Survey: Law firm leaders feel good about 2013

glas half fullA recent survey by American Lawyer Magazine suggests leaders of major law firms are optimistic about 2013 despite the fiscal crisis in Europe and regulatory uncertainty in the United States.

Of the 113 partners surveyed, 75 percent said they were somewhat or very optimistic with respect to their firms, up slightly from last year’s 73 percent.

Most of the respondents (71 percent) predicted that the economic recovery in the U.S. would either continue at its current lumbering pace or slow down.

“My sense is that a boom wants to happen, which makes me optimistic,” said Joseph Leccese, chairman of Proskauer Rose. “But there are all these macro-level economic issues that are making clients hesitant, and that makes me pessimistic.”

Leccese was one of 11 managing partners who were interviewed about the confidential survey, which was conducted from August to October.

Participants were asked to answer 59 questions covering everything from the economy, lateral activity, projected hiring by practice area and office, client relations, projected billing rates and profitability levels, discounting and the use of alternate fee structures.

Jeffrey Stone, of McDermott Will & Emery, said demand continues to be challenged as business’s appetite for new investments, expansions and acquisitions remains constrained.

“We, like other firms, are trying to find that sweet spot of practice mixes, pricing, staffing levels, and fiscal stability,” Stone, a cochair at the firm, said.

So what do you think?  Do you feel good about 2013?

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