Monday, November 24, 2014

Dewey B Strategic Chosen as One of The ABA Blawg 100 For the Third Year in a Row. Let the Voting Begin!

Congratulations to all of the ABA Blawg 100 nominees. I am especially happy for friends, colleagues and bloggers  who were named to the ABA Journal Blawg 100 Hall of Fame: Greg Lambert, Toby Brown, Lisa Salazar and Ryan McClead  at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog #3geeks. (The 4 geeks were honored despite the fact that they can't count. ;-))  and Bruce MacEwen of Adam Smith Esq  @adamsmithesq.  (I taught Bruce  everything he no longer needs to know about legal research, when he was an associate at Shea & Gould in NY. )

I would also like to thank Allen Pusey and the editors of the ABA Journal for taking the time to  focus on  these  labors of love, law and insomnia. Most of the legal bloggers I know have a "day job" and yet we write, often late into the night. I am honored to have my blog named to the 2014 Blawg 100.
 
You Can Vote Here: Now that the editors have made their picks, the ABA Journal is asking readers to weigh in and vote on their favorites in each of the 8th Annual Blawg 100’s 13 categories. Go to http://www.abajournal.com/blawg100 to register and vote. Voting ends at close of business on Dec. 19, 2014. 
__________________________________________

For Immediate Release: FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW, DEWEY B STRATEGIC WAS CHOSEN AS ONE OF THE ABA JOURNAL’S BLAWG 100 ( Washington DC Nov. 24, 2014) - Editors of the ABA Journal announced today they have selected Dewey B Strategic as one of the top 100 best blogs for a legal audience. The ABA Blawg 100 are selected from a field of over 4,000 law related blogs. Dewey B Strategic was voted the top "legal research and writing" blog in 2013 and is nominated in that category again.

In addition, the magazine has added 10 more bloggers to its Blawg 100 Hall of Fame, featuring the very best law blogs, known for their untiring ability to craft high-quality, engaging posts sometimes on a daily basis.

You Can Vote Here: Now that the editors have made their picks, the ABA Journal is asking readers to weigh in and vote on their favorites in each of the 8th Annual Blawg 100’s 13 categories. Go to http://www.abajournal.com/blawg100 to register and vote. Voting ends at close of business on Dec. 19, 2014. 

Dewey B Strategic  is nominated in the "Legal Research and Writing" Category.

Dewey B Strategic is authored by the  Jean P. O'Grady a lawyer/librarian/knowledge strategist based in Washington DC.

“No longer to be confused as a fad or the realm of the tech-savvy, law blogs are rooted in the legal media landscape,” ABA Journal Editor and Publisher Allen Pusey said. “While traditional media sources often break news, law blogs dive deeper to offer insight into what the news means for clients, the legal profession and the public. They are sometimes-irreverent watchdogs of the bench and bar. And the ones on our list are well-written and, more often than not, entertaining.”

When advised of the nomination O'Grady  responded "Who me? Irreverent?"
Seriously, I began this blog in 2011 because almost all of the legal bloggers covering legal research and legal information/technology issues were men.  I just thought it was time to stand up and add a little "diversity of style and perspective" to the baritone chorus of "legal bloggers."

About the ABA Journal:
The ABA Journal is the flagship magazine of the American Bar Association, and it is read by half of the nation’s 1.1 million lawyers every month. It covers the trends, people and finances of the legal profession from Wall Street to Main Street to Pennsylvania Avenue. ABAJournal.com features breaking legal news updated as it happens by staff reporters throughout every business day, a directory of more than 4,000 lawyer blogs, and the full contents of the magazine.

About the ABA:
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bloomberg Law Unbundles: “Bloomberg Law: Banking” Product Offers New Features and Signals New Vertical Market Strategy

Today Bloomberg BNA announced the launch of Bloomberg Law: Banking. Until now Bloomberg Law appeared to be focused exclusively on competing with Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis in selling legal research platforms on an enterprise basis. With the launch of Bloomberg Law:  Banking, Bloomberg seems to be taking aim at Wolters Kluwer, a company which  offers legal products tailored to specific practice group needs. The  new banking platform will offer a practice level slice of Bloomberg Law including banking news, analysis, cases, statutes, regulations, treatises, legislative tracking,  multi-jurisdictional content,  and workflow improvement tools. Completely new features include interactive 50 state charts and Banking Law Portfolios.

