Although the final numbers are not in yet, 2018 has been touted as a good year for law firms. Based on various reports including the 2019 Citi-Hildebrandt Client Advisory, revenues were up, billing rate increases held, and client demand increased. These improvements are not shocking as law firm performance has been ascending in recent years.
Just because industry performance this past year was on the whole very good, not all law firms can look back on 2018 with such positive thoughts. Indeed, the overall industry uptick is pulled along by strong performances among the AmLaw 100, especially the top 25 firms. Performance among the second AmLaw 100 (or 101 to 200) generally was not as positive. Similarly, firms outside the second 100 did not, as a class, enjoy the kind of robust financial performance logged by the bigger firms. Specialty firms (obviously focused in the right specialty) were the exception among smaller firms.