The BigLaw model never made much sense...
weighs in on href="http://www.lawyrs.net/news/show/7319/is-this-the-end-of-biglaw">Noam Scheiber's piece on the end of Big Law, which charted the huge challenges and stresses currently faced by large US law firms.
Yglesias opines that BigLaw owes much of it’s current woe to the fact that the law-firm business model never made much sense in the first place.
The law firm model - run by partners and staffed by associates who work incredible hours in the hope of eventual induction into the partnership - is a product of long tradition that has been enshrined by law. In general, it is illegal to operate a legal services firm that isn’t owned by lawyers themselves.
And while other industries have been forced to reform and economise, BigLaw has been sheltered by the law from adopting standard forms of doing business. Now that demand for legal services is in rapid decline, and law schools are producing evermore graduates, the economic stresses on the industry have become so great that the industry has finally been forced to rationalise. Yglesias points out that ‘while the pace of change obviously seems furious to the people at the centre of the storm, the genuinely remarkable thing is how long the Big Law model has lasted—not the fact that it's fading away’.