TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Rise of 'Large Enough' Law Firms

Following up on yesterday's post, WSJ: Smaller Law Firms Grab Bigger Slice of Corporate Legal Work:  LexisNexis, The Rise of "Large Enough" Law Firms:

“Large Enough” law firms are eating into market share of the “Largest 50.”
Among firms with 201-500 lawyers, referred to as “Large Enough” firms in this report, the share of U.S. legal fees paid by clients has grown from 18% three years ago (July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010) to 22% in the trailing 12 months that ended June 30, 2013. Simultaneously, the share of U.S. legal fees paid by clients to firms with more than 750 lawyers, the “Largest 50,” has gone in the opposite direction – dropping from 26% to 20% over the same period.


Even more dramatic shift in higher fee legal work.
The shift in legal work from the “Largest 50” firms (> 750 lawyers) to the “Large Enough” (201-500 lawyers) category is far more dramatic when examining specific categories of matters. “Large Enough” firms have almost doubled the share of high fee litigation matters – those matters generating outside counsel fees totaling $1 million or more (High Fee Work). “Large Enough” firms grew their portion of U.S. High Fee Work from 22% three years ago to 41% in the trailing 12 months.


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What is truly large enough? Large enough is being able to manage all of your offices without gutting one to support the other in growth. Large enough should embody hiring from your summer associates and growing and molding attorneys to your firm's culture instead of cobbling a group of attorneys from other firms who cannot pull together as a team because they're too busy trying to avoid conflicts with their rolodexes. Big enough is when you can bring in revenue to support a larger operation and take on a good amount of work without killing the staff in the process. Large enough is acknowledging and forwarding the mission of your firm to serve your clients well without gouging them with fees and expenses that tend to be the hallmark of a mega-firm.

Posted by: LAB | Oct 24, 2013 8:04:44 AM