Professor Larry Ribstein, one of nation’s foremost experts on LLCs and other alternative entities, has written extensively on the "legal aspects of large law firms". Here is a post he penned today that refers to today’s front page story in The Wall Street Journal about some very large and very old law firms that have recently dissolved. The title of this post (and his post) refers to the "coat of arms" of the recently dissolved Heller firm whose Latin motto referred to the famous Elvis still being alive (elvem ipsum etiam vivere) and whether other big firms will share the fate of Elvis and other mortals.
Professor Ribstein cites to some of his scholarly writings on the topic of the legal and ethical issus that impact the running of law firms as a business. A list of some observations from his post that indicate some of the issues that large law firms face but that many businesses do not:
-The major assets can walk
-These firms need lots of debt because of mismatching revenue and expense streams.
-The combination of these two conditions can make the financial condition of even the largest firms tenuous.
-Medium sized firms can’t survive these pressures. Yet client conflicts constrain growth through merger or otherwise.
-Fundamental changes in the law business, such as the long-term decline in Heller’s litigation, are changing the basic business model.