Bloomberg is determined to conquer the legal market one way or another.  It is only 4 months since lawyer and "legal rebel" David Perla was hired as President of Bloomberg BNA's Legal Division. Perla who practiced law and founded Pangea3, an alternative legal services provider, is steering the company toward  weaving workflow and content into a single platform which drives efficiency.

 Bloomberg Law Pulls a "Head Fake"  Yesterday  BLaw appeared to be focused exclusively on the market space occupied by Lexis and Westlaw. Today they are steering into Wolters Kluwer territory. What gives? Since the initial rollout of Bloomberg Law in 2011 the company has offered only a scalable enterprise-wide approach to selling Blaw. Unlike Lexis and Westlaw, Blaw was  positioned as a core utility that could remain open on a lawyers desktop. Blaw was not built to be  metered and  parceled out in small pieces with costs charged out to clients. The law firm market has been somewhat slow to embrace the veritable “research nirvana” offered by Blaw.  I do not believe for a minute that the new offerings are an indication the Blaw is retreating from the enterprise market.

Bloomberg Law: Banking I was given an exclusive preview of BLaw’s new product. David Perla described Bloomberg Law: Banking  as being “built to  provide lawyers with  a dynamic, well organized, intuitive and interactive workflow solution.”  The platform includes some impressive new content and functionality which will also be available on the Blaw platform in the Banking Practice Center.  
 
Bloomberg Law: Banking

Why Financial Services? It is not surprising that they started with a financial services platform. This is one of the fastest changing areas of law  and subscribers will benefit from  the substantial editorial expertise of their BNA reporters and analysts who live in DC’s regulatory trenches. They have also leveraged the legislative resources of Bloomberg Government product and aligned all of these resources into a single powerful workspace for financial services lawyers. In an earlier interview Perla described his vision for combining Bloomberg’s strength in technology and business analytics with the BNA staff’s premier legal analysis in order to solve emerging challenges facing the legal profession better than their competitors. I particularly like the interactive charts.  They are intuitive and easy to  generate, yet they cut hours of research time off of a “50 state survey” project. This is a feature that they plan to continue expanding.

Special Features and Functionality

·       50 State surveys. Proprietary state law Chart Builders, which enable practitioners to easily create and export custom reports based on topics they select  in order to identify key banking requirements across multiple states.   There are currently 9 financial topics which include 7 to 10 subtopics  each which can be combined to create custom comparative charts All the charts include citation and links to the code sections. Cover hot topics such as “pay day lending” Additional topics are planned though the first quarter of 2015.

·         Dodd Frank Tracker monitors the ongoing implementation of Dodd Frank regulations.

·         A citator gives users the ability to verify their research, quickly determine the overall treatment of a case and identify the information they need. 

·       Trackers provide unique content on current regulatory and legislative activity and emerging banking law issues. Trackers can be customized to deliver news any time throughout the day.

·        Banking Law Portfolios. Following on the success of Tax Management and Corporate Practice Portfolios, the company is introducing the first “born digital” set of portfolios which are focused on banking..

 
50 State Survey Chart
 
 
Access

Existing subscribers will have the option of accessing the stand-alone Bloomberg Law: Banking platform.They will  also have  access to the same content in the  Blaw Banking Practice Center, although organized in the original practice center format.
 
 A demo of the product can be requested here.

Bloomberg is playing a game of seduction.

The folks at Bloomberg are no fools. They are not giving up on enterprise sales, they have simply shifted into seduction mode. They are lifting the veil on  a core cluster of assets derived from  Bloomberg Law and BNA but they are also keeping some of "crown jewels" (financial and company data)  behind the enterprise wall. It is a smart strategy that has the advantage of creating a new revenue stream as well as engaging a new segment of customers who may ultimately join the enterprise fold.
 
