Just over five years after the start of the global financial crisis, the job of an Am Law 200 law firm leader arguably remains as tough as it has ever been. The painful decisions to cut staff and attorneys may now be a distant memory, at least for most firms, but there remain two distinct drags on Big Law businesses.

On the one hand, you have the still-sputtering domestic and global economies, prone to macroeconomic shocks like the U.S. government shutdown in October. And on the other, you have the ongoing shift in the way that clients purchase legal services, with more work pushed to cheaper suppliers, hoarded in-house, or fought over by a pack of U.S., international and global firms. In this market, merely treading water can be hard enough.

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