Debate on mid-tier firms divides lawyers

Yesterday’s commentary by a law firm consultant suggesting mid-tier firms are ‘horrible businesses’ has got readers fired-up. Here's a look at what you said

Yesterday’s article suggesting  mid-tier firms are ‘horrible businesses’ was bound to get our readers fired-up, and our comments section did indeed transform into a veritable exchange of ideas.

Readers offered candid views on both sides of the debate. 

One comment was particularly fiery in its agreement with the article, saying mid-tiers are firms where partners line their pockets at the expense of the staff.”

Another comment agreed that mid-tier firms lack a motivating environment. “There is no initiative, no bonuses, or overtime offered for support staff, admin staff, young lawyers and graduate lawyers to do any more than they have to. There is no initiative to boost the firm. Simply come in, do what is required and take home your salary.”

On the other side of the coin, other comments defended mid-tier firms, such as this one: "The firm retains its characteristics of being personal and boutique yet is able to manage matters beyond what I could do as a sole practitioner.”

The same comment warned that practicing law wasn’t only about money: “The focus on financial return is a narrow minded view on why lawyers do what we do.”

Another comment disagreed: "I work in a mid-tier firm - an old established firm where each partner is referred to as "Sir" (no women partners). The phone stays quiet all day, there is an atmosphere of fear and loathing throughout the office. Depression, no work and mediocre pay are the selling points in this place."

And then more commentary: “Their mediocre partners huddle together like anchovies in a bait ball, hoping against hope that fate in the form of a big shark (read bank), is not going to suddenly sweep in and sell all their homes because of their ever spiralling overdraft upon which they all live beyond their means. The phone rarely rings.”

The solution? According to the same passionate responder it is to break free. Break free from the shackles of the pinstripe, the old boys ties, the twisted lemon faces and the Killara Golf Club fossils for whom you work!  Men who carry brief cases containing an apple and a copy of the telegraph as they shuffle depressingly everyday into the cold vault of a law practice overhung with crippling bank debt and depression.”


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