Bankruptcy Practice Leads Law Firms Out of Recession

law practice demand growthThe recession in the legal profession appears to have bottomed out, according to a new Hildebrandt Peer Monitor Report for the second quarter of 2009.

The bright spot is that demand growth, defined as growth in billable hours, for bankruptcy is up 22% compared to a year ago. Business bankruptcy filings increased from 14,319 nationwide in Q1 2009 to 16,014 in Q2, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

However, hours billed to litigation, patents, IP litigation, labor & employment, M&A, tax, corporate and real estate are all down.

"However, litigation appeared to be strengthening, especially for more premium matters. If this trend continues into the second half of the year, it will help mitigate – though not completely make up for – the shortfall in other practice areas,” the report states.  “Demand growth, should show signs of recovery in the second half of the year if the general economy continues to improve. However, any such improvement, if it occurs, will be modest at best.”

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