Law by the Numb#rs

Rough winter ahead, in terms of law firm growth


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Jeff Grossman, senior director for banking for Wells Fargo Private Bank’s Legal Specialty Group, describes the six-month figures on law firm growth as “anemic.” The bank surveyed more than 120 firms, with 60-plus Am Law 100 firms. The remainder are Am Law 200 and regional firms.

“We took a look at law firm budgets—revenue, hours and profitability— for 2013 and believe they were somewhat optimistic as compared to six-month actual results,” Grossman reports. “In part, most law firms failed to realize that the favorable results experienced in 2012 resulted from acceleration of activity and collections that would have otherwise occurred during first-quarter 2013 or later. Thus, with work scooped into 2012, 2013 year-to-date has proven to be a challenge.”

What does this mean for the final figures?

“Our view based on current demand levels, productivity and pipeline,” Grossman says, “is for a less than stellar 2013.”

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