<img height="1" width="1" alt="" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1482979731924517&amp;ev=PixelInitialized">

The Litigation Consulting Report

2013: a Good Year for Litigators and Litigation Support Consultants?

Posted by Ken Lopez on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 @ 08:15 AM

litigation support consultants lawyers forecast 2013 businessby Ken Lopez
Founder & CEO
A2L Consulting

These are times of economic uncertainty - or are they?

I believe that litigation support consultants and lawyers, especially leaders of medium and large law firms, can use a simple economic forecasting tool to better plan staffing and business needs. If you use this tool, you will likely know when business is going to turn up, and when it is going to turn down, well before most of your peers.

Steve Jobs, my business idol, famously quoted hockey player Wayne Gretzky when he said, "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been." Obviously, Apple has done that better than any other firm in the world.

But if you are running a practice group or even a global law firm, how do you know where the puck is going to be, in a time when everyone seems to be asking fundamental questions about the billable hour, lockstep compensation and the use of associates on big cases? Part of the answer lies in accurate business forecasting.

I earned an economics degree before law school, and ultimately that passion was part of the reason I founded A2L Consulting 17 years ago. While I love the litigation consulting work that we do, as it is an honor to work side by side with the best in the legal industry on a daily basis, I also love business. To win at business, you have to know something about predicting the future.

Click here to Download a Free Litigation E-Book

Managing partners and executive committee members at large law firms rely on excellent legal industry analyses such as those from Hildebrandt and Citi's Law Watch. This recent article in the AmLaw Daily quoting the team at Citi does a great job of summing up current economic conditions.

As great as these tools are, answering the simple question of whether business is going to get better or worse is difficult for most - principally because there is just too much data and too many variables to consider.

So, what if I told you there is a free and easy-to-use tool that both law firm managers and litigation support consultants could use to accurately predict economic conditions six to nine months from now? When I say accurate, I mean it. The Economic Cycle Research Institute is widely considered one of the best economic forecasting groups in the world. The tool that I am encouraging you to use is their Weekly Leading Index of economic growth rates.

I use this tool weekly and find it so valuable because of the nature of our business - which happens to be highly correlated to broader economic conditions.

While A2L serves law firms and cases of all sizes, the majority of our work involves consulting with the top litigators at the top law firms with their top clients. For the most part, these clients are Fortune 500 companies. And, are you ready for this shocking statistic? Fortune 500 revenues make up about 73% of the total economy!

Thus, if you know where the economy is headed, you know where Fortune 500s are generally headed, and if your business is closely tied to Fortune 500 performance (like, for example, a large law firm), you can look at ECRI's Weekly Leading Index of economic growth rates to know where your business is headed.

Let's take a look at ECRI's free chart covering one year of data to understand how it works. If you happen to be looking at this article well after the publication date, click on the chart and you'll be taken to the page with the most current version from ECRI.

litigation support consultants industry growth forecast tool

The green line is the prediction tool (a leading indicator) that you want to focus on if you plan to watch this in the future.  It tells us that for the date shown at the bottom, economic growth will be some degree of positive (above zero) or negative (below zero) six to nine months in the future. The further from zero, the more significant the growth or contraction.

The blue line shows what actually happened for the date shown. This is called a coincident indicator. So, looking at the blue line, as the Citi report suggests and as my managing partner friends confirm, most large law firms have experienced a mild downturn beginning in April of this year.

Turning back to the green line, where the real magic happens, this leading indicator suggests that beginning 6-9 months from July 2012, we will see a distinct upturn in economic growth. So, whether that is January or March, it turns out that 2013 is really looking up for the broader economy - regardless of who is elected in a few weeks.

To put this mini-upturn in perspective, take a look a much longer time period to understand whether this will feel like a significant upturn.

litigation support consultants law firm business growth

If you squint at the green line, you can see this growth upturn at the far right of the chart and compare it to other upturns since 1975. So, I can't say how sustained it will be or how high it will go yet. However, there is a strong and noticeable trend here that suggests brighter business conditions for law firms and litigation support consultants alike.

