PUZZLE PIECES – Part 2

Tomorrow, I’ll return to the first of two articles that propelled me to launch this blog with “PUZZLE PIECES.”  First up is “Not Done Yet,”  (ABA Journal, April 2010 http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/not_done_yet/), about an aging big law firm partner who approached traditional retirement age only to have his own mortality surprise him.

Born just a few years before the beginning of a baby boomer generation that seemed always to have its way, he’s not alone in pondering the question: “Now what?” In fact, there are one-quarter million attorneys over 55 behind him.

But knowing his answer is less important than understanding the path that has taken him and many others to their current predicaments. Even more important are the implications for those now seeking an opportunity to get into that game.

PUZZLE PIECES

Connections are not always obvious.

In a single 24-hour period last week, two seemingly unrelated articles appeared in national publications. They addressed opposite ends of the legal profession’s pipeline: entry and exit.

An April 1, 2010 report in the New York Times, “At Law Firms, Reconsidering the Model for Associates’ Pay,” described a growing phenomenon that should interest all prospective lawyers and many others. The essential point: big law firms (where most graduates think they want to begin their legal careers) are looking for ways to pay their new associates less.

A day later, the April issue of the ABA Journal included “Not Done Yet: If 65 is the new 50, how will baby boomers remake retirement?” It described aging big firm attorneys who were approaching (or had already passed) the traditional retirement age.

In an upcoming series of posts, I’ll describe the profound connections between these two articles in the context of the profession’s recent trends. But before that, we’ll continue next time with some background information about me so readers can assess whether I have anything useful to offer them.

For starters, let me admit that for 30 years I was a litigator at a large law firm.