Biglaw doing well during covid?

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Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:29 pm

Seeing overall headlines of doom and gloom but then also seeing stories of firms scaling back austerity measures and even hiring in some instances. anybody have firsthand knowledge of firms doing well the past 4-5 months?

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by objctnyrhnr » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:00 pm

I’ll provide a data point

I’m a well regarded general lit midlevel at a no cut firm in the General v25 vicinity. One of those short list of firms that we thought might be able to get away without cutting due to rep/performance, but you’re still very pleasantly surprised when you get confirmation there won’t be cuts or layoffs. (Ie not top of the top but still quite solid)

This summer I’ve been busier than I have ever been. It’s almost like things slowed way down in early spring and now I’m doing what would normally have to be done plus making up for the lag from early spring due to extended court deadlines, client reticence to invest in litigation/investigations, and the like.

I’d say my lowest month was maybe 175 billables in april. Since then it’s been like 195-230.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:17 pm

Very firm/practice group specific. I do capital markets at a firm with a strong restructuring practice and 230 hour months sounds like a dream right now given the last five months. Most people in my office and group are in the same boat.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:34 pm

Don't have any direct evidence on this, but I am guessing that some of the firms that had to more aggressively lay off employees were destined to be doing so in the near future even without the virus

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:34 pm
Don't have any direct evidence on this, but I am guessing that some of the firms that had to more aggressively lay off employees were destined to be doing so in the near future even without the virus
Is it worse if firms do the layoffs that were gonna happen anyway in this period? Or is it neutral? I know students won’t really care much anyway but curious on people’s thoughts.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by objctnyrhnr » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:37 pm

I think a bunch of these firms effed up when they moved to 190k scale when they couldn’t afford it. Lower level amlaw100 firms should have accepted their second-tiering earlier (ie stayed at old scale) or merged with another shop or something. Now their associates are suffering. And I think they’ll suffer more in the long run.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:44 pm

Midlevel in the life sciences group at a V40. I’ve been averaging about 250 a month since the pandemic started. Combined with WFH it’s brutal AF and there is no end in sight.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:44 pm
Midlevel in the life sciences group at a V40. I’ve been averaging about 250 a month since the pandemic started. Combined with WFH it’s brutal AF and there is no end in sight.
Goodwin? If so, I'm surprised they stealthed such a big chunk of this group. Anon bc I work there.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:52 am

Life sciences midlevel at a V20 - our group hasn't seen any slowdown. Annualizing around 2200 and that's after taking a few weeks off.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:03 pm

My firm has been doing alright, albeit in different areas than expected. Not as much bankruptcy demand as initially anticipated, corporate is way above what was first expected, and litigation is actually the laggard (offices we're heaviest in lit in have been hit the hardest with closures, trial delays, etc.). March and April were way off, I think, but offset by a strong January/February and demand has picked back up to the point where everything is more or less back to normal, for now. I think there is still a lot of uncertainty in the future, but for now things look ok. Certainly, the slowdown in no way justified the official cutbacks (paycuts, hours reductions for staff, high pressure for associates to reduce hours), but anything to protect PPP I guess.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:34 pm

A data point: my firm (widely known as a litigation powerhouse) is very slow, to the point where associates are at around 50%-60% hours based on 2019. Lots of people have left, and more are leaving. But the firm cares about its PR enough to tout how it went ahead with its summer associate program and is bringing on new associates in the fall. We're not sure what these people will have to work on, to be honest. But no salary cuts or layoffs. Which may not be sustainable if things don't pick up in the late summer or fall.

(To be fair, it's also hard to tell whether we're slow because we used to do very high-profile litigation that was expensive and that clients aren't interested in anymore because of the pandemic, or because the firm itself just doesn't have that business generation capability anymore.)

