The results of the 2008 survey were published yesterday, and there are some surprises given what’s been in the news. First, 38% responded that they are “optimistic” about 2009. Second, 72% expect their firm headcount to increase over the next year. And third, 58% expect their 2009 first-year associate class to be the same as 2008 or larger.
However it wasn’t all good news, with associate retention still an issue.
How much of a problem is associate retention for your firm?
A major problem 7%
A minor problem 46%
Not a problem 46%
Additionally, most clients are showing continued cost-sensitivity to law firm billings.
What changes are you currently seeing in client behavior regarding billing?
More clients are requesting discounts 75%
Clients are paying bills later 65%
Clients are requesting deeper discounts 51%
Multiple responses were allowed.
There have been so many changes to the practice of law over the past five years, with the ubiquitous nature of the Internet being one of the most important. It looks like these changes could have a major impact on law firms in 2009.
Some high-profile general counsel have suggested that due to the advent of new technology and increased commoditization of legal services, many, if not most, Am Law 200 firms will have to change their business and billing practices. Do you agree?