THE SEARCH FOR INTELLIGENCE -  These days, a mercurial economic forecast, oscillating between recession and solid footing, is leaving many perplexed about what to expect in the months to come and has led some law firms to lay off attorneys and staff. But, as’s Rhys Dipshan writes in this week’s Barometer’s newsletter, there’s evidence to suggest that one specific area is likely to buck any downsizing trend: artificial intelligence. As large language models (LLMs)—essentially generative AI systems that read, write, and predict text—begin to power a host of innovations, many law firms looking to launch or build out AI practices or invest in their own internal AI capabilities, which means hiring AI experts. So AI is actually creating more human jobs. See? Robots are our friends! But, as Dipshan notes, while demand for AI talent grows, it’s still an open question whether law firms will be able to compete with the multitude of organizations looking for the same experts. To receive the Barometer directly to your inbox each week, click here.

CULTURE, CALCULATED - Have you ever noticed how every law firm on Earth has, at least according to them, a wonderful culture? It’s an exceedingly easy claim to make and a pretty difficult one to disprove. After all, it’s not like culture can be measured… or can it? Legal consultant Marcie Borgal Shunk became certified to use a proprietary tool to measure business culture a decade ago. But it wasn’t until last year that a law firm hired her to measure its culture using the Chicago-based cultural inventory tool developer Human Synergistics. Then, two other clients—a midsize regional firm and a plaintiffs firm—asked her to assess what it was like for employees to work there. Consultants told’s Justin Henry that the effort to empirically monitor culture is a holdover from the talent wars that peaked in 2021. “There is an increased level of interest in finding a way to better understand and manage culture,” Borgal Shunk said. “In many respects, it’s driven by the fact that firms understand it’s integral to talent strategy and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.”

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