First Quarter Results Show Demand For Private Sector Legal Services Remains Flat

Demand for large law firm legal services was largely flat for the first quarter of 2013, according to a recently released report by Thomson Reuters.  Its quarterly Peer Monitor Index Report contains information about key law firm business metrics.    

We’ve regularly blogged about the Peer Monitor system before, but to refresh you , it is 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).  Data from Am Law 100 firms, Am Law 200 firms, and mid-sized firms are included in the system. You can find more information about the Peer Monitor system here.

Litigation was down by 3.7%.   IP litigation was off by a greater amount — 6.8%.   The demand for Labor and employment services fell 0.4%.   Corporate work was down 4.4%.  Real estate was off 1.8%.  Tax work fell 5.9% and bankruptcy dropped 9%.
Attorney headcount grew 1.3% in the first quarter and the attorney replenishment ratio was 1.3.   This suggests that firms are adding new attorneys, but at a very slow rate (slower, in fact, than it had been over much of the last two years.
Firm prospects will improve as the economy improves, but no one is predicting anything other than continued modest economic growth.