While associates are losing out on work to partners, dealing with pay cuts and not getting as much face time with partners—factors that make the future a concern—the situation isn’t as dire as it was during the Great Recession, industry observers say, in part because of the lessons firms learned from that period.

Since the pandemic, driven by client demand and a lack of overall legal activity, higher-rate, longer-experience partners have been corralling a larger amount of available work for Big Law firms. While that of course has consequences for associates, those who were working in the industry during the Great Recession see notable differences between the two crisis and what those respective environments mean for the future of younger attorneys. 

Jodi Garfinkel, director of attorney development and professional personnel at Skadden Arps.

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