Big Changes Predicted for Partnership Prospects

Big Changes Predicted for Partnership Prospects

The Erosion of the Traditional Associate Promotion Model Continues

As law firms look for ways to lower costs and appease client frustration over increasing attorney fees, the traditional law firm training and promotion model is rapidly changing.    So what's in store?  A nearly 27 percent  drop in the number of partner positions over the next  5-7 years is the anticipated result, according to  Lisa Smith of the Legal Consulting Firm, Hildebrandt, Baker, Robbins

Reasons include:

  • Legal process outsourcers
  • Reduced  summer programs for law students
  • Reduction in first year associate classes
  • More staff attorneys
  • Six Sigma efficiency programs

Smith, who serves as a managing director in Hildebrandt's law firm strategy group, includes a grim prediction for many of the nearly 65,000 partner-track associates in the AmLaw 200 firms.  She expects the programs noted above will lead to a reduction or direction change for at least 17,500 of those associates.  Smith estimates that legal process outsourcers will likely take away 5,000 attorney jobs,  efficiency programs  and technology could result in the loss of 6,500 more and increasing use of lower-salaried staff attorneys might take away another  6,000 future partner-level positions.  

She anticipates that demand for legal services will remain flat in the near future, and went on to explain to the AmLaw Daily  that price pressure from corporate clients will force firms to change the way non-partner attorneys are hired and compensated.



Hildebrandt, Baker, Robbins

AmLaw Daily