Demand, rates picture improving, but gains are fragile
Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor has issued its Mid-Size Law Firm Report for the second quarter of 2014. The report finds that the market for mid-size law firm services may be showing some signs of stability and tentative improvement.
Overall demand for legal services from mid-size firms declined by 0.6 percent for the first seven months of 2014 compared with a year earlier. That decline was, however, considerably less than the decline of 2.7 percent seen for all of 2013.
While mid-size firms continue to lag behind their larger peers in the Am Law 200, average fees worked have also improved, rising 2.2 percent through the first seven months of the year. This is a marked turnaround from the 0.7 percent decline seen in calendar 2013.
Peer Monitor is the industry’s leading real-time benchmarking program for law firm performance. The Peer Monitor Economic Index Report (PMI) is the only composite index of law firm market performance using real-time data drawn from major law firms. The Mid-Size Law Firm Report examines the segment of the law firm market outside of the Am Law 200 with an average size of 143 lawyers. It is the only market analysis available that focuses specifically on mid-size law firms.
“The challenge for mid-size firms will be to capitalize on the positive momentum reflected in the improved demand and rates numbers seen in the first half of 2014,” said Mike Abbott, vice president, Client Management & Global Thought Leadership, Thomson Reuters. “Mid-size firms face unique challenges because of their relative lack of scale and greater reliance on litigation practices compared with their larger counterparts. At the same time, there are opportunities for mid-size firms to be more focused and nimble. We are seeing indications that leaders of many mid-size firms are bolstering key practices, investing in technology and looking at innovative ways to improve the efficiency of service delivery and be more pro-active in their client relationships in order to improve their business.”
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