Managing partners reported record low confidence levels in the overall health of the economy and the business conditions for the legal profession in a survey released today by Citi Private Bank.
Citi’s Law Watch Managing Partner Confidence Index has measured confidence in the legal market for the past year and a half. Though the indices released in previous quarters have also shown falling confidence, the latest report reveals the most dismal results to date.
According to the 2008 fourth quarter findings, managing partners’ confidence in the economy at large has plunged to a record low of 38 on the index, which ranges from 0 to 200. Managing partners ranked their confidence in the legal business environment at 53. Those numbers are particularly disheartening when compared to the results from a year ago. In Citi’s 2007 fourth quarter index, managing partners ranked their confidence in the economy at large at 69, and their confidence in the legal business market at 78.
Managing partners also ranked their expectations for profits, revenue, and client demand in the coming year. All three of those indices fell sharply as well, with respective scores of 70, 83, and 97.
Interestingly, Citi reports that despite their dismal overall projections, managing partners remain consistently more confident about the financial prospects at their own firms, claiming they can buck the trend.