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Tag Archives: Recession

Surviving the downturn – Part 1  (access required)

The recession has affected lawyers and law firms of all stripes and sizes, altering relationships, changing expectations and forcing uncomfortable conversations between lawyers and clients about the way legal business used to be done, the way it’s done now and the way it will be done in the future. Most lawyers say they began to feel the recession’s effects in the first quarter of 2009. Practical changes in the handling of cases, dealings with clients and firm management quickly followed. Charlotte attorney Zipporah B. Edwards (pictured) said her practice group at Horack Talley, which provides legal services for title insurance companies, has seen what she calls a “counter-cyclical uptick in the last several years because of mortgage-related issues and foreclosures.” But she’s also seen some belt-tightening by clients.

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Surviving the downturn – Part 2  (access required)

Jerry Myers, the managing partner of Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers, says that because of the recession his firm has "cut down on discretionary spending. We suspended a charity golf tournament we used to sponsor in 2009 and 2010. Our marketing and advertising ventures have been rolled out at a more deliberative pace than if things were normal." He and other North Carolina attorneys share their thoughts on the Great Recession in part 2 of this 3 part series.

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Surviving the downturn – Part 3 (access required)

Jeremy White is a 2009 graduate of Elon University School of Law. He planned to open a solo real estate practice, and did – in the Macon County town of Highlands. But with the real estate market tanking, White was forced to widen his practice. White says, "I’ve definitely modified my expectations. I understand that a six-figure income is still a long way off, but I am optimistic that the real estate market will eventually pick back up, and when it does I hope to be in a good position to finally earn enough to pay down my two-hundred-thousand-dollar-plus student loan debt." He and H. Monroe Whitesides of Charlotte share their thoughts on the Great Recession in the last of this 3 part series.

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Large firm leaders say 2010 wasn’t so awful after all (access required)

North Carolina suffered some hard economic punches in 2010, but the state's top law firms weren't knocked out of the ring. In fact, they say they were well-prepared for the fight. Lawyers Weekly surveyed managing partners or other top leaders at 10 of the Tar Heel State's biggest firms to find out how they fared in 2010 and their predictions for 2011.

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Firms find creative ways to celebrate the season (access required)

Law firms across the state tightened their belts in 2009 after a year of recession-forced layoffs and cutbacks. This year, although the slow economy is still staring the profession in the face, some firms decided to loosen up the purse strings a little, while others continued to scale back. At Smith Moore Leatherwood's Raleigh office, Brad Risinger said the firm wanted to be frugal. "The emphasis is to protect a nice bonus for the staff," said Risinger, the managing partner of the Raleigh office. At the firm's Greensboro office, employees are traditionally treated to a catered lunch. But one of the real hits of the holiday season was attorney Kent Auberry's (pictured) portrayal of Santa Claus.

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IOLTA forced to tap reserves for second year (access required)

Last year, the board members of IOLTA - the fund that comes from interest on trust accounts - sat around a U-shaped table in downtown Raleigh and did something they didn't want to do: Withdraw $1 million from reserves. One year later, at their annual grant-making meeting earlier this month, they did it again. It wasn't an easy decision, board members said. But in the current economic climate it was the only way to hold somewhat steady on the grants that fund Legal Aid and other organizations that provide help in civil actions for those who can't afford attorneys.

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Title insurers feel continued pinch of Great Recession (access required)

After a decade of rising revenue, title insurance companies operating in North Carolina saw their numbers fall for the second straight year in 2009. Direct title insurance premiums earned fell to below $115 million for the first time since 2003 after a record high in 2007 of $168 million. Direct premiums earned in 2008 totaled $145 million. Chapel Hill-based Investors Title Insurance Company had the largest market share of N.C. title insurers, with 24.1 percent. It earned $26.8 million in premiums.

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