According to the Hildebrandt International Peer Monitor Index, demand for legal services dropped by more than 8% compared to Q1 2008, dropping sharply in January and February but flattening in March.
In New York demand for legal work fell 9.5%; and in Washington DC and London, law work fell over 12%.
Normally, law firm billing rates grow by about 7% a year. But in the last year, rates grew by less than 3%.
The study also suggests that attorney productivity, measured by billable hours, was down overall by 11.5%.
Unsurprisingly, the “good” news was in bankruptcy, where work is up 13% since Q1 2008.
Hildebrandt, part of Thomson Reuters, does merger consulting, with more than 50 consultants located in the United States and in London.