2020 Australia: State of the Legal Market Report

How is the Australian legal market performing during the ongoing pandemic? No guessing is needed to answer this commonly asked question. Simply pore over the 2020 Australia: State of the Legal Market Report for fascinating cuts of legal market insights.

Leading with exclusive data from Peer Monitor and Acritas, decision-makers in the profession will undoubtedly find the highly anticipated annual resource a page-turner. As is the tradition, Thomson Reuters was delighted to partner again with Eric Chin, Principal of Alpha Creates and Joel Barolsky, the Managing Director Barolsky Advisors for this special report.

Market snapshot

Australian legal profession the high achiever

The local market is showing signs of resilience compared to other major markets such as the UK and US. As the report has highlighted:

“It is important to recognise just how well the Australian market performed relative to other major global markets.”

Peer Monitor on page three of the State of the Legal Market Report

“Most of the global response to the virus outbreak occurred in the final three months of the financial year, and demand contractions were the norm at law firms the world over—everywhere, that is, except Australia.”

According to Peer Monitor insights, demand in the legal market contracted by 5.9% in the United States during the same period that demand grew in Australia by an average of 6.2%. Head to pages three and four of the report to examine why this might have been the case.

Bump in worked rates among Partners

Worked rates detected between different lawyer titles has changed dramatically during the pandemic. There has been a shift in Partners serving their clients for more hours per month than less experienced Associates, as seen in the rate growth figures.

“In the fourth quarter of 2020, Associate utilisation remained flat compared to last year, whereas there was a notable increase of nine hours per month in the Partner ranks,” noted the report.

One may wonder what unique circumstances have prompted this pivot to an uptick in hours worked by Partners. A Peer Monitor law firm data contributor shared the following observation:

“We’re seeing clients want more Partner time now and more access to Partners than ever before. Maybe it’s because of the strategic nature of the work, or because they’ve realised that having a quick conversation with a Partner is all they need to get them the comfort they’re after. So [in the future] I think you’ll end up with more pressure around the Partner/Grad model, especially with the use of technology.”

Download your complimentary copy of the report to access the key points validating this trend and many others seen industry-wide.


Thomson Reuters gratefully acknowledges the participation of the following persons in the preparation of this Report: from Alpha Creates – Eric Chin, Principal; from Barolsky Advisors – Joel Barolsky, Managing Director; and from Thomson Reuters – Joe Blackwood, Senior Analyst – Thought Leadership, Isaac Brooks, Analyst – Peer Monitor, Lucy Leach, Technical Research Manager, and David Johnson, Senior Client Relations Manager.

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