Many economists today predict a K-shaped recovery for 2021: some sectors of the economy will bounce back quickly and sharply as we enter a post-pandemic world, rapidly returning to pre-COVID heights (if not higher). Others, such as largescale events or hospitality, for example, will be slow to rebound, facing longer-term repercussions as companies and people simply do not revert to former ways of doing things. For the legal industry, much of which has suffered more of a minor scratch than a major blow in 2020, what does 2021 have in store? It depends. Some legal service providers will thrive, even flourish, in the coming years. Others, mirroring the K-shaped model, will have decidedly bleaker outlooks. How can a firm know its fate?

Marcie Borgal Shunk Marcie Borgal Shunk

For the legal industry overall, a K-shaped recovery sounds like a boon. The parallel upward trajectories of both cyclical and countercyclical work will provide larger, full-service firms with a wealth of opportunity. Growth prospects are higher even than in recent years. An active transactional market, an onslaught of backlogged litigation, a spate of new employment issues and a surge in bankruptcy filings will spur demand. Plus, a new political regime, likely to include renewed interest in infrastructure and clean energy and sweeping changes in tax, regulation and environmental, will further spark market expansion.

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