In an unprecedented year, an unprecedented opportunity became available to many of the Am Law 200. Now that year-end results are in, it’s possible to look closely at the Paycheck Protection Program’s impact on the legal industry.

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Of the Second Hundred firms in this year’s Am Law 200 rankings, 44 took loans in 2020 from the federal government’s lifeline program. Without factoring in the forgivable $5 million to $10 million loans, most of those firms finished the year with revenue and profit increases. The loans were not included in The American Lawyer’s definition of gross revenue, and could only be included as net income if they were used to pay equity partners. With forgiveness applications pending, most firm leaders say they expect the loans to be forgiven.