Two law firm combinations this week, each involving an Am Law 200 firm merging and entering a new market, are just a taste of what’s expected to come this year. Big Law may be witnessing its merger bounce-back.

In the deals announced this week—Crowell & Moring linking up with Chicago’s Brinks Gilson Lione and Thompson Coburn partnering with New York-based Hahn & Hessen—the law firms’ leaders said the merger talks were initially slowed by the pandemic but they found more comfort in accelerating the talks in recent months. Now, industry observers say more of those deal types are in the works, as office openings begin to accelerate and law firm leaders feel more confidence in the economy, their financial stability, growth opportunities and holding in-person meetings.