West, a Thomson Reuters business released the 3rd Quarter PeerMonitor Index in recent days. The market analysis shows a decline from last quarter, stating:
Billable hours experienced a -5% contraction through August. But September hours rebounded, finishing the entire quarter down by only -2.5%. Productivity remained weak at -4.5% as adjustments to headcount lagged market conditions. Rates again were strong, and all told, fees grew at 5.5% compared to 10.5% a year ago. Direct expense growth slowed to 8% compared to over 9% a year ago. Overhead was 6%.
In addition to the index being made available, West developed a Podcast that provides a summary of what the Index tells us.
One interesting trend it reports on is the fact that the AmLaw 100 firms are experiencing more of an effect from the current downtrend than the AmLaw 200 are experiencing.
Here at Strategic Librarian we’ve done a poll on library budgets (see 2009 Budget – Do You Get to Increase or Decrease?). While certainly not scientific especially with so few responses, the responses do seem to indicate that the east coast has experienced more in ways of cutbacks in budget for 2009 than those firms in the middle of the country. If you haven’t participated in the poll, please check it out and respond. Click here for the results to date.