Head of Advisory Services
John Wilmouth, Senior Client Advisor
March 15, 2018
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2017 finished strong for the law firm industry, outpacing 2016 in revenue and profit growth.
We are pleased to announce the release of Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group’s FY 2017 Quarterly Flash Report, which provides an overview of current financial trends in the legal industry, as well as forward-looking insight, based on data collected through our Quarterly Flash survey of 189 law firms (81 Am Law 100 firms, 53 Second Hundred firms and 55 niche/boutique firms). Thirty-three of these firms fit our definition of either international1 or global2.
Last year finished out strong for the law firm industry, outpacing 2016 in revenue and profit growth. Stronger revenue growth came from comparatively higher billing rate increases and improved demand, especially during the fourth quarter. And while expense growth matched revenue growth, keeping margins steady, net income growth was a solid 4.5 percent. With a slight drop in equity partner headcount, that translated into growth of profits per equity partner of 4.8 percent. More good news could be found in strong year-end inventory levels, suggesting positive momentum for the first-quarter of 2018. That said, we continued to see dispersion in performance, with the Am Law 50 firms far outperforming the rest of the Am Law 200.
To read more about our findings, please refer to Citi Report: Strong Fourth Quarter Pushes 2017 Financials Past 2016 Results, an article authored by Citi Private Bank's John Wilmouth and Gretta Rusanow in The American Lawyer.3
For more information about Citi Private Bank's Quarterly Flash Reports, please contact us.
1 Less than 25 percent but more than 10 percent of lawyers based outside the United States. Firms with less than 10 percent of lawyers based outside the United States are classified as either national (less than 50 percent of total lawyers based in headquarter office) or regional (greater than 50 percent of lawyers based in headquarter office).
2 At least 25 percent of lawyers based outside the United States
3 A free subscription may be required to access the full article.