The report, which relied on data current through 2010′s third quarter, pointed to slimmer partner ranks, alternative billing models, and outsourcing as potential ways for firms to keep their operations austere in uncertain times. After a two-year lull in demand for legal services, the report’s author, James Jones, told the Am Law Daily that the market had stabilized but that firms wouldn’t see substantial growth unless the demand for legal service increased to pre-recession levels.

On Friday, Hildebrandt issued its latest Peer Monitor Index Report and the picture it paints is a bit rosier. Examining data from last year’s fourth quarter, the report reveals that demand actually rose for the first time since the recession began. Though the increase was small–just 1 percent compared to the same period last year–it was nonetheless an encouraging sign.