Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Corporate Law and Trusts No Longer Mix

Debevoise & Plimpton, prominent New York law firm, has decided to abandon its trust and estates practice, The New York Times reports. Estate planning clients don't like paying the firm's going rate of over $1,000 per lawyer-hour. The firm's other partners don't like giving the trusts and estates partner the same million-dollar-plus annual bonus bestowed upon corporate deal makers.

(For a wicked but entertaining portrait of a big corporate law firm, see John Grisham's "The Associate.")

This sign of the times should not be taken as a putdown of trusts and estates work, says Sanford Schlesinger: “Families are going to pass more wealth in the next 10 years than in the history of humankind, and someone is going to have to shepherd that wealth transfer.”
The Times still refers to Debevoise as a "white shoe" law firm. How many of today's Times readers actually remember the days when Ivy Leaguers wore dirty white bucks?

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