The end of 2012 saw increased optimism among law firm managing partners, whose renewed faith in the overall economy mirrored gains in their confidence in business conditions for the legal profession.
That's according to the latest Law Watch Managing Partner Confidence Index survey, released Monday by Citi Private Bank's Law Firm Group. The survey (available online as a PDF here) covers the fourth quarter of 2012 and is based on responses from 77 firm leaders who answered questions about their overall confidence, as well as their confidence in 10 specific areas. The answers are plotted on a 200-point index, with 100 representing a neutral opinion and 200 representing absolute confidence.
Participating firm leaders' overall confidence in the fourth quarter checked in at an average score of 115, a 13-point increase from the previous quarter. The largest number of respondents, 44 percent, said their overall confidence remained unchanged since the third quarter, while 34 percent said they felt "somewhat better." Seven percent of those surveyed said they felt "considerably better," while three percent said they felt "considerably worse," and 12 percent answered "somewhat worse."
The results represent a marked difference in the opinions expressed by managing partners just six months ago. In September, The Am Law Daily reported on the waning confidence of firm leaders, as evidenced by Citi's survey covering last year's second quarter.
Meanwhile, respondents' confidence in the broader economy jumped 18 points in the fourth quarter, to 119, while confidence in business conditions for the legal profession also saw an 18-point increase, rising to 113. Firm leaders remain confident when it comes to demand for legal services, as that metric sat at 149 after a 12-point increase in the fourth quarter.