For all the predictions of economic recovery in the U.S. in 2014, large law firms will continue to face challenges in the new year, according to legal search consultants at Major, Lindsey & Africa. “Our message in our last advisory was clear: BigLaw, it is time to adapt or die,” a report they released on Thursday concludes. “We think this same message is equally true as we head into 2014. Only more so.”
That message has been hanging over the leaders of large law firms for years now, and the issues covered by the report—as those to confront sooner, rather than later—shouldn’t come as a surprise: declining demand for legal services, continuing demand by clients for alternatives to the traditional billable hour fee arrangement, greater competition from smaller firms and other types of legal service providers, and growing numbers of firm mergers and dissolutions.