Thursday, July 16, 2009

Big Firms Are Looking To Family Law

The legal profession is taking a hit. Pink slips are flying, revenues are down, and practice areas such as banking and mergers and acquisitions have shriveled. In these tough times the "bigger firms" are looking for new income streams. Guess which practice area they are taking a look at? That's right, family law.

Once the bastion of solos and small firms, family law lawyers are now finding themselves competing for clients with the big boys. Instead of cross-referrals, old allies are now fighting for the same clients. This week I received an e-mail blast from one of these firms proclaiming the incredible success of its new family law department (having grown from two lawyers to five in the last three months). I also got my first call from a law firm recruiter offering a partnership track in the new family law department of a mid-size firm. Painfully in both instances I used to look to those firms for referrals....

Is it a passing trend? Perhaps. In my twenty years of practice I have seen several business downturns, and it has been common for other solos to temporarily foray into family law (only to take their lumps and get out once the economy improved). This new cycle is different, with established family law lawyers moving into the large firm environment. That suggests greater staying power. Now more than ever it is important for the traditional family law firms to focus on the delivery of quality legal services, and to focus on marketing.

Send me your thoughts and comments. Let me know if you are seeing the same trends in your practice area? Let me know if you think it will change our practices?

Please be sure to visit www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.

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