The Melbourne Law School and Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor® are pleased to present this report setting out the dominant trends impacting the legal market in 2018 and the key issues to influence the market in 2019 and beyond.
After an extended period of stagnation, the 2018 financial year provided law firms with revenue growth and demand that would have been unthinkable only a year prior.
The report details how such staggering levels of growth came to be, and what to expect moving forward into 2019. Boom conditions which led to revenue growth and demand were born out of developments such as: The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry; regulatory changes; major infrastructure projects; and a strong flow of direct foreign investment.
The outcome: Demand increased on average by 7.8%, revenue similarly was up by 7.4% by year’s end and subsequently there were significant increases in qualified fee earners (QFEs). On average, headcount increased by 5.0% when compared to the previous year.
Other key findings included:
- Utilisation, or the average amount of hours worked per QFE, increased by 2.6%
- In the fourth quarter alone, QFEs worked an average of 13 hours or more when compared to Q4’17
- Dispute resolution was the fastest growing practice area (19.1% growth YoY)
- The trend of market consolidation continued. Over the course of the year there were 19 law firm mergers and acquisitions
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