Since 2001, the legal industry has been characterized by double-digit profit growth, strong demand, solid productivity and controlled expense growth. That all started to change in the second half of 2007, and now, the first half of 2008 looks very different from the previous six years.

In a trend that started last year, expense growth this year has stayed relatively high, driven largely by continued growth in lawyer head count. But revenue growth was the weakest it’s been in the seven years since we began tracking quarterly results. Demand for legal services was also the weakest seen in the period from 2001 to 2008.