Cooley’s reduction of 78 lawyers and 72 paralegals and business administration employees along with stealth layoffs implemented at other firms that dominated the hiring scene last year have come as no shock to industry observers who have been closely following the wax and wane of the business cycle over the last 24 months.

Demand in the legal industry dropped 1.2% in the first nine months of 2022 from an aberrational period of transactional activity that was attended by equally aberrational levels of hiring by firms, according to Citi Hildebrandt Client Advisory, with the slump especially pronounced within the M&A and capital markets practices of Am Law 50 firms, the very same area of the industry now reportedly facing capacity issues.