Down times in 2009

March 8, 2010
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Was 2009 really the worst year for the legal market in the past 50 years? Apparently so, according to a report released earlier this month analyzing the legal market last year and trends expected for this year.

Hildebrandt Baker Robbins consulting firm and Citi Private Bank claim last year was really bad – so bad that most attorneys practicing now are too young to remember a worse time.

Demand for legal services declined at a faster pace in 2009 than in 2007 and 2008, outside counsel spending dropped, billing and collection realization rates fell, and many in the legal community lost their jobs. More than 5,000 attorneys lost their jobs last year with the top 250 law firms in the country; thousands more attorneys, paralegals, and other legal professionals lost jobs. I’d say last year was pretty bad.

Looking ahead to 2010, the report may see a glimmer of hope for recovery, but nothing to get excited about. Although fewer legal workers have lost their jobs recently, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will still be cost-cutting measures, which could include jobs. In trouble could be partners, whose numbers grew during the downturn. Chances are profits per equity partner will be flat or up slightly, but it’s dependent on location, practice, clients, etc.

The report also emphasizes the impact rate increases during 2001 through 2007 had on the growth of law firms and the legal market. Firms often increased rates 6 to 8 percent each year, but now clients are pushing back. This push back is likely to stick around for a while. The report encourages firms to implement new models for pricing legal services, as well as recruiting and retaining attorneys, and partnering with other service providers.

It’s a “buyers market” right now. Have you seen any changes in your firm to respond to any of the issues addressed in the report?
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  1. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

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