In the second year of the pandemic, there was a lot lawyers didn’t do: commute to the office, shoot the breeze at the watercooler, go out to lunch and travel to meet clients. Continued isolation coincided with a magnificent year for capital markets that drove historic demand for transactional lawyers and ancillary practices. So, without variation in their daily lives, Am Law 100 lawyers billed more. Way more.
The reasons for the demand surge and the costs of the talent war have been well documented. Now, though, we have the data to describe the work rate of the nation’s top firms, which helps tell the story of how so many blew past their revenue and profitability budgets. It also signals what may happen when turbocharged demand falters. If the softening lateral market is any indication, it’s already happening.