As with much of Prof. Henderson's work, I find the analysis both fascinating and frustrating. Fascinating because he clearly identifies some extremely important trends in the legal market such as the growth of in-house legal employment (Figure 2). Frustrating because - in my view at least - his data selection is at times puzzling. For example, is it unclear why one would compare the boom to the post-recession period to evaluate the long-term future of the legal profession. What may appear to be "irreversible structural shift" on the basis of such a comparison could merely be the legal service market returning to normalcy. Yet, Prof. Henderson uses the period from 2007 to 2012 to compare consumer legal spending (figure 5) and legal employment/ receipts (figure 1). In terms of the former, considering consumer legal spending over a much longer period of time does not support the view that the legal profession is at an inflection point. Rather, consumer spending on legal services went down in the aftermath of the recession (understandably) because cash-strapped households devoted their funds to other uses. However, as shown below, consumer spending has since rebounded.
I also do not believe that it is helpful to compare legal services to the healthcare or education sectors, largely because the government plays a much larger role in the latter two sectors. In any event, I encourage readers to review the report and form their own opinions.
(Click on the graph to enlarge it)