Archives: Law Firm Economics

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EY Expands Its Reach Even Further into the Legal Services Arena

In early April, Ernst & Young (EY) announced that it had acquired the legal outsourcing service provider Pangea3 from Thomson Reuters, increasing the intensity of the accounting giant’s assault on the legal services industry. Robert Ambrogi at Above the Law warns that the move “does not bode well for law firms.” Pangea3 was originally established … Continue Reading

Changes to State Bar Rules Could Mean Trouble For Big Law

Writing in Bloomberg Law, Sam Skolnik and Amanda Iacone report that recent initiatives to lower the costs of legal services in at least three western states may inadvertently make it easier for Big Four accounting firms to enter the U.S. legal marketplace. This could, in turn, present a major threat to Big Law. The proposed changes, which … Continue Reading

Big Four Continues Advance into Legal Space with World-Wide AI Legal Doc Review System

The Artificial Lawyer reports on another significant move by a Big Four accounting firm into legal territory with EY Law‘s installation of an AI document review system at its offices around the world. A February 9, 2019 post in The Artificial Lawyer states that “EY Law, which has over 2,000 lawyers across 81 jurisdictions, will … Continue Reading

QNBT: Extracting Real Value from Non-Billable Time

“Your billable time is your income; your non-billable time is your future.” – David Maister Non-billable time gets little respect* Many perceive non-billable time as something that can be conjured at will. Taking someone to dinner who may or may not be a qualified client prospect can be recorded as business development. Furthermore, that two-hour … Continue Reading

The Big Four and The Legal Industry: Who Should Be Afraid?

A recent instalment of the podcast series LegalSpeak addresses the question of whether or not recent forays into the legal arena by the accounting industry’s Big Four actually comprise a significant threat to U.S. law firms. Nicholas Bruch, principal analyst at ALM Legal Intelligence, who has been looking into this issue deeply for at least two … Continue Reading

Do or Die: Outside Law-Firm Rosters Shrink as Client Spending Grows

Lest any of us get too comfortable in our swivel chairs, a new report from Michael B. Rynowecer, president of the BTI Consulting Group, indicates that in 2018 – despite spending more on outside legal counsel than ever before – clients are using fewer outside firms than ever. In a September issue of The Mad Clientist … Continue Reading

U.S. Law Firms Mark Best First-Half Revenue Growth in Ten Years

Citi Private Bank reports in The American Lawyer that the first half of 2018 was better financially, in particular for small- and large-sized law firms, than was the first half of 2017. In fact, overall revenue growth across the industry in the U.S. contributed to the strongest first half since 2007. Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm … Continue Reading

EY, Proving Itself to Be a Leading Disruptor of Legal Services, Acquires and Expands Riverview Law Globally

Following the acquisition of Riverview Law by EY, a new entity named EY Riverview will expand the accountancy firm’s legal-services reach into the global marketplace. Riverview Law’s growth could lead to an increase in staff from its current 120 to as many as 3,000, to be located at offices around the world. In case you … Continue Reading

U.S. Law Invaded by Big Four

I believe that the greatest threat to the legal profession is the incursion by the Big Four accounting firms. The writing is indelibly on the wall. And yet most American law firms are complacent. They believe that U.S. regulations make them untouchable. Not so fast. An article published yesterday by The American Lawyer reports that “The British arm … Continue Reading

Study Correlates Fixed Fees with an Entrepreneurial Approach to Practice

A 2016 study by LexisNexis, reviewed by Neil Rose in an article in the UK online publication Legal Futures, found that small firms (fewer than 20 fee-earners) that offered fixed-fee billing to clients were frequently ones that could be described as “entrepreneurial” for other reasons. In contrast to firms of comparable size they were, for example, … Continue Reading

PwC’s U.S.-based Law Firm to Advise on International Matters

Accounting Today reports that accounting giant PwC is about to open a law firm in the U.S. The article, compiled from various sources by Daniel Hood, points out that this constitutes a significant new development in what many see as an increasing encroachment by accounting firms into the legal services marketplace. The firm, to be called ILC Legal, will operate independently … Continue Reading

