According to the “Firms in Transition Survey 2011” reported on Law360 on Tuesday “unproductive and underproductive partners” (read non-rainmakers) will be cut by 20% of the law firm responding to the Altman Weil (no follow) survey this year. The good news is that the percentage is less than the 33% of firms that cut partners last year.

On a separate note, it is also surprising how many law firm respondents don’t seem to get it. By that I mean:

  • 95% said they plan to raise hourly rates in the coming year (this is after 66% reported they “increased gross revenue in 2010). What are they thinking? Do they really believe that clients aren’t paying attention to these surveys? It’s beyond me; and
  • 75% of respondents “think that alternative fee arrangements will continue to increase,” and they “increasingly find themselves being forced (emphasize mine) to consider alternative fee arrangements to remain competitive.” Rather than being proactive (since clients are obviously more interested in AFAs), they are being “forced” to offer clients what the majority of firms recognize as inevitable. Baffling!

Interesting survey results to say the least.  But, most importantly, partners (especially those not doing much currently) need to be doing more business development for their own survival; and offering services and fee arrangements on terms clients want in order to become more productive in the marketing area. Otherwise, not only may they be “cut” off, they may crash and find themselves out of the race.