find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Big Law firm model established

Big Law firm model established

A future model for big law firms has emerged from a role-play game conducted by Australian insurance lawyer Anthony Kearns and an Indiana University law professor over the weekend.

Kearns joined Bill Henderson at Maurer School of Law in the US to establish a new set of rules for mega law firms, the AM Law Daily reports.

The model includes reducing salaries, as well as increasing training for associates in response to pressure from clients over billing fees, competition concerns and the exit of experienced practitioners. 

Kearns used an analogy of the 1,000-day life span of the turkey to illustrate the false sense of security felt by big law firms during the global financial crisis. The turkey, he explained, lives through its life unaware of the cataclysmic 1000th day approaching, even as it observes fellow turkeys dropping off one by one, he said.
The model also suggests basing bonus and promotion decisions on the performance of the law firm and the competencies of individuals. 

Partners would see a drop in incomes and partnerships reduced to one level, under Kearns’ new blueprint for the profession. 

Cost-cutting measures would include work-from-home options and locating the office in the suburbs as opposed to the city. 

Firms would offer alternative fee options and will share fee risks with clients whenever possible. 

As Kearns outlines the future model for the profession, some Australian firms are ahead, putting elements into practice. Optim Legal uses a satisfaction-based billing model. Meanwhile, lawyers don’t have billing targets and clients can pay on a sliding scale of an additional or minus 20 per cent of the fee. 

Nick James, the co-founder of Optim Legal, said firms need to reconsider how they bill, for both their lawyer and the clients they service. 

“In a big firm most often lawyers feel the pressure to bill as many hours as possible in order to rise up through the ranks,” said James

“In a big firm that really is a lose sum game. They do retain the client but almost all the drivers you face as a lawyer lead you to believe if it’s not a high billing file then you haven’t achieved,” James said.

See today's e-magazine here

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Big Law firm model established
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...