There are signs that not only has the sector not recovered from the crash of 2007. In addition, it may be entering a double dip. This could be happening even though there are indications of an economic recovery in other lines of business. For example, in my field of communications, those looking for full-time jobs and for assignments as business owners or contract workers have found them.
Citi Private Bank's Law Firm Group has released a disconcerting Midyear report. Here is a summary of that. In a nutshell, revenue growth for Q2 - 2.7% - is still low, but a bit higher than it was for Q1. The problem is that expenses are growing faster than revenue. For the first half of 2012, they increased 4.1% over the comparable period in 2011. That rise was a little slower than it had been in Q1 but still too high for law firms to absorb.
Obviously, the sector has not developed and implemented a business model which aligns with post-2007 realities. Among the game-changers recommended have been project management, more efficiencies achieved through technology, alternate billing arrangements, and traditional manpower overhauls of hiring so many highly paid associates.
Pain, it is said in spiritual circles, is a gift. It forces the suffering to pay attention to what is. This mindset might finally be adopted in professional services such as law.