As law firm billing rates are rapidly increasing overall, a new study shows that firms that raised their rates more slowly are starting to see better revenue growth. According to the report, released by Thomson Reuters’ Peer Monitor, law firms that increased their billing rates at a more gradual pace are experiencing an increase in demand from their clients. Although the demand for legal services overall is down, the study shows that some firms are getting a much higher volume of work than others. “Firms that are willing to take less of a rate increase seem to be doing better with demand,” said Leonard Lee, an analyst at Peer Monitor.
In the first half of 2015, Am Law 100 firms saw a drop in demand by 0.2 percent, similar to Am Law Second Hundred firms, which saw a decrease of 0.4 percent. However, mid-sized firms that benefitted from a softer increase of billing rates saw a 1.6 percent increase in demand overall. The report warned its readers that this is not a proven method to increase revenue, and there may be other factors to consider. “Over the last few years, a lot of work seems to be moving down market,” Lee said. He explained that the study gives averages and every firm is different, but the data shows a definite correlation between rate increases and revenue.
Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.
Mega-firm Reed Smith had a rough year in 2015, The American Lawyer reports–a year that perhaps led to the highly publicized 45-lawyer layoff in January 2016. According to their annual Am Law 100 report, gross revenue fell 2.5 percent, revenue per lawyer went down by 1.4 percent, and profits per partner declined an alarming 8.3 percent.
However, global managing partner Sandy Thomas called the results “solid,” and told press that the layoffs were simply an “efficiency measure,” although he also referred to the slumping commodities market, noting that “we are not immune,” (as quoted in The American Lawyer).