FisherBroyles is a 283 attorneys law firm whose attorneys and staff are “distributed” or remote, a model which is increasingly attractive to attorneys. In their model, attorneys take home 80% of what they bill. In traditional law firms, the take home is often closer to 33%. In 2021, FisherBroyles top-paid attorney took home $6,742,540.
Managing partner, Michael Pierson, says that their hourly rates are often two-thirds what a traditional law firm would charge as there is no real estate cost.
It’s definitely working for the firm. In 2021, FisherBroyers revenue was up 30% to $136 versus $105 million in 2020.
Is remote work merely a short-term necessity or will it have legs when it is again safe to work in the law firm office? As we head into one full year of remote work, I set out to see if there were data which would substantiate the direction of remote work.
What I learned paints a compelling rationale for remote work continuing. For some people, it might be for only one or two days a week. But the preference for a hybrid work model is clear.
There are two supporting dynamics:
The economics of remote work were positive in 2020. Law firms will likely make changes, for instance in leases, to capitalize on this going forward.
Attorneys made a positive adjustment to working from home and would like to retain some of that flexibility in the future.
A key law firm financial metric is Profitability per Equity Partner. The results show that for Big Law and mid-sized law firms profitability grew significantly in the 12 months leading up to November of 2020. In part this was due to law firm rate increases established in December 2019 and to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), both on the income side.
However, on the expense side, it is also due to law firms cutting overhead expenses in all but two categories, technology and Knowledge Management.
Both of the above charts are from a terrific resource, “2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market” by Thomson Reuters and Georgetown Law Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession. This report is chock full of data. I highly recommend reading it if you work in a law firm. And, as good attorneys say, “read the footnotes” for gems. You may also listen to the podcast, “Was the Pandemic a Tipping Point for Law Firms?” which is based on the report. Bob Ambrogi interviewed Jim Jones, Senior Fellow at Georgetown and Director of its Program on Trends in Law Practice. Mr. Jones is a contributor to the report. He adds interesting color to the report findings in this interview.
A funny thing happened while attorneys toiled from home. They appreciated the benefits. The greatest benefit to attorneys and staff is the time gained by not commuting. For time-keepers the extra hours per week can add up to several days per year of additional billable hours plus additional leisure time to boot.
Now 85% of attorneys want to work from home at least one day per week.
We are very happy to be a sponsor of iManage’s first virtual ConnectLive. Join us from the comfort of your own home. 🙂
ConnectLive Virtual is free to iManage customers, unlimited people from your company. But you must register in advance here.
Our LINK encrypted app includes full access to iManage Work®. With LINK, attorneys and professional staff can easily work with document-centric workflows on smartphones and tablets.
At ConnectLive we will be showing our new custom workflows, including paperless pre-bills. Talk to us to see how you can use features like LINK’s in-app annotation and integration of Work and email to automate tasks.
Here is an example of what can be done in the LINK secure container app: – Receive an email with an attachment. – Compare the attachment to a file in iManage Work. – Annotate the redlined version. – Email the annotated document. – If desired, also check the annotated document into DMS
LINK provides: – In-app annotation – In-app comparison – High fidelity document viewer – Email (Exchange Web Services) – Integration with the Office apps for editing
With in-app email: – Open NRLs. – Use predictive filing to Work or Outlook folders. – Import attachments to Work. – Email files as original format, NRLs, or PDF.
Of course, we love going to Chicago, but we are looking forward this new experience.