The growing confidence observed across the US legal industry, including optimism from corporate counsel, at year’s end seems to be continuing. That’s according to the latest Quarterly Flash issued by Citi Private Bank which examined the full year for 2014.
According to an executive summary we were sent by email: Law firm revenue grew, profits widened, productivity increased and demand for legal services rose. The survey gathered responses from 149 law firms, including 125 firms spread across the Am Law 100 and Am Law 200 – and also 54 outside those rankings.
“Firms across the board are doing better,” said John Wilmouth, a senior client advisor with the bank, as reported by Ashby Jones in the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog. “Last year was mostly a good one.”
This was especially true for the largest global law firms, according to the Citi Private Bank report. The WSJ Law Blog – Better Times for Law Firms, With More on the Horizon, Says Report – assessed that finding this way:
According to Mr. Wilmouth, the biggest of the big — the so-called AmLaw 50 — had the best year. In 2014, the profits-per-equity-partner for these firms were up 7.2% over the 2013 numbers. The figure had risen 5.6% from 2012-2013.
The rest of the industry seemed to “narrow the gap” a bit, according to Mr. Wilmouth. The second 50 largest firms experienced a 3.6% growth in profits-per-equity-partner, as compared to 2.3% in 2013. And the second 100 firms had “PEP” growth of 4.1%, as compared to a 1.4% dip in 2013.
Firms with strong transactional practices tended to outpace the rest, according to Mr. Wilmouth. “It was a very strong year for M&A,” he said.
Industry leaders at the recent annual Blogger’s Breakfast hosted at the LegalTech conference earlier this month in New York also noted the market is improving, but cautioned, “it won’t return to pre-2008 levels. As an industry, the legal community needs to do a better job of embracing technology or face the risk of substitutes and new entrants.”
- ABA Journal: Law firm partner profits rose in 2014
- Crain’s Chicago Business: The recovery reaches Chicago’s law firm
- Pittsburg Post Gazette: Pa. firms fall behind in 2014 financial performance
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