Business Development in a Recovering Economy

Legal Profession Enters a RecoveryAt last there is good news: The legal profession has entered a recovering economy. The grinding downturn that brought layoffs of 5,259 lawyers – 4.3 percent of the lawyer workforce nationwide, according to the Nov. 9, 2009 National Law Journal – is ending. Four separate research studies support this conclusion:

  • The 2010 Client Advisory by Hildebrandt Baker Robbins. The legal market finally “bottomed out” at the end of 2009.
  • The Law Firm Group at Citi Private Bank. “We believe the worst is over,” said Dan DiPietro, advisory head of Citi, an arm of Citigroup.
  • The BTI Consulting Group in its “Premium Practices Forecast 2010.” It predicts corporate legal spending by large companies will grow nearly 5 percent.
  • The February 2010 Robert Half Legal survey of 300 attorneys from among the largest law firms and corporations.

But there’s a catch. Relations between lawyers and business clients have changed permanently. The research studies cited above agree that law practice will not go back to pre-recession business as usual. Some of the changes include the following: ...

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G. Anon - April 16, 2010 1:30 PM

Posted on April 19, 2008 by Larry Bodine
Beginning of the end of the recession

I believe we are at the bottom of the economic downturn that I first spotted last August, Get Ready for the Coming Recession. I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and better economic times for law firms are approaching. Here's the evidence:

* Real estate lawyers are adapting -- learning to handle workout transactions, taking on foreclosure work, tax appeals, commercial transactions and zoning work; holding "fix my credit" seminars for first-time home buyers, and targeting real estate investors and foreclosure specialists as clients. NB: I'll be speaking on "Innovative Marketing Strategies for Real Estate Lawyers" sponsored by Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund on May 20 in suburban Chicago.
* Law firms shut down spending and cut costs sharply during the first quarter. This ended on April 1, when the second quarter began, and law firms are beginning to spend money on marketing gain. I've seen this among my own law firm clients.
* Google reported that its earnings of rose 30%, which was better than stock analysts expected. This is important in two ways -- first it shows that despite the real estate marketing, other parts of the economy are doing great. Second it gives clients a sense of optimism, which is a key element in ending the recession. See Earnings Optimism Boosts Stocks
* Some Wall Street bosses now profess to see light at the end of the tunnel, and they may be right. “The worst is behind us,” Richard Fuld, Lehman’s chief executive, told the New York Times. See Worst May Be Over. Still, It’s Not Pretty
* Investors Intelligence editor Michael Burke says that the stock marketing is bottoming. This will cause clients to make investments, because nobody wants to miss the buying opportunity. "We could be moving pretty much to the upside starting in July or so," he predicted.
* Marvin Appel, editor of Systems & Forecasts, a biweekly investment newsletter said, "My general market outlook is that the worst is over," Appel said. "Not that the consumer is doing great, but the bad news is out." Consumer discretionary spending, which had dropped sharply, typically is the first to fall heading into recession,but it also rebounds earlier than other market sectors.

So I think we're at the bottom of the recession now. There's only one way to go from here -- up.

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