Law firm merger activity had ground to halt by the end of the first quarter in 2020, as firm leaders scrambled to handle the pressing logistical and safety concerns created by the coronavirus pandemic. But the legal industry is expected to see deals in the months and years ahead due to more volatility in the market, as well as the situations of several firms that were in turmoil even before the crisis began, legal market observers say.

Industry watchers expect groups of partners to leave less-resilient firms and those with uncertain futures. They also anticipate acquisitions by law firms seeking teams of high-performing lawyers who wouldn’t have considered moves before the crisis. “There will be some opportunities that come up when things are not stable,” as consultant Lisa Smith at Fairfax Associates put it.