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The Barometer

The Law.com Barometer newsletter brings you the trends, disruptions, and shifts our reporters and editors are tracking through coverage spanning every beat and region across the ALM Global Newsroom. The micro-topic coverage will help you navigate the changing legal landscape and prepare you to discuss these shifts with thousands of legal leaders at our annual Legalweek conference.

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  • Battle for Talent Pushes Big Law into Uncharted Territory

    Christine Simmons | June 27, 2024

    Where will the free-agent system of Big Law take us?

  • What It Means to be a Law Firm Partner Now

    Christine Simmons | April 18, 2024

    Instead of moving lawyers to the equity ranks, or keeping them as associates or counsel, there is a shift inside Big Law to make more lawyers salaried partners.

  • How Tech Is Helping Fuel the Rise of the Mid-Market

    Stephanie Wilkins | March 08, 2024

    The fact that the mid-market is increasingly turning heads can be attributed to a wide range of factors. A number of them, though, can be traced back—directly or indirectly—to technology.

  • In Partner Pay, Law Firms Are Under Pressure to Strike Right Balance

    Christine Simmons | January 25, 2024

    In the race to increase profits and attract the best talent, law firms are now caught in a conundrum in adjusting partner compensation.

  • The Salary Wars That Almost Didn’t Happen

    Gina Passarella Cipriani | November 30, 2023

    Just when it seemed Milbank’s shot over the bow with associate salary hikes would go unanswered, the market has finally responded, and with increased firepower.

  • Law Firm Leaders are Leaving Roles at an Increased Pace

    Gina Passarella Cipriani | October 12, 2023

    The past year or so has provided a high number of changes amid top management across the world’s largest law firms. Not all of these leaders are stepping down at the conclusion of their term and the days of seeking multiple terms seem to be slowing.

  • Big Law Is Further Tweaking Partner Pay

    Christine Simmons | October 05, 2023

    In order to lure over top rainmaking partners from a rival, law firms are taking steps to make sure their pay packages and partner compensations systems are competitive.

  • Bar Groups Mull Succession Planning Rules Amid Law Firm Closures

    Alaina Lancaster | September 21, 2023

    Required succession planning might lead to less scrambling and uncertainty for law firms and clients alike, and perhaps even fewer firm implosions in the aftermath of leadership changes.

  • Infographic

    Four Days In Office Reflects Big Law’s New Management Attitude

    Christine Simmons | July 20, 2023

    The march by big law firms to mandate more time in the office isn’t only a logistical issue about where lawyers are working and billing hours. It’s a sign of a much larger shift in the legal industry, amid lowered law firm demand and some continued alarms of a potential recession.

  • Law Firm Leadership in the Crosshairs

    Gina Passarella Cipriani | May 11, 2023

    Whether it be due to financial troubles and defections or cultural mores and work-life balance, law firm leaders are increasingly in the hot seat. And now it seems partnerships are no longer afraid to switch leaders midstream.

  • Law Firms and Clients Worry Pandemic-Era Lawyers are Undertrained

    Gina Passarella Cipriani | February 23, 2023

    Amid the Great Recession, law firms laid off swaths of junior lawyers, particularly in practices like real estate. Four years later, as the market rebounded, they realized they didn’t have many qualified mid-level real estate lawyers.

  • The Upheaval in Big Law Will Make History

    Christine Simmons | January 19, 2023

    Now that some practice areas have slowed down, and now that there’s more pressure on law firms’ bottom line, firms and partners are considering options they have put off for years or hadn’t considered at all.

  • The Client Work Law Firms Can’t Figure Out How to Monetize

    Gina Passarella Cipriani | November 17, 2022

    Client needs are evolving into something beyond matter-by-matter advice, and law firms haven’t quite figured out how to work that into their offering.

  • Law Firms Can’t Follow The Leader Off the Cliff

    Christine Simmons | October 13, 2022

    The Am Law 100 followed the leader to this risky economic position. Will firms decide for themselves how to dig out? Any upcoming economic downturn will test the industry’s approach to watching and matching their peers.

  • News

    The Performance Review Season Talent May Dread

    Gina Passarella Cipriani | October 06, 2022

    Law firms, recently hungry for as many lawyers as they could find, are now looking to trim ranks. But rather than using layoffs, law firms are managing people out through the review process.

  • More Partner Compensation Challenges Will Arise This Year

    Christine Simmons | August 12, 2022

    Amid softening corporate demand, law firms are in a profit bind about how to pay partners who have big compensation expectations. And it turns out law firms have limited strategies to address it.

