Web week

The Lawyer‘s Web Week is a weekly commentary on legal activity on the web. This includes an overview of the best of the week’s blogs. If you want to direct us to useful links, email webweek@ thelawyer. com.

Cobbetts’ hamper progress
While most law firms’ nods to Christmas come in the form of press releases warning you against the dangers of groping your employees at the Christmas party (it could land you in hot water you know!), Cobbetts came up with this nugget at www.cobbetts.com/christmas dash/christmasdash.html.

It’s got nothing to do with the law, but it’s an ace game. You can ski along, grabbing presents along the way, and possibly win yourself a Christmas hamper.

Bonus question
www.thelawyer.com was hit with a slew of stories about US firms and their Christmas bonuses. This is what www.wiredgc.com had to say on the subject: “Nearly every time law firms raise starting salaries for new associates, a spokes-partner says something such as ‘this is our way to attract the best lawyers to our firm; we do not pass these costs along to clients.’ The law firm community nods, and the GC community collectively says ‘huh?'”As I have looked at the relationship of starting salaries and rates before, I won’t repeat myself here. And as tempting as it is, we’ll leave the annual bonus drumbeat to others (but I guess it shows current rates are highly profitable).

“Suffice it to say that any notion of scarcity is rather specious; there are plenty of smart law grads out there. You can even look outside the Top Ten schools! And we know that new lawyers know virtually nothing about the practice of law; most new associates spend the first few years learning on the job (or is it on someone else’s dime?). If only a few make partner, did you really need to pay so much (and charge so much) for new associates?”What really is scarce is not talent. What is scarce at the larger firms is this: equity partner slots. And the equity partners set the rates.

“And here we have the real reason for billing rate increases. Equity partners want to make more. And if their share of the pie is either fixed (no more partners) or shrinking (a few more, if they must), you can only be more profitable (per capita) by raising hours or raising rates. Most of these firms are at or above the threshold of humanly achievable billable hour targets. So it’s really about raising rates; profit-per-partner is a bragging rights metric that is simple, comparable and widely published.”

Spam for Christmas
www.inhouseblog.com/in houseblog was more worried about e-cards replacing the traditional Christmas card: “Will spam filters catch many of the cards leaving in-house counsel wondering ‘Why didn’t I get a card from ____________?'”

It’s great when things click
South East firm Herrington & Carmichael did the maths and worked out that the UK’s 225 million Christmas cards this year would cost more than £100m.

It has come up with the not frightfully original idea of putting its own Christmas card online and giving the money to charity.

But this is the good bit. Click on www.herrington-carmichael. com/Christmas-Card.php and the firm will give 25p to the Project for Children with Special Needs charity.

If every one of our 31,475 readers logs in, the charity can expect a £7,868.75 windfall.

We can do the maths too.

Rapping it up
And finally, type ‘law firm’ into www.youtube.com or type this www.youtube.com/watch?v= PBEWHy6khZw into your browser for a novel approach to law firm marketing. Happy Christmas.