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Big Law broadly positive about the New Year

Posted by: Michelle Bigler 11/01/17

Most commentators would no doubt agree with the suggestion that this year can be characterized by a sense of heightened uncertainty and unprecedented political shifts. However as the immediate aftershocks of the UK’s Brexit vote sinks in and lawyers adjust to the idea of a Trump presidency, professionals are starting to form rudimentary predictions about what to expect from the New Year.

The American Lawyer’s 14th annual Law Firm Leaders Survey, which was conducted prior to the November 8th vote, found that 69% of law firm heads were moderately optimistic about what to expect from 2017 with regard to their firms. 14% indicated that they were ‘very’ optimistic, 10% said they were uncertain, and 5% indicated that they were somewhat pessimistic.

James Carr, partner at Kelley Drye & Warren indicated that 2016 was lucrative for the New York-based firm, and that he is ‘moderately optimistic’, even regarding the new White House resident saying “I do think that a change in administration from a Democrat to a Republican will mean more initial work, there’s no question about that.”

The greatest proportion of respondents (32%), said that they expected corporate work to see the highest revenue growth next year, with litigation as the second most popular response, at 27%. 10% said that they expected to see the most growth in real estate. While 7% selected either bankruptcy, or intellectual property. However 30% of respondents indicated that they expected litigation to be the most financially challenging practice area in the coming year, followed by bankruptcy at 26% and corporate at 16%.

However Carr says that those practice areas could change if President-elect Donald Trump follows through on various campaign promises. While Kent Zimmermann, consultant at the Zeughauser Group, says that the new administration could also usher in upticks in international trade, regulatory work and tax law. “This election, looking at it in a nonpartisan way, could possibly be a very good thing,” he says.

As the future is filled with opportunities, now is the time to consider your staffing needs. In today’s competitive legal industry, it’s important always be reviewing the future predictions and plan your hiring needs accordingly. Build an ongoing relationship with a legal recruiter to gain marketplace knowledge and an insider view on strong candidates.

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