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Legal Practices See Modest Improvement Continuing / CPAs Expect High Demand for Accounting Services

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Legal Practices See Modest Improvement Continuing
Kentucky’s legal service community sees the early stages of economic recovery and expects slow, gradual improvement in the economy to bring in more business. Some of that business will cleaning up the debris of the recession, such as in bankruptcies. Meanwhile, an uptick in construction is boosting ‘green’ practice, and the intellectual property category is expected to rise with the general economy.

Bill Hollander
Managing Partner
Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP
“We are optimistic about 2010. Work for our real estate/construction and corporate/securities service teams is picking up. Litigation continues to be in high demand and our intellectual property practice remains very active. Our bankruptcy/creditors’ rights work is steady. Healthcare remains very strong, and we expect it will get stronger as clients seek post-recession growth. We have reduced our costs significantly, focusing on providing good value for our clients.”

Chauncey S.R. Curtz
Managing Partner, Lexington
Dinsmore & Shohl
“Ongoing infrastructure investment and the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in September represent potential boosts to the economy. We see slow recovery and expect that to continue. Banks are making money available, and real estate and construction show tentative signs of improvement. Improvements in consumer confidence and the market should drive investment the next few quarters. Increased regulatory scrutiny, especially for the financial and natural resources sectors, will impact many businesses. Legislation governing employer/employee relationships is likely to have broad impacts. And changes to the country’s healthcare system would impact all businesses.”

James Frazier
Managing Partner
McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC
“Businesses are beginning to show indications of recovery from the recession, which has translated into more work flow for our corporate, intellectual property and real estate practices as compared to 2009. Bankruptcy, workouts and restructuring will continue to be the mantra for 2010. Clients will continue to challenge us to provide them greater value and will also continue to push for alternatives to traditional hourly fee billing such as result-oriented and flat-fee rates.”

Patrick R. Northam
Deputy Chairman
Greenebaum Doll & McDonald PLLC
“Client demand has been on the rise of late and access to corporate financing is slowly rebounding from the levels of 2008 and 2009. The introduction of new capital to the marketplace has led to increased activity in both our real estate and finance practices. Other areas showing considerable strength in 2010 include our tax, environmental, energy, natural resources and litigation practices.”

Kennedy Helm, III
Chairman of the Firm
Stites & Harbison
“Specific areas in which we expect to see growth are our ‘green law’ practice, medical device and pharmaceutical defense and patent prosecution and litigation. Healthcare will continue to expand as realignment and facility expansions continue. We also expect our creditors rights/bankruptcy practice to see high levels of demand from clients.”

David Smith
Managing Director,
Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC
“Stoll Keenon Ogden is ready for the continuing challenges that 2010 will bring. As this economic climate brings financial hardship to businesses everywhere, we’re focused on the fact that hard times can also bring the opportunity to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of our institution. Building client relationships by understanding the industries in which our clients conduct business, creating alternative billing options, and focusing on business development will enable our firm to flourish despite a harsh economy.”

John Crockett
Chairman
Frost Brown Todd LLC
“We see opportunities for growth in the need for legal services provided by firms that strategically deliver better value as defined by clients. Businesses that have historically paid New York, Chicago and West Coast rates are willing to consider firms with sophisticated practices who have lower cost structures and rates. Technology is making it easier for clients to seek these lower cost solutions. We think this trend will continue in 2010 despite the more favorable business
climate over last year.”

Spencer Noe
Partner
Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love LLP
“The economy is on the rise, but unemployment in Kentucky is still around 10.6 percent. This will continue to affect the practice of law in personal service matters being put on hold because people simply do not have the extra funds. Real estate sales and housing starts have made a small comeback; look for that to continue. Bankruptcy and bad debt collection and mortgage foreclosures should continue to be fairly strong for the coming year because many people are still upside-down on their mortgages.”

Mason L. Miller
Partner
Miller Wells PLLC
“With our expansion into the Louisville market, we anticipate our business and revenue will continue to double year over year as it has done since we first opened. Clients are no longer willing to tolerate a law firm that takes longer to achieve a task in the least efficient manner. Success today depends on leveraging technology and experience, not an army of young associates and the holy grail of the ‘billable hour.’”

