Culture Wars Catch Big Law Firms Balancing Client, Staff Demands
January 20, 2023
When the Supreme Court overturned abortion rights last year, Cozen O’Connor’s executive chairman quickly dashed off an email to everyone at the law firm. Cozen…
The legal profession in 2023
January 13, 2023
Now that the champagne is long gone, the confetti has been swept up, and we are settling into 2023, Harvard Law Today wondered what changes the new year might have in store for the practice of law.
In Law Firm Race For Revenue, Top Dogs Stand Alone
December 6, 2022
Inflation, hand-wringing over the economy and even a possible recession will do little to close the widening revenue gap between a handful of legal giants…
HLS alum named the next Chief Justice of India
October 26, 2022
D.Y. Chandrachud LL.M. ’83 S.J.D. ’86, who has served on the Supreme Court of India since 2016, has been appointed to serve as the next Chief Justice of India.
No C-suite is an island
September 21, 2022
During the daylong conference “Reimagining the Role of Business in the Public Square,” panelists weighed the responsibilities corporations have to the country and exchanged ideas about how to move firms further on their environmental, social, and governance — or ESG — pledges.
What Does It Mean To Be a Corporate Citizen?
September 20, 2022
“There could really be no more important discussion than the one we are having today,” said Kissel professor of law David Wilkins last Thursday, introducing…
Lawyers Join In Reimagining Role Of Public Companies
September 16, 2022
Speakers cited everything from the late Queen Elizabeth’s commitment to the environment to the founder of Patagonia giving away his $3 billion company, but the…
‘These are the most important problems for our society to grapple with’
September 7, 2022
Harvard Law School Professor David Wilkins, the faculty director of the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession, says corporations are increasingly under pressure "to change the way in which they relate to the world, relate to the environment, relate to their stakeholders, and relate to broader issues around social justice."
Big Law Talent Poachers Wrestle to Keep Star Hires on Board
August 29, 2022
Law firms that poached attorneys from rivals at record levels in the past two years confront a challenge in preventing the high-priced talent from bolting…
Practicing Law in the Wake of a Pandemic
July 15, 2022
‘Everyone is struggling to understand what this new world is going to look like’
Global law firms that announced plans to close Russia offices after the Ukraine invasion now face the challenge of carrying out their goal while complying with labor, immigration and sanctions laws. Employers that want to fire employees in a closure must navigate a Russia law that generally bars dismissing certain worker classes, such as single mothers, according to labor and employment law firm Littler Mendelson. ... Firms leaving Russia are likely calculating whether they can return there someday, said David Wilkins, director of Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession, in a written statement. Those decisions “will probably depend upon what—if any—peace deal is struck and whether the firms either can or want to go back to doing Russian work,” Wilkins said.
Survey Says New ESG Risks Add To Pressures On Law Depts.
April 8, 2022
In a new survey, the majority of corporate legal departments say they are facing rising challenges over environmental, social and governance, or ESG, issues, but they are without clear guidance from regulators and lack the expertise, resources and support from the C-suite to handle the risks. As the range of ESG risks expands, a whopping 99% of general counsel respondents said they expect a sharp increase in volumes of work, according to a study released today by EY Law and the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession. ... Professor David Wilkins, vice dean for global initiatives on the legal profession and faculty director of the Harvard Center, said in a Law360 interview that he shares Grossman's view of the general counsel's predicament. "A lot of these issues are ending up on the general counsel's desk in the form of a crisis," Wilkins explained, such as an employee walkout at Disney World last month, or investor demands for leadership change, as happened at ExxonMobil last year when several directors were ousted.
“This is a unique moment, particularly to be a Black law student,” Harvard Law School Professor David B. Wilkins ’80, told an audience of students during a talk titled Black Lawyers Matter — Race, Obligation, and Professionalism from the Civil Rights Movement to BLM and Black Corporate Power.
GC Cheat Sheet: The Hottest Corporate News Of The Week
January 24, 2022
The U.S. Senate will soon consider an antitrust bill aimed at restricting Big Tech's search practices, and the clash between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Cooley LLP leads to ethical questions about when a law firm is duty-bound to ignore a big corporate client's wishes. These are some of the stories in corporate legal news you may have missed in the past week. ... Law professor David Wilkins, director of the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession, said based on the story's facts that such a request was "absolutely outrageous." Clients can ask to remove an attorney they don't like from working on the clients' matters, Wilkins told Law360 Pulse, but they have no right to ask a firm to fire the lawyer.
BigLaw’s Big Guns Of Revenue Keep Growing
December 15, 2021
The widening revenue gap between a handful of legal titans that pull in billions each year and other law firms will only continue to grow, experts say, resulting in a market consolidation that will likely give them a competitive advantage even over their BigLaw peers. The 10 law firms with the highest gross revenue accounted for nearly 29% of the total $98.7 billion in revenue posted by the 129 firms that supplied or confirmed revenue data for Law360 Pulse's Prestige Leaders report. ... Firms that grow rapidly may not necessarily stay profitable or boost revenue if they acquire various assets that have different levels of profitability. "Just ask our old friends at Dewey & LeBoeuf," said David Wilkins, faculty director of the Center on the Legal Profession and the Center for Lawyers and the Professional Services Industry at Harvard Law School. ... "There are a lot of firms who embarked on an incredible acquisition spree to grow themselves and have grown themselves into unprofitability or failure because of it," Wilkins said.
‘Don’t just be a lawyer. Be a strategist’
November 10, 2021
The Center on the Legal Profession convenes experts from public and private sectors for a day-long symposium on crisis lawyering.
In the Situation Room
October 5, 2021
Professor David B. Wilkins, faculty director of the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School, recently sat down with Jeh Charles Johnson, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP who served as the secretary of Homeland Security from 2013 to 2017 during the Obama Administration.
Big Four muscle in on new type of City work
September 3, 2021
Big Four accountancy firms have abandoned plans to ‘be like law firms only bigger’, instead focusing on work that traditional City firms turn down in a drive to disrupt the market, a report has found. ...‘The Big Four can offer a far higher integration of technology, project management and process management; they employ a huge number of people across a huge range of specialties and they are way more global than even the most global law firm,' said report author David Wilkins, professor of law at Harvard Law School. 'This is why, for many kinds of issues that companies face, it’s a very attractive offering'.