The current state of the legal market also makes this an attractive approach. One size does not fit all. Cost recovery for Lexis and Westlaw have continued to decline and this decline effectively shrinks the pool of money available for new resources. Law firms and individual practices have to be more strategic with their spending. Resources which are highly targeted to the specific needs of a practice group may be easier to justify in a budget. Perla also indicated that additional practice platforms are planned. The platform approach will continue to  offer Bloomberg BNA new opportunities for expanding their share of the law firm research and workflow market while also trying to onboard new firms to the enterprise platform.

Related Posts:

Welcome to Bloomberg Law, No Deals, No Discounts, No Apology.
____________________________________________

Here is the Press release:
 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 


CONTACT:


David Peikin


703.341.5900


dpeikin@bna.com
 
BLOOMBERG BNA LAUNCHES BLOOMBERG LAW: BANKING,
ALL-IN-ONE LEGAL AND BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE SOLUTION FOR BANKING PROFESSIONALS
 
Arlington, Va. (November 19, 2014) — Bloomberg BNA today announced the launch of Bloomberg Law: Banking, which helps attorneys understand and navigate rapidly changing legal and regulatory issues by providing integrated banking news, analysis, primary and secondary sources and practical tools.   Bloomberg Law: Banking builds upon Bloomberg BNA’s market-driven strategy of delivering the content, information and tools that professionals need – an all-in-one resource in a single solution – to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively in order to be more confident, proactive advisors to their clients.  
 
Bloomberg Law: Banking is a great product — it’s well-laid-out, easy to use and has all the information I need in a single solution,” said Ron Glancz, Chair of Venable LLP’s Financial Services Group.   “It incorporates all the information I need – news, regulations, case citations, statutes and interpretations and third-party content.  I particularly like the product’s robust daily news, which I utilize every day to assess the impact of new rules, laws, court decisions, and other developments on my clients’ business.”   
 
Bloomberg Law: Banking features Bloomberg BNA’s timely and trusted news, keeping practitioners abreast of changes in banking law and helping them understand their implications by providing analysis of banking legislation, regulatory requirements, and litigation in the courts.  Attorneys can provide sound legal guidance on key banking law trends with access to analysis and insights from in-depth Portfolios and treatises by some of the country’s leading banking experts and practitioners. 
 
“Developed with the unique needs of the banking attorney in mind, Bloomberg Law: Banking provides guidance to in-house and law firm counsel that enables them to get ahead of issues,” said David Perla, President, Bloomberg BNA’s Legal Division.  Bloomberg Law: Banking is the complete solution for banking professionals at law firms, government agencies and financial institutions and is the latest example of how Bloomberg BNA is rethinking how we solve our customers’ problems.
 
Bloomberg Law: Banking offers a number of practical tools, including:
 
·         Proprietary state law Chart Builders, which enable practitioners to easily create and export custom reports based on topics they select to identify key banking requirements across states.   
 
·         A citator gives users the ability to verify their research, quickly determine the overall treatment of a case and identify the information they need. 
 
·         Trackers, which provide unique content on current regulatory and legislative activity and emerging banking law issues to stay on top of regulators’ implementation of Dodd-Frank reforms and other timely matters. 
 
The product is available on Bloomberg Law’s sophisticated legal research platform, which provides faster access to the information users need through advanced search capabilities, case law citation and easily accessible content.  Bloomberg Law, a fully integrated legal and business intelligence research solution, combines Bloomberg BNA's trusted news and expert analysis with Bloomberg's comprehensive market data and cutting-edge technology. 
 
For more information on Bloomberg Law: Banking and to request a free trial, please visit here.
 
About Bloomberg BNA
Bloomberg BNA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg, is a leading source of legal, regulatory, and business information for professionals. Its network of more than 2,500 reporters, correspondents, and leading practitioners delivers expert analysis, news, practice tools, and guidance — the information that matters most to professionals. Bloomberg BNA's authoritative coverage spans a full range of legal practice areas, including tax & accounting, labor & employment, intellectual property, banking & securities, employee benefits, health care, privacy & data security, human resources, and environment, health & safety.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Monday, November 17, 2014

LexisNexis Rebrands Knowledge Mosaic as Lexis Securities Mosaic (And Releases a Slick Promo Video)

We all new it was coming. It was just a question of when. LexisNexis announced today that it  has rebranded one of it's recent  acquisitions Knowledge Mosaic as Lexis Securities Mosaic.

