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The Law Firm of the Future

Adapting to a Changed Legal Marketplace

John M. Westcott

During the “golden age of law firm growth” from the late 1960s until 2007, most large law firms adopted a default growth strategy, increasing practice areas and offices, aided by the momentum of the tail winds of law firm growth. Since the recession of 2008-2009, however, the legal marketplace has drastically changed. In this timely book, Jay Westcott suggests strategic building blocks that firms can adopt in order to adapt themselves to this radical change and prosper as lasting institutions.
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Chapter 2: New business models for the future

John M. Westcott


As a result of these changes, most large law firms adopted a strategy of growth. I contend that this strategy is no longer sensible for most law firms, particularly since the recession of 2008–2009. Most large law firms are too large, with many practices and offices that are not competitive. In contrast, elite New-York-City-based law firms did not expand too much, and are not awkwardly large or uncompetitive. I recommend that large law firms should assess their practices, offices, and lawyers. They should go back to a high partnership elevation standard and review all partners every year, to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses as well as how fair their compensation is.

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