Abuse of power is the common thread behind the sexual misconduct claims that have recently brought down powerful media, political and business leaders. Law firms, which have been beneficiaries of an avalanche of legal work from sexual misconduct, must now look within and confront the dilemma of powerful rainmakers who are abusive, whether the abuse is sexual in nature or otherwise. Despite their obvious economic value to their organizations, Bill O’Reilly, Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein were quickly sacked. Law firms by contrast have often tolerated bad actors who are major rainmakers. Can law firms tolerate abusive rainmakers in the current business climate? Do firms need to be more aggressive about confronting abuses of power? Rainmakers have always been powerful, but because lateral hiring is so pervasive and laterals are highly mobile, rainmakers have become even more powerful. Law firm management understands that confronting abusive rainmakers may cause them to pick up … [Read more...] about Abuse of power within law firms: The rainmaker dilemma
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Home In-Depth Reporting Law firms embrace blind recruiting to promote… Hiring By Danielle Braff October 2018 Photo by Wright Studio/Shutterstock.com Could the resumé become an anachronism? At some law firms, particularly in Canada and the United Kingdom, hiring partners have embraced “blind recruiting,” removing identification details from candidates’ resumés and applications as a means of eliminating potential bias and promoting diversity. Following the lead of accounting firms such as Deloitte and Ernst & Young, as well as governmental and financial institutions in Australia, some firms are even using programs specializing in removing information from resumés based on hiring goals. For example, if a firm is trying to eliminate a bias toward hiring male attorneys, it can filter out resumés from male applicants. If a firm is concerned about hiring too many lawyers from privileged backgrounds, it can rid the resumé of descriptive … [Read more...] about Law firms embrace blind recruiting to promote diversity–but does it work?
Home Daily News Partner promotion photo shows little diversity;… Diversity By Debra Cassens Weiss Posted December 20, 2018, 8:30 am CST Law firm partnership announcements are drawing scrutiny as critics question why women and minorities appear to be underrepresented. One law firm battered by LinkedIn commenters was Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the New York Law Journal reports. Its online photo of 12 new partners showed just one woman. The others appeared to be white men. Among the in-house counsel expressing dismay on LinkedIn was Michelle Fang, chief legal officer at car-sharing company Turo. In an interview with the New York Law Journal, she said that other law firm announcements probably look pretty similar. Fang believes it’s important for corporate counsel to reward law firms that champion diversity and inclusion in how they promote and hire people. “White males don’t have a monopoly on talent,” she said. Last year, women made up … [Read more...] about Partner promotion photo shows little diversity; law firm blames ‘idiosyncratic demographic pool’
Soft skills do not get much attention in law firms. That was my experience when I was practicing in small, medium and larger firms, and it still is the case today. Law firms are focused on leveraging, billable hours, business development and profits per partner. I am often informed by practitioners that “time in law firms is far too precious to prioritize attention to things like soft skills … whatever those are.” Soft skills also are not taught in law schools. The hard skills of strong legal analysis, proficient statutory construction, effective legal writing and persuasive legal argument get priority to produce “practice ready” lawyers, or so the theory goes. Ever-increasing and evolving substantive law puts pressure on law schools to teach what is tested on bar exams, and pass rates matter a lot to law school administrators. Even hard skills can get short shrift in that kind of competitive academic environment. When I was a teaching fellow at a Top 15 … [Read more...] about Law firms shouldn’t overlook value of soft skills
Home Daily News As law firm culture changes, being a partner… Law Firms By Debra Cassens Weiss August 12, 2019, 10:58 am CDT Image from Shutterstock.com. Law firm culture has changed since the American Lawyer began publishing financial data in 1985. Partners looking at compensation information realized they could make more money at other law firms, which has led to a more robust lateral market, the Wall Street Journal reports. At the same time, law firms continued to grow and offer one-stop services to clients. “A focus on data replaced tightknit camaraderie,” the Wall Street Journal article reports. “Firms closely track how many billable hours each lawyer has logged, which clients are late on payment, and how many hours an assignment usually takes.” In the late 1960s, the country’s largest law firm, Shearman & Sterling, had 169 lawyers, the article reports. Today, 29 law firms in the United States have at least 1,000 lawyers. The … [Read more...] about As law firm culture changes, being a partner ‘is all but dead’