I nearly spit up on my keyboard earlier this morning when, as I was perusing the front page of The New York Times Online, I came across the headline "Law Firms Feel Strain of Layoffs and Cutbacks." Immediately that little voice in my head (the one that was singing Depeche Mode's "Master and Servant" much of yesterday afternoon -- thanks Dave S.) said "uh oh, here we go again; here comes another bailout." (Though I don't think the little voice used a semicolon).
According to the article, dozens of law firms around the country, including some of the biggest and best well known, are suffering financially and, as a result, laying off associates. There are even some firms that, and I quote, "have collapsed outright... [leaving] several hundred lawyers out in the cold." Brrr.
I am trying to shed a tear for the dearly departed (i.e., recently unemployed attorneys), really, but unlike when I read the words President Elect Barack Obama, my eyes are dry -- make that bloodshot.
Don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are or are married to lawyers. And these lawyers are some of the smartest, funniest, nicest people I know -- honest! -- and I would feel bad (really!) if they lost their jobs. And I would have been utterly lost without the trusts and estates attorney who helped me after my father's untimely death (and I am not just typing this because she happens to be my sister-in-law).
But should law firms be bailed out? I don't think so. (And for the record, at least as far as I have heard, no one in Congress is suggesting a legal bailout, at least not yet.) I have still yet to be convinced that the Big Three U.S. automobile manufactures deserve a bailout. And do NOT get me started about AIG (unless you want to see my head start spinning around and foam pour from my mouth).
Getting back to the subject at hand... Do you know one of the reasons why law firms are having to lay off attorneys? Fewer lawsuits. And really, is that a bad thing?
11:43 A.M.: On a totally unrelated note, I just found out my comment (#149) on Maureen Dowd's latest Op-Ed piece in The New York Times Online, "Boxers, Briefs or Silks," on Sarah Palin, is an Editor's Selection and am foaming at the mouth in a good way. If you have a few seconds, click on the link and read the article and the comment.
As It Ever Has Been
11 minutes ago