Monthly Archives: January 2014

Whack a Mole

The consultant, Ed Wesemann says “the practice of law is evolving so quickly that firms’ managers are playing whack-a-mole with burning issues.”MgtWhackAMole

The game has never been as good as the name, which has never been as good as the metaphor, which itself  is getting a bit shopworn. But I still like it.

Whack a mole.

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Something Strange in the Neighborhood

The Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor shows that, among law firms nationally, in 2013 demand for corporate and litigation services declined. Demand for real estate services increased, but almost certainly that is only because real property work had fallen so far in earlier periods.gb2_1024

Corporate, litigation, real estate. Those are not specialty or niche practices. They are first-year courses.

There is something strange in the neighborhood. Something weird. And it don’t look good.

Mid-Sized Firms to the Fore?

mid-size-law-firmConfirmed with fresh data, the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession and Thomson Reuters have published the “2014 Report on the State of the Legal Market.” It is the latest testimony of the “disruption” of Big Law’s business model.

This report rounds out the new world view reported recently in

From my my MidLawish point of view, here are the latest report’s conclusions, which speak mostly to the big firms:

  • Unless law firms  change how legal services are delivered, they will not be able to adjust to outside forces that are reordering the industry.
  • Management of legal talent and pricing strategies are more important than economies of scale. Growth for growth’s sake is risky. There are no economies of scale past about 100 lawyers.
  • The law firm market has become much more competitive. Supply exceeds demand significantly .
  • Competition has changed fundamentally.
  • Clients have more diverse options, including shifting work to smaller firms, bringing work in-house, and using non-law-firm providers such as legal process outsourcing.
  • Traditional law firms’ organizational, pricing, and service delivery models must change.

Note the “diverse options” point – the one about work shifting to smaller firms.

On the heels of the “State of the Legal Market” has come a clarion restatement of the case for mid-sized law firms from one of the champions of the species, David Rosenblatt at Burns & Levinson

Says David,

Over three decades ago, the pundits who commented on the practice of law were suggesting that the “mid-sized law firm” was dead – that there was no future in that type of organization. The idea at that time was “bigger is better,” and that offering greater depth in all areas of expertise and experience along with a wider geographic spread was of value to everyone. The other extreme, they argued, was that law firms could be successful only if they were very small.

Since then “Big Law” has gotten bigger; many small and mid-size firms have been swallowed up and become parts of these large national and international firms. We heard the stories of the successes of these very large firms, and this growth appeared to be very good for them. But was it good for the clients and for the people who work in these firms? We’re not so sure.

I heard that.

The linked materials revisit issues and themes that have sounded often in this space in the past. They are soon to return.

A Midwinter Night’s Supper

SupperSmoked trout, hummus américaine and pita chips with a paired beverage — for supper.

Smoked trout with horseradish mayonnaise

The trout
  • Purchase smoked trout. You might smoke your own, but let’s be honest: if you smoke your own trout, you are not reading this.
  • Plus, I am not entirely sure that smoking trout is legal, except for medicinal purposes, in states other than Colorado.

Top your smoked trout with horseradish mayonnaise and lemon juice.

The horseradish mayonnaise
  • Combine horseradish with mayonnaise. Adjust until it tastes right.  If there is too much horseradish, add mayonnaise. If there is too much mayonnaise – well, technically, there is no such thing as too much mayonnaise, but if there is not enough horseradish, then add some.
  • Serve trout and horseradish mayonnaise on pita chips,
  • Top with a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

 Hummus américaine, (hummus with sweet, hot pepper jelly)

  • Prepare hummus according to earlier directions (note: a future post will record growing  ambivalence about whether canned chic peas are the equal of dried ones, but on short notice canned chic peas will be just fine).
  • For hummus américaine you do not want creamy hummus. Your hummus should have the consistency of, say, mashed potatoes. The desired texture can be achieved by allowing too-creamy hummus to breathe for 24 hours.
  • Get you some sweet hot pepper jelly. This is sometimes referred to as “Southern sweet pepper jelly” when the jelly is made in the Southern United States.
  • Apply hummus to pita. Top with pepper jelly to taste. Reflect.

 Beverage pairing

I will not insult readers by stating the obvious. I can think of three to five pairings that are nearly perfect. So can you.

Walking Sickness

slip and fallA founding purpose of this venture was to learn about blogs. Well, since October I have learned another thing or two.

The press of life can will divert you from your commitment to – as is universally advised by blog tipsters – keeping your blog content “fresh.”

October began with too many commitments. Then came “walking sickness” and hospitalization. “Walking sickness” means that, in an occurrence I do not recall, I tripped and fell on the street in downtown Raleigh and knocked myself unconscious. I was ambulanced off to a hospital.

When I was released from the hospital the next day, they told me that my brain would take about six weeks to heal. In the meantime, I would experience  headaches and fatigue and sleep a lot. Also, possible cognitive dysfunction.

Part way into my six weeks, I was taken down by that virus that was going around. Its symptoms included headaches, fatigue, sleeping a lot and all kinds of dysfunction. Coming out of that, I was plunged into Christmas and New Year’s, which led to ….

I now suspect I have been wrestling with one kind of brain trauma or another off and on since early adolescence.

None of the blog tipsters mentioned any of this.