At the time of the acquisition in January 2013 I wrote a post What Did Lexis Buy and Why Did They Buy it? What Will They Do With It?

Why Knowledge Mosaic? At the time, I asked Lexis executives why they purchased KM since Lexis already included much of the same securities regulatory materials in the Lexis system. The Lexis executives indicated that they were interested in acquiring the  KM expertise and the processes for tagging and mark up of regulatory materials which they recognize as uniquely tailored to securities research. The KM staff has a unique knowledge of the needs of securities researchers.Lieber also pointed out that KM had expanded well beyond SEC materials and that KM had unique approaches to collecting a wide array of federal agency materials. They had also amassed a collection of special agency documents which were not widely available. It appears that Lexis has followed though on many of their plans for Knowledge Mosaic.The new Securities Mosaic has moved from being a searchable database to an intuitive platform focused on the practitioners workflow.

What's New?In addition to the name change, Lexis Securities Mosaic includes some additional changes:
  • The Interface is more "lexis-like"
  • The screen is more intuitive
  • Canadian SEDAR filings were added
  • "Quick Search" feature allows users to quickly pull
    • SEC Filings
    •  No Action Letters
    •  Private Placement Documents
    • SEDAR filings
  • The Home page provides feeds of SEC updates, law firm memos and global news.
The website includes this video overview:







After Knowledge Mosaic. Securities Mosaic was the original name of the product. It was rebranded as  Knowledge Mosaic because the publisher had added an additional newsletter: Communications Mosaic. At this point it is not clear whether the Communications  product will be discontinued or rebranded and released in a separate platform. 




Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lex Machina Adds Bigger Data "Custom Insights"-- Raising the Analytics Bar for IP Litigators

Today Lex Machina is announcing the launch of  “Custom Insights”  functionality which will add two new high-voltage analytics tools: Caselist Analyzer and Motion Metrics to the  Lex  Machina platform. These interactive tools will put customized competitive insights within  reach of every subscriber. I found the variety, flexibility and granularity of Lex Machina’s  new offerings to be truly “breathtaking.”  In a few clicks the Custom Insights reports can display  interactive charts, trends and data based on highly specific criteria. Docket analytics platforms from  competitors such as Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis and Bloomberg Law  have allowed users to generate litigation reports based on a few standard criteria such as judge, law firm, party and cause of action. Lex Machina has enhanced Pacer data to allow deeper and more granular analysis of cases and motions. Until now these types of reports could only have been generated  after days or weeks of research. 
 
From Dockets to Big Data

There is no shortage of products selling Pacer dockets. Most are selling access to flat data, not a transformative platform for insights and iterative analysis.Lex Machina which focuses on IP litigation is about to raise the competitive stakes for lawyers and Lex Machina's competitors in the docket analytics space.
Lex Machina which debuted in 2010 as a platform for analysing IP litigation. The Lex Machina platform combines natural language processing and machine learning. The data is further enhanced with some human curation and a healthy dose of data normalization. They use a custom taxonomy engine referred to as Lexpressions to analyse and assign tags to each docket.These tags enhance precision and retrieval .If you ever wondered whether a judge was likely to grant a "motion to transfer" or wanted to estimate the "time to trial" in specific court, Lex Machina now offers such predictive analytics and insights.More than 20 data elements can be combined to create custom reports. (Tags include:Judge, Party, Role, Law firm, Lawyer, Case type, Case status, dates of filing or termination, trial date, damages, resolution,findings, invalidity.)
The Wow Factor
Each of the new modules includes at least one " show stopping" new feature. Case List Analyser allows you to easily create a custom list of cases based on key word criteria. These keywords are identified in the docket or the underlying complaint or motion.A search for cases involving  “touch screen gestures” delivers a narrow universe of cases which deal with this very specific issue . The litigation history of these cases can be compared and analysed.
Motion Metrics offers the ability to track “Motion Chains.” This feature enables a quick review of grants and denials for a specific case. 
Webinar: Lex Machina will be offering a webinar at 11am PST/ 2pm EST today.
Case List Analyzer

Case List Analyzer: Key Features

Build a strategy- select cases of interest using custom defined criteria. Then in a few clicks, create charts, expose trends using metrics  law firms, judges, parties issues, damages, patent findings.

