2010

The Year in Review

The National Law Journal

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If you are confused, dear reader, about the direction of the business of law, we sympathize. Consider two reports by a pair of respected industry players.

A Robert Half International Inc. survey shows a big increase in the percentage of legal industry respondents who said they expect to add jobs in early 2011. "The survey results are certainly positive for the legal industry as a whole," Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal, told The American Lawyer. Bankers, however, are taking a far dimmer view. Jeffrey Grossman, national managing director for Wells Fargo's legal specialty group, told The Washington Post recently that he still sees "an industry that has overcapacity and we suspect further challenges, further timekeeper cuts and possibly further staff cuts." Insert head-scratching here.

In this special issue, we attempt to make some sense of the year that was and to offer a few thoughts about what's ahead. Given the conflicting assessments about where the legal business is headed, a concise prediction eludes us. As 2011 dawns, we hope Robert Half is right. We fear Wells Fargo is. — David Brown, editor in chief

THE SUPREME COURT
It was an indelible moment when Obama scolded the justices over Citizens United during his State of the Union speech, and Alito notably reacted.

MDL
Multidistrict litigation this year was stupendously big. The cases were so phenomenally large that they generated significant political interest.

REGULATION
Law firm leaders expected a surge in regulatory work when Obama took office. But it hasn't quite turned out that way.

POM WONDERFUL
POM was a busy litigant this year. Actions included a notable fee dispute, suits against competitors and a challenge to FTC allegations.

GAY RIGHTS
A timeline of events in a significant year for gay rights, from the trial challenging California's Prop. 8 to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

VOIR DIRE
Celebrity is no protection against brushes with the law. In 2010, several stars were forced to resort to the good office of lawyers.

THEY SAID IT
We take a look at some of the more notable quotations from 2010.

THE YEAR IN PHOTOS
From the congressional hearings involving Toyota in February to Rep. Rangel's censure hearing this month, some visual reminders of the year in law.

LAWYERS BEHAVING BADLY
Some lawyers and judges found themselves in big trouble this year. We highlight some low points.

THE CAREERIST
Blogger Vivia Chen looks into her crystal ball and predicts that the fundamentals of the legal biz will remain the same for the foreseeable future.

OPINION
During the past year, practitioners, academics and a few senators weighed in. Here are some highlights.

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