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In the last year, businesses worldwide, including international law firms, have been watching the market, reacting to it and trying to predict and prepare for the next phase. The impact of the credit crunch has been well documented and will be familiar to all. For major law firms the market started to slow in October last year. By December there was a dramatic drop in activity across all areas, in stark contrast to a year earlier. As companies focused on their own survival and financial institutions waited for signs of stability in the market, lawyers quickly found they had to react to their clients’ needs by switching focus from one type of work to another. Finance and disputes teams got busier, advising clients on the impact of the fall-out on the clients’ businesses. M&A activity all but stopped, and corporate teams went from negotiating transactions for business expansion to shoring up the businesses with equity capital raisings.

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