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Stephen L. Carter

A 'Big Law' Revolution? Not Likely

Top firms will always use their reputations to maximize profit.
Don't expect Big Law to man the barricades.

Don't expect Big Law to man the barricades.

Photographer: Jean-Sebastein Evrard/AFP/Getty Images

“Big Law” is in its death throes. Everyone says so. The partnership model used by the large corporate law firm is out of date. Overworked associates, who already face “soul-crushing” pressures, are commanded not to waste valuable time saying thank you. Neither clients nor partners are loyal, which is just as well because virtual law firms like Axiom are going to steal their business.

Benjamin Barton, a law professor at the University of Tennessee, wants us to know that things aren’t all that bad. As implied by the title of his provocative and enjoyable new book, “Glass Half Full: The Decline and Rebirth of the Legal Profession,” he has a somewhat different point of view. Yes, lawyers are in trouble. But brighter days lie ahead.