Citibank’s 2011 Mid-Year Survey of Law Firms: Instead of Giving Its Customers New Toasters, Citi is Telling Many of its Law Firm Customers that They May Become Toast If They’re Not Careful


The classical definition of a consultant is somebody who takes off your watch and tells you what time it is.

Citibank’s annual midyear report gives true meaning to that metaphor. The top notch folks at Citibank, the world’s largest lender and banker to law firms, has the ultimate insider’s view of what is actually happening in the profession. Lawyers may be able to dissemble to AmLaw, their partners, potential lateral candidates, their clients, their spouses and perhaps even to themselves. But when they enter into Citibank’s confessional, law firms provide the unvarnished truth. Moreover, having served the legal profession for at least five decades and having seen law firms come up with all kinds of legerdemain, Citibank has the unique ability to see right through the smoke and mirrors.

Thus, Citibank’s midyear report provides one of the best analyses of what is actually happening in the market. The Citibank 2011 midyear report is most enlightening not only for what it says, but also for some of the topics it doesn’t completely address. The report is also replete with a few too many oxymorons and some hopeful, but unwarranted, euphemistic prognostications for the months to come. There is much to learn from the Citibank report, some of which does require a degree of exegetical analysis.

Citibank may no longer be giving its customers new toasters, but it is warning, quite elegantly and with extreme finesse and diplomacy that some law firms may very well be toast very soon.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Jerome Kowalski, Kowalski & Associates | Attorney Advertising

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