ROADS TO RECOVERY – After one of the most challenging financial periods in recent memory, law firms are starting to regain their footing, according to the latest Law Firm Financial Index from Thomson Reuters. The index, a composite score of performance metrics for law firms, is still in “historically low” territory, the report’s analysts wrote. But in Q1, it rose for the first time in a year and a half—up 14 points. The authors noted that it’s “not necessarily surprising” that the index rose after Q4. What is surprising, however, is that large firms and smaller firms are contributing to that rise in significantly different ways. “The big takeaway is we are seeing a recovery, but it’s a very split recovery,” Bill Josten, strategic content manager for Thomson Reuters, told Law.com’s Andrew Maloney. “It’s not being felt equally by everybody.”
CLOSER TO FINE(D)? – After recent moves by Iowa and Indiana, two more states are poised to add to the patchwork of U.S. data privacy laws this year: Montana and Tennessee. As Law.com’s Cassandre Coyer reports, the bills, which currently await signature from their respective state governors, have some unique features but still largely follow the emerging state data privacy standard modeled after Virginia and, before that, a failed Washington state law, reiterating the clear trend toward a possibly unified approach to data privacy regulation among states. “While it’s jarring to see so many new privacy laws that are being passed and signed into law, it also feels like we’re moving toward a reasonable de facto standard that companies can use to create a nationwide compliance program,” said Alessandra Swanson, co-chair of Winston & Strawn’s global privacy and data security practice.