Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's Not "Coming Back."

Any lawyer or law firm who believes that things will “come back,” or “get better,” is living in a dream world.

Nothing is “coming back,” and things will not “get better.” Things have changed and will continue to change.

Forever? Who knows, but any lawyer or law student should proceed under the notion that things will get worse, for the near “forever.”

BigLaw, is over. There will continue to be large law firms, as corporate America can’t have their work done by 2 guys sharing space and a secretary. BigLaw, as in marble floors, embossed coffee mugs, overpaid and underqualified associates assigned 2 to a client, 3 times marked up copies and faxes, and summer programs more like summer camp, is over.

Billing as we know it, is over. No more .2 for a phone call, or .3 for a form letter. Write as many letters as you want lawyers, talk on the phone all you want. The fee will not be worth writing worthless letters, or having worthless phone calls.

The Yellow Pages, are over. The big fat Martindale-Hubbell books, are over. Books in general, are over. ThomsonWest, Lexis, your “20% off” books, is mostly ignored.

Receptionists, are a luxury. Press “1” for Joe Smith, will be the norm very soon. Joe may be in the office, or may not have an office.

Clients, will pay for services, not lobby furniture. Clients will hire lawyers over the phone, internet, and via video conference in their underwear from their family room.

It’s over, as we know it. Wait for it to “come back,” you’ll be waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

No, I have no studies, no statistics, no articles to back up what I am saying here. But I’m telling you, it’s over, as we know it.

Don’t you see it? BigLaw canceling summer camp, deferring new hires, law schools deferring new students? BigLaw is eating their last morsel of their lines of credit, and shedding people by the dozens.

What’s the point?

Unless you are a lawyer who offers needed services, let me say this more clear, unless you, you, are a lawyer, not a cog in the wheel, who offers needed, needed services, you have no future in this business.


Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com



Dave Lorenzo said...

Ah...a ray of sunshine from South Florida

I was waiting for you to tell everyone woring in a big law firm to "do the right thing" ala Frank Pantangeli...

I wonder how many solo and small firm attorneys - good lawyers - read this article and went right back to sitting in front of the phone.

The point you left out: Even if people need you, if they don't know you exist, you will still go broke.

Chris H. said...

Brian, I often enjoy reading your blog and more times than not I agree with your opinions, but this time your post reads like a mindless rant.

Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but what crystal ball are you looking into? The yellow pages are over? What kind of nonsensical drama is this?

A little reserved optimism goes a long way, Brian. I totally agree this may be a good time to weed out attorneys who have no passion for the practice and just wanted to make money. But there's a whole generation of us who love the law and will continue to make the profession grow in a new way.

I hope these gloom and doom posts don't become mainstay here, because I truly enjoy your writing.

My Law License said...

Chris, this blurb appeared in the Miami Daily Business Review today (7/17):

Law firms say days of high salaries, auto increases are over

Law school students are likely to face a starkly different legal industry than the graduates of just a few years ago. The days of law firms fighting to offer higher and higher starting salaries with fat bonuses and solid job security may be gone forever.

I'll post on it later....

Loren Donald Pearson said...

So what are you doing about it? I guess more than just selling your reception-area furniture.