Avoiding Law Firm Implosions by Mandating Firms to Undergo Annual Stress Tests


Good Lord! Please make it stop.

We can’t take witnessing any more carnage or scandal from the Dewy & LeBoeuf front! The worst part, in some respects, is that clients, laterals and law firm lenders are now looking past the Dewey debacle and looking at other large law firms and wondering which one is next.

The horrific death spiral of Dewey & LeBoeuf, which started within the firm in October of 2911 and debuted its public spectacle in March, 2012, continues to evoke gasps and cries from all observers and participants. The latest horrors, not unexpected, are the loss of hundreds of jobs and the disappearance or dramatic reduction of thousands of pensions. To be sure, more ugliness lies ahead: Draconian financial penalties to partners and prosecutorial inquiries of potential criminal liability for some key Dewey players.

The Dewey debacle isn’t going away any time soon. The slog of judicial proceedings will take years and impose enormous tolls on all concerned.

The added nightmare is that other large law firms will liklely follow suit and similarly implode.

The profession must galvanize and provide assurance to law firm partners and law firm stakeholders – partners, clients, lenders, lateral candidates and law school students that individual firms are strong and viable and are not in danger of implosion. The way to provide assurances is through having law firms undergo stress tests by qualified independent professionals. Given the current state of play, firms will likely only do so if market demands dictate that they do so. Those market mandates will arise when law firms are required to do so by clients, lenders, clients, lateral candidates and to maintain a competitive edge.

The need for these stress tests is urgent and the time to start applying them is now.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Jerome Kowalski, Kowalski & Associates | Attorney Advertising

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