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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

ONLY THE YOUNG  – We told you recently in our Trendspotter column about how associates keep getting the short end of various sticks, from their pay to their development, during the pandemic. But the real question is: why? As Patrick Smith reports, part of the reason associates are taking a backseat to more senior lawyers is that law firms are scared of partners leaving. That’s true pretty much regardless of what’s happening with the economy. But there is another, uniquely pandemic-y factor contributing to associates’ woes. “When I talk to friends who are still active partners, they say if they have something they would have normally given to an associate, they used to walk down the hall and hand it to them and explain it for 15 minutes,” said Keith Wetmore, managing director of the San Francisco office for legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa and chief executive partner of Morrison & Foerster from 2000 through 2012. “Now, they have to track the person down, maybe they are out walking their dog. Then the explanation takes longer because you can’t point to the information. The partners think that it is much faster just to do the work themselves.”

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