A new survey of U.S. law firms found that during the first half of this year law firms based in Washington D.C. lagged against the national average in important measures like revenue, demand, productivity and billable hours. This data was taken from Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group, who “surveyed 172 law firms nationwide, including 12 Washington based firms,” according to the Washington Post.
The data isn’t a full picture, but rather a small snapshot of the “local legal market,” specifically having surveyed firms that have headquarters in D.C. The survey represents the industry fairly by including large, mid-size and small firms across its survey. The findings are interesting and significant if not controversial as they seem contrarian to the conventional wisdom that ”Washington firms, with their proximity to the constant churn of government-related work,” have been recession proof, as their region is fed by government bodies and contracts, while other regions are “more susceptible to market downturns.”
The numbers speak for themselves. D.C. based firms fared poorly compared to the nation’s average firms. For example, for the law firms based in D.C: revenue dropped 2.4 percent, demand for legal services dropped by 2.5 percent, productivity declined by 4 percent. Expenses also rose for the nation as well as for D.C headquartered law firms. The survey ultimately indicates that moving forward, the following quarters for D.C. law firms look challenging.