Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Demand for law firm services remains flat

As reported by today's Wall Street Journal Law Blog:

Law Firm 3rd Quarter Checkup: Demand is Flat

LBers craving comfort in the familiar can latch on to this: with stocks in a post-election plummet and yet another storm bearing down on the battered Northeast, law firms continue to provide admirable consistency.

How so? Demand for their services remains essentially flat, according to a third quarter analysis of the law firm market out this month from Peer Monitor, a division of Thomson Reuters’ Hildebrandt Institute.

Among the cheery data points:

  • Litigation demand fell this quarter, evening out earlier gains to remain flat.
  • Deal work continues to be in the basement, at least in aggregate. Corporate work is down 1%, and transactional practices are weak, with bankruptcy down 2.6% and real estate down 2.7%.
  • While demand was up 2.5% for labor and employment — one of the few bright spots this year, practice-wise — growth has slowed to the most sluggish pace in the past two years.

“Nearly all major practices were down during the quarter,” according to the report, which is based on data from 125 large and mid-size U.S. law firms. “The law firm market continues to struggle. Weakening demand and low rate growth are challenging any meaningful top line growth while expenses, although moderating, continue to run ahead of revenues. Productivity continues to decline as capacity exceeds demand.”

Continue reading here.


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