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The Economy and the Rest of the Legal Profession

By now, most of us have realized that the market downturn is taking a toll on large law firms, with Heller Ehrman as the most recent victim. But what about the rest of the legal profession?  How are other non-Biglaw lawyers holding up as the market goes down?  Here's a quick roundup.

New York Personal Injury Lawyer Eric Turkewitz reports that the personal injury bar is not immune to recession. He writes:

[W]ith the meltdown of mega insurer AIG, we could see something different. Even if they get rescued, there will no doubt be other insurers that have problems. We see this from time to time on a small scale when the executives drop their business ball, but we could now see it on a larger scale if things continue to go south. And a bankrupt insurance company would mean that the business end of lawyering could see some issues related to actually being able to get paid on a claim.

Turkewitz also notes CLE provider Lawline's report that lawyers are signing up in record numbers for training courses in bankruptcy.

• Recession will take a toll on the quality of criminal representation, predicts Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice. While a small segment of the criminal bar -- the high profile (though not necessarily the best) lawyers will continue to do very well, the rest will compete for those clients who can still afford to pay for lawyers (Greenfield explains that previously, clients might take out a second mortgage to pay their fees, but that's no longer an option with the banks in crisis). Moreover, lawyers will start competing on price, and quality attorneys will find themselves losing out to "bottom dwellers" who  "suck up felonies for $1,000." Greenfield advises criminal defense lawyers to find ways to branch out into different practice areas to keep the revenue stream flowing.

• Not surprisingly, legal aid lawyers are busier than ever, with record numbers of foreclosures and more families qualifying for legal aid services. 

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 19, 2008 at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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