With the end of the year in focus, most law firms may well finish in line with their budget plans. But analysts and observers also described the end-of-year profitability picture in Big Law as “tepid,” “flat-ish” and “volatile,” with 2024 promising plenty of uncertainty as well.

Although the economy as a whole has continued to defy expectations, and multiple surveys suggest most law firms believe they’ll at least meet or beat expectations in 2023, firms that didn’t budget conservatively or those counting on a sterling fourth-quarter performance may be disappointed, consultants and firm leaders say.