While at the NVCA meeting, I had a good discussion with a general counsel of a venture capital firm (name unreleased) who posited that cultures at law firms are dead / dying.
His theory was that 10 years ago, one could hire a law firm not only based on skill, but also culture. Some firms where aggressive, some more laid back, some more nerdy technicians, etc. In short, you could find good lawyers with cultures that either were similar to yours, or were needed for a particular matter.
Today, however, his feeling was that law firms have become homogenous. The last ten years have seen legal fees and legal salaries grow exponentially. With this, we’ve seen more transition and firm switching with lawyers than we’ve ever seen. Because of this, firm DNA has been diluted. Consider it the free agency era in law firms.
Furthermore, the layoffs that are occurring are only speeding up this process.
It’s an interesting theory and one that sounds correct. I’ve certainly noticed over the years that the unique firm cultures that existed a while ago are disappearing. Yes, there are still cultures at firms and some of the "old guard" still reflect the attitudes 10 years ago. That being said, I think he has a point. What do you think?