Since Hanover Legal’s founding in 2000, we have together experienced traumas that have shaken the foundations of BigLaw including the bursting of the dot-com bubble, 9/11, Enron, WorldCom, a war in Iraq and a global financial crisis — but none has impacted BigLaw like Covid 19.
When Covid made its ugly debut a year and a half ago, BigLaw’s reaction was predictable; fat cutting in the form of hiring freezes and layoffs, shedding real estate, re-prioritizing practice strengths and reinvigorized courting of old reliable and potential paying clients. No pundit however imagined that the following year and a half would see record BigLaw revenue and profits and firms leaner, meaner, with more cash-in-hand then ever before. See, for example: https://www.berdonllp.com/the-pandemic-paradox-law-firm-profits-rise-despite-covid-19/.; and see https://www.law.com/americanlawyer/2021/01/25/the-lessons-and-implications-of-big-laws-stunning-2020-profitability/, and https://www.economist.com/business/2021/07/15/americas-elite-law-firms-are-booming.
Moreover, BigLaw attorneys have been happier and more productive then ever as well. By and large they are comfortable using the various video-meeting platforms and don’t miss business travel and schlepping into the office every day. And why would they? Video-meetings are more cost and time efficient and pose no risk of contracting highly contagious and potentially lethal diseases, and what can beat working from home? And if any attorney is unhappy with their current firm for whatever reason, the cherry on the cake is that lateral hiring is booming . See: https://www.law360.com/articles/1400812/lateral-hiring-plunged-in-2020-but-strong-rebound-underway, and https://www.americanbar.org/groups/journal/articles/2021/new-data-shows-lateral-associate-hiring-happening-across-the-board/, and https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business-and-practice/surging-in-big-cities-lateral-hiring-is-a-hunt-for-higher-rates.
So as we ask the age-old question “Who knew?” we express our continuing gratitude for being privileged to remain on this journey with our BigLaw clients and reiterate our commitment to assist in any way while we navigate during these interesting times.