "less associates".
    But in general, better you don't split your infinitives before you correct others' grammar...

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