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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of May 7, 2013

LawBiz(r) newsletter

One of the most interesting insights of writing my most recent book, Life After Law: What Will You Do With the Next 6,000 Days?, is to uncover the most feared word in the English language, retirement. I've attempted to provide a path for preparing the reader of my work how to leave the practice after many years of effort with grace and with success.

See book details and The Wall Street Journal press release for more information.
Ed signature

Would You Invest in This Industry?

Because it is contrary to the Rules of Professional Conduct for law firms to be owned by anyone other than the partners, no one can buy stock in a firm or read an investment analyst report about the "legal industry." But occasionally there are statistical analyses that show how "The Business of Law®" is doing. And a recent comprehensive one by Georgetown Law School's Center for the Study of the Legal Profession, titled Report on the State of the Legal Market, paints a grim picture indeed. Here are some "highlights:"

  • During 2012, the number of lawyers in U.S. firms grew by 2 percent, at the same time that demand for legal services grew by only 0.5 percent. As a result, productivity - defined as the total number of billable hours recorded by a firm divided by the total number of lawyers in the firm - declined by 1.5%. When measured in terms of billable hours per month per lawyer, productivity has been essentially flat for the past three years at plus or minus 130 hours per month.

  • Realization rates (amount of money billed that is collected) average 83.6 percent for all law firms studied, a figure that is an historic low and some 8 percent lower than the 92 percent level at the end of 2007. For AmLaw 100 firms, the realization rate is even lower, at 82.8 percent.

  • The firms covered in the analysis raised their rates on average 3.4 percent during 2012. While this increase was well below the 6-8 percent range seen annually during the prerecession period, it was consistent with rate trends over the past three or four years, and well above the growth in both demand and expenses.

  • Firms cut expenses dramatically from mid-2008 to mid-2010 - when expenses began increasing again. This renewed growth, at a rate of about 5 percent annually, was perhaps not surprising since many of the expense "cuts" were really only deferrals of expenditures that had to be made sooner or later rather than eliminations of specific cost items.

Demand and productivity down ... prices up, collections down ... expenses rising almost twice as fast as prices ... Sounds more than a little like Chrysler or General Motors before they filed for bankruptcy. By any measure, these numbers do not paint a picture of an industry in good financial health.

Ed Poll's Life After Law
50% OFF - Special Prepublication Price!

Life After Law

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What Will You Do with the Next 6,000 Days?

To Order: 1-800-837-5880 or order online at

With an eye on balancing the professional and personal fronts, Ed guides readers through the steps:

  • Choosing retirement on your own terms

  • Guarding clients' welfare in the event of disability or death

  • Transferring client and rainmaking responsibilities

  • Charting an exit from a multi-partner firm

  • Strategizing the sale or closure of a practice

Plus, you'll find essential counsel on how to guard your retirement nest egg and create a fulfilling post-practice life! Learn more.

In this issue:

Would You Invest in This Industry?

Ed Poll's Life After Law... 50% OFF

Video: No, It's Not the Same: Pricing vs. Billing, Part 2

Featured Video:
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Ed Poll on YouTube video

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What Clients Are Saying:

"I felt 'stuck,' but I didn't know how to market myself to clients or to other firms. Ed provided a solid rounding of me to evaluate my current situation and a platform from which I could start growing my own practice."

San Francisco, CA

"I look at Ed as my business partner now – my once a week essential business meeting to take the pulse of my practice. During our one-hour phone conversations, we hash out the larger and smaller business challenges of my law firm. I always come away from those conversations enlarged, challenged, and sometimes even quite shaken, but with the tools necessary to move forward down the path he and I are constantly redefining for me and my firm."

Northern California

Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |
©2013 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

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