Global Industry Overview: Legal Services

The legal services industry includes offices of lawyers and other legal advisers and services.

Industry Snapshot

In the mid-years of the first decade of the 2000s, the legal services industry was growing. The top eight firms listed on American Lawyer's 2004 "Global 100" list had revenues of more than US$1 billion each in 2003. Four of these firms were based in the United Kingdom, with the other four based in the United States. The top 100 firms around the world had aggregate earnings of almost US$48.2 billion.

Consolidation has created larger, more competitive firms with bigger profits. Mid-sized firms continued to find themselves squeezed out by mega-firms with dozens of offices housing thousands of fee earners. Law firms also are seeing greater profits from their embrace of high technology resources including software and the Internet. These resources allow attorneys to deliver services more efficiently, and cut down on the number of employees needed for case work, thereby resulting in significant cost savings, as well as increased client satisfaction.