With almost daily report of law firm layoffs and/or reductions in compensation, it looks like the COVIS-19 pandemic is going to have the same effect on the financial health of the legal industry as did the Great Recession in 2007-2009. And if what happened in the Great Recession is any indicator, law firm clients will need to scrutinize more closely their legal bills.
One reason for closer scrutiny is because of what happened in the Great Recession with regards to staffing cuts. In the Great Recession, the support staff rather than attorneys bore the brunt of law firm cutbacks. This was because law firms were reluctant to let go of the attorney talent they worked so hard to attract and invested so much to develop. So the only other place to turn for savings in a labor intensive business is to support staff.
As I have blogged about before, cutting back support staff and increasing the ratio of attorneys to support staff will save law firms money. But, it also almost invariably means increased costs for law firm clients. Continue reading