THE REMOTE AND THE ALIENATED - Considering the epic amount of arm-twisting it’s taken to get law firm leaders to grant a modicum of flexibility to their lawyers, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the “second-class citizens” of these firms are faring even worse. According to a new report, there remains a “clear disparity” in remote work requirements for lawyers as opposed to business professionals at law firms. The 2022 Law Firm Leadership Survey, conducted by the Withum consulting firm in late summer and early fall this year, found that approximately three-fourths of responding firm leaders said their firm’s lawyers were using some kind of flexible work model. However, only 35% described moving to a permanent hybrid work model for staff. A plurality of respondents (40%) said their staff were “back full-time” in the office, and about 14% said their law firm professionals were “back part-time.” Marci Taylor, a principal at Withum and one of the contributing authors of the report, told Law.com’s Andrew Maloney that the gap between work arrangement policies is “bad for morale, bad for culture, bad for employee engagement.” But hey, aside from that, it’s no big deal.
COSTING AN ARM - With recession concerns lingering, law firms are looking for costs to cut. And, as Law.com’s Isha Marathe reports, more subsidiaries could soon be getting the ax. Earlier this month, The American Lawyer reported on New Jersey-based Porzio, Bromberg & Newman selling its compliance tech health care subsidiary to a private equity fund for an undisclosed amount. Porzio’s leadership said the decision was not due to budgetary constraints or recession fears, but rather an attempt to offer its subsidiary a better shot at faring in the competitive global compliance market. Still, industry observers said cost-cutting measures could be a motivator for some law firms to sell their subsidiaries— and private equity funds are likely buyers. “If a law firm has a subsidiary that is a service, I don’t see it going away, whether it’s creating contracts or reviewing documents for e-discovery because that’s something the firm was already doing and just made a subsidiary out of it for business purposes,” said Brett Burney, principal at Burney Consultants and eLaw evangelist at Nextpoint, “The ones that would go are those created as skunkworks products [like COVID litigation tracking apps or state privacy tracking apps] where they said, ‘let’s throw some stuff at the wall and see what sticks.’”