Brief Legal Market Update

Legal business consultant, Altman Weil, just published the results of its 2016 Law Firms in Transition Survey. The Survey went out to 800 firms with 50 or more lawyers. They received 356 responses, including about 48% of the AmLaw 200 and 49% of the AmLaw 350.

Key findings:

  • Market demand for legal services has failed to return to pre-recession levels in over 60% of US law firms; and 62% of firm leaders believe that erosion of demand will be a permanent trend in the legal market.
  • Half of the respondents’ Equity Partners and over 60% of their Non-Equity Partners are not sufficiently busy, creating an ongoing drag on law firm profitability.
  • Corporate law department insourcing is taking work from 68% of law firms, including 84% of firms with 250 or more lawyers.
  • Although 94% of law firm leaders identified the need to improve the efficiency of legal service delivery as a permanent trend, only 43% of firms have significantly changed their approach to achieve greater efficiencies.
  • When asked why their firms aren’t doing more to change the way they deliver legal services, the top response from 64% of firm leaders is that their partners resist most change efforts.