The author, Mr. Naom Scheiber, does a nice job describing some of the market inefficiencies that have resulted in a very difficult legal market for young lawyers. As a small “boutique” law firm, the Sharks are very much aware of the competitive legal market.
More interesting, however, is the way this new economy is impacting so-called “biglaw” – firms with over 500 attorneys. Traditionally, these firms have charged extremely high hourly fees with little or no reason to compete on price. That’s changing, however, as the soft economy has made it impossible for big firms to charge their antiquated rates. Now, the partners at the top of biglaw are eating each other.
I highly recommend reading the piece, and remember that small firms, like the Sharks, have experienced, hard-working, intelligent attorneys, who aren’t driven solely by “maximizing hourly billing” and “increasing revenues.” If you’re hiring a lawyer, it’s important to remember that a firm that knows you by name, that spends time with your file every week, has more of a stake in your case than a firm that handles tens of thousands of cases a year. Think about it.