Custom Insights for Timing (Analyze Time to Termination, Claim Construction,Hearing, and Trial, to determine how long it may take to litigate your case and set your budget.

Custom Insights for Damages (View a breakdown of patent case damages type(e.g. Reasonable Royalties, Lost Profits) overtime, to determine the risk and how much is at stake.)

Custom Insights for Case Resolutions  (Review the resolution of selected terminated patent cases to view analytics on outcomes such as summary judgment, settlement, voluntary dismissal.)
 
Custom Insights for Patent Findings  (View a breakdown of each finding of infringement, invalidity, or enforceability and analyze trends in those case histories)

     

Motion Metrics

Motion Metrics maps each motion in selected cases to determine outcomes.
Track Motion Chains. Compare motion success by judge, party, or motion type, Examine motion chains and access the underlying documents.
Judges History Determine which kinds of motions a judge tends to grant or deny
Assess opponents motions history and patterns in cases similar to your own to develop a “motion strategy.”
Today IP Tomorrow the World?
Lex Machina does plan to expand beyond IP. Next up they plan to tackle the 80,000 commercial litigation cases filed in the US.

As firms become more focused on understanding the cost of litigation and competitive pricing issues, Lex Machina is positioning itself to address one of the biggest pain points for law firms.Lex Machina’s new  Custom  Insights tools will be raising the bar for both law firms and Lex Machina’s competitors. We may be witnessing the opening volley in a competitive analytics “war”  where established players and upstarts like Lex Machina vie for a foothold on  the litigator’s desktop.

Here is the text of the press release:
Lex Machina Launches Custom Insights: Personalized Analytics for Unprecedented Insights into Cases, Motions, and Trends
New capabilities enable lawyers to design their own approach to crafting winning IP strategy
Menlo Park, November 12, 2014 – Lex Machina, creator of Legal Analytics®, today raises the bar for legal technology by introducing Custom Insights with the new release of its Legal Analytics platform. With traditional legal research tools, it’s difficult not only to find relevant cases, but also to glean key strategic insights, unless attorneys are willing to drill into each and every case. This is where Lex Machina gets started. Custom Insights helps attorneys surface strategic information from only those cases or motions they care about, quickly and easily. 

To mark the launch of these exciting new capabilities, Lex Machina will be hosting a webcast on November 13 to demonstrate how in-house and law firm counsel can leverage Custom Insights in their workflow.
“Since launching our platform in October last year, our engineers have worked closely with Lex Machina’s customers to take Legal Analytics to the next level,” said Josh Becker, CEO, Lex Machina.  “More than predefined charts and graphs, our customers wanted the flexibility to apply analytics to the cases and motions that matter to them. With Custom Insights we are delivering a groundbreaking capability that changes the business and practice of law.”
Lex Machina is introducing these new capabilities that provide attorneys with Custom Insights:
Case List Analyzer
The new Case List Analyzer puts lawyers in the driver’s seat by enabling them to select cases based on specific criteria and filter the results by case type, date range, court, judge, patent findings, and more. Available on every case list page, Case List Analyzer helps lawyers uncover strategic information and visualize trends – from how to approach a case, to how to litigate, or how to defend against legal action. With one click they can see trends and gain actionable insights across their case selection.
“Case List Analyzer allows me to quickly compare judges, law firms, parties and patents, using the criteria I care about.  I can find a judge’s tendency to award damages of a specific type,” said Scott Hauser, Deputy GC Ruckus Wireless.  “Custom Insights enables me to craft winning IP strategy.”
Motion Metrics
This new feature identifies the docket events and documents connected to a specific motion, and offers Custom Insights into all activity that led to a court’s grant or denial of that motion. With Motion Metrics, attorneys can get Custom Insights for each motion chain within a case to analyze the performance of judges, or opposing counsel, and also compare motions across districts, judges, parties, and law firms.
Attorneys are able to compare motion outcomes and select the strategy that has the highest probability of producing the desired results. 
Motion Metrics may reveal that a judge almost never grants a motion for summary judgment,” said Miriam Rivera, former Deputy GC at Google.  “The ability to see this information in an instant, not only saves a tremendous amount of time, but also helps me for the first time to quantify my ROI.”
About Lex Machina
Lex Machina is defining Legal Analytics, a new category of legal technology that revolutionizes how companies and law firms compete in the business and practice of law. Delivered as Software-as a-Service, Lex Machina creates structured data sets covering districts, judges, law firms, lawyers, parties, and patents, out of millions of pages of legal information. Legal Analytics allows law firms and companies, for the first time ever, to predict the behaviors and outcomes that different legal strategies will produce, enabling them to win cases and close business.
Lex Machina is used by companies such as Microsoft, Google, and eBay, and law firms like Wilson Sonsini, Fish & Richardson, and Fenwick & West. The company was created by experts at Stanford’s Computer Science Department and Law School. In 2014, Lex Machina was named one of the “Best New Legal Services” by readers of The Recorder, American Lawyer Media’s San Francisco newspaper.
Media Contact:
Nicholas Gaffney
415-377-1131




