The Business of Law® reigns supreme

It looks like The Business of Law® is no longer an afterthought to the big firms.

Seyfarth Shaw recently announced that its profits in 2009 will fall by 5 to 7%, less than the estimated 10 to 15% projected for the legal industry, that is the large law firms.’

Usually a very private matter, this law firm with a nationwide work force of about 1600 made the announcement after also announcing the layoff of a third layer of people. Why? One guess is that the firm wanted to suggest that it is dealing well with economic realities and that the remaining members of the firm will be in good financial shape. Giving some reassurance is very appropriate since people usually fear the unknown more than the known, no matter how bad it may be … And in this case, the downturn is better than the expected industry average.

But, making this information public is unique, the American Lawyer notwithstanding. This is like the public stock market. And the audience is more than the "public." The audience is its clientele, to reassure them that the firm is economically viable … and to potential lateral partners, telling them that the return to equity partners will remain substantial, as well as to placate current equity partners who may fail to pay attention to the periodic financial reports issued by management.

While unusual, this simple announcement may have been unique … and may have achieved much goodwill for the firm.


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