The Trouble with Big Law

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Big Law's problems are symptomatic of what's wrong with the legal profession generally, says Stanford Law Professor Deborah Rhode, author of "The Trouble with Lawyers." And just what are those problems? Those of us who've worked in Big Law agree: chronic overwork and stress often outweigh the high pay in multinational law firms, leading to general dissatisfaction with the legal profession, personal relationships, and life. The stress and dissatisfaction can start in law school.

Continuing to increase the pay in large law firms may be part of the solution, but it isn't the answer. "We need to rethink the basic culture of large firm culture," Rhode says, looking at the combination of compensation and hours to lead to a better -- and sustainable -- work / life balance, as well as a path to greater career success.