Big Law had a (mostly) happy story in 2020. Firms and their staff rallied around a previously unimaginable crisis, using urgency and adrenaline to overcome adversity and produce a banner financial year. But how do firms deal with a potentially drained workforce and maintain that level of effort as the urgency wanes?

The Ewing Theory

In 1999, the New York Knicks watched their franchise star and leading scorer, center Patrick Ewing, go down with an injury in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Ewing had already missed time in the regular season and playoffs with injuries, but this one would put him on the shelf the remainder of the season. What did the Knicks, the lowest seed in the East, do? They won the East, of course, before losing in the NBA Finals to the Tim Duncan/David Robinson-led Spurs.