How Many Lawyers Would You Like on that Brief?

One of the most popular articles making the rounds of the law blogosphere today is the New York Times's Downturn Dims Prospects Even at Top Law Schools. The article reports on the "bizarre new reality" facing law firms who have been pummeled by the economy, but who have tried to keep up appearances with first-year associate salaries north of the $160K mark. From the looks of it, the economics of the practice of law are on track for permanent change (the article even questions the sustainability of the billable hour). Instead of seeing more of those legal All-Stars billing upwards of $1,000 or more an hour, we're likely to see more lawyers chasing fewer ground balls.