Study says Biglaw profits look “grim” for 2012

Second half of the year expected to be worse than the first

Law firms are hitting hard times … still. According to a recent survey by Wells Fargo’s law firm lending group, the struggles Biglaw has seen the past few years are far from over.

In July, Wells Fargo’s Legal Specialty Group surveyed 115 firms to measure their performance in the first half of 2012. And according to Jeff Grossman, the group’s national managing director, the results were not good, and he expects them to get worse. “We think the second half of the year is going to be softer than the first half,” he told the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. “You tend to see transaction work slow down during an election year.”

According to the report, law firm revenue growth between January and June was lower than their costs. While revenues grew at about a pace of 3 percent, costs were up by 6.5 percent.

The report also said firms that are doing OK generally are those that are pulling in around $2 million per partner or more. Grossman attributes that mostly to their abilities to keep costs down.

“Because the market is very soft, the firms below the $2 million profits per partner mark got hit hard in terms of revenue,” Grossman told the Law Blog.

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Also, check out InsideCounsel’s ongoing coverage of Dewey & Leboeuf, including a timeline of Dewey’s downfall.

 

Contributing Author

Cathleen Flahardy

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