MONEY TO BURN - Big Law has emerged from the throes of the pandemic with a problem everyone has faced at one point or another: What on Earth are we going to do with all this extra money?! As Law.com’s Patrick Smith reports, large firms have been throwing copious amounts of cash at associates and laterals (in sometimes ill-advised fashion), but that’s not the only way firms can spend their riches. For example, some are investing more heavily in information technology after the pandemic showed the importance of a well-run IT department. They are also putting money into diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which continue to be a focal point for firms and their clients. Still, consultants told Smith, most firms are returning a lion’s share of the excess profits to their partners. “Some firms handed a lot of that cash to associates in their self-induced and frenzied war for talent. Others are writing big checks to lure laterals. But some is being invested back into the firm,” veteran legal industry consultant Tim Corcoran told Smith.
TRACK CHANGES - So you want to make partner? We’ve got you covered as far as advice on how to get there. But be forewarned: it may be a while before you’re grasping that brass ring. As Law.com’s Andrew Maloney reports, the path to Big Law partnership is getting longer, according to analysts and new survey data. But what’s really interesting is what’s happening off the beaten path: An increasing number of associates don’t aspire to make partner at all. And a few firms are even placing a new premium on attorneys who aren’t necessarily rainmakers, but steady team players. Michelle Fivel, a partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa who specializes in associate placement, told Maloney that firms have become more open-minded about nonequity and career counsel roles. Meanwhile, even among those lawyers who do aspire to make partner, a slower-paced track is exactly what many have been clamoring for—and some firms are beginning to oblige. “There are a couple of firms I can think of that say, ‘Listen, you can work a reduced hour schedule and still make partner. It’s just going to take a bit longer.’ Or for parents, ‘You can take parental leave and still make partner,’” Fivel said. “I think those firms are sort of outliers, frankly, but certainly people are curious about those and asking about them when they make lateral moves.”
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