Sign in CITO Google maps

Blog

Big Law Pay: Pay Cuts or Paper Cuts ?

About a month ago, April 5th to be exact, the Globe and Mail ran a piece about Big Law cuts in response to Covid-19. The article concentrated on the wage rollbacks, noting a few Big Law firms that have cut ‘non-partner salaries’ by 10-15 percent. A concerned Globe reader from Thunder Bay (shout out to Geoff Lee) drolely noted in a letter to the Globe editor,...

Face Time and Brown Nosing and FaceTime

During this quarantine period, we have repeatedly heard about the success with which professionals have been able to work from home. The explosion in video calls (and Zoom stock) is both a major news item and a weekly reality for most of us. Yet working remotely has, for the most part, been discouraged by Big Law culture. Why is that? To answer this q...

The Big Office: Big Law’s Obstacle to Changing Real Estate Cost Structure

If necessity is the mother of invention, then Alberta should be a nursery of new ideas in the coming months. With the world in pandemic paralysis, petroleum producing jurisdictions have been forced to double-down on hard times by the geopolitics of oil. Yesterday, the President and CEO of the National Bank (Louis Vachon) aptly characterized the latter as “a...

Big Law and Associate Layoffs: Sensible Cost Control or a Misstep?

Just over one month into the twin crises of Covid-19 and Low Oil Prices, Alberta companies are scrambling to control costs. Most are doing so to buy enough time and space to identify new, adaptive business models to emerge from the wreckage sustainably stronger. So, what are law firms doing in this downturn to cut their costs and adapt to what could be a ‘ne...

Modelling Big Law: A Devil’s Bargain, or a Path to Something New for Clients?

In 2017, In-House Counsel Network (shout out to the ICN) invited me to give a talk on adaptive models for deliver-ing legal services. They asked me, because the law firm arm of the CITO Energy Group is a “New Law” venture. They also asked me, because I have been around quite a few law firms in twenty-three years of practice. As a partner, associate and cl...

Big Law, Rabbits & Hats

What goes up, but never goes down? The answer to the old riddle is “age”, but it could just as well be “Big Law’s hourly rates”. If you have ever received a Big Law bill, you will have experienced the bewilderment of valuing someone’s time at CAD$900 per hour. Or CAD$850. Or even CAD$590. Last year, CounselLink reported that American Big Law’s median bill...

The Rise of In-House and Big Law’s Bet on M&A and Financing

Prices have pushed clients to preserve liquidity. Cost savings have become the top priority, including savings on legal fees. In response to that pressure, some law firms will reinvent themselves and win market share. Law firms that do not, or cannot, because of lack of initiative, cultural obstacles or institutionalized cost structures will lose market shar...