BigLaw versus the Rest of Us
All the publicity given to the "Occupy [fill in the blank]" movement has popularized the notion of a 1% - 99% split in American life. The 1%, of course, constitutes the super-wealthy; the 99% constitutes "the rest of us." The comparison can be, and too often is, taken to extremes. But the fact is that it does increasingly apply to the legal profession. We inescapably are seeing the development of two separate worlds of law. There is "BigLaw," the megafirms with many hundreds and even thousands of lawyers, most of whom are representing global clients. And then, there are the rest. The other firms may have global clients and global issues, but the real focus is on small to mid-size businesses and individual issues.
Large Law Firms Petitioned the ABA Last Year
It has always been the basic premise of lawyers' self-regulation that all firms are equal before the 50 state bar associations. But last year a group of large national/international law firms petitioned the ABA with a complaint about state bar regulation, contending that, given their multistate and multinational corporate practices, such firms are restricted by the separate state bar admission requirements on issues like conflicts of interest, liability and lawyer mobility, and need special regulations to give them the flexibility of serving their unique client base.
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