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Crystal Ball, Oh, Crystal Ball

The Careerist

January 9, 2017


It's that time of year again. I'm donning the velvet cape, snapping on the gypsy earring and taking out my crystal ball to see what lies ahead for the legal profession. Here are my divinations for the new year:

"Authenticity" will be the rage. Remember when law firms insisted they wanted recruits who were "team-players"? Now, the latest must-have are newbies with "authenticity"—young lawyers who are not afraid to be true to themselves.

Be afraid. If you want to get hired, play the game wisely: Be agreeable, brown-nose and insist that's the authentic you.

Trump will keep lawyers busy. The Donald will not forget those who aggrieved him during the election: women, media companies, bloggers and those Big Law partners and elite academics who dissed him. (That means you, Ted Boutrous and Laurence Tribe.)

Expect the new administration to create a governmental agency dedicated to pursuing his grievances.

Plastic surgery for female lawyers will surge. In the new world order, women will be promoted not only based on legal talents and rainmaking skills but looks. Remember, Trump says you cannot be a "10" unless you have big boobs, so book your breast augmentation procedure now—way before you come up for partnership.

Firms will offer lavish perks for new lawyer-moms. Now that Proskauer Rose allows primary caregivers to work part-time for full pay after maternity leave, the arms race for the top package of parental perks is officially on. Some suggestions: Spa-like lactation rooms, facials on demand, life-work balance coaches and unlimited SAT tutoring for the offspring.

Six months of paid paternity leaves will be the latest Big Law benefit.  P.R. savvy firms will offer paternity leaves as generous as ones afforded to new moms. This will generate a ton of goodwill, and cost nothing. Remember, real men don't take real paternity leaves.

Awards for female lawyers will proliferate. Already, there are "best" female lawyer awards in virtually every state and major city for every type of practice. Why not include every county, town and school district in the nation? Arguably, these women-only awards are patronizing, suggesting that women can't compete against the Big Boys. But hey, that's better than not getting recognized at all, right?

Firms will rent out their spaces on Airbnb. If everyone is working remotely, why let that big, beautiful, expensive space go to waste? Law firms can be venues for motivational conferences, religious revivals, weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc. Think extra income!

Partner billing rates will hit $2,500 an hour. The billable hour ain't dying. Only hitch: Clients won't pay retail; they will bargain you down and slap you around like a used Toyota salesman.

Megyn Kelly isn't sorry she didnt stick it out at Jones Day. She's negotiating for a pay package that's reportedly north of $20 million. Eat your heart out, Big Law partners!



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Plenty of more isms will occur and be addressed by the legal profession ( or not), ageism, sexism, racism, ethnicism, etc.) Stay tuned as I believe a lot of hate crimes will fill the jails with lots of perpetrators. Reason: People still have not learned to keep their nasty thoughts to themselves.

Funny...but all probably 100% correct. The legal profession, Big Law in particular, is a pretty amazing animal whose disfunction will continue on forever.

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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