Latham’s Second Chance: A New Crisis Let the Firm Rewrite Its Infamous Response to the Last One

In 2009, Latham & Watkins laid off 12% of associates and 250 staff members in response to the global financial crisis. In 2020, it avoided cuts—and had one of the best years in Big Law.

Disruption, uncertainty and austerity will forever be linked with COVID-19. But so will big gains. And few firms made more out of a challenging situation in the past year than Latham & Watkins.

Firm leaders say increased demand across the board helped solidify the firm’s place in the upper echelon of the Am Law 100, with a revenue increase of 15% and profits per partner up nearly 20%. At $4.3 billion, Latham is now secure as the second-largest firm in the country by revenue, more than a billion dollars ahead of its closest competitor.

And it wasn’t just about receipts. Latham also managed to bring in top talent to help chart its path forward, including corporate heavyweights Rick Kline and Sarah Axtell from Goodwin Procter, and M&A duo Ian Bushner and Neal Reenan from rival Kirkland & Ellis.