NEW YEAR, NEW FIRMS - By the end of 2023, the legal industry landscape will likely be populated with a number of new law firms—and marked by a few notable absences. The law firm merger market is already quickly heating up and we’re sure to see more big names (and smaller names) joining forces across the country throughout the remainder of the year. Meanwhile, if the past is any indication (and in this industry that’s a safe bet), sky-high rate hikes seem likely to inspire a new generation of Big Law partners to branch out and start their own boutiques. In the latest Law.com Trendspotter column, we join hands to celebrate the Circle of Law Firm Life, in which a period of rapid consolidation makes room for a new crop of boutique firms to spring up.

CONSIDERING THE ALTERNATIVES -  With overhead and payroll costs a growing concern for Big Law and their clients, a new report suggests both parties may increasingly look to alternative legal service providers to provide value, meet demand and plug into new technology. It’s certainly not the first time someone’s pegged ALSPs as being poised for a surge in popularity, but current market conditions do seem particularly favorable for it to happen. According to the Alternative Legal Services Providers 2023 report, published by Thomson Reuters Institute on Tuesday, U.S. law firms of all sizes as well as corporations have “dramatically accelerated” their use of outside vendors to handle responsibilities such as e-discovery, document review and coding, and other tasks. As Law.com’s Andrew Maloney reports, analysts estimated the size of the market was $20.6 billion at the end of fiscal year 2021, an increase of 45% from the last report two years ago. Further, law firms and their clients both said they anticipated directing more work and resources toward ALSPs over the next five years.

ON THE RADAR - Berkshire Hathaway and several subsidiaries were hit with an insurance class action on Tuesday in California Eastern District Court. The suit, brought by Dovel & Luner and Romanucci & Blandin, alleges that the defendants were unjustly enriched by continuing to collect premiums from businesses during COVID-related shutdowns. Counsel have not yet appeared for the defendants. The case is 2:23-cv-00197, Echo & Rig Sacramento LLC v. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. et al. Stay up on the latest deals and litigation with the new Law.com Radar


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