Thursday, November 6, 2014

ALM Legal Intelligence Releases “The State of the Big Law Market” Or "The Hunger Games" Big Law Style

American Lawyer Legal Intelligence just released a new report
"The State of the Big Law Market" which they have described as the first of what will be an annual report. The inaugural report was authored by Aric Press, Editor in Chief and Mary Cho, Legal Intelligence Analyst. It is not only the content and analysis that is new but the report represents a more in depth and historical treatment of law firm trends than ALM has undertaken in the past. Finally ALM is taking deep dive into the ALM Intelligence data archive they have been building for the past few decades. The ALM metrics are also supplemented with data from the US Census, Tymetric, Peer Monitor, Citigroup and Wells Fargo in order to provide multiple perspectives on complex and sometimes contradictory trends. I hope that ALM with continue to find new ways of utilizing their data archive to provide new insights into legal market trends.
The report is framed around 4 key trends with which we are all painfully familiar. Nothing has been the same since the collapse of Lehman in 2008.



Four Large Trends
Legal spending by corporations has still not recovered from the Great Recession, yet firms continue to increase their hourly rates.
 
Amlaw 200 firms have collectively increased their share of the market.
 
Fewer partners are getting a greater share of the profits.
 
The law firm market is increasingly segmented. The top 10 firms are getting richer and pulling away from the rest.



Notable observations
Despite the lower volume of legal work companies send to law firm, the rates paid by clients have increased.
 
In 2013 law firms set records for gross revenue and profits per partner. But in inflation adjusted dollars firms actually had the lowest profits per partner since ALM began tracking the AmLaw 200 in 1998.
 
Partnership ain’t what it used to be. It is less available, less permanent, and more transferable.
The ranks of non equity partners continue to grow.
 
Non equity partners get a bad rap but this report suggests that they offer a considerable upside if they can be managed effectively. Most law firms have not figured this out and non equity partners remain a drag on profitability.
 
Law firms are segmented by size, reach and economic success. Within each of these microcosms the gap between largest and smallest/ most and least profitable is growing.
 
The success segment. The top 10% have several things in common, most started in New York, most continue to get premium rates, and they can afford the best laterals.
 
More AmLaw 200 firms will disappear.
 
For all the hype about technology and nimble innovators, Big Law has still not been replaced by lower cost alternatives and they report suggests this will not happen any time soon.



Can Law Firms Create Client Needs?

The one conclusion I disagree with is that law firms can’t create client needs...Law firms must sit and wait for business. This, I assume is based in the traditional model of lawyers as litigators or dealmakers. They must wait for events to occur which are beyond their control and then compete for the opportunity.

Could law firms not create the need for specialized advisory and risk management services? Haven’t consulting firms generated huge revenue streams from selling their expertise? As commercial trade becomes more global and as regulations become increasingly complex … there is certainly an opportunity for law firms to "create the need" for preventive law and advisory services.


