The 2017 Legal Trends Report

Industry data to drive your legal practice

Download the report Read the 2018 report

Data has become the world’s most valuable commodity. Yet, for as long as the legal profession has been around, lawyers have lacked the data necessary to making smart decisions about the future of their practice.

That’s what’s driving this report—the most comprehensive, in-depth analysis of the legal industry to date. Using aggregate and anonymized data from Clio, the most widely-used legal practice management software, supplemented by large-scale research surveys, the 2017 Legal Trends Report investigates some of the most pressing issues that ultimately determine success for law firms.

In this report, you’ll learn:

  • What takes lawyers away from doing billable work?
  • What makes clients hire one lawyer over another?
  • What goals should firms set for their practice?

Digging deeper into the data

Last year, the Legal Trends Report established the most comprehensive system for recording average hourly rates for law firms across the United States. This year—in addition to providing average industry rates for individual states and the United States as a whole—the report includes unique insights on lawyers, non-lawyers, and law firms.

This year’s report also looks at year-over-year comparisons between legal professionals working in urban and rural locations, and includes average rates for the 10 largest US metropolitan areas.

Dig deep into this year's data
Dig deep into this year's data Dig deep into this year's data

How do lawyers spend their time?

Last year, the Legal Trends Report also introduced three key performance indicators—utilization, realization, and collection rates—to measure how much of a lawyer's workday contributes to actual earnings. Perhaps the most important finding in this report is that lawyers spend only 2.3 hours (29% of an 8-hour workday) on billable tasks.

To learn more about why lawyers aren't able to dedicate more of their day to billable work, Clio conducted a deeper investigation into how lawyers spend their time, surveying nearly 3,000 legal professionals.

What was the result? Read the report to learn more about daily administrative challenges and the struggle to find new clients.

See where law firms struggle
Learn what clients want Learn what clients want

What do clients look for in a lawyer?

Finding clients is a key concern for any law firm—one that requires a major investment in both time and money. Knowing what clients are looking for can help make firms more effective, and efficient, in finding them.

To learn more about what makes a client hire one lawyer over another, the report looks at more than 2,000 survey responses from consumers, uncovering insights into these critical questions:

  • How do clients look for legal representation?
  • What factors into their decision to hire a lawyer?
  • How will future trends affect client expectations?
Learn what clients want

Setting targets for success

Firms that don't set targets don't achieve their goals. Yet, survey data reveals:

  • Only 54% of legal professionals can estimate their annual billings for 2017.
  • Only 40% of firms that track time have hourly billing targets.
  • Only 50% of legal professionals can bill a case based on a set budget.

This year's report looks at how estimating case values based on practice area and seasonality can help law firms determine how much to charge, how to balance expenses, and how to be smarter about finding clients.

Measure your practice
Measure your practice Measure your practice

The most comprehensive look at the legal industry

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The Legal Trends Report 2017 The Legal Trends Report 2017