A dozen of the largest companies in the U.S. were operating without an official chief lawyer as the firms entered 2021, which is the highest number of general counsel vacancies that John Gilmore, co-founder and managing partner of BarkerGilmore, has ever seen. 

Gilmore attributes the empty GC seats, at least in part, to the unprecedented demands and stress that top lawyers have faced over the past year. Those factors, combined with soaring stock prices, might have enticed more general counsel to cash out, he said.