How does all this work, and how can you trust this information? Well, I suggest you read ECRI's very compelling and unusually accessible book, Beating the Business Cycle, that describes how hundreds of economic statistics are combined into one composite leading indicator. If future economic conditions are important for you to know about, I promise you'll love this book.

Other valuable information for litigation support consultants and litigators from A2L:

  Click here to download free eBook The Antitrust Litigation Trial Guide

Tags: Economics, Litigation Consulting, Litigation Management, Litigation Support, Management, Leadership, In-House Counsel

Confidential A2L Consulting Conflicts Check Form

Join 8,800 Subscribers and Get Notified of New Articles Every Week

Watch Now: Using PowerPoint Litigation Graphics to Win - Webinar

using powerpoint litigation graphics

Free Litigation Webinars - Watch Now

ryan flax a2l litigation consultants webinar recorded

patent litigation webinar free litigation graphics demonstrative

Featured E-Book: The Patent Litigator's Guide to Trial Presentation & Trial Preparation

patent litigation ebook 3rd edition

Featured Free Download: The Complex Civil Litigation Trial Guide

a2l consultants complex civil litigation trial guide download

Free Webinar - Integrating Expert Evidence & Winning Arguments - Watch Anytime.

expert witness teach science complex subject courtroom webinar

Nationally Acclaimed - Voted #1 Jury Research Firm and #1 Demonstrative Evidence Firm in the U.S.

voted best demonstrative evidence consultants

A2L best demonstrative trial graphics consultants
best demonstrative evidence litigation graphics consultants

Download the (Free) Storytelling for Litigators E-Book

describe the image

Considering Using a Trial Technician at Your Next Trial? Download this first.

trial technicians trial technology atlanta houston new york boston virginia

Featured Free Download: Using Science to Prevail in Your Next Case or Controversy

using science to win at trial litigation jury

Featured FREE A2L E-Book: Using Litigation Graphics Persuasively

using litigation graphics trial graphics trial presentation consultants

Free Jury Consulting & Trial Consulting Guidebook for Litigators

jury consulting trial consultants guide

Timelines Appear In Most Trials - Learn how to get the most out of using trial timelines in this ebook

trial timelines graphics consultants litigators

Featured Complimentary eBook - The 100-page Antitrust Litigation Guide

antitrust ebook a2l litigation consultants

Featured Complimentary eBook - Leadership Lessons for Litigators and Litigation Support

leadership lessons litigation law firms litigation support

Featured E-Book: The Environmental Litigator's Guide to Trial Presentation & Prep

environmental litigation trial presentation trial prep ebook a2l


KenLopez resized 152

Ken Lopez founded A2L Consulting in 1995. The firm has since worked with litigators from all major law firms on more than 10,000 cases with over $2 trillion cumulatively at stake.  The A2L team is comprised of psychologists, jury consultants, trial consultants, litigation consultants, attorneys and information designers who provide jury consulting, litigation graphics and trial technology.  Ken Lopez can be reached at lopez@A2LC.com.


Tony Klapper joined A2L Consulting after accumulating 20 years of litigation experience while a partner at both Reed Smith and Kirkland & Ellis. Today, he is the Managing Director of Litigation Consulting and General Counsel for A2L Consulting. Tony has significant litigation experience in products liability, toxic tort, employment, financial services, government contract, insurance, and other commercial disputes.  In those matters, he has almost always been the point person for demonstrative evidence and narrative development on his trial teams. Tony can be reached at klapper@a2lc.com.

dr laurie kuslansky jury consultant a2l consulting

Laurie R. Kuslansky, Ph.D., Managing Director, Trial & Jury Consulting, has conducted over 400 mock trials in more than 1,000 litigation engagements over the past 20 years. Dr. Kuslansky's goal is to provide the highest level of personalized client service possible whether one's need involves a mock trial, witness preparation, jury selection or a mock exercise not involving a jury. Dr. Kuslansky can be reached at kuslansky@A2LC.com.

Articles by Category

Follow A2L Consulting

Member Red Well Blog
ABA Blawg 100 2013 7th annual

Follow Us on Google+

A2L on Google+