Australian Law Firms More Resilient Than Others in The Face of the Pandemic

Australian Law Firms More Resilient Than Others in The Face of the Pandemic 7

The global pandemic has affected Australian law firms less than many others globally, although it is seeing partners everywhere working harder.

The Thomson-Reuters State of the Legal Market: 2020 report showed higher demand from clients and revenue for the Australian firms with legal services rising by over 6 per cent for the final quarter of 2019-20 compared to the final quarter of the previous year.

However, demand fell 5.9 per cent in the United States, 3.8 per cent in the United Kingdom and 14 per cent in Asia.

The report looked at the four key performance measures, demand, revenue, hourly fees and lawyer growth, showed that Australian law firms outperformed those in Asia, the US and the UK from April to June 2020.

Most of the global response to the virus outbreak occurred in the final three months of the financial year, and demand contractions were the norm at law firms the world over – everywhere, that is, except Australia.”

Peer Monitor draws data from 16 leading firms, eight of which have an average of 700 and eight with an average 250 lawyers. Worldwide there are 200 firms involved, most of them being major law firms in their respective markets.

The report shows that fees worked, a proxy for revenue, grew by 8.4 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter amid the pandemic when the Australian economy went into recession.

But the average hourly charge grew by 2.3 per cent, lower in Australia than elsewhere. And Australia lead the growth in lawyer-number growth, with 5.5 per cent on the same three months in 2019.

Australian law firms also took pole position with productivity as well, with a rise of 0.2 per cent when most law firms were adopting a remote-working model.

There were big falls in the other regions – US and UK down by over 7 per cent and Asia by almost 20 per cent.

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