CLASS UP - The nation’s largest firms have continued to meet or exceed last year’s record class sizes for new partners, while smaller firms in the Am Law 100 scale back from those historic highs, Law.com’s Dan Roe reports. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has elected its largest class of new partners in history, adding 37 lawyers to the partnership across 13 offices. While the firm’s new partner class sizes have varied between 13 and 27 since the class of 2019, Tuesday’s announcement of 37 new partners puts Gibson Dunn—ranked 11th in the U.S. and 14th globally by gross revenue—in line with Am Law 10 firms such as Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins, which continued to match or exceed last year’s record partner class sizes as smaller Am Law 100 firms scaled back from similar 2021 gains. Of the large firms that have announced their 2023 new partner classes, Proskauer Rose is among few firms outside the top 10 to announce more new partners this year than last. (The firm promoted 25 lawyers to partner, up from 14 in 2021 and 10 in 2020.) Meanwhile, Perkins Coie, McDermott Will & Emery, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, and Polsinelli have announced smaller classes, although none decreased its class size by more than 20%.
KINETIC ENERGY - With a potentially transformative era in the offing, Law.com’s Andrew Maloney reports, Big Law firms are doubling down on partner laterals with expertise in energy and renewables. Law firms such as Linklaters, Holland & Knight and Jenner & Block are some of the latest large law firms to siphon talent from competitors in the energy space, pointing to huge increases in federal spending and heralding what many believe is an extraordinary moment to be working in energy. While deal-making in general has been down in 2022, law firm partners say deals in the energy sector, in particular, have continued to be profitable, particularly as a transformative amount of money is on the horizon in the form of the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, both signed into law within the last year. The inflation act, in particular, makes what the U.S. Energy Department describes as the single largest investment in climate and energy in American history. With hundreds of billions of dollars involved, the energy law sector is definitely being accelerated, said John Estes III, the former head of the energy regulatory group at Skadden who recently joined Jenner. “Companies that have been in the power business for a long time have seen many, many changes,” he said. “But this is going to be a doozy.”