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Wake Up Call: Legal Profession Adds 4,700 Jobs in October

Nov. 8, 2021, 1:30 PM

In today’s column, big South Florida firms expect a strong market and rising costs; transatlantic firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner plans to shift to a single chair arrangement in 2024, a report says; several Big Law firms helped drug companies score a rare win in opioid litigation in California.

  • Leading off, new data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the legal profession gained 4,700 jobs in October to reach 1,152,600 jobs. Riding a string of monthly gains as it benefits from the strong economy, the sector continues to rebound from pandemic lows. By the end of October, it was 12,700 jobs short of the 1,165,300 notch it reached in early 2020, a report says. (American Lawyer)
  • After several Big Law firms found themselves with extra cash at the end of 2020, some have been investing in such projects as technology, business development, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. But many firms are still returning profits to partners. (American Lawyer) Big South Florida law firms expect a bull market in 2022 but also higher expenses for such outlays as hiring, technology, and cybersecurity, a new outlook report says. (Daily Business Review)
  • Enforcement of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars American citizens and entities from bribing foreign government officials, drastically slowed during the Trump administration and the pandemic. But law firms’ white collar practices are expecting the Biden administration to increase enforcement actions. (National Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis, Hueston Hennigan, O’Melveny & Myers, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius got a big California win for drug companies in litigation over their roles in the opioid crisis. (The Recorder)
  • Hogan Lovells said it advised International Business Machines Corporation on the global separation and reorganization of IBM’s managed infrastructure business, across over 65 jurisdictions worldwide, to form Kyndryl. The law firm said Kyndryl now trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “KD”. IBM earlier this year announced that its vice president and assistant general counsel Edward Sebold became the general counsel of Kyndryl. (
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner plans to switch to a single chairperson in 2024 as part of the transatlantic merger agreement between St. Louis-based Bryan Cave and U.K.-based Berwin Leighton Paisner in 2018, according to a report from London. (The Lawyer)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Proskauer Rose hired private equity real estate lawyer Robert Shmalo as a partner in New York. He arrives from Weil, Gotshal & Manges; King & Spalding got corporate securities and transactional lawyer Trevor Pinkerton as a partner. He arrives from Norton Rose Fulbright, where he was a partner; Blank Rome brought in real estate of counsel Kerri Alessi in New York. She arrives from from Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. (
  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher named corporate and M&A partner Rosalind Kruse for the new role of New York office managing partner; Foley & Lardner appointed its electronics practice chair, Christopher McKenna, to replace Susan Pravda as Boston office managing partner. Pravda, the firm’s chief strategic talent acquisition partner, was recently named head of its health care & life sciences sector. Foley named business litigation and worklaw partner Anne Sekel as New York office managing partner. She takes over from litigation partner Peter Wang. (
  • Mintz said former International Trade Commission intellectual property attorney Jonathan Engler joined the firm as a member in Washington; distributed firm Rimon Law said it added nine lawyers in Colombia, merging with Bogota firm Ibarra Abogados. The three partners and six associates advise on competition, trade, consumer protection, litigation, administrative and intellectual property law. The group will operate as Ibarra-Rimon in Colombia, Rimon said. (Rimon) Lewis Roca announced an “end-of-life” planning group to manage regulatory, real estate, land-use and other issues related to life-cycles of renewable energy installations. (Lewis Roca)


  • Artificial Lawyer interviewed EY financial services law director Jessica Lazarus about the Big Four accounting firm’s new flexible managed legal services offering Core Law. (Artificial Lawyer)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at; Darren Bowman at

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