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:38 pm

My firm data point -- Midlevel litigation associate. Firm is known as NY Elite. Litigation overall is slow (it was extremely slow between March-June) but things are starting to pick up. Most of the work is advisory and we've even branched out to low-margin work that we normally don't take on. We're getting a lot of billing pressure from clients. Most associates are doing busywork. Because of PR issue, we've extended offer to the full class of summer associates and all incoming associates are onboarding. Not sure what they'll work on though, since we don't have enough work to go around. Some pockets have work, but the work is not evenly distributed and not our "bread and butter" litigation. Partners are going on pitches but failing to generate business. The firm also offered a payout to staff and quietly asking staff to leave. Suspicious departures at the midlevel ranks. I personally am leaving, because I see the writing on the wall.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:45 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:44 pm
Midlevel in the life sciences group at a V40. I’ve been averaging about 250 a month since the pandemic started. Combined with WFH it’s brutal AF and there is no end in sight.
Goodwin? If so, I'm surprised they stealthed such a big chunk of this group. Anon bc I work there.
Goodwin EC/VC midlevel here - I have no idea why we stealthed people, but hours on the West Coast have been absolutely brutal - I'm on my 5th straight month above 250 and had 3 straight months over 300 within that span. Keep hearing that people on the East Coast are looking for work, so no idea why the West Coast seems to be hoarding work. Seriously considering just quitting and doing something else.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:38 pm
My firm data point -- Midlevel litigation associate. Firm is known as NY Elite. Litigation overall is slow (it was extremely slow between March-June) but things are starting to pick up. Most of the work is advisory and we've even branched out to low-margin work that we normally don't take on. We're getting a lot of billing pressure from clients. Most associates are doing busywork. Because of PR issue, we've extended offer to the full class of summer associates and all incoming associates are onboarding. Not sure what they'll work on though, since we don't have enough work to go around. Some pockets have work, but the work is not evenly distributed and not our "bread and butter" litigation. Partners are going on pitches but failing to generate business. The firm also offered a payout to staff and quietly asking staff to leave. Suspicious departures at the midlevel ranks. I personally am leaving, because I see the writing on the wall.
Can you please be a little more specific as to which firm? Like Vault ranking? I'm a summer at a NY Biglaw firm and am a little concerned.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:14 am

I work at a top patent litigation group. We are doing amazingly well. So well that I am about to quit due to how absurd my hours have been the past few months.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:38 pm
My firm data point -- Midlevel litigation associate. Firm is known as NY Elite. Litigation overall is slow (it was extremely slow between March-June) but things are starting to pick up. Most of the work is advisory and we've even branched out to low-margin work that we normally don't take on. We're getting a lot of billing pressure from clients. Most associates are doing busywork. Because of PR issue, we've extended offer to the full class of summer associates and all incoming associates are onboarding. Not sure what they'll work on though, since we don't have enough work to go around. Some pockets have work, but the work is not evenly distributed and not our "bread and butter" litigation. Partners are going on pitches but failing to generate business. The firm also offered a payout to staff and quietly asking staff to leave. Suspicious departures at the midlevel ranks. I personally am leaving, because I see the writing on the wall.
Can you please be a little more specific as to which firm? Like Vault ranking? I'm a summer at a NY Biglaw firm and am a little concerned.
It's one of the top 2. It's well known in the industry that we are unusually slow compared to our peers.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:14 am
I work at a top patent litigation group. We are doing amazingly well. So well that I am about to quit due to how absurd my hours have been the past few months.
Are you at a big law firm or a boutique? What market? Asking because I'm interested in that practice as well and want to gauge how it's doing.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:57 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:14 am
I work at a top patent litigation group. We are doing amazingly well. So well that I am about to quit due to how absurd my hours have been the past few months.
Are you at a big law firm or a boutique? What market? Asking because I'm interested in that practice as well and want to gauge how it's doing.
Boutique in a major market. My firm works for many large tech companies, so the bills are still being paid and new work is coming in.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:26 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:57 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:14 am
I work at a top patent litigation group. We are doing amazingly well. So well that I am about to quit due to how absurd my hours have been the past few months.
Are you at a big law firm or a boutique? What market? Asking because I'm interested in that practice as well and want to gauge how it's doing.
Boutique in a major market. My firm works for many large tech companies, so the bills are still being paid and new work is coming in.
Thanks! Glad to hear it's a hot practice area for those types of firms. I guess large tech companies don't really have a choice but to defend themselves against lawsuits, pandemic/recession or not.

Are you actually planning on quitting or was that tongue in cheek? What are your hours like these days?

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:33 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:38 pm
My firm data point -- Midlevel litigation associate. Firm is known as NY Elite. Litigation overall is slow (it was extremely slow between March-June) but things are starting to pick up. Most of the work is advisory and we've even branched out to low-margin work that we normally don't take on. We're getting a lot of billing pressure from clients. Most associates are doing busywork. Because of PR issue, we've extended offer to the full class of summer associates and all incoming associates are onboarding. Not sure what they'll work on though, since we don't have enough work to go around. Some pockets have work, but the work is not evenly distributed and not our "bread and butter" litigation. Partners are going on pitches but failing to generate business. The firm also offered a payout to staff and quietly asking staff to leave. Suspicious departures at the midlevel ranks. I personally am leaving, because I see the writing on the wall.
Can you please be a little more specific as to which firm? Like Vault ranking? I'm a summer at a NY Biglaw firm and am a little concerned.
It's one of the top 2. It's well known in the industry that we are unusually slow compared to our peers.

