Confidence dips at US law firms

May 24, 2013 Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group has published its Law Watch Managing Partner Confidence Index, a quarterly survey of managing partners’ confidence. The report indicates a dip in the confidence of law firm leaders, as demand remains slightly sluggish.

The survey scored overall confidence from participating law firm leaders at an average of 113, two points down from the previous report in the last quarter of 2012. But the change is marginal, in light of the fact that 47 percent of respondents said their overall confidence remained unchanged since the last survey, while 33 percent said they felt “somewhat better.” Respondents feeling “somewhat worse” represented 14 percent of the group, while 2 percent said they felt “considerably worse” and 4 percent felt “considerably better.”

The survey does point to the fact that law firms aren’t recovering at the same pace as the rest of the economy. Across the industry demand for legal services and revenue expectations are declining, as costs continue to rise. This might be explained by the fact that a lot of the work traditionally done by law firms is being handled by non-lawyers, and clients continue to exert downward pressure on billings.

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