Big Law Confronts Big Challenges

The legal industry has come to grips with a changing business landscape

A sign hangs on the New York headquarters of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP on May 29, 2012, in New York City.

Vincent Cino, chairman of Jackson Lewis in Morristown, N.J., with 750 lawyers in 54 U.S. offices, says his firm has doubled in size over the last seven years without taking on any debt. The firm has built a range of specialty practice areas, including immigration, collegiate and pro sports, and environmental law.

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Cino says Jackson Lewis is more attracted to particular lawyers than it is to locales. "We are fiscally conservative but entrepreneurial at the same time," he says. And when the lease runs out on any of its offices, the firm looks for a more economical space. "The days of huge corner offices, these cavernous enclaves, are over," he says.

But is it time to declare the death of Big Law? Like many leaders of multinational firms, Cino says its demise has been greatly exaggerated. "It really is the evolution of the legal profession at work," he says. "Clients are demanding high-quality work and efficiency at a reasonable price, so there's trust and confidence between the client and the firm. We've embraced that."

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