Throughout 2020, observers often looked back to 2008 to compare the pandemic to the Great Recession—and for good reason. For law firms, it was the biggest threat to business in over a decade, and looking back offers important lessons for how firms navigated staffing, pay, wellness and other aspects of legal business.

During that crisis, the progress of minority attorneys was stunted by law firms’ response to the recession. The 2010 Diversity Scorecard found that, when firms shed 6% of all attorneys and 9% of minority attorneys between 2008 and 2009, the proportion of minority attorneys in the industry declined for the first time since the survey’s inception in 2000.