Revenues Up at Larger Law Firms

Large firms saw increases in 2012 while small firms struggled.

The Survey of Law Firm Economics, a joint project of The National Law Journal and ALM Legal Intelligence, shows that at law firms with more than 150 attorneys, revenue per lawyer (RPL) rose by 8.5 percent last year. But at law firms on the other end of the spectrum — those with one to nine attorneys — revenue plunged by 8.1 percent.

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Originally appeared in print as The Size Advantage

What's being said

  • Marcie Borgal Shunk

    Why continue to assess and compare financial health using only part of the equation? While revenue is a great barometer for growth and *can* offer insight into market dynamics, it only paints a piece of the picture. Insights into profits, price pressure - or better yet, how the market itself is changing - are far superior. This 1.1.% growth, on average, sure isn't in keeping with client spending - which means a small group of firms are outperforming the rest and dollars are going elsewhere. The perfect set-up for industry consolidation and dramatic change.

  • freesamuel

    Could someone please forward this article to the New Republic?

  • Joe Altonji, LawVision Group LLC

    While these results do show some good news for larger firms, and as Peter notes, some tolerance for rate increases, the data included suggests that actual demand for lawyer services continues to stagnate at best, or decline. A 1.1% increase in fees, combined with even a 2% average increase in achieved rates, suggests a decline in the actual amount of work paid for by clients. This reflects a continued efficiency push, increasing use of alternative providers and options, and continued caution regarding undertaking legal projects. The business of laws continues to evolve and demands for efficiency will continue.

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