DEVELOPING DEVELOPMENT - The past few years have been full of surprises for the legal industry—and the shocks keep coming. For example, law firms recently made the stunning discovery that they employ a significant number of people who aren’t attorneys. And they actually do, like, important stuff! As Law.com’s Justin Henry reports, this realization has now led to an effort by some firms to raise the profile of professional nontimekeeping staff and focus more on their professional development than they traditionally did. And this effort is a component of a broader cultural shift at many law firms, which have sought to eliminate the term “nonlawyer” from the institutional vocabulary and have sacrificed equity partner profits for competitive compensation packages for business managers.

TROUBLE KEEPING TIME - While billable hours remain low at transactional practices across the Am Law 100, associates are feeling the pressure to get their hours up as “performance-related” cuts threaten to end their employment. But, as Law.com’s Dan Roe reports, this raises an important question: how much agency do associates actually have over their billables? Asked in a recent American Lawyer survey what they would change about the legal profession to benefit their mental health, just as many associates seemed to lament their inability to bill a full day as the number who are grinding under a pile of work.  “Billable hour targets are not within your control, completely unpredictable schedules,” said one Clifford Chance associate, while a Clyde & Co. associate said the profession needed “less pressure on non-partner lawyers to meet fee and time targets they have no control over.”