It's the fourth quarter, which in the legal industry means collections season. And while law firm leaders have said they have focused on improving their collections cycle, most still said to call back come Jan. 1 for any clear picture of the year's finances.

The makeup of Ballard Spahr's inventory and accounts receivable is part of the reason firm chairman Mark Stewart said he is optimistic about the year-end collections push.

"The quality of the receivables looks a little better this year than last year," Stewart said.

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Mark Stewart