Georgetown Law and Peer Monitor Release 2014 Report on the State of the Legal Market

January 2, 2014 —

Is bigger always better? As major law firms continue to fixate on expansion as a strategy for success, the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center and Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor explore this and other key questions in their 2014 Report on the State of the Legal Market. Their conclusion: staying competitive in today's market requires much more than simply growing headcount.

“Law firms need to think more carefully and systematically about what is necessary to build sustainable organizations over the long term," said Georgetown Law Professor Mitt Regan, co-director of the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession. "That means giving serious thought both to how they provide services to clients and how they can provide opportunities for lawyers that elicit commitment and afford professional satisfaction.”

Though 2013 was a record year for law firm mergers and the pace of lateral acquisitions remained strong, the extensive research conducted for the 2014 Report shows that growth, especially rapid growth, often leads to serious problems for firm leaders. Not only that, a comparison of the number of lawyers in AmLaw 200 firms with the profits per partner of those firms reveals there is no correlation between size and profitability. 

The 2014 Report also examines areas of focus that may be far more relevant to the success of law firms than their size. With clients increasingly concerned with efficiency, predictability, and cost effectiveness — and less concerned with a firm's brand or prestige — researchers conclude that firms must rethink and revise the basic organizational, pricing, and service delivery models that have dominated the market for decades. Though such innovations are imperative to remaining competitive in today's legal market, researchers found that few firms have made meaningful changes to the traditional models. 

Georgetown Law's Center for the Study of the Legal Profession conducts research into trends and developments in law practice, and provides education on leadership and the legal profession to both students and practicing lawyers. Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor is a benchmarking program that provides any-time access to critical firm assessment information and allows comparison against selected peers, with details for practice performance.

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