CPAs Expect High Demand for Accounting Services
Kentucky’s accounting services industry leaders see 2010 as another somewhat difficult year but do believe the economy shows signs that it is improving. The state budget will make for a lean year for operations that work with the public sector. Everyone is keeping costs under tight control, waiting to see if there will be state or federal tax policy changes, and hoping that the consumer’s mood brightens.

Timothy Snavely
Managing Partner, Kentucky/Southern Indiana
BKD LLP
“In today’s economy, successful leaders plan for the worst, hope for the best and are prepared to take advantage of opportunities.
The past few years were about excess. Now, the challenges are to reconnect with basics such as expense control, liquidity and debt ratings, and regain our agility to take advantage of opportunities for sound growth and reinvestment. Our professionals are expected to provide value to our clients by
identifying strategies and solutions to help implement cost savings and profit improvement.”

Richard Dorton
President/CEO/Founder
Dean, Dorton & Ford PSC
“Though the economy is improving, we believe the recovery will be relatively slow in 2010. Credit remains tight, public funding will be limited and consumer confidence is still shaky. Most businesses will ‘proceed with caution,’ focusing on operational efficiency and strategic development to minimize the effects of today’s slow economy and position themselves for tomorrow’s recovery. Possible tax legislation and continued implementation of recently adopted fair-value accounting standards may also present challenges and opportunities for business and CPA firms in the year ahead.”

G. Alan Long
Managing Member
Baldwin CPAs PLLC
“Based upon what some of our clients are experiencing, I think that we will have improvement in the first two quarters of 2010 but the last six months of 2010 may be stagnant. I expect firms will see a modest increase overall during 2010 as increased regulation and tax issues will create additional work for accountants.”

Penny Gold
CEO
Kentucky Society of CPAs
“Now more than ever, businesses in Kentucky are turning to CPAs as trusted advisors to see them though these difficult times. Our members bring a host of education and skills in this regard, particularly in the areas of operational efficiencies, sustainability savings and internal controls to protect assets. Although the trend has been toward firm mergers, reflecting a consolidation or contraction of the accounting industry, the profession in Kentucky has not experienced the same level of economic decline as many sectors.“

Michael B. Mountjoy and Diane B. Medley
Co-Managing Partners
Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP
“Though Kentucky has not experienced the depth of recession that other areas of the country have, our state budget deficit will continue to financially impact 2010 as those who depend on state government funds will see no increases or reductions in their allocations. We see a push for tax reform at the state level and anticipate federal tax legislation to deal with the expiring tax cuts. On the horizon is the use of international accounting standards by U.S. companies, causing financial statement reporting method changes and bringing a new knowledge requirement for U.S. accountants.”

Steve Jennings
Partner, Lexington office
Crowe Horwath LLP
“While budget restraints remain a challenge, clients are looking to us for ways to strengthen their balance sheets and cash-flow positions. For companies unable to survive the financial meltdown, the need remains for bankruptcy and insolvency services. We expect 2010 to be an opportune year to rebuild from the difficult cost-cutting decisions made during the crisis and refocus on strategic initiatives and growth.”

Phil Gregory
Managing Partner
PricewaterhouseCoopers
“Whether the skies clear in 2010 will depend on the mood of the consumer as well as the attitude of the financial community. Will they chance lending again in an uncertain economic environment? It is clear more choppy weather is in the forecast. My long-term prediction is for cloudy skies the first half of 2010, followed by partly sunny days for the rest of 2010.”

Jennifer Hughes
President
Deming, Malone, Livesay & Ostroff
“It appears that the worst is over.
However, we see businesses continuing to be cautious about controlling expenses and monitoring labor costs.
We are beginning to see increased opportunities for our services due to projects and initiatives delayed in a weak economy starting to come to fruition. Uncertainty of healthcare reform and the likelihood of higher tax rates will drive many decisions for 2010.”

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