The Chicago market has remained a focus for Big Law in spite of the pandemic, with several large law firms entering the Windy City in the last year and merger talks seemingly intensifying. But smaller firms in the Windy City have done just fine, too, and are taking advantage of strong financial years and blurred borders to hunt for both clients and talent beyond Lake Michigan, looking at markets where they may not even have offices.

The city is widely regarded by firm leaders and legal analysts as something of a Goldilocks Zone—competitive in talent and client business, but not so competitive it lacks opportunities. And despite mostly falling short of the Am Law 100 averages, most big firms with roots in the city saw gains in profits or revenue while the world was reeling from COVID-19.