Around the Blawgosphere: Thoughts of Aspiring BigLaw Summer Associates; Where Should Firms Expand?

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BigLaw Rush

Because summer associate classes in Atlanta outposts of BigLaw firms are small—“in the single digits, or maybe 11”—or being cut altogether, a number of law students from Emory paid for flights to and hotels in New York City to take a crack at jobs there, American Lawyer Media reporter Elizabeth Dilts wrote at the Careerist. BigLaw outposts in New York City often have 30-member associate classes, Dilts wrote.

“This whole process feels exactly like sorority rush,” said one Emory Law student who didn’t want to give Dilts her name. “They used to call it ‘mutual selection.’ You have to like the sorority, but the sorority has to like you too. There are quick introductions, and then soon after, you’re asked to make a lifetime commitment.”

Dilts also said these students did several 10-to-20-minute interviews in hotel rooms—to save money, Dilts presumes. After the interviews, they polled each other on etiquette: “What do you do when you sit down on the hotel room recliner and you sink so low your knees are practically touching your nose?”

Lone Star Stakes

Savannah, Ga.-based law firm practice management consultant Ed Wesemann write at his eponymous blog that law firms would be wise to “fish where the fish are” if they want to grow. And he identified what he considers the top 10 best locations for firms to expand. And his top two picks are in Texas.

1. Dallas. “Although Houston has even higher potential for growth, its fortunes are heavily tied to energy and healthcare, whereas Dallas has a more diversified economy involving finance, international trade, cattle, regional distribution and energy.” Wesemann wrote. “The city sustains high hourly rates (for a non-capital market city), is surprisingly underlawyered compared to much of the country, and has a sufficient spread of strength among a number of powerhouse law firms to keep the market competitive.”

2. Austin. “The success of Dell Computer and the desire of the University of Texas grads to stay in the city have put together a winning combination of ‘Dellionaires’ with available capital and a highly educated work force,” Wesemann wrote.

Wesemann concedes there are other factors to consider: “The number of lawyers pursuing the legal spend and the competitiveness of the market, as well as the cost of doing business in various markets play a significant role in the decision,” he wrote. “But, most importantly, the presence of synergistic relationships in a geographic market with a firm’s existing clients should be a driving feature in strategic market decisions.”

‘A Rural Sea of Justice Denied’?

SBM Blog gave a shout-out to a resolution by the ABA House of Delegates at the recent annual meeting urging governments of all sizes to support efforts to address the decline in lawyers practicing in rural areas. The resolution was made “in response to speeches invoking Atticus Finch and hometown heroes,” the State Bar of Michigan blog reported. It also noted a report to the ABA from the state bar association in South Dakota that quoted the state of the judiciary message of South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson: “We face the very real possibility of whole sections of this state being without access to legal services. Large populated areas are becoming islands of justice in a rural sea of justice denied.”

In response, the State Bar of South Dakota formed Project Rural Practice to address the status of rural attorneys in the state. Kansas’ state bar association is leading a similar effort in its home state; and the Iowa State Bar Association endeavored to promote a small-town clerkship program but encountered some difficulties.

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