Deal lawyers' mood brightens as 2009 marks bottom of market
Exactly 12 months ago this column suggested that the M&A deal drought of 2009 would be reminiscent of the post-dot com gloom in 2003, and it was true. This year, however, is harder to call. The latest figures from Legal Week's exclusive data provider Mergermarket confirm what all M&A lawyers knew: 2009 was a bleak year for transactional lawyers, with global deal values just shy of $1,800bn (£1,103bn) compared to $2,427bn (£1,488bn) in 2008. The good news is that most signs suggest that the bottom has already been passed, with the final quarter of 2009 managing a modest if fairly broad revival. That revival looks set to trudge into 2010, even if there is little evidence of a dramatic rebound.
2010 begins with optimism as January heralds a revival in deal activity
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