Law Firms Are Cautiously Optimistic for 2016

More than 100 Am Law 200 firms took part in The American Lawyer's 13th Annual Law Firm Leaders Survey. The results show a cautious optimism for 2016. Some key results:

  • 13% were "very" optimistic, with another 68% being "somewhat" optimistic
  • 68% expected continued economic growth at current rates
  • Only 10% expected profits per partner to grow more than 5% in 2016
  • 94% expected billing rates to go up by 5% or less
  • Most are expecting to ask some equity partners to leave the firm, while also asking remaining partners to contribute more capital to reduce firm debt
  • 36% expected corporate groups to have the most increased revenue, followed by IP (21%), litigation (18%), and real estate (16%)
  • 40% expected bankruptcy and restructuring groups to have the most financial challenges in 2016
  • 96% expected no law firm associate layoffs 
  • Most expected some modest growth in lawyer hiring, with lateral partners seeming to be the attorneys of choice