ONLY BIDEN FORGIVES - When it comes to lawyers’ views on President Joe Biden’s (now-endangered) student loan forgiveness plan, the dividing line between supporters and detractors is clear: those who have already paid their dues are not keen on letting others off the hook. In a recent readers’ poll, the percentage of respondents who said they have no remaining law school debt aligned very closely with the percentage of respondents who said they disagreed with Biden’s plan. Of the 98 responses to the question of how the program would personally impact them, 58.2% said they have no remaining law school debt. Meanwhile, of the 96 responses to the question of whether they agreed with Biden’s plan, 55.2% answered in the negative. But is it really as simple as “If I can’t have it, no one should?” In a word: yup. One anonymous comment summed up the mindset of several respondents quite nicely: “The immoral message is you don’t have to keep your word. Also, no accountability for one’s personal choices, e.g., how many deadbeats have spent money on tattoos or pot?” (Editor’s note: This was a reader flash survey by the Contributing Editors and was not administered by ALM Legal Intelligence.)

LET IT SLIDE -  Attorney productivity at law firms continued to slide down in 2022 amid lower demand, according to recent industry data. The productivity declines have led to fears—and, in some casesrealities—of more layoffs and personnel cuts in Big Law. Still, overall law firm head count has actually increased through the third quarter, analysts say, possibly because some firms are reluctant to trim ranks, remembering the painful cuts after the Great Recession. The industry still has “fresh memories of the difficulty of rehiring talent” after the Great Recession a decade and a half ago, and firms are willing to accept some level of productivity declines so that they don’t have another “lost generation” of talent, according to analysts and the latest Law Firm Financial Index report. Bill Josten, strategic content manager for Thomson Reuters, which published the productivity numbers in its quarterly financial index report, told’s Andrew Maloney that head count was up 3% across law firm segments in the third quarter. “We hear so much about ‘stealth layoffs,’ but the numbers aren’t really reflective of that,” Josten said, adding that the 3% increase in head count is pretty consistent across law firm segments. “So we’re not seeing a tremendous slowdown in the numbers. We’re not seeing indications of large-scale reductions. It’s not to say it’s impossible, or it won’t happen or have an impact in the fourth quarter, but it’s not showing up in our numbers yet.”

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