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Archive for the ‘President’s Message’ Category

President’s Message

Monday, February 2, 2015
posted by admin

 

R.  Lai

For those who have followed the history of baseball, historians have commonly defined distinct eras in baseball.  For example, pre-1900 is generally considered an era of lawlessness.  The rules had not yet settled into place.  Foul balls didn’t count as strikes and eight balls were needed for a walk.  The National League and American League had not yet emerged as the Major Leagues.  After the rules of the game became established, the early twentieth century is generally considered the Dead Ball Era.  The Dead Ball Era was dominated by pitching.  Hitting was scarce and entire teams might only hit thirty home runs.  After the Dead Ball Era, the 1920s and 1930s were the era when hitters reigned supreme.  Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig introduced a new era of power hitting.  The balance of the game had shifted from pitching to hitting.  Every few years, a new cycle begins and the balance shifts from hitting to pitching and back again.

More recently, in 1968, Carl Yazstremski won a batting title with a .301 average, the lowest ever.  This was followed by the 1970s or the designated Hitter Era. The 1980s saw a return to the dominance of pitching and defense, followed by the Steroid Era of the 1990s.  Now, in 2014, baseball has swung back again as great pitching is common and runs are at a premium.  The pendulum always seems to swing back and forth, from pitching to hitting and back again.

Like baseball, the legal profession also goes through cycles.  Over the last five or six years, the legal profession seems to be contracting.  Law school graduates have had difficulty finding work.  Law firms have gone through mergers, while some firms that were thought to be giants of the profession have closed their doors.  Rainmaking has become a skill that firms are actively seeking in its attorneys.  Some legal journals have contended that this is the new normal.

There have always been ebbs and flows.  On January 15, the New Jersey Law Journal published an article stating that corporate mergers and acquisitions had rebounded.  In fact, a lawyer that was interviewed for the article concluded that the mergers and acquisitions market had attained “recovery to the levels that we saw before the crash.”  While here in Burlington County, the state of mergers and acquisitions does not reflect the day to day bread and butter of our legal community, it is reassuring that the legal market appears to be turning for the better.

As history has reflected, it is only a matter of time before the current cycle turns.  Instead of wondering whether the current conditions reflect the new normal, perhaps the better question is what skills and knowledge are needed to take advantage when the market turns?   My only advice would be that it pays to be a pitcher in a hitter’s market.

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