On Tuesday I drew some angry responses when I tweeted: "Would actually love to see some of the flabby mid-market law firms go bust this year". How could I be so cold-hearted? Well...
The starting point is that many of the aforementioned outfits are hugely dysfunctional, with unsustainable business models which are reliant on perpetual economic boom. So it's a matter of time before they either go under or get swallowed up by another firm. Why not get it over with this year?
But what about the trainees and junior lawyers at those firms cast out into a difficult job market?
Firstly, as we have seen today with the news that DWF is to honour all Cobbetts' training contracts, this is no foregone conclusion (because trainees are relatively cheap to employ).
For the ones who are made redundant, getting another job will be hard. But not as hard as it would be if they had to do it a few years down the line when they are burdened by greater financial responsibilities.
Some will no doubt find themselves unable to get another legal role. But most of these outcasts won't be the legal geeks who really love the law. Rather, they'll be a members of the far bigger group who became lawyers because they didn't really know what else to do with their lives. And after a period of re-appraising their options, they'll find something else to do.
The greater concern is for the partners who get the chop. Because lots have big mortgages, privately-educated kids and trophy wives (and, in the minority of cases, husbands) with expensive tastes. Without an income in the hundreds of thousands of pounds — which they'll be very unlikely to match even if they find new jobs — they'll find that their lives change dramatically.
We're talking some unpleasant stuff here: home repossessions, kids being removed from their private schools, spouses moving on to other men who can provide them with the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.
I feel sorry for these partners. But not to the extent that I think it's worth protecting the crumbling law firms where they work. They had a good run. Some of the partners were clever, recognised the good times wouldn't last forever and prepared themselves accordingly; others didn't.
Now they have to deal with the downside of the free market economics which for most of their lives has served them so well — and get out of the way to let the next cycle begin, unencumbered by the past.