The Leopard Solutions State of the Legal Industry Report Highlights a Year of Recalibration as the Industry Struggled to Adjust to Changes on Multiple Fronts.

March 7, 2023

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The Leopard Solutions State of the Legal Industry Report Highlights a Year of Recalibration as the Industry Struggled to Adjust to Changes on Multiple Fronts. 
Gender and Diversity composite remains flat while the road to partnership needs focus for long-term success. 

New York, NY, March 07, 2023— Legal Intelligence provider Leopard Solutions released its annual state of the legal industry report noting hiring an attorney movement across the industry in 2022 will provide a perspective of legal professional movements that can help predict the industry shifts for 2023.   

Leopard Solutions has been monitoring legal hiring for 20 years and have made available analysis, including attorney diversity changes, lateral and entry-level hires, law school data, mergers and acquisitions, attorney exits and retention, promotions, law firm growth and decline, and more. Legal industry leaders can utilize the data to adjust their business development, competitive intelligence, marketing, and recruiting strategies.  

“The state of the legal industry in 2022 saw a natural correction following the over-hiring during the pandemic,” said the CEO of Leopard Solutions, Laura Leopard. “Our data indicate a directional market correction in 2022 in response to the hiring frenzy of 2021. Law firms are recalibrating their needs and ought to create a solid 2023 strategy to stay competitive and ready for further market changes.”  

Key Findings 

  • The ethnic diversity of attorneys at the Top 200 firms overall increased by 2% over the past 12 months.  
  • Litigation is the largest practice area for hiring, while there is a dip in Corporate and M&A demand.  
  • There was a 1% increase in gender diversity among firm partnerships.  
  • The total number of entry-level hires declined by 33% in 2022 compared to 2021.  
  • 59% of those who were promoted to partner were men, compared to 41% of women being promoted to partner.  
  • The road to partnership is longer for entry-level associates, seeing 46% fewer promotions to partners than lateral hires in 2022.  

2022 was a mixed year with many hidden obstacles for firms to navigate. As the needs of their clients and the markets shifted, law firms needed to respond quickly to ensure practice areas were staffed accordingly. However, Leopard Solutions’ analysis shows that not focusing enough on gender and diversity hiring and having a well-built-out partnership roadmap may be detrimental to the law firm’s growth. 

“It takes a lot of investment from the firm side to get diverse talent into the pipeline. So, you want to protect your investment in every way in the future, such as by creating an inclusive environment that supports diverse attorneys. When you act not only for today but for the future, you are better off in creating systems that will deliver higher profitability levels for the firm.”  according to Carmen Kelley, Global Director of Lateral Recruiting, Morrison & Foerster LLP.  

Historical data in the report provides context and a glimpse of what lies ahead. Besides hiring trends, the analysis also points to the road to partnership growing longer and further out of reach is now causing unintended repercussions. Associates are now asking how long it takes at their firm and if it’s ‘worth it.’  The data can guide hiring, promotion, marketing, competitive intelligence, and business strategy.  Access report here. 

About Leopard Solutions
Leopard Solutions is a leading legal market intelligence provider for professionals seeking to build an analytical understanding for better business and recruiting strategies within the legal industry. 

Our diverse data solutions are designed to fulfill a wide variety of intelligence needs, from job searches to recruitment to competitive intelligence in the legal industry serving law firms, legal service providers, recruiters, law schools, and corporations. Leopard’s data and technology are continuously updated to ensure market relevance and a competitive edge. Established in 2002, Leopard Solutions has grown into one of the most recognized and trusted legal market data providers in the United States. We are proud to be a diverse employer and a certified Women’s Business Enterprise.  

For more information, visit our website and follow us on LinkedIn.