Wake Up Call: Slow Growth at Law Firms in 2017

• How has Big Law fared so far in 2017? The Citi Private Bank mid-year report is in: Dan DiPietro and Gretta Rusanow of Citi write that based on a sample of 186 firms, revenue growth was higher than in any first half of the last three years. However, expense growth was even higher — in large part due to the rise in associate salaries implemented in mid- to late 2016. (The American Lawyer)

• This year, approximately 150 Big Law firms will participate in 8,500 twenty-minute conversations with the NYU second year-law students in their marathon effort to land associate positions. Big Law Business sat in at the DoubleTree Suites in Times Square for day two of the school’s three-day early interview process. (BLB)

•  Patent litigation costs declined drastically from 2015 to 2017, as litigants controlled expenses and increasingly skipped courtrooms to challenge a patent’s validity at the Patent and Trademark Office, IP attorneys told Bloomberg BNA. The median overall cost for a patent infringement case with $1 million to $10 million at stake declined 47 percent from 2015 to $1.7 million in 2017, according to the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s “2017 Report of the Economic Survey.” (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• As Plantronics prepares for an October trial on accusations by a competitor that it used “monopolistic” power to control the market for telephone headsets, its lawyers are focused on something totally unrelated to those claims: how to explain to a jury that its employees deleted potentially crucial emails. It is the latest challenge for Plantronics’ lawyers since a federal judge concluded last July that the company had engaged in bad faith discovery spoliation, and demonstrates the far reaching consequences of discovery. (BLB)

• Gillian Lester, dean of Columbia Law School, sees the skills required by lawyers today as rapidly evolving. “Technology is huge, we should be teaching students to understand the basics of how the management of data and use of technology platforms intersect with legal practice,” she told Big Law Business in a recent interview. As law students market themselves to hiring partners at the nation’s top law firms, Lester took a break to offer her views on why people are taking the LSAT today and the overall direction of the legal market. (BLB)

• Recent court filings in the Chapter 15 case of Takata Corp. showed that the Japanese auto parts giant is paying nearly $1 million per month to Covington & Burling. Takata has paid roughly $877,000 each month in legal fees and costs to Covington for work in airbag-related litigation. (Am Law Daily)

• National Labor Relations Board Chairman Philip Miscimarra (R) is likely to have his pick of law firm jobs once his term ends in December, but he is not divulging where he will land. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

•  Baker McKenzie hired two trusts and estates partners, Debra “Deb” Doyle and John “Jack” Newlin, from Greenberg Traurig in Chicago. (Am Law Daily)

Compiled by Casey Sullivan and edited by Gabe Friedman.

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