Is 41% employment growth over one year in the number of non-partner fee earners sustainable?

This is the percentage increase derived from The Australian’s statistics published on 5 July 2019. The growth in the numbers employed in law firms has displayed a consistent trend in both six month halves.

We previously estimated that partner numbers increased by a net 3% over the same period. The partner level increased by 3%, while at the same time, non-partner levels increased by 41%. It is quite a contrast.

It implies that law firm partners have had to increase staffing resources for the work that has been flowing in for them. 2018/19 was clearly a bumper financial year for many law firm partners.

Such a sudden increase is always at risk of unravelling just as quickly. The current weakness in the economy and reduction in employment advertising in both the legal sector and generally, may inevitably lead to some rationalisation of staffing.