In this age of change, with large law firms laying off partners and associates, I have to wonder about the future of the of counsel relationship. As a result of technology and the internet, large corporate law firms which dominate the market based on sheer size are going to start seeing real competition from boutique and small firms. It also seems to me that lawyers and firms will start forming looser associations as they look to service their clients in distinct, but related, practice areas. Will these associations take on an "of counsel" flavor?
I would be interested to hear your thoughts about whether or not the of counsel relationship will grow over the next few years. Further, I would be interested to know whether or not you see ethical limitations on the of counsel relationship which will limit the ability of law firms and lawyers to develop relationships short of partnership.