2015 Report on the State of the Legal Market – It Ain’t Pretty.

The Managing Partner Forum has just released its 2015 Report on the State of the Legal Market. And it’s not pretty. The most salient quotes:

“In the six and a half years since the onset  of the Great Recession, the market for legal services has changed in fundamental – and probably irreversible – ways …the legal market is now awash with new, non-traditional competitors that over time are likely to change the dynamics of the legal services sector in significant ways.”

“The regulatory barriers that for decades have shielded law firms from such competition are collapsing around the world and, even in countries like the United States where formal regulatory constraints remain largely in place, creative “workarounds” are proliferating. Clearly, a much more vibrant and competitive marketplace is emerging.”

“…There is now strong evidence that the U.S. legal market has segmented into discernible categories of highly successful and less successful firms, and that the performance gaps between those categories has been steadily widening.”

The shifting dynamics of the legal services market underscore the critical importance of law firms taking a strategic and long-range view of how their clients, their practices, their markets, and their competitors are changing. . . The resistance to change may also be rooted, ironically, in the very success that the legal industry enjoyed prior to 2008 and, by at least some measures, continues to enjoy today. We may, in other words, be victims of our own success.”

And more…

“Since the collapse in demand in 2009 (when growth hit a negative 5.1% level), demand growth in the market has remained essentially flat to slightly negative.”

“Demand growth in litigation. . . remained negative, as it has been more or less since the recession in 2008.”

“It is increasingly clear that the buying habits of business clients have shifted in a couple of significant ways that have adversely impacted the demand for law firm services.”

“…the major accounting firms again appear to be aggressively pursuing opportunities in the legal sector as well.”

Read the full report HERE

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