With hopes for a very good year after the strong start to 2020, the impact of the coronavirus on first-half legal industry performance is clear, particularly on demand levels. However, with the challenging second quarter now behind us, the six-month results are largely positive, as a result of the strong rate and revenue growth we saw in the first quarter, the focus on collection of strong first-quarter inventory levels, and expense curtailment across the industry. Looking ahead, we expect that the second half will be under pressure. The demand environment is likely to remain challenging, especially as growth will be measured from a stronger second half seen in 2019. And firms are telling us that they are concerned about the ability to collect already slowed inventory growth. While 2020 will benefit from the favorable first-half results, the ability to focus on collections and margins will be key to ensuring a favorable end to the year.

These results are based on a sample of 196 firms (79 Am Law 100 firms, 49 Second Hundred firms and 68 niche/boutique firms). Forty-two of these firms fit our definition of either international (less than 25% but more than 10% of lawyers based outside the United States) or global (at least 25% of lawyers based outside the United States). Citi Private Bank provides financial services to more than 700 U.S. and U.K. law firms and more than 50,000 individual lawyers. Each quarter, the Law Firm Group confidentially surveys firms in the Am Law 100 and the Second Hundred, along with smaller firms. In addition, we conduct a more detailed annual survey and semiannually produce the Law Firm Leaders Confidence Index. These reports, together with extensive discussions with law firm leaders, provide a comprehensive overview of current financial trends in the industry as well as forward-looking insight.

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