Since 2009, Altman Weil, Inc. has conducted its Law Firms in Transition Survey that measures the impact of the economy on the legal profession, tracks trends, and summarizes what profession leaders believe will impact the profession in the future. Issues initially brought to light as emerging trends in 2009 are now considered permanent changes in 2012: almost all law firm leaders who participated in the survey believe that the profession will continuously face price competition from present into the future; the majority of survey participants also believe commoditized legal work and non-hourly billing are permanent fixtures in the profession. What a difference a few years make!
Efficiency is also now regarded as a permanent trend, with 96% of respondents recognizing that efficiency in legal services delivery must improve – clients will continue to demand greater transparency and greater value. As mentioned in the survey, “Trends that showed clear momentum in interim years have become deeply entrenched in 2012.”
This year’s survey polled Managing Partners and Chairs at 792 US law firms with 50 or more lawyers. Completed surveys were received from 238 firms, including 40% of the 250 largest US law firms. The full survey includes sections on economic performance and billing rates, alternative fee arrangements, law firm demographics, hiring trends, outsourcing trends, client relationships and the future of the profession.
Access the full survey here.