I have not posted any updates for a little bit, but it is only a temporary hiatus. I am taking a good look at where this blog will be going soon–there are big changes in store over the next few months.
That’s the good news.
But I don’t want to leave you high and dry. Sadly, that is where the “No Good News” part comes in. The Citi Private Bank, which digs into law firm numbers to look at important revenue trends, has a dismal forecast (subscription required) in the Am Law Daily. In a nutshell, billable hours are at historic lows, demand is dropping (especially at the largest firms), and pressure to discount is increasing so much that realization–the firm actually getting paid by clients–is dropping again.
There is little question that firms will weather these shifts, but the pressures all point to a change of some sort.
And chances are very high that those changes will occur at the associate level, not the equity partner level. Demand for greater productivity (yes, even more hours), a compensation decrease, less work for younger associates (because clients won’t pay for it), or even more layoffs–they’re all on the table.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I hope to have more resources up and running for you guys soon, though. I am working on a questionnaire to help figure out your answer to the most salient question to ask in the face of numbers like this: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
Regardless of what the answer is, I will have support for you, suggestions for how to make it work. I know what it’s like to face a decision like that and have staggering amounts of debt, because I’ve been there.
If you have ideas of what you’d like to see, please leave them in the comments. What do you need most to help you weather this market?