I just read a great paper called "Are We Selling Results Or Resumes?" by Professor William Henderson. In a nutshell, the paper argues that law firms place too high a premium on hiring junior attorneys from top schools and this in turn causes costs for clients that cannot be maintained (the "Cravath" model). In fact, the paper claims that the theory of top rated law school producing top lawyers is false.
I don’t know if this is true or not, but the paper is persuasive. There are also some in depth analyses regarding lawyer salaries and ability to move between firms. One very interesting proposition is that Professor Henderson argues that legal ethics rules should be changed to allow non-lawyers to own equity stakes in law firms. His hypothesis is that professional managers and business owners will be able to streamline and more effectively change the old law firm regime to a more current and efficient one.
It’s a long, but great read and I think backs up much of what I’ve been writing about in my Law Firm 2.0 Series.
A special thanks goes to Ryan Howell for turning me onto the article. Ryan and I have been emailing a bit on the Law Firm 2.0 Series and Ryan definitely has a clue about the issues that I’m writing about. Thanks Ryan.