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The Citi Report Estimates 2011 to be a “not bad” Year at 3.3 Percent Growth
The Citi Report on the financial growth of law firms in 2011 indicates about a 3.3 percent growth, which is so-so compared to the previously bountiful 2010 (7.4 percent) but better than 2009 and before.
The report is based on a sample of 178 firms (81 Am Law 100 firms, 47 Second Hundred firms, and 50 others) of the 600 U.S. and U.K. law firms and 35,000 individual lawyers Citi Private Bank works with. They saw two segments in 2011: the first six months showed an increase in demand, but the last six months showed a stark decrease. The 3.3 PPEP (profits per equity partner) does not seem that warming, but Citi sees it as the new norm for a while to come.
Rate increases grew faster than the previous two years, which is still beyond what we saw years ago, and they had a sense that realization was in decline.
Head count growth was marginal, mostly affecting Am Law 1-50 firms, but it was still faster than demand, lowering productivity to an average of 1,642 hours per lawyer, well below historical norms.
Overall, the growth was slow, but in the right direction, not bad, and a marker for what to expect in the immediate future.