Large law firms go down every year or two; who will be next?

June 8, 2012 Here is a loose and speculative article that looks at the recent collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf and asks the question: who is next? In light of the fact that a major law firm has gone down every year or two in the last decade, it stands to reason that another one will bite the dust some time soon.

Predictions are difficult, however, because we cannot say which industries might tank in the near future, and law firm often shroud their workings in secrecy. Most of the law firms that have dissolved in the past ten years claimed to be performing well shortly before they went down.

A few key things to look out for: a heavy debt burden; a roster propped up by numerous recent lateral acquisitions, lured with generous compensation packages; a firm that has sacrificed quality in the name of growth, taking on too many mediocre lawyers; and a firm that is highly dependent on one industry or client.


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