The legal industry is in the midst of a fundamental shift as the United States’ largest law firms continue to confront the challenges posed by decreased demand for their services, outsized expenses stemming from years of growth and rate pressures from emboldened clients. This is the conclusion presented in the 2010 Client Advisory released this week by the consultants at Hildebrandt Baker Robbins and the Citi Private Bank division of Citigroup Inc.

“Managing law firms has been about managing growth and expansion, [but] now, firms have to take more seriously how to deliver legal services in the most efficient and cost-effective way,” says James Jones, a managing director at Hildebrandt involved in producing the report.

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