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Stuck in the middle: The associate surplus problem in law firms

Rachel Brushfield explores the impact of the associate surplus problem on the traditional pyramid career model in law firms

21 August 2014

The days of the pyramid career structure in traditional law firms
are numbered. The legal profession currently has a surplus of qualified
lawyers around the five to eight-year
post-qualification experience (PQE)
level for the amount of work available.

The current associate surplus in
the legal profession has many causes. There has not been enough movement
in the legal jobs market over the past few years. Some law firms have failed to shed underperformers during the downturn, wanting to be ready for growth. Others have retained employees, believing that
the legal profession will return to its pre-credit-crunch character.

Many law firms are shrinking their middle management layer as a result of cost cutting,...

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