US Law Firms See Business Uptick

Nick Parmee 15 January 2010

US Law Firms See Business Uptick

The largest US law firms, drawing a line under a tough year, believe they are seeing some signs of an uptick in litigation, deal-making and regulatory work, according to a Citi Private Bank survey reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The survey of 50 of the US's 100 largest firms by revenue found last year's revenue down an average 4 per cent from 2008; the same firms, according to Citi, averaged 7 per cent revenue growth in 2008.

Average partner earnings at the 50 firms polled were flat in 2009, but the profit picture would have been worse had firms not slashed costs by an average 7 per cent in 2009. According to Dan DiPietro, the advisory head of Citi's law firm group, "firms cut expenses largely by reducing their headcounts, among both lawyers and professional managers."

But the situation has started to improve in recent months, respondents said, with an increase in public offerings, litigation and regulatory work related to the government's oversight of various sectors.

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