Recession-era measures seem as though they are here to stay
The cost-cutting measures undertaken by law firms in the recession – including smaller entry-level classes, stagnant salaries and an impossibly long road to partnership - seem to be here to stay. While those that entered partnerships before the recession hit aren’t likely to have felt much in the way of adverse effects, with average profits per partner rising during the so-called ‘crisis’, it is all the other stakeholders that have borne the burden of the difficult economic climate. Firms have conducted large scale layoffs, reduced their graduate recruitment, called on their associates to put in longer hours, excluded new partners, and maintained low salaries and bonuses. Unlike other industries, which were forced to reform in order to save their skins, biglaw has just found a way to reduce the costs of the old business model.
The pinch s felt hardest by those law students at low ranking law schools that have taken on six figure debts to finance their education and now have little prospect of getting the kind of salary that would enable them to cope with repayments.
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