The legal profession is extremely fragmanted. There is no IBM, Ford or even Price Waterhouse Coopers in the legal profession – the mega law firms are tiny. I believe that explains why there has been so little R&D and innovation in the profession. That may be changing. According to Bruce Macewen’s Adam Smith Esq. post titled: “Of Counsel”? “Non-Equity Partner?” Column C?, Allen & Overy has taken a step that may make them unique, at least temporarily, by creating a new category of lawyer called “Managing Associates”.
“Managing associates will have increased responsibilities and some access to partnership information and will be viewed as likely partnership material.”
Many large firms have created a category of associates who are on track for partnership but I have not heard of anyone using the title: “Managing Associates”. Maybe the Allen & Overy’s of this world and their mega counterparts are beginning to be a size where they will begin to modify the profession, hopefully for the better. I will be watching (both while on assignment with large firms and through the blogosphere).