As big law firms around the country are cutting associates and staff because of major dropoffs in business, smaller firms may be poised to swoop in and grab some BigLaw clients who are looking to cut legal costs.
The current economic crisis has everyone looking to reduce expenditures across the board. A Bloomberg article states that many companies are adding smaller firms to their roster of outside counsel, and saving as much as half of what they would pay for similar work at a BigLaw firm.
Firms aren't giving up on large law firms altogether, however. In fact, many companies are breaking up their legal tasks and sending them off to different firms based on the firms' areas of expertise. Some business stays with the law firm, while other business goes to a smaller firm with expertise in a certain issue. This could be a great opportunity for boutique firms with a firmly established niche.
According to the article, large law firms are encouraging this to some extent. DLA Piper tells its clients to "stratify" its legal needs in order to save money, which also helps the firm retain the pieces of the client's business that it's not comfortable shopping around to smaller firms.
At this point, big law firms are probably happy just to take whatever they can get.
Big Business is Dumping BigLaw (Legal Blog Watch)