For the Am Law 200, 2021 was an anomaly. In a short-term sense, broad-based demand increases drove the best year in revenue and profits since the financial crisis. Gross revenue rose 9.1% as the group’s total head count grew by 1.3%. Revenue per lawyer was up 7.7%, and profits per equity partner climbed 11.8%.

Meanwhile, associates enjoyed significant salary increases and most partners saw draws that made up for any losses they sustained in 2020—or compounded their gains. Rolling into 2022, demand hasn’t let up even as deal flow slows down, and most firm leaders with a decent balance of deal lawyers and litigators will tell you they have the countercyclical staffing necessary to make good on the next downturn.

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