Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fw: Law.com blog: Am Law 100: The Podcast

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Am Law 100: The Podcast
Aric Press, editor-in-chief of The American Lawyer, discusses the findings of this year's Am Law 100 and shares his analysis as the featured guest this week on Coast to Coast, the legal affairs podcast that J. Craig Williams and I co-host. Listen here.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 1, 2006 at 08:41 AM | Permalink

Skadden to Scoop Up My Shingle?
As if the firms of the Am Law 100 are not large enough, a new ethics ruling may let them grow even bigger -- one lawyer at a time. That is the reaction of Carolyn Elefant at My Shingle to Larry Bodine's post about a New Jersey ethics ruling that clears the way for a law firm to own another law firm as a wholly owned subsidiary. 

Bodine says the ruling means that law firms can now buy and sell other firms as investments, pick up other firms to handle spikes in business, or even own smaller firms so they can bill out certain work at lower rates.

But Elefant sees an opportunity here for solos:

"Think about it.  If you're a solo offering a niche that's of value to a large firm, you could seek a buy out.  You'd gain the stability of the large firm practice without having to take on all the overhead.  You'd gain the cache of affiliation with a 'name brand' which for some fields (like energy regulatory or other biglaw practices) could help marketing.  In many ways, the law firm subsidiary arrangement could function as a more stable 'of counsel' relationship."

I don't know. With Skadden's $1.6 billion in gross revenues, I'm not so sure its CFO is looking out at solos and thinking, "Ka-ching!"

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 1, 2006 at 08:26 AM | Permalink

May Day, May Day!
Among labor lawyers, May 1 will always be remembered first as International Workers' Day. For most of the legal community, however, May Day is Law Day, as Kentucky Law Blog observes. But if this is supposed to be a day celebrating the rule of law, bloggers seem a bit cynical.

Jack Balkin, for one, says a Boston Globe report yesterday that President Bush has claimed authority to disobey more than 750 laws suggests that the rule of law "has been honored more in the breach than the observance." And Crime & Federalism offers a reminder that, rule of law notwithstanding, Big Brother is never far behind. As for the president, he thinks otherwise, proclaiming on Friday, "Our system of separation of powers has safeguarded our liberties and helped ensure that we remain a government of laws." 

We can all agree that May 1 has different meanings for different people. For Stephen Terrell at Hoosier Lawyer, it has a particularly special one: It was 26 years ago today that he started practicing law. Says Terrell, "What a long strange trip it's been."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 1, 2006 at 08:23 AM | Permalink

Speeding Through the Blogosphere
Having accepted the task of writing Blawg Review #55, and in search of the requisite theme, Ben Cowgill embarked on the following creative journey:

"Hmm, let's see . 'Blawg Review 55' . number 55 . 55 miles per hour .  speed limit . breaking the speed limit . going fast . going places . going a lot of places . taking a road trip . ah, that's it!"

It took him all of 10 seconds, he says, but he is making up for it by doing something unprecedented -- devoting the entire day to a "road trip" through the world of legal blogs. He explains:

"That's right. This issue of Blawg Review is being written and published in segments throughout the day on Monday, May 1.  I began writing at at 5:55 am and I will stop at 5:55 pm (EDT).  I hope to add new text about once an hour."

So tighten your seatbelts and climb on for the ride.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 1, 2006 at 08:18 AM | Permalink

Parsing the Am Law 100
Today may be May Day, but for Bruce MacEwen at Adam Smith, Esq., it feels more like Christmas. With the release of the 2006 Am Law 100 -- the annual listing of the nation's highest-grossing law firms -- MacEwen, whose blog is "an inquiry into the economics of law firms," is reveling in a bounty of blog-able topics.

He started off on Friday with a complete list of the Am Law 100, showing that Skadden retains its coveted (at least by some) place at the top, with annual revenue of $1.6 billion (yes, billion). He follows that post with what he calls "one of my favorite metrics," the top 100 ranked by revenue per lawyer. Here, Wachtell Lipton leads the charge with an astounding $2.4 million in revenue per lawyer. MacEwen has even more fun with numbers as he looks at the biggest gainers or losers on the list. Finally, MacEwen posts his last two charts (at least for the weekend), one illustrating the cumulative market share of the Am Law 100 in rank order and another showing the extent to which each firm's share of total Am Law 100 revenue exceeds or falls short of its share of total Am Law 100 lawyers.

Given that the staff of The American Lawyer worked hard to compile these numbers, they have something to say about them as well. Start with Alison Frankel's overview, "Growing Pains," in which she offers this intriguing conclusion: "The Am Law 100, as a universe, is growing too fast in size to sustain its own long-term revenue expansion." Read her article to find out why. Then read "The Century Thus Far," an analysis by Aric Press, the magazine's editor-in-chief, of "the trend lines and fault lines of the past five years." He tells us: "It's been a heady twenty-first century for law firms." Even more charts and coverage are available at The American Lawyer.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 1, 2006 at 08:16 AM | Permalink

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