This June we're launching the 11th edition of Chambers Associate. In this time we've learnt a few important lessons about our readers and what they want.
Legal commentators, us included, love to talk about what has changed. We report on firms thriving or going bust, industries emerging, economies nose-diving and how firms respond. But in the ten years we’ve looked at the US legal market, something more fundamental has changed: our readers and their aspirations. Back in the day, students were motivated above all by traditional success criteria. But in this year’s survey, we’ve learnt that new associates now prioritise ‘culture and quality of life’ and ‘the intellectual challenge’ as the top reasons for choosing law firms. This generational shift is a big story. It tells us that students, knowing the scare stories and pressures of the industry, are willing to push back on BigLaw culture and demand better personal fulfilment. Could this be a factor in the salary increases this past year? Are firms bidding higher sums for the top talent knowing students’ priorities have shifted? – Antony Cooke, editor
Video from the editor
We’re very happy to bring you our biggest edition yet. This year we’ve revamped our Inside View features to include more information on career pathways at firms, as well as a more detailed examination of diversity & inclusion efforts in the US legal market. New in our practice area chapter are in-depth features on private equity, international trade, IP and leveraged finance, which showcase expert perspectives from the likes of Hogan Lovells, Paul Hastings, Finnegan and Goodwin. We’ve also embarked on campus roadshows along both coasts this year, so here’s hoping we’ll see you at your law school sometime soon! – Paul Rance, deputy editor
Never has firm culture been more important to our readers, so when we get on the phone to associates, that’s exactly what we quiz them about. We’ve gone into more detail that ever, marrying associates’ insights with our research team’s own unique analysis. This year’s guide has an increased focus on career development at each firm: we asses how valued associates feel and how valuable the firm is to associates. We hope the guide helps you make positive career choices and gives you all the tools to proceed with confidence. – Sam Morris, deputy editor
As platitudes go, ‘no two local legal markets are the same,’ is right up there. But it should loom large in the mind of every law student or lawyer looking to take a big career step. No firm truly offers associates the same experience in every office. Culture, work, opportunities – all vary wildly. And ignore regional firms at your peril. We want our readers to know which firm is best for them where they want to be. To that end, this year’s reviews step-up our analysis of office variation. And coming soon, our online regional guides bring the combined weight of Chambers research to bear on each states’ legal market, judging firms by size, expertise and associate satisfaction. – Thomas Lewis, deputy editor