The Aggravating Conclusion


For all the great data and analysis I was expecting a grand overarching rubric for law firm success. Yet there was a recurring theme that some law firm trends simply defy analysis.

The report ends with some optimism about the future of big law. The final analysis seems to be that each law firm is so unique that it essentially exists in its own "micro-climate." So firms using similar strategies may experience dramatically different outcomes. To use the prevailing trope… all law firm strategies are "bespoke." There is no one answer that fits all law firms.

Are lawyers and large law firms doomed to a perpetual "Hunger Game"... forever competing for a dwindling pool of partnership opportunities, clients, profits and reliable strategies for the future?

ALM Legal Intelligence Releases “The State of the Big Law Market” Or "The Hunger Games" Big Law Style


American Lawyer Legal Intelligence has just released a new
report ‘The State of the Big Law Market” which they have described as the first of what will be an annual report. The inaugural report was authored by Aric Press, Editor in Chief and Mary Cho, Legal Intelligence Analyst. It is not only the content and analysis that is new but the report represents a more in depth and historical treatment of law firm trends than ALM has undertaken in the past. Finally  ALM  is taking  deep dive into the ALM Intelligence data archive they have been building for the past few decades.  The ALM metrics are also supplemented with data from the US Census, Tymetric, Peer Monitor, Citigroup and Wells Fargo in order to provide multiple perspectives on complex and sometimes contradictory trends. I hope that ALM with continue to find new ways of utilizing their data archive to provide new insights into legal market trends.

The report is framed around 4 key trends with which we are all painfully familiar. Nothing has been the same since the collapse of Lehman in 2008.
 
Four Large Trends 

Legal spending by corporations has still not recovered from the Great Recession, yet firms continue to increase their hourly rates.

Amlaw 200 firms have collectively increased their share of the market.

Fewer partners are getting a greater share of the profits.

The law firm market is increasingly segmented. The top 10 firms are getting richer and pulling away from the rest.
Notable observations

Despite the lower volume of legal work companies send to law firm, the rates paid by clients have increased.

In 2013 law firms set records for gross revenue and profits per partner. But in inflation adjusted dollars firms actually had the lowest profits per partner since ALM began tracking the AmLaw 200 in 1998. 

Partnership ain’t what it used to be. It is less available, less permanent, and more transferable.

The ranks of non equity partners continue to grow.

Non equity partners get a bad rap but this report suggests that they offer a considerable upside if they can be managed effectively. Most law firms have not figured this out and non equity partners remain a drag on profitability.

Law firms are segmented by size, reach and economic success. Within each of these microcosms the gap between largest and smallest/ most and least profitable is growing.

The success segment. The top 10% have several things in common, most started in New York, most continue to get premium rates, and they can afford the best laterals.

More AmLaw 200 firms will disappear.

For all the hype about technology and nimble innovators, Big Law has still not been replaced by lower cost alternatives and they report suggests this will not happen any time soon. 

Can Law Firms Create Client Needs?
The one conclusion I disagree with is that law firms can’t create client needs...Law firms must sit and wait for business. This, I assume is based in the traditional model of lawyers as litigators or dealmakers. They must wait for events to occur which are beyond their control and then compete for the opportunity.
Could law firms not create the need for specialized advisory and risk management services? Haven’t consulting firms generated huge revenue streams from selling their expertise? As commercial trade becomes more global and as regulations become increasingly complex … there is certainly an opportunity for law firms to “create the need” for preventive law and advisory services.
The Aggravating Conclusion

For all the great data and analysis I was expecting a grand overarching rubric for  law firm success. Yet there was a recurring theme that some law firm trends simply defy analysis.
The report ends with some optimism about the future of big law. The final analysis seems to be that each law firm is so unique that it essentially exists in its own  “micro-climate.”  So firms using similar strategies may experience dramatically different outcomes. To use the prevailing trope… all law firm strategies are “bespoke.” There is no one answer that fits all law firms.
Are lawyers and large  law firms doomed to a perpetual "Hunger Game"... forever competing for a dwindling pool of partnership opportunities, clients, profits and reliable strategies for the future?