The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it.

Mark Twain

More and more law firms are opting to require lawyers and certainly associates to be in the office at least four days a week. At some point, this may convert to five-days in the office. Most of the time, management declares that those lawyers (read associates) who don’t comply could see their compensation reduced. (A pretty strong suggestion is that five days is better than 4 for advancement). Continue Reading The Cost of Tradition: Unpacking Law Firms’ Return-to-Work Policies

It was a cold, dark 2nd of January. Back to school day for my kids, back to work for me, all after a wonderful holiday season. Of course, the kids were out of their routine and not anxious to return. Which meant they were late. Which meant I would be late getting to the office and the mountains of work piled up over the holidays. I had to hurry home after dropping them off to get ready. As I headed down the hill for home, I saw him too late. A cop. Happy New Year, blessed by a speeding ticket. 

For most of us, January is just that way. We know it’s coming, but we can’t stop it. It’s a cold, hard slap of reality. It’s the first day back in the office for many partners and associates. It was a day I dreaded and feared. Dreaded because it meant Christmas was truly over. Feared because who knew what awaited me for the coming year. And it always seemed that I had a trial set in early January for which work was not done as well as it could have been over the holidays.

Continue Reading January Blues: Post-Holiday Reality for Lawyers and Litigators

Wilson Sonsini and its new tech ancillary business, SixFifty, may be ushering in a new wave for providing legal services and law firm marketing. The combination promises to provide automated legal services for more commodity type services under the Wilson Sonsini brand in hopes that it will generate more lucrative business for Wilson Sonsini later.


Continue Reading Wilson Sonsini/SixFifty: a New Wave for Legal Services (And Damn Good Marketing)

I have written before about the Big 4 accounting firms and the threat that these firms may pose for U.S. lawyers and law firms.

The response has typically been a bit like that of the first two pigs in the old 3 Little Pigs nursery rhyme who arrogantly believed their houses of straw and twigs would protect them from the Big Bad Wolf. Going into last week’s Legalweek in New York, several legal pundits (and lawyers) made it a point to tell me Big 4 encroachment on U.S. legal can’t happen. That Sarbanes-Oxley won’t allow it. That the Big 4 don’t make enough profits to do it. That they can’t do what U.S. law firms and lawyers do. That the Big 4 isn’t at all interested in the U.S. market. That they certainly have no business or strategic plans pointed in our direction. I was starting to conclude they were right.
Continue Reading U.S. Law and The Big Four: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Why Is EY Willing to Invest $1 Billion to be Innovative? 

Sports Illustrated used to have a column entitled Sure Signs the Apocalypse is Upon Us which included references to often bizarre and ironic events. It was a favorite of mine since it was a satirical poke at the seriousness we take sports and a display of the humor of everyday existence.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately depending on your perspective), the gradual and continual onslaught of the Big 4 accounting firms into traditional areas of legal practice and encroachment on law firm clientele seems destined to ultimately disrupt the practices of traditional law firms particularly at the mid-tier level. I have written about this before and while I and several others keep trying to suggest the Big 4 is coming, the message doesn’t seem to resonate.
Continue Reading Sure Signs the Apocalypse (Big 4) Is Upon Us