Never has it been harder, or more crucial, to break out of the pack. Still smarting from the recession and facing fierce global competition, firms had been hoping for stability in 2011. What they gotas shown by the results of The American Lawyers ninth annual survey of managing partners, chairs, and other Am Law 200 firm leaderswas slow-paying clients, struggling transactional practices, and, if theyre lucky, the prospect of modest billing increases in the months ahead. Nearly a third of respondents expect their once-bustling corporate practices to be their most challenged practice group next year, a few said they anticipate a significant increase in deal flow in 2012. Many firms are also seeing collection times lengthen. One firm leader told us that 90 days is the new 30. For this we all know where to point the finger. The economy seemed to improve one day and deteriorate the next, creating uncertaintyand a host of challenges.
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