For a group of Big Law refugees who launched a boutique in Chicago last year, the secret to growth during the COVID-19 pandemic is fairly simple: offer cheaper billing rates than their former compatriots at Kirkland & Ellis, Sidley Austin and Schiff Hardin.

Croke Fairchild Morgan & Beres launched Dec. 1 with four founding partners and six other lawyers. Since then, the firm has added eight more lawyers to its ranks, including a new hire coming onboard in June. Those hires have some well-recognized Big Law names on their own resumes as well, such as Latham & Watkins, Reed Smith and Baker McKenzie.

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