“Here we are again.” Uh-oh. Not exactly a promising start to Altman Weil’s annual “Law Firms in Transition” survey, which, as always, has plenty to say to corporate law departments. As fate would have it, the survey debuted in 2008 at a time when the nation was reeling from a deep recession and the legal industry was staring down an environment of “slow demand growth, extreme price sensitivity and intense competition.” It was a fork in the road for law firms, and many took the road most traveled and did . . . next to nothing. “This year’s survey highlights the persistent disconnect between what firm leaders agree they should have done during the intervening years and what they actually accomplished,” Altman says. So now, facing another fork in the road – pandemic-induced economic shellshock – “will law firms respond by rethinking their methods and structures to align with clients’ expectations?” Altman asks. “History says that most will not.” The accompanying chart, one of many in the report, shows how persistent the disconnect is between what firm leaders know must happen and how unlikely it is that it will happen. “Here we are again.” Indeed.
Published August 28, 2020.