Law by the Numb#rs

2013 surveys foresee future doldrums in legal spending


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Two reports from early autumn may have brought on the chills for the legal profession.

Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group polled law firm leaders, finding a drop in expectations for 2013 profits and revenue. According to the poll of 72 firms, 39 percent of respondents expected 2013 profits to decrease or remain flat, 42 percent predicted growth of less than 5 percent, and 19 percent estimated 5 to 10 percent growth.

And looking farther ahead didn’t add much sunshine to the forecast.

When the BTI Consulting Group interviewed 300 corporate legal decision-makers, including general counsel and chief litigation officers, for its BTI Litigation Outlook 2014, it found legal departments expect nearly flat growth in legal spending, even as they foresee a doubling of litigation matters for the coming year.

How can clients keep those expenses down? According to Michael Rynowecer, president of BTI, there is now more widespread use of early case assessment, alternative staffing arrangements, alternative fee structures and settlements in corporate legal departments.

■ Data excerpts from BTI Litigation Outlook 2014 and Citi Private Bank’s Law Watch Managing Partner Confidence Index.

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