  • The Legal Industry is Squarely in the Crosshairs of Politics

    Gina Passarella Cipriani | July 20, 2022

    The legal industry is increasingly being drawn into polarizing political debates with potentially significant consequences.

  • Are Clients Poised to Take Priority Over Talent at Law Firms?

    Gina Passarella Cipriani | June 09, 2022

    For the past two years, talent wielded its collective power to change where they can work, how they get paid, and even at times who a firm represents. Is that about to change?

  • When Demand Falls, Expect Partnership Clashes and Billing Rate Pushback

    Christine Simmons | April 28, 2022

    The environment is ripe for law firms to trim partnership ranks and keep close control of the equity tier, for large lateral groups to be cherry-picked, and for new firms to spin off.

  • The Changing Face of Law Firm Strategy

    Lizzy McLellan | August 26, 2021

    The most recent leadership changes across the legal industry provide a sampling of how firms are breaking the mold in choosing who will take the reins.

  • Quick Takes

    Law.com Barometer: New Law is Big Law's Next Big Global Threat

    Zach Warren | October 29, 2020

    Markets that were previously the purview of only the largest law firms are beginning to see competition that isn't only local firms, but also fellow multinational firms presenting alternative structures.

  • News

    Law.com Barometer: Outsourcing in Big Law is Accelerating

    Christine Simmons | October 08, 2020

    This Law.com Barometer highlights how law firm leaders are taking advantage of outsourcing to reduce overhead and keep profit margins steady.

  • Law.com Barometer: ALSPs Are On a Hiring Tear

    Zach Warren | October 01, 2020

    The first Law.com Barometer breaks down how alternative legal service providers are gobbling up talent—and what that means for law firms.

  • After Compensation Raises and Frenetic Hiring, Big Law Is Gambling on 2022

    Christine Simmons | February 03, 2022

    How will large law firms respond in the event deal volume significantly slows, clients cut back demand and the cost of doing business rises? Will large pay packages for partners and associates become a big liability? For some, 2022 is a gamble of sorts.

  • News

    What 2021 Has Taught Us About Leadership

    Heather Nevitt | December 16, 2021

    because of all the challenges many faced due to the pandemic, another thing is certain: skills that were maybe once thought of as "soft" or "nice to have" are now required and highly valuable for both personal and professional success.

  • Talent Wars Are Getting Dangerous for Law Firms

    Lizzy McLellan | November 11, 2021

    Frenzy and even paranoia are dominating the atmosphere of the legal talent market.

  • Neglecting Cybersecurity Isn’t Just Risky. It’s Reckless.

    Lizzy McLellan | July 22, 2021

    Robust protection against cyberthreats is a big investment. Like a spare tire or a smoke detector, better to have and not need it, rather than need and not have it. But chances are, you’re going to need it.

  • Law Firms Risk Losing Ground If They Don’t Keep Pushing For Equity

    Lizzy McLellan | June 24, 2021

    The pandemic came with immense challenges, but for businesses that were able to continue their work, it also came with opportunities to reassess how things are done. And last year’s protests brought another opportunity—one to listen and respond meaningfully.

  • How Lawyers Will Fill the (Billable) Hours

    Lizzy McLellan | May 27, 2021

    Billable hours are no doubt an effective way to measure how busy a lawyer is, and, if your revenue comes mainly from billing hours, to measure a person’s contribution to the firm’s top line. But some firms are increasingly looking for other ways to quantify the work they do for clients.

  • The Light At The End of The Tunnel Can Be Blinding

    Lizzy McLellan | April 29, 2021

    Law firms have been inching their way toward a new normal since the Covid vaccine became a when, rather than an if.

  • There’s A Burnout Crisis. Competitive Comp Won't Cure it.

    Christine Simmons | April 01, 2021

    The high churn of deals and focus on short-term profits are creating long-term talent management and retention problems. Big Law has partly responded by throwing money at associates in the form of bonuses.

  • The One Pandemic Investment Law Firms Are Overlooking

    Christine Simmons | March 04, 2021

    By failing to readjust expectations for employees and provide more flexibility, the investments some firms made during the pandemic could be viewed as short-sighted and missing the key target

  • Challenges to Regulators Mount as the U.S. Supreme Court Mulls Chevron Deference

    Steve Lash | May 30, 2024

    The 40-year-old doctrine of judges deferring to federal agencies appears headed toward demise, an apparent fate that has spurred a rash of challenges to regulations by plaintiffs increasingly confident of victory.

