What Law Firm Q1 2009 Numbers Reveal

Great article in Thursday’s Recorder (sorry to be only catching up to it now) about trends in the demand for legal services.

Comparing the first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2008, it appears the demand for legal services dropped much more in NY and LA (9.5% and 8% respectively) than it did in SF  (which, granted is a much, much smaller legal market to begin with), which saw only a 1% fall.

Looking at practice areas nationally, the article reports that bankruptcy, not surprisingly, is up (13%) (though my understanding is that there isn’t that much bankruptcy work in SF –relative to NY and LA).  Also, litigation remains flat on a nationwide basis.  Everything else, according to the article, is “down significantly.”  

These numbers come from the Peer Monitor system, a service that allows law firms to access their peers’ financial data (in the aggregate) in exchange for supplying their own data to the system for others to access (on a normalized and aggregated basis).  The article reports that there are 35 Am Law 100 firms, 35 Am Law 200 firms and 30 NLJ 250 firms in the system.