Yes, things are bad out there. But this isn’t just about the current economy, stupid. It’s about the long-term survival of the Am Law 100 law firm as we know it. No matter how much we would like to dismiss the recession-fed clamor that the end — of the billable hour, and the highly leveraged business model built upon that eroding foundation — is nigh, we shouldn’t do so. Things are going to get worse in the years ahead, not better. If we don’t fundamentally change how we do business, we won’t — and don’t deserve to — survive. Don’t just take my word for it, though. Pay attention to Richard Susskind’s instead.

Susskind’s “The End of Lawyers?” is a dry, sometimes boring, often infuriating, small-print book written by a supercilious academic who thinks “the law is not there to provide a livelihood for lawyers,” but rather that our incomes are, at best, a byproduct that society must incur as the price of the rule of law. But you should still read it. Why? Because Susskind understands the dynamics of change, and how to manage rather than be blindsided by them.

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