Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Demise of Trusts & Estates Practice?

Peter Lattman at the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog is the latest blogger to weigh in on the demise of Trusts & Estates as a big-firm practice area:

With profitability a top priority at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, one practice group is under the microscope: trusts and estates. Four T&E partners at Sonnenschein in recent weeks have either left or announced plans to leave the 660-lawyer firm. ...

The departures come at a time when Elliott Portnoy, the firm’s 41-year-old chairman-elect, has said he is bent on taking a hard look at the economics of Sonnenschein’s various departments. T&E may be vulnerable because it is a low “leverage” practice — fewer junior lawyers generally are needed, say, to draft a will than to complete a merger agreement.

Robert Cockren, the new chair of Sonnenschein’s T&E practice, says the firm remains committed to T&E and still has about 28 lawyers in the practice across seven offices. But he acknowledges that it is “difficult for T&E practices to meet the same sort of” profitability and productivity targets that other practice groups may achieve.

Other blogosphere commentary:

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