Thursday, September 6, 2012
In this video interview with Bloomberg Law, Kent Zimmermann of the legal consulting firm The Zeughauser Group paints a fairly dire picture for BigLaw moving into 2013 and beyond. Though firms generally saw a slightly improved financial picture during the first half of 2012, Mr. Zimmermann says that's now over. Going forward, Mr. Zimmerman says BigLaw will have to get lean to stay profitable by reducing costs in light of the decline in corporate work due to the economy. That means more law firm lay-offs and less hiring because the work either isn't there or because firms must find less expensive ways to deliver certain services by outsourcing it rather than relying on associates. Indeed, Mr. Zimmermann expects some major firms will fail in the next year or so while others will have to merge to survive, presumably shedding lawyers along the way. To be clear, Mr. Zimmermann does not believe these are temporary circumstances solely attributable to the economy but that many of the legal jobs that have been lost and will be lost in the coming years are never coming back because of structural changes in the way legal services are being delivered. It's a picture that's also consistent with the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding growth, or lack thereof, in the legal profession through 2020 (as explained by Professor Deborah Jones Merritt in this post over at Inside the Law School Scam).
Hat tip to the ABA Journal blog.