SHEDDING A TIER - The path to equity partnership in Big Law has, at many firms, grown longer and more harrowing than ever. But there’s also evidence to suggest that fewer young lawyers are looking to go down that path in the first place. Now, before we go too far here, let’s be clear: plenty of young lawyers still aspire to “make partner” in the traditional sense. They want an equity stake in the firm and all the decision-making power (and responsibility) that comes along with that. (Side note: if you’re one of those young lawyers, you should check out our “How I Made Partner” series for inspiration and advice that will assist you on your journey.) But, as we explore in this week’s Law.com Trendspotter column, the equity tier is no longer the desired destination for an increasing number of associates. The good news, however, is that there are plenty alternative career paths for those attorneys, often within their existing firms. In fact, there are even some avenues beginning to open up for those lawyers who actually do aspire to become equity partners but are not interested in sacrificing every other aspect of their lives to do it. I’m interested to hear what you think: Should large firms be finding ways to foster the careers of attorneys who don’t aspire to be equity partners? What about those who do, but are unwilling to give up their work-life balance? Let me know at [email protected].
STARE INDECISIVENESS - When oral arguments in the legal battle over abortion rights commence today in the U.S. Supreme Court, advocates will face justices who claim loyalty to principles of “stare decisis” but often are bitterly divided over how to apply them, Law.com’s Marcia Coyle reports. Stare decisis is the Latin phrase meaning “to stand by the thing decided.” And although there is a set of factors that the court uses to weigh whether to overrule a precedent, the doctrine generally directs courts to follow precedent unless there is a “special justification” not to do so. What passes for “special” in any given case? Well, that’s not easy to pin down. The justices’ comments on abortion have been mostly known through opinions and writings well before the arrival of today’s challenge in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In that case, the state of Mississippi is urging the court to overrule its landmark abortion rights decisions, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. But less well known is how those views will influence their application of stare decisis. Each of the current justices was questioned during Senate confirmation hearings about the importance of stare decisis and each paid homage to its importance to maintaining stability in the law and to protecting the court’s legitimacy. But as recent rulings show, its application often appears to be more subjective than principled. Stay tuned for more coverage and analysis of today’s SCOTUS arguments on Law.com.