After an extended period of downsizing and reduced recruiting, lawyers and law firms are ready to carefully open their doors again. But the doors are opening to a new legal era — one that many partners in today’s established firms would barely recognize.

In this post-recession limbo, we are all operating in a “new normal.” Our ultra-conservative profession, based as it is on principles of stare decisis, is in a new place. In fact, my firm’s own Legal Pulse survey found that 66 percent of Philadelphia-area attorneys believe the fundamental practice of law has been permanently altered.