Seasonality of Law Practice

By John B. Swift posted 01-04-2021 08:57


When I was in college, I spent most of my summers working 6-7 days a week for landscaping companies. It was a job that was by its very nature almost wholly dependent on the weather. We worked long hours in the summer, much like a squirrel, trying to sock away as much money as possible for the winter. Many professions are seasonal like this, but I was surprised to find that practicing law is really no different. Of course, certain areas of practice are much more date driven than others, such as tax law. Family law traditionally has an increase in divorce filings after the holidays. Even real estate practice had certain ebbs and flows through the year for things like property tax appeals and a regular uptick in evictions just after the 7th of the month. During the mortgage crisis, we also saw seasonal moratoriums on foreclosures during the holidays.

Experienced lawyers know how to plan for these ebbs and flows and can focus marketing efforts appropriately to minimize the impact of the slower parts of the year. However, those plans are almost always based on what happened in prior years. As everyone has seen, however, 2020 has been nothing like prior years. Most of the attorneys I’ve spoken to during the year have reported that while their practice has changed, they are as busy as ever, if not more so. It appears that in planning for 2021 lawyers will need to be flexible as they try to figure out what has changed about the seasons of their practice areas.