LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL? -  As Law.com’s Brenda Sapino Jeffreys reports, revenue at law firms grew by 14% for the first nine months of 2021, continuing the pace set during the first half of the year, and far exceeding 6% growth during the same period in 2020, according to results of the Wells Fargo Legal Specialty Group Nine-Month 2021 Check-in Survey. “Firms continue to benefit from this ‘best of all worlds’ environment with almost everything going right: growth in demand, rates, and productivity—each up 6% or more, against generally easy comparisons a year ago,” the private bank wrote in a Monday press release. What could go wrong? Well… quite a lot, actually, according to another new survey by Thomson Reuters. As Law.com’s Andrew Maloney reports, among survey respondents—including C-suite professionals, pricing analysts and other business-minded firm leaders—recruiting and retaining talent, staff poaching and salary increases were the most commonly identified “high-risk” factors to firm profitability. Still, despite these challenges, optimism for the future remains high. “They identify a number of risks, and quite a few of them deem them to be large risks or high risks, but I think what we see in the duality of responses, they recognize that these are risks, but not necessarily existential,” Bill Josten, manager of enterprise content for Thomson Reuters, said.

UNNATURAL SELECTION - When your business model is such that choosing the wrong case could mean not getting paid for hundreds of hours of work, it’s advisable to get really good at choosing cases. Like, inhumanly good. With that in mind, as Law.com’s Christine Schiffner reports, fast-growing plaintiffs firms have embraced technology with a fervor rarely seen outside of Silicon Valley. Take national personal injury giant Morgan & Morgan, for example. “What we can do is to make the process objective, not subjective,” founder John Morgan said of Litify, the litigation processing technology his firm built and has come to heavily rely upon. The software forces lawyers at Morgan & Morgan to apply consistent standards across personal injury cases diminishing the risk of undervaluing cases at settlement. Other large plaintiffs firms, including Pond Lehocky Giordano, have also made use of Litify. Robins Kaplan, meanwhile, has its own case management software called Acumen. All this innovation within the personal injury bar could provide another key advantage beyond larger recoveries in individual cases. With a talent war impacting firms across the U.S., legal technology application at plaintiffs firms plays an important role when it comes to retention. “When new attorneys come into firms, this is going to matter—kids coming out of law school are not going to look through filing cabinets anymore,” said Tony Donofrio, CTO of Veritext Legal Solutions.

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