About 50 law firms have created a nationwide Law Firm Sustainability Network to help lawyers and firms work greener. Although it was formally incorporated in November, law.com reports that the Network has been working hard since 2011 by "holding webinars, developing best practices and partnering with sister groups in other countries to share ideas, network and develop guidelines and industry standards." Big ticket items the Network focuses on include travel, office practices, and the use of paper and energy. Examples of its recommendations and practices include: "using recycled paper and making sure it gets recycled again; buying carbon offsets against their air travel; replacing travel with video-conferencing; replacing light fixtures and setting thermostats higher or lower, depending on the season." Read more.
A recent survey conducted by the American Lawyer shows that summer associate hiring was down 3.4% this summer. However, there was a wide disparity in reporting by firms that participated in the survey. For instance, one firm's hiring was up 92.3%, while another firm's hiring was down 45.6%. Skadden Arps hired the largest class of summers at 190 law students, and 2 other firms tied for second by hiring 149 summer associates. For more information on this study, read a recent article from the AmLaw Daily.
"Prof.Cond.R. 7.2 allows lawyers to use text messages to solicit professional employment from prospective clients. However, text message solicitations must also comply with Prof.Cond.R. 7.1 and 7.3 and all applicable federal and state laws, rules, and regulations."
The full text of this Opinion can be found at the following link.
If you have not already read it, the Board's 1st Opinion of the year (2013-001) indicated that a lawyer may practice law at more than one firm at the same time as long as he or she complies with the Rules of Professional Conduct.
According to the latest 2010 census figures, women now hold 33.4% of the legal jobs in the country as lawyers, judges, magistrates and other judicial workers. These stats are encouraging compared to the 2000 and 1970 figures of 29.2% and 4.9%, respectively. However, the Wall Street Journal reports that there are still disparities between what men and women in the legal field are paid, which the article indicates may be due to individual choices, discrimination or other unknown facors. In addition, although as many women as men are graduating from law schools, many women are apparently leaving the profession for jobs that offer greater flexibility in hours and location. Another discrepancy to which the article refers occurs in law firm management:
"While women have made strides in the legal profession, at law firms few are taking management positions. Some leave for jobs as counsel to corporations, where hours can be more predictable. At large law firms, women make up just 15% of equity partners, according to a survey released in October by the National Association of Women Lawyers. Of the 200 firms surveyed, just 4% had a woman at the helm in the role of firm-wide managing partner."
Cleveland lawyers and law graduates have had it tough the last few years, just as have lawyers throughout the country. However, the Cleveland Plain Dealer just reported that some local law firms are bucking the nationwide trend. According to cleveland.com:
"Cleveland-based Tucker Ellis has brought on 21 lawyers this year, 16 of them at its downtown Cleveland office.Thompson Hine added eight attorneys at its Cleveland headquarters and 16 firmwide in the past year. Walter & Haverfield grew 20 percent in the first nine months of 2012, adding seven partners and five associates since January...The Cleveland office of Jones Day reports a net gain of 17 lawyers since January, bringing the total to 227."
In contrast, the article indicates that the numbers at the local offices of Calfee Halter and Benesch Friedlander are down. Reductions like these firms have experienced, or flat hiring freezes, seem to be the local norm.
Legal Current has reported that domestic law firm mergers rose 67% in 2011 compared to 2010 figures. There were apparently 45 mergers last year versus 27 in 2010, and a study by the Hildebrandt Institute predicts that the trend will continue this year. Click here to read the entire Merger Watch report.
The Am Law 100 is out, and the report shows revenues per lawyer, profits per partner, firm profitability, and the value that lawyers contribute. American Lawyer subscribers can access the report by clicking here.
Having raised almost all of the funds it had hoped, Cleveland-Marshall is opening a brand new, $1 million dollar trial courtroom with high-tech like that used in the local federal district courthouse. CSU plans to use the room to educate students about the trial process and rent the room to lawyers and jury consulting firms who want to conduct mock trials and/or practice witness testimony. Apparently, naming rights are still available for the room itself and several components of the room, including the judge's chambers and the jury deliberation room. Interestingly, this room is unique among Ohio law schools and rare across the country, but Jones Day's Cleveland office has a trial courtroom of its own that it uses for practicing for oral arguments, among other things.
A WSJ article reports that applications to US law schools are down 11.5% compared to last year. The reason appears to be that students are fearing high law school tuition debts (about $100,000 according to the ABA) and the prospect of a tight job market that offers a lot fewer job opportunities. The article indicates that the statistics are the lowest in 10 years-since 2001. Apparently, corporate law firms have cut back, and many law firms are freezing starting salaries for new lawyers. The article concludes that law school no longer appears to be for the undecided who are not sure what career to pursue.
Congratulations go to local Cleveland attorney David Mills, who just scored a huge win in the U.S. Supreme Court (09-737) in the case of Ortiz v. Jordan, which the Court unanimously decided on January 24, 2011. The Supreme Court's decision reversed the 6th Circuit, which had thrown out a trial court's judgment of $625,000 in favor of Michelle Ortiz on her claim that she was sexually assaulted while in prison. Allthough the case went to the Supreme Court on a procedural issue, it is a victory for both Mills and his client. According to news reports, Mills is being asked to speak all over the country, and his solo law practice it sure to be booming very soon. In advance of his oral argument, Mills was profiled in the November issue of the ABA journal.
Click here to read the briefs in the case, and click here to listen to the oral arguments in the case.