HEADING SOUTH - The Southeast is becoming a more attractive destination for law firm expansion, Law.com’s Jacob Polacheck reports. It’s the second-most-preferred region for expansion, with 59% of law firm business leaders targeting the region, just behind 61% for the Southwest, according to the 2022 Law Firm Business Leaders Report from the Thomson Reuters Institute, working with the Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at the Georgetown University Law Center. The report states that the next most popular region for expansion, the Northeast, was a full 20 percentage points behind, at 39%. But if you’re a large firm leader thinking you’ll be waltzing into the region and scooping up talent without a fight, you could be in for a rude awakening. “Our markets are completely discovered, and there are a lot of big firms in our markets looking to take our clients and our people,” Leighton Lord, chairman of South Carolina-based Nexsen Pruet said. “The war for laterals and the war for clients is going to be really intense in 2023. That’s the thing that I stay up and worry about the most—maintaining our great talent base and the quality of lawyers that we have here.”

PARTNER PROMOTION PIVOT - While several Big Law firms have promoted a record number of lawyers to partner this winter, just who those lawyers are may have something to do with the looming uncertainty of 2023. As Law.com’s Dan Roe reports, an American Lawyer analysis of partner promotions this year uncovered a pivot to countercyclical practices at law firms of varying sizes, including at tech-oriented law firms that have made recent cuts and global law firms that haven’t projected similar signs of excess capacity. But these moves may be more subconscious than calculated. “These are not black-and-white decisions, they’re not formulaic,” said law firm consultant and former Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe chairman and CEO Ralph Baxter. “What you may be seeing in a time like this is firms end up promoting fewer people into areas where near-term demand looks to be down than in (practices) that are more robust. But in partner meetings where they are considering these things, I don’t think the discussion treats the slowdown of demand as a reason not to make someone a partner.”

ON THE RADAR - JPMorgan Chase was hit with a breach-of-contract lawsuit Tuesday in Texas Southern District Court seeking $25 million. The lawsuit was brought by Vilt Law on behalf of itself. The suit accuses the defendant of failing to tender the funds, intended to purchase real property on behalf of third party Rum Cay Club, to an interest on lawyer trust account. Counsel have not yet appeared for the defendant. The case is 4:22-cv-04217, Vilt Law, PC v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Stay up on the latest deals and litigation with the new Law.com Radar


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