Mayer Brown and Platt 190 LaSalle library 1

How things change: This was the penthouse library on the top floors of 190 S. LaSalle in Chicago when I worked at Mayer, Brown & Platt in the late ‘80s.

If you are trying to figure out the legal profession’s big picture—especially the prospects for BigLaw—I’d recommend that you surf over to the amazing coverage offered up by The New Republic.

Recent offerings by the monthly magazine have included an examination of what’s new in law school thinking. In “How To Fix Law School,” they invite six experts to say what they would change about legal education.

Suggestions range from timing, to student loans, to the Socratic Method, and more.

(And if you’re in the mood—i.e., not already depressed—read Elie Mystal’s article “A Guide for Choosing a Low-Ranked Law School.”)

As good as the first New Republic piece is, I was riveted by an article in the same issue by Noam Scheiber titled “The Last Days of BigLaw: You Can’t Imagine the Terror When the Money Dries Up.”

Few commentators on big law firm life get the access Scheiber did. With that access, he develops a nuanced and detailed view into the inner workings of what many say is a devolving institution. Casual perusers may not want to know so much about (for instance) the differences between income and equity partners. But for those engaged in the legal profession, the insight is invaluable.

Perhaps part of my interest arose from the fact that I used to work at a firm he uses as an object lesson. In the late 1980s and just before law school, I worked in Chicago at Mayer, Brown & Platt (and then McDermott, Will & Emery). It was odd to have walked the same (conceptual) hallways Scheiber did. And even for someone who worked as a nonlawyer at Mayer Brown, his observations ring true.

Do his conclusions sound accurate to you? How’s BigLaw doing?

Breaking Bad actor Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman

Breaking Bad actor Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman

P.S. I also love The New Republic’s use of photos of actor Bob Odenkirk in his role of lawyer Saul Goodman on the AMC series Breaking Bad. Not familiar with it? Get watching.