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Middle Market Legal Firms See Massive Growth

Sarah Steimer

The growth of middle market companies in the U.S. has outpaced the national average with an 87% increase in the number of firms, 100% increase in revenue and 103% increase in employment since 2011. 

A report from American Express and Dun & Bradstreet titled “Middle Market Power Index: A Detailed Look at Top Industries” found the growth in the number of middle market legal services companies increased 284% between 2011 and 2016. Middle market legal firms have also led in employment (+471%) and revenue (+432%). The report suggests that the majority of middle market enterprises are found in manufacturing (18%), wholesale trade (17%) and business services (11%). These three sectors also include several industry subcategories that are generating a particularly large amount of growth.

According to the report, younger middle market firms are more likely than those that have been in business for 50 years or more to be in business services; however, these older firms make up 25% of middle market legal services companies, compared to 2% of firms that have been in business for less than 10 years.

The Catalysts of Growth

The report is the sixth by American Express and D&B, and the second to focus on the time period after companies had a few years to digest the post-recession economy. Nalanda Matia, lead economist of econometrics solutions at Dun & Bradstreet, suggests the regulatory climate of this period may be one of the reasons legal firms have seen such growth.

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Sarah Steimer is a staff writer for the AMA's magazines and e-newsletters. She may be reached at ssteimer@ama.org or on Twitter at @sarah_steimer.