A Lawyer’s Tales From the Takeover Decades

30 Dec ’04

Via  Adam Smith, Esq., a post about Lawrence Lederman’s 1992 book Tombstone:  A Lawyer’s Tales from the Takeover Decades, Lederman’s account of his career at Wachtell. Money quote from the post deals with comments Lederman made about the differences between investment banking firms and law firms:

[Investment] banking firms were oriented to doing transactions that brought in fee income and were sensitive to changes in the market.  […]  Most partners were well off financially and retired in their early fifties.  Important responsibilities were necessarily given to young people, all ready to embrace change.  In the law firms, however, changes in the marketplace had to filter through to the top-tier lawyers, who were tradition-bound, much older than their bankign counterparts, and remote from the market.  Also, lawyers billed on an hourly basis, making one kind of work not much more profitable than another.  As a consequence, law firms rarely developed new specialties.  And lawyers didn’t move around from firm to firm as much as business people.  Accordingly, there was limited ability to move or to grow into new areas of the law.

Another reminder of the impact that hourly billing has on the practice of law, and where the industry focuses.

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