  • Everyone Wants a Bite of Apple

    Heather Nevitt | April 04, 2024

    Each week, the Law.com Barometer newsletter, powered by the ALM Global Newsroom and Legalweek brings you the trends, disruptions, and shifts our reporters…

  • Antitrust Anxiety Abounds

    Heather Nevitt | November 09, 2023

    The M&A and ESG space seem to be creating the most headaches for legal departments.

  • Regulate Everything Everywhere all at Once

    Heather Nevitt | September 28, 2023

    Each week, the Law.com Barometer newsletter, powered by the ALM Global Newsroom and Legalweek brings you the trends, disruptions, and shifts our reporters…

  • Infographic

    China’s Regulations Went From Being a Client Problem to a Law Firm Problem, Too

    Gina Passarella Cipriani | August 17, 2023

    For international law firms that have substantial practices in mainland China, the country’s focus on national security and the broader geopolitical issues has major implications.

  • ESG's Renewed Focus is All Around Risk

    Heather Nevitt | July 06, 2023

    Companies are already facing regulatory requirements related to the environmental and governance aspects of ESG, and more are on the way.

  • A Legal and Regulatory Reckoning for Generative AI

    Rhys Dipshan | June 08, 2023

    The extent to which generative AI will impact the legal market and broader economy will come down to not only what it is capable of, but also how and whether it can operate within the legal and regulatory frameworks of the day.

  • News

    The Growing Regulatory Focus on Data Privacy

    Heather Nevitt | April 13, 2023

    There is no denying that in-house counsel are facing growing challenges when it comes to addressing the rapidly changing legal and regulatory environment around the intersection of data and privacy.

  • Cyber, Privacy Mistakes Are Becoming A Lot More Expensive

    Rhys Dipshan | February 02, 2023

    At the end of the day, it’s not just the cost of mitigating an incident's impact and salvaging one’s reputation, but also dealing with a growing number of new data privacy laws and active federal and state regulators.

  • The Government’s Coming for Those Secret Messaging Apps

    Nate Robson | October 20, 2022

    Both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice have announced steps to enforce recordkeeping rules across various industries, and have been vocal in highlighting their ability to track down evidence that was thought to be deleted or encrypted through tools like WhatsApp and Signal.

  • DOJ’s Rush for Corporate Compliance

    Nate Robson | September 22, 2022

    General counsel and corporate compliance officers are on notice that the U.S. Department of Justice is putting a premium going forward on how quickly companies report potential misconduct.

  • Investigation

    White-Collar Enforcement Is Finally Here in the Biden Administration

    Nate Robson | June 23, 2022

    Each week, the Law.com Barometer newsletter, powered by the ALM Global Newsroom and Legalweek, brings you the trends, disruptions and shifts our…

  • Sanctions Flurry Keeps National Security Lawyers on Edge

    Nate Robson | April 14, 2022

    A constantly shifting landscape has law firms sending out a flurry of client alerts on the latest updates and what they mean for corporations. And through it all, law firms are helping their clients decide whether to pull their business out of Russia, and to understand the risks if they stay.

  • DOJ’s Cryptocurrency Enforcement Is Ready for Primetime

    Nate Robson | March 03, 2022

    The record seizure of bitcoin and the arrest of a married couple accused of trying to launder the assets created ripples throughout the legal community last month. Of note was that it showed law enforcement’s ability to trace digital assets through the blockchain despite complicated efforts to launder the funds.

  • Pay Attention to Privacy Beyond the GDPR and CCPA

    Zach Warren | February 17, 2022

    Each week, the Law.com Barometer newsletter, powered by the ALM Global Newsroom and Legalweek brings you the trends, disruptions, and shifts our…

  • Big Changes Coming with Biden Administration’s M&A Review

    Nate Robson | January 20, 2022

    The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission want to revamp their guidelines for reviewing corporate mergers, and they are asking for the public’s feedback.

  • DOJ Executes Its Return to Strict Corporate Compliance

    Nate Robson | November 18, 2021

    The Justice Department is making critical policy changes for white-collar enforcement, including reinstating the so-called “Yates Memo” from 2015.

  • Biden Administration Comes Out Swinging on Antitrust Litigation

    Nate Robson | October 07, 2021

    Lawyers are advising clients that M&A work should expect enhanced scrutiny going forward, and that deals already approved could be fair game for the administration to reconsider.