SMALLER DEALS, BIG BUCKS – Competition for midmarket deal work is heating up, Law.com’s Jessie Yount reports. Falling demand in corporate practices has meant a return to more modest transactions for Am Law Second 50 firms that seized big-ticket deals in the deal boom of 2021, according to firm leaders and industry consultants, and increasingly, large firms are looking to capture work where it is available—and much of it is in the middle market. There have already been signs of renewed interest in the midmarket in 2023. Though the strategy is not unheard of during economic downturns, the trend escalates competitive pressures in a segment that is already quite crowded and will require changes in pricing strategy for large firms interested in capturing more of the work. “A lot of firms are saying [midmarket] deal activity is pretty solid, likening their levels to 2019,” noted Kristin Stark, a legal consultant and principal at Fairfax Associates.
KEEP CALM AND FREAK OUT – Shortly after Goldman Sachs released a report on Sunday predicting that generative artificial intelligence could have a substantial impact on the economy and workforce, many in the legal industry sat up with worry. Specifically, the report estimated that generative AI could automate 44% of legal tasks in the U.S. Additionally, 46% of administrative tasks, 35% of business and financial operations and 31% of sales tasks could also be automated, it stated. Several legal professionals spoke to Law.com’s Isha Marathe about their initial reactions to the report’s findings, and while none of them challenged the statistics, they had different views on how to interpret them and how legal will look in the world where generative AI grows more advanced.