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A claim that law firms have steadily allocated responsibilities lower

Consider this quote from a law review article. “Furthermore, the allocation of responsibility has shifted over time, as junior partners now do what senior partners used to, senior associates do work formerly done by junior partners, junior associates the tasks that used to be done by senior associates, paralegals taking on responsibilities formerly borne by junior associates, and technology substituting for some tasks paralegals used to do.” It comes from an article to be published by Mitt Regan, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession“ that discusses offshoring legal services (at 113).

Delegation to the lowest-cost, capable person (or software) is exactly what general counsel want. But iff the pattern has been for law firms to move work down the experience and cost ladder, it makes the increases in external legal costs over those years even more startling.