Litigation Driving Demand

As our nation enters its 10th week of Covid-19 shutdown and BigLaw continues to take action to preserve cash flow, many firms are also investing in talent to support practices that are in strong demand. 

While real estate, corporate, M&A, and tax have, in most firms, grinded to a halt, litigation is definitely up.  We are watching closely to prepare for the time when demand for transactional work reemerges. The landscape for corporate might be very different then. 

Today, however, we see a rush of financially-stable firms growing to meet the needs of clients in multiple sectors and practice areas.     

Major Retailers File for Bankruptcy Protection

Retail, the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer after health care, cut 2.1 million jobs in April.  A dozen major retailers, including J. Crew and Neiman Marcus, have filed for bankruptcy protection in recent weeks. Other big chains like J.C. Penney, which employs 85,000 people, are expected to follow.

Firms with strong restructuring practices are moving quickly to staff cases, some even expressing difficulty in finding enough senior and mid-level lawyers to meet their needs. M&A lawyers who can transition to work in a counter-cyclical way will be busy.

Litigation Expected as We Reopen the Economy

As dozens of Governors begin to relax shutdown orders win uneven and awkward ways, legal fallout will be felt for years. Lawyers representing corporate America, insurers, individual plaintiffs, and classes will debate in courtrooms across the nation who is to blame if employees contract the virus? Or if employees can be forced to work in dangerous conditions.

Before the executive order, meat processor Smithfield Foods already faced a lawsuit for unsafe conditions at a plant in Missouri, alleging that the company provided its employees insufficient protective equipment and didn’t allow for social distancing. 

We will look at other market demands for litigators in our next post.


Ellen Musante