'The tide is out' on the legal services market

January 22, 2013 Law firms "can no longer rely on a rising tide that lifts all boats," according to a new client advisory from Citi Private Bank's Law Firm Group and Hildebrandt Consulting. "In fact, the tide is out."

The report found that demand for legal services dropped by an average of 0.4 percent between 2008 and 2012, compared to an average 3.7 percent increase per annum between 2004 and 2008. Billing rates are still rising, though at a much slower rate than before the global financial crisis, and average revenue has a growth rate of just 0.8 per cent, comparing unfavourable with the growth of 9.8 percent ibetween 2004 and 2008.

In this climate, price pressure from clients looks set to stay, and firms will need to find specialist areas of expertise in order to survive the trend of moving work in-house, or will need to find a way to provide basic legal services at competitive rates to attract cost-savvy clients.

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