Hildebrandt

The glory days of 2006 and 2007 may never return. They call it the “new normal” for a reason.

But things at least can get better incrementally. And this is what might be happening in the in-house world, according to two new surveys. These studies report that in-house legal departments are increasing both their hiring and their spending — which could be good news for the law firms that service them, as well as all the Biglaw attorneys who dream of making the jump to in-house.

Don’t say that we never give you happy news around these parts….

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The grass isn’t quite this green in the ‘new normal.’

In a piece from last month, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wondered: Is Growth Over? One could very easily take this question, posed with respect to the broader economy, and apply it to the world of large law firms.

And what would the answer be? According to a client advisory just issued by Citi Private Bank and Hildebrandt Consulting, “Probably.”

Their analysis is gloomy, although guardedly so; we’re not talking about “the sky is falling” pronouncements. Let’s take a look at the specifics….

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According to Hildebrandt, lawyers aren’t naturally overly critical, risk-averse people who are emotionally dead inside. It’s stress that makes lawyers behave this way.

Those are the top-line results of a Hildebrandt study. The consulting firm did personality tests on 1,800 lawyers from four large law firms. The surveys tested both partners and associates, in attempt to find the traits of “high performers.”

The results shouldn’t surprise anybody….

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I like paying attention to what consultants say about the Biglaw market. It offers a fun little insight into what people think partners want to hear.

The ABA Journal reports that consultants at Hildebrandt think partners want to hear that they can still fire people — lots of people:

Writing for the blog of law firm consultant Hildebrandt, Lisa Smith makes an argument that outsourcing, efficiencies and increased hiring of staff attorneys could mean a different mix of staff and associate lawyers—and an overall reduction in head count in the next five to seven years.

Hilderbrandt expects an overall reduction of headcount of 17,500. But not partners! Just associates and staff attorneys…

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