It isn’t news that the economy is having a significant impact on the business of law. The blogosphere has been full of layoffs and firm closings. Still, while the stock markets provide a gauge of how corporate America is doing, those in the legal market have been left to pick up indicators from those layoffs and reports of slowing business. Do you need a primer on what’s happening? Two recent reports provide a look at the economy in relation to the legal industry.
Hildebrandt International’s Special Client Advisory: Fall 2008, describes the current situation:
The implications of the current economic crisis for the legal profession are significant. Obviously, the widespread restructuring and realignment of financial institutions will disrupt many long-standing firm-client relationships and will inevitably lead to more vigorous competition for work in the financial and capital markets sectors. The general economic slowdown will also adversely impact corporate and transactional practices at all levels for many months to come and may well result in increased resistance to billing rate increases for 2009.
and suggests immediate management actions and long term implications.
West’s Peer Monitor Index Q2 ’08 Executive Report provides market analysis:
Major markets saw billable hours shrink year-over-year, with New York City at -4.1%, London at -2.9%, Los Angeles at -2.9%, and Washington DC at -3.4%. All major markets experienced fee growth at least by 3%. Moving against the broader trend, regional markets like Houston, Dallas, Denver, Silicon Valley, and the Pacific Northwest experienced demand expansion, and good fee growth.
as well as a report on rates and collections, productivity, expenses, practice area perspective, an an outlook on the rest of 2008. A white paper provides additional information about the Peer Monitor product.
In addition to these reports, Paul Lippe’s insightful article Welcome to the Future: Law after the Boom, in the AmLaw Daily’a September 29th issue, discusses what he calls the financial services driven boom that law firms have enjoyed during the last 15 years and ideas to consider now that it is over. His follow-up article, Welcome to the Future: London Falling, provides additional insight into the current legal market. Look for more from Paul in future issues of the AmLaw Daily.
Do you have article or reports that you’ve found particularly helpful? I would love to hear from you.
~ Nina Platt