When COVID-19 lockdowns spread in the United States in March 2020, law firms’ marketing and business development expenses quickly took a hit. This stoked fears of further marketing cuts, said Amy Knapp, founder of law firm consulting provider Knapp Marketing. “It led to some sleepless nights,” she said.

Such concern was warranted, according to the “2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market” released Jan. 12 by Georgetown University Law Center’s Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession and Thomson Reuters. From November 2019 to November 2020, marketing and business development overhead expenses fell 44%, according to the report. That plunge in marketing spend was entirely tied to the pandemic, explained Thomson Reuters insights and thought leadership vice president Mike Abbott.