A 2010 Gift to Ring in 2011

Just before Christmas, we noted a report of a jump in global merger and acquisition activity in 2010 and took that as a good sign for the U.S. legal employment market, notwithstanding that much of the reported increase came from non-U.S. activity.  Still, it was a sign (albeit an indirect one, since it was not explicitly tied to U.S. law firm activity).

So it was pleasing to see Robert E. Spratt of Simpson Thacher, one of the leading New York law firms, saying in today’s Times that “I think that this is not an environment for excessive risk-taking.  But we’re out of the bunker, and there’s a lot of stuff in the pipeline.”  That’s even better news than publicly-reported M&A transactions, since “the pipeline” usually refers to deals that are in the early or other stages prior to public announcement.

It remains to be seen, of course, what the ultimate impact of a filling pipeline will be on job prospects for graduating law students, but it certainly can’t be bad news.  Combined with the associate bonus wars that closed 2010 and other signals we’ve discussed, it’s another indication that the market may be turning for the better.  It may be, of course, that there are still productivity gains to be made from lawyers already employed but there’s a limit to how much you can squeeze out of current employees before you’re forced to hire more.  And, of course, M&A is only a part of what major law firms do in their corporate departments.  But it’s a big part, and good news on the M&A front is likely to translate into good news for law school graduates.

~ by Kyle Pasewark at Advise-in Solutions on January 4, 2011.

One Response to “A 2010 Gift to Ring in 2011”

  1. […] legal jobs in December.  On the heels of much better news that greeted readers in December and January, that’s too bad.  Even though December’s loss was comparatively large, I don’t think it […]

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