Texas based law firms reporting lower revenues but higher rates

Texas-based law firms didn’t do nearly as well business-wise as those headquartered in other states,  according to a survey by Citi Private Bank’s law firm group.

In the first quarter, Texas firms reported a drop in revenues compared to gains nationwide, according to the survey. They also were unable  boost their hourly billing rates as much as out-of-state firms.

Revenue at law firms rose  4.9 percent nationwide during the first quarter  compared to the same period a year earlier, according to Citi. Firms headquartered in Texas, however, reported an 8.1 percent decline in first quarter revenue.

One reason for the disparity may be the aggressive effort many out-of-state firms launched to get their clients to pay their bills.

Texas firms did not push collections as much as  other firms did during the first quarter, said David Altuna, client advisor at Citi in New York City. Consequently, Texas based firms had more “inventory” — work that has been done but hasn’t yet been paid.

The increase in revenues nationwide was driven by higher billing rates which jumped 4 percent during the first quarter compared to one year earlier. For Texas-based firms, rates were up 3.7 percent.

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