Field Fisher Waterhouse

Well, that didn’t take long. Those topless sunbathing pics of Kate Middleton only went up a few days ago, and a French court has already slapped the offending tabloid around a little. A judge has sided with the royals and ordered Closer to fork over the pics and a little bit of cash for causing everyone the trouble.

Thank goodness privacy and a sense of old-world decorum have been restored. Except not quite, owing to this little thing called the internet…

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The Occupy movement has reached the legal profession, with an unemployed law graduate launching a campaign to occupy the Inns of Court (London’s legal quarter).

“Through no fault of our own, a generation of [law school] graduates find ourselves with no jobs — or no jobs as lawyers anyway,” wrote the graduate under the alias “OccupyTheInns” on Legal Cheek, a blog I edit. “The lucky ones are paralegals. The unlucky ones work in bars (not the Bar)… It is for these reasons that I propose peaceful direct action. It is time to occupy the Inns of Court.”

Responses to the plan have mostly been negative, but the broad sentiment of discontent has struck a chord. Catrin Griffiths, editor of The Lawyer magazine, summed up the mood: “I don’t buy much of [OccupyTheInns'] argument, which smacks too much of entitlement, but it signifies something bigger, related to the growing crisis of a million young people unemployed in the U.K.”

However, even with our spiralling unemployment rates, and love of protesting, I’d be surprised if an occupation of legal London took off. While many U.K. law school graduates are jobless and indebted, most still have a decent shot of making it into the profession. As such, they have too much to lose by winding up the establishment.

Maybe OccupyTheInns should instead re-direct their energies to recruiting the potentially far more vulnerable, high-earning, senior lawyers who look set to lose their jobs over the next few months?

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When asked for some 2011 predictions by the folks over at Hellerman Baretz, I had this to say (among other commentary): “Although business is generally picking up, some firms still haven’t managed to shake off the effects of the recession — and they are now seeing significant defections, as their partners leave for firms that have weathered the storm better. So, in the next year, look for at least one large — i.e., Am Law 200 — law firm to either dissolve or be swallowed up by another firm as an alternative to dissolution.”

One firm that has been experiencing some major partner departures and general upheaval is Howrey. This post is the first of what we expect to be a series of stories about the firm. If you have information about Howrey that you can share, please email us or text us.

It’s getting hard to keep track of all the partner defections at Howrey. But let’s give it a shot, as well as talk about various Howrey offices that might not be long for this world….

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