Issues in Realization

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There are three metrics that make up timekeeper revenue—demand, pricing, and realization. The recession ravaged all three of these metrics. Demand for lawyers’ services collapsed in some practice areas and weakened elsewhere. Rising hourly rates, once the driver of revenue growth with increases easily outstripping inflation and expense growth year over year, now barely match inflation. A decline in realization which had been very gradual over the long-term, accelerated and, combined with slowing price increases, has resulted in nearly no net gain on a realized rate basis. Much of these patterns continue as the profession transitions beyond the recession. This article examines realization more closely to aid firms in managing this economic lever.

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