Top 2 in terms of Vault overall? That would = Cravath, because sure as shit WLRK isn't having any problems, lol. Pretty scary if Cravath is having these problems.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:16 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:33 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:38 pm
My firm data point -- Midlevel litigation associate. Firm is known as NY Elite. Litigation overall is slow (it was extremely slow between March-June) but things are starting to pick up. Most of the work is advisory and we've even branched out to low-margin work that we normally don't take on. We're getting a lot of billing pressure from clients. Most associates are doing busywork. Because of PR issue, we've extended offer to the full class of summer associates and all incoming associates are onboarding. Not sure what they'll work on though, since we don't have enough work to go around. Some pockets have work, but the work is not evenly distributed and not our "bread and butter" litigation. Partners are going on pitches but failing to generate business. The firm also offered a payout to staff and quietly asking staff to leave. Suspicious departures at the midlevel ranks. I personally am leaving, because I see the writing on the wall.
Can you please be a little more specific as to which firm? Like Vault ranking? I'm a summer at a NY Biglaw firm and am a little concerned.
It's one of the top 2. It's well known in the industry that we are unusually slow compared to our peers.

Top 2 in terms of Vault overall? That would = Cravath, because sure as shit WLRK isn't having any problems, lol. Pretty scary if Cravath is having these problems.
Cravath relies on massive cases and investigations to generate profit and isn't well suited for medium-to-smaller cases. During a pandemic, when companies are conservative with spending and certainly not willing to go into bet-the-company litigation, they are unlikely to hire a firm like Cravath. The investigation practice there is newer and definitely not the same caliber as some other firms with longer white collar history. Cravath also suffered a lot of big losses in its partnership to Kirkland, reducing its book of business even more. WLRK on the other hand just has a different business model (flat fee, not billable hours) so it is better suited to survive the pandemic. I am curious to see how Cravath will fare.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by snehpets » Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:33 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:38 pm
My firm data point -- Midlevel litigation associate. Firm is known as NY Elite. Litigation overall is slow (it was extremely slow between March-June) but things are starting to pick up. Most of the work is advisory and we've even branched out to low-margin work that we normally don't take on. We're getting a lot of billing pressure from clients. Most associates are doing busywork. Because of PR issue, we've extended offer to the full class of summer associates and all incoming associates are onboarding. Not sure what they'll work on though, since we don't have enough work to go around. Some pockets have work, but the work is not evenly distributed and not our "bread and butter" litigation. Partners are going on pitches but failing to generate business. The firm also offered a payout to staff and quietly asking staff to leave. Suspicious departures at the midlevel ranks. I personally am leaving, because I see the writing on the wall.
Can you please be a little more specific as to which firm? Like Vault ranking? I'm a summer at a NY Biglaw firm and am a little concerned.
It's one of the top 2. It's well known in the industry that we are unusually slow compared to our peers.
I would be interested to know if Top 2 is more of an (understandable) fudge to make the firm less obvious or if there are actually two traditionally “elite” firms having these issues, because this sounds very similar to the situation at another firm.
Last edited by cavalier1138 on Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by lawnghorn10000 » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:33 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:33 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:48 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:38 pm
My firm data point -- Midlevel litigation associate. Firm is known as NY Elite. Litigation overall is slow (it was extremely slow between March-June) but things are starting to pick up. Most of the work is advisory and we've even branched out to low-margin work that we normally don't take on. We're getting a lot of billing pressure from clients. Most associates are doing busywork. Because of PR issue, we've extended offer to the full class of summer associates and all incoming associates are onboarding. Not sure what they'll work on though, since we don't have enough work to go around. Some pockets have work, but the work is not evenly distributed and not our "bread and butter" litigation. Partners are going on pitches but failing to generate business. The firm also offered a payout to staff and quietly asking staff to leave. Suspicious departures at the midlevel ranks. I personally am leaving, because I see the writing on the wall.
Can you please be a little more specific as to which firm? Like Vault ranking? I'm a summer at a NY Biglaw firm and am a little concerned.
It's one of the top 2. It's well known in the industry that we are unusually slow compared to our peers.
I would be interested to know if Top 2 is more of an (understandable) fudge to make the firm less obvious or if there are actually two traditionally “elite” firms having these issues, because this sounds very similar to the situation at another firm.
What would that other firm be?
Last edited by cavalier1138 on Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:35 pm

Presentation to associates at DC V5 had numbers showing the firm had stayed steady or slightly increased vs. 2019 year over year across basically all of its practice groups in the office.

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Re: Biglaw doing well during covid?

Post by Pennoyer v. Meh » Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:35 pm
Presentation to associates at DC V5 had numbers showing the firm had stayed steady or slightly increased vs. 2019 year over year across basically all of its practice groups in the office.
What had that firm done regarding associate pay and its summer associate program, broadly speaking?
Last edited by cavalier1138 on Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

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