Wednesday, November 11th, 2020
By Gideon Grunfeld
The dust has yet to settle on the election, but it’s not too early to identify specific impacts the results could have on law firms and the legal services industry. Below are five ways this election could affect law firms.
- A win for Biden-Harris is also a big win for large law firms and their clients. With BigLaw and its individual attorneys fundraising heavily on Biden’s behalf and Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff a partner, until recently, in DLA Piper’s L.A. office, the ticket has strong ties to the industry. The transition team for the DOJ is populated with numerous lawyers from Am Law 200 firms.
- Regulatory changes will mean more work in certain practice areas. In specific areas, such as environmental protections and foreign trade, the Biden administration is likely to make newsworthy changes and Trump-policy reversals. These shifts will benefit lawyers who advise clients in these areas. Ultimately, the broader economic trends will have much farther-reaching ramifications than these particular laws or regulations.
- For most lawyers, the impact of this election will be tied mainly to the economy. How the new administration uses executive orders or issues regulations in relation to COVID-19 will affect solo practice and small firm clients. Meanwhile, firms that serve larger corporations may continue to dodge the pandemic’s devastation.
- If the federal government is divided along party lines, more action will take place at the state level.Especially in California, law firms will benefit in the short term with respect to compliance issues. But regulatory changes may have adverse effects as well, negatively impacting the economy and causing businesses and individuals to leave the state. Down the line, this is likely to hurt the legal services industry in the region.
- Smaller practices will continue to struggle. With divided outcomes, increasing market share and consolidating into bigger firms will still be effective strategies. Practicing solo, in contrast, will get even harder.
What election-related changes to the world of law do you foresee?