The idea of working hard to pay your dues as a lawyer is outdated. The Wall Street Journal says the latest law firm trend is "de-equitization," which is a fancy word for kicking a partner in the pants and throwing him or her out the door. Since there is no longer a safe ladder to climb in big law firms, people will stop climbing and set up shop on their own.
Warning: Lawyers are the most unhappy of all professionals, according to the Colorado Law Journal. But people who work for themselves are among the most satisfied workers, according to Dartmouth economist Daniel Blanchflower (.pdf). Add the two together for a more balanced work life.
Preparation: Success as a lawyer is increasingly about client relations rather than providing Alan Dershowitz-style genius legal representation. Take some marketing courses in college since that's what you'll be spending time on once you hang out your shingle.
If this prediction is correct, we shall see that either the period of partnership tenure or the total amount of partners appointment declining from time to time, and at the same time solo or boutique lawfirm mushroomed. Another possible thing: once these lawyers 'disaggregates' and work as a solo practicioners, they might need to collaborate. Do we have the collaboration engine in place?