Source: The Daily Record
By Anamika Roy, The Daily Record
Maryland lawyers showed the most optimism about the legal market they have all year and anticipate an increase in billable hours going into 2018, according to The Daily Record’s latest Maryland Lawyers Confidence Index survey.
The quarterly index, which looks at Maryland lawyers’ attitudes toward the economic prospects of their practice and the economy as a whole, had an overall score of 8 on a scale of minus-100 to 100, with positive numbers reflecting optimism. That figure is the highest the index has been all year and up from minus-1 after the first survey.
Fourth-quarter responses also showed greater interest in hiring additional attorneys and making investments in marketing and new technology. Some 33 percent of respondents said they either somewhat or strongly agree they plan on hiring additional attorneys at their firms in the next three months. Forty-four percent said they anticipate an increase in billable hours in the next three months, the highest all year.
The increase in anticipated billable hours is expected this time of year, said Randi Lewis, managing director at global attorney consultancy firm Major, Lindsey & Africa.
“Typically, there’s a lot of legal activity particularly for lawyers involved in deals in the last several months of the year, some of which will carry over into January,” she said. “Lawyers are extremely busy and when they’re busy they’re going to be billing a lot of hours.”
Conversely, because it’s a busy time of year, hiring also slows down. Partners and associates also stay until the end of the year to qualify for bonuses.
“I expect the hiring activity in law firms to pick up starting in mid-January to February because people will be giving notice that they’re leaving,” Lewis said.
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