Microsoft’s Lawyers Told to Swap Billable Hours for Alternative Fee Strategies

According to an article on Quartz, Microsoft will require all of the law firms with which it works to move to a retainer or other billing approach for most legal matters, rather than billing by the hour, within two years. As the article points out, the billable hour may be traditional and standard procedure for … Continue Reading

Linklaters to Measure Teams Rather than Individuals: Exciting Model for Our Time

In a post at Legal Business, Matthew Field reports that Linklaters is about to “phase out individual partner metrics and annual assessments to focus on broader measures of team and firm performance.” The new performance-assessment strategy will focus on such areas as “client winning, business development, training and innovation,” Field says. Based in London, Linklaters … Continue Reading

New Software Interprets Commercial Loan Agreements in Seconds

Bloomberg Markets reports that new software from JPMorgan Chase & Company has reduced the amount of time that lawyers and loan officers need to invest in interpreting loan contracts from tens of thousands of hours to mere seconds. Bloomberg writer Hugh Son points out that the COIN (COntract INtelligence) initiative is just one of many currently in development that … Continue Reading

BTI Survey Shows Dramatic Growth for AFAs

A survey conducted by BTI Consulting Group in mid-2015 shows that alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) are experiencing a massive growth in popularity, particularly among larger clients. A report on the survey in BTI’s blog, The Mad Clientist, indicates that in 2015, AFAs accounted for $23.1 billion in outside counsel spending in the U.S. – up 8.2 billion over 2013. “AFAs … Continue Reading

Report warns that traditionally structured law firms could fall behind within a decade

A February 2016 “Insight Report” from Deloitte takes a close look at the future of the practice of law in the UK, and urges firms to make plans immediately to prepare for changes that are likely to upend the entire profession within a decade. “Indeed, by around 2020,” says the report, “we expect a tipping point for firms which will impact … Continue Reading

Deloitte Purchases Conduit Law

The Canadian law community woke up this week to the news that Conduit Law – a company that Canadian Lawyer describes as a “disrupter of traditional legal services on Bay Street – has been purchased by Deloitte, the professional services firm that offers audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services to clients. Deloitte’s press release on Marketwired says, “The newly formed Deloitte Conduit … Continue Reading

Will greed spell doom for the world’s largest law firms?

Legal-issues writer Elizabeth Olson tackled the subject of the legal profession’s generational divide in “Graying Firms Wrestle with Making Room for Younger Lawyers,” an article recently published in the New York Times. “If any discipline is a window into the debate about balancing short-term profits over long-term survival,” Olson wrote, “it is the legal profession, one of … Continue Reading

December, 2015 issue of Edge International Communiqué now available online

I am pleased to draw the attention of readers of this blog to the most recent issue of Edge International Communiqué (EIC). The issue features articles by two of my colleagues at Edge International, as well as one that I wrote. Nick Jarrett-Kerr offers advice on choosing effective law-firm leadership teams, and Mike White discusses some “closing” strategies that … Continue Reading

Why It May Be Better to Get Rid of Extra Space Than to Fill It

Like the thousands of readers around the world who subscribe to his monthly newsletter Legal Trends, I am always impressed with the wisdom of Ed Wesemann, one of my partners at Edge International and co-owner of Legal Resource Group LLC. “Better Than Weeds,” his recent blog post on the subject of unused office space in … Continue Reading

2015 Edge International Global Partner Compensation System Survey

Edge International is pleased to announce the release of its 2015 Global Partner Compensation System Survey, authored by Edge International partners Ed Wesemann and Nick Jarrett-Kerr. This is the fourth triennial survey that we have conducted (the first was published in 2006) with a view to gaining an understanding of differences in firms’ approaches to … Continue Reading

Alternative Fees For Litigators: Timely and Practical Advice

I am delighted to recommend to you a new book by my esteemed colleague and friend, Patrick J. Lamb. Alternative Fees for Litigators and their Clients is published by the Law Practice Division of the American Bar Association. Most law firms today are wrangling with issues related to alternative fee structures. Whether we want to … Continue Reading
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