I had hoped that BigLaw would make fundamental changes, prompted by the crisis. Um, what crisis is that exactly? 

Dan DiPietro, client head of the Law Firm Group of the Citi Private Bank and noted BigLaw commentator, in Recession and Repair (American Lawyer, 1 May 2009) offers a grim prognosis for BigLaw finances and partner profits. Citi’s data are more current than the just-released 2009 AmLaw 100 report for FY 2008 offer.

Grimmer still is his assessment that partners have yet to recognize the magnitude of the crisis. An anecdote suggests that partners still don’t think the situation is bad enough to have to change anything. His article concludes: “So the need for bold action and innovative thinking is upon us. Firm leaders have the chance to fix a broken business model… These are times that cry out for boldness and innovation. But the window will not stay open for long. Who among you will be the first to act?”

Many commentators have spoken about not letting this crisis go to waste. That sentiment assumes recognizing a crisis. As I read DiPietro’s essay, BigLaw partners have yet to recognize the gravity of the situation. Perhaps they know something the rest of us don’t. Or perhaps they feel a 10 or 15% drop in income is not such a big deal when you’re still earning more than $1 million.