Unintended Consequences

The Adam Smith Blog Contemplates the Potential Consequences of Economic Downturn on the Legal Profession

Bruce MacEwen over at the Adam Smith blog has an interesting post called, “Lessons From The Depression.”  Bruce notes that never in his career has there been a time of greater uncertainty.  “The future is hard to visualize as it is to see the East Side of Manhattan from Central Park West on a deep foggy morning…”  Essentially, Bruce notes that the economic downturn will have impacts on the business of law.  Smart law firms are working hard to guess what those changes will bring so they can be ahead of the curve.

Continue reading "The Adam Smith Blog Contemplates the Potential Consequences of Economic Downturn on the Legal Profession" »


An Explosion of Talent: And It’s Available Right Now!

Small and medium sized firms always hire just as needed.  Not only are Large law firms not hiring, they’re actually laying off attorneys and downsizing.  That means that there is a lot of legal talent, both young and old on the street looking for work.  Doesn’t it seem like it is time for law firms to consider virtual workers and lawyers to consider contract work? 


Law Firm With $2 Billion in Annual Revenue Takes Unprecedented Step To Cap Associate Pay

And yet another sure sign that the rules of the game have changed for the big law firms that have dominated the legal landscape over the past decades, Latham & Watkins has now capped associate salaries in 2009.  That means that associates will get the same pay next year as they received last year.  One legal recruiter notes that the move is unprecedented and that we should expect other large firms to now follow suit.

Continue reading "Law Firm With $2 Billion in Annual Revenue Takes Unprecedented Step To Cap Associate Pay" »


If Your Bonus Is Cut In Half This Year, What Will Happen When the Economy Really Takes a Hit Next Year?

Here is a recent article by Julie Triedman of The Am Law Daily blog titled "Following Pack, Davis Polk To Halve Bonuses".  Julie reports that more and more  Am Law 100 firms are reducing yearly bonuses in order to cut expenses during these difficult economic times.

Continue reading "If Your Bonus Is Cut In Half This Year, What Will Happen When the Economy Really Takes a Hit Next Year?" »


Cell Phones Can Distract ... And Kill: Metrolink Engineer May Have Been Texting In Deadly Train Crash

We all love to evangelize the benefits of technology.  But sometimes we are reminded that technology, and especially cell phones, can be more than a nuisance and a distraction.  On occasion, people distracted by their cell phones  can cause injury or death because they fail to pay attention.

Two commuter train accidents have claimed lives this past year, one a Metrolink accident in Chatsworth, CA and a more recent Washington DC Metro commuter train accident run by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The WMATA train crash is still under investigation although early information suggests that the brakes had not been through routine maintenace and the train itself was old. 

In the United States over 260 million people subscribed to such wireless communication devices as cellphones as of June 2008, compared with approximately 4.3 million in 1990, according to the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association.   A Canadian study about cell phone car accidents showed that people were four times more likely to get into a car accident when they were talking on their cell phone than when they were not.

Last Friday, one of the deadliest train accidents in California history occurred  in Chatsworth, CA (in the San Fernando Valley area, Northwest of Los Angeles, California) when a Metrolink commuter train ran a red light and crashed.   Today, the NTSB began to assemble cell phone records after two boys indicating they had been texting the engineer of the Metrolink train on their cell phone about the time of the crash. While it is not know whether the allegations are true, it is appropriate for all of us to remember that the distraction of technology can be more than an annoyance. Technology, for all of its wonderful attributes, has a time and a place. That time and place is never while operating a car, or while engaging in other dangerous activity.

For the record, the company operating the train, Metrolink, has stated that it has a policy against cell phone use by engineers while operating trains.