Business of Law

Despite years of slow demand for legal services, survey says BigLaw profits will rise 5% in 2014

Few expect a blockbuster year for BigLaw in 2014. But considering both that law firms and their clients are still recovering from the downward dive the economy took in 2008 and a lack of “seismic shocks to the legal industry” last year, the prospect of 5 percent growth in profits in 2014 is good news.

That’s what Citi Private Bank and Hildebrandt Consulting are predicting, based on the results of a survey of 57 large law firms. In a client advisory (PDF) released Monday, they say the survey points to a strengthening global economy—one reason for cautious optimism, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports.

“It’s a new day, and a new set of dynamics … has emerged,” chairman Dan DiPietro of the private bank’s law firm group, told Law Blog. “But we think leadership continues to evolve in their thinking and some firms at least are now getting out ahead of being in a reactive mode—saying let’s use this to our advantage, let’s go to our clients, figure out how to make this a win-win.”

One measure law firms should consider, Citi suggests, is putting client feedback programs in place to ensure that their attorneys are taking advantage of all opportunities for business growth.

“Understanding that it’s very much a buyers market, what have firms been doing to get closer to their clients?” said law firm group director and senior client adviser Gretta Rusanow. “Have you tapped into all the existing opportunities?”

See also: “2013 surveys foresee future doldrums in legal spending”

Wall Street Journal Law Blog: “Law 2014: Law Firms Grapple with a Transformed Marketplace”

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