Lateral moves, hiring spurts, and surging salaries. With everything we have been reading in the press as of late, one might be led to believe that the fortunes of the big law firms have been on the upswing. Is the news telling us the whole story, however? Looks can be deceiving and the media spin is certainly strong within the legal industry. The only way to truly be prepared is to plan ahead and be proactive when it comes to commitments and expenses.
Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor, which tracks the large law firm market, just released its Q2 2016 report. After nine straight quarters of an uptick in demand for large law firm services, demand dropped 0.9 percent. Productivity—defined as hours worked per attorney—also dropped 2.8 percent. Through all this, however, large and mid-sized firms kept hiring, so firm headcounts are up at a time when there’s just not work for that many employees. Finally, expenses have gotten, well, more expensive.