Supply, Demand, and the Changing Economics of Large Law Firms

44 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2008 Last revised: 28 Aug 2008

Andrew Bruck

Stanford Law School

Andrew Canter

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Abstract

This Note examines why the the economic model that has sustained large law firms for the last half-century is under pressure. It begins by tracing the rise and fall of professionalism in the legal industry, with a particular focus on how economic pressures created a work force that was overworked, dissatisfied, and unrepresentative of the general population. It then examines the purchasers of legal services - corporate clients - and why they have gradually started to use their market power to change law firm practices over the past two decades. The Note next considers the primary supplier of large firms - law students - and their nascent efforts to organize collectively for workplace reforms. It concludes by considering the overlapping interests of students and clients, and how the two groups could coordinate in the future. The Note suggests that the legal market is changing in ways that most lawyers have overlooked, and that the change is coming from some surprising places.

Keywords: Legal Profession, Law Firms, Corporate Clients

Suggested Citation

Bruck, Andrew and Canter, Andrew, Supply, Demand, and the Changing Economics of Large Law Firms. Stanford Law Review, Vol. 60, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1104077

Andrew Bruck

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Andrew Canter (Contact Author)

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

500 E. Court Street
Jackson, MS 39201

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi

500 E. Court Street
Jackson, MS 39201

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