Spring is here—despite the snowflakes that greeted many of us this morning—and pretty soon the grass will be green and colorful flowers will dot the landscape. Of course, if you’re a lawyer who is either out of work or worried about losing your job because there is no work, no amount of sunshine will brighten your mood. But what if in addition to April rain drops and May flowers, spring ushers in some transactional work?
Corporate attorneys in Philadelphia are feeling the transactional love and have been for the past several months. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Firms in Philadelphia and around the nation have been reporting a steady flow of transactions for several months now. The pace doesn't yet match the merger frenzy of 2007, when Wall Street was a transactional assembly line and law firms were so flush that a chairman in Philadelphia offhandedly remarked he could save a million dollars or more a year if the firm and its lawyers didn't waste so much of the catered food served at lunches and dinners.
But lawyers in the corporate and transactional departments of the larger national firms here say that in the last six months or so, the climate has improved markedly.
This uptick in transactional work isn’t a mere figment of our imaginations either. According to a recent Thomson Reuters study, mergers and acquisitions were up 58 percent in the first quarter of 2011 when compared to the first quarter of 2008.
Nevertheless, attorneys are still cautious, acknowledging that this economic recovery has been slow-going, and we’re still facing some very real economic concerns. "In my 30 years of M&A practice, I've been through four or five recessions, and I think the distinguishing characteristic of this postrecession period is how choppy it is,” William G. Lawlor, a partner at Dechert L.L.P., tells the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I can remember after prior recessions an almost Zen-like confidence in overall M&A flow, but here it is very difficult to forecast how quickly the recovery occurs."
The economic world certainly isn't all better, but growth in transactional work is positive news for the legal field. In fact, some firms have more work than they have attorneys to handle. Good for you, Philly attorneys. Go out and celebrate—grab a cheesesteak, run up some stairs, give Adrian a shout-out and hug your brother.
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