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Two thirds of lawyers want lockstep; half want to advertise

Two thirds of lawyers think a lockstep partnership model is the correct long-term model for a law firm but only one third of equity partners share that view, according to the 2009 law firm survey by legal sector services provider Rainmaker.

Out of 435 lawyers polled online by Rainmaker, 69 per cent said that a lockstep model was the right path for a firm.

However, 67 per cent of the 42 equity partners who took the survey held the opposite view and responded that lockstep was not a correct long term model.

Rainmaker CEO Nikhil Chandra managed the survey and said that it was a slightly surprising find but added: "Law firms are heading in a similar direction to divvy up the results between all stakeholders. Even if India moves in a way to have a lockstep that is peculiar to us, so be it."

The survey also asked questions in areas such as branding and advertising, training, HR management, work-life balance, marketing and client development, career and technology.

Lift the advertising ban
The largest proportion of respondents - 44 per cent - believed that law firms should be allowed to advertise their services, as long as they were not misinforming the public.

A total of 23 per cent felt that advertising should be minimal and a similar percentage was for a continuing blanket ban on advertising.

Nevertheless, 80 per cent still felt that advertising by law firms should continue to be regulated by the Bar Council of India (BCI)

Partners not for holiday work compensation
The findings also revealed that 86 per cent of all respondents wanted a system of compensatory holidays for work done on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

However, just over half of the equity partners surveyed were against such a compensation system.

Among the facts that would most markedly improve work-life balance, the top answers were:
19 per cent wanted the ability to work from home, and
16 per cent of associates want better technology system for knowledge management, relationship management, and HR, and

'What slowdown?' ask partners

In terms of the market slowdown, 27 per cent of all surveyed lawyers felt that the work-hours had not changed materiallysince the slowdown, but this percentage rose to 46 per cent of all partners believing nothing had changed.

Special treatment for expat returnees
A total of 66 per cent of all those polled said that lawyers whose recent or only experience was of working abroad, should spend time acquiring Indian legal knowledge before being put on par with their peers at a law firm.

The full survey and methodology is available for download here.

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