New York law firms experienced a 9 percent drop in revenue through the third quarter, according to a new survey.
The data, gathered by the Wachovia Legal Specialty Group, also showed that net income at law firms based in New York was down 4.9 percent through September, compared to the same period a year ago.
Industrywide, gross revenue fell 6.9 percent and net income fell 6.1 percent, Wachovia said. "What that tells you is there is going to be a lot more riding on the fourth quarter," said Jeff Grossman, national managing director at Wachovia, which is part of Wells Fargo.
Top-tier firms, which Wachovia defined as those with profits per partner exceeding $1.8 million, saw gross revenue fall 8.2 percent. Net income at those firms also was down by 4.3 percent. The bulk of the top-tier firms were New York-based.
Total hours by attorneys at New York law firms fell 10 percent through the third quarter compared to 2008, Wachovia said. The hour drop-off was steeper than the legal industry as a whole, which experienced a 6.9 percent drop-off.
The survey was of 131 firms nationally, 50 percent coming from the Am Law 100 and with at least 10 in each region of the country, Grossman said.