A few highlights from The American Lawyer’s just-released annual law firm leaders survey:

  • Five years in to the Great Reset, the way clients buy legal services has settled into a new normal:
    • In-house capabilities are expanding;
    • Price/fee pressure is relentless;
    • Work is being pushed to cheaper suppliers (which, yes, includes LPO’s, but also most definitely includes boutiques, and smaller and regional firms with kinder and gentler cost structures);
    • And the battle for market share is on.
  • We as an industry are running out of running room on cost-cutting our way to profitability.
    • As Cooley’s CEO Joe Conroy says, “We’ve played this game as an industry for a number of years where we’ve gotten leaner and meaner, but there’s a limit on stripping our costs and lowering rates.”[Here’s where you really have to start paying attention]
  • Four out of five expect the economic “recovery” in the US to remain on the same pace in 2014 or—get this—slow down, while 70% believe the same for EuropeLawFirmLeadersSurvey
    • I have a question for the 30% who think European growth will speed up: Please explain to me how a 28-member bloc of countries (17 of whom have adopted the euro) can have a single currency without political, socioeconomic, or central banking harmonization. So far it’s not working. And Latvia’s knocking on the door.
    • Maybe this would be easier: Explain why this chart makes you more optimistic about the Eurozone than the US:

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