Lee Rosen had an interesting piece on the warning signs on imminent firm death.
It’s hard to argue with most of his signs, although they certainly run the gamut from the very early warning signs to those more akin to last gasps.
Obviously, all firms, like the human beings who make them up, will eventually wither and die. The goal, of course, is not to have it occur whilst you are still relying upon it for your livelihood. One major problem with the firm in a death spiral is that the persons inside are often blind to the symptoms – usually not out of deliberate malice, but both ignorance and willful denial. An attorney in a failing firm is often the last person to see the failure – often with bad results for both the attorney, their clients, and everyone else who depends on them.