Covid-19 changed 2020 for everyone. It led to many unanticipated consequences for lawyers as thousands upon thousands of lawsuits were and will be filed related to the virus. This post looks at a sample of decisions involving lawyers from the 2019 Am Law Top 10 firms based on gross revenue’s participation in such lawsuits. To do this it focuses on the 110 published and unpublished state and federal civil law decisions involving these firms in Westlaw’s Covid 19 litigation set over a six-month period from June 23rd, 2020 to December 23rd, 2020.
The order of the firms based on gross revenues is: (1) Kirkland & Ellis, (2) Latham & Watkins, (3) DLA Piper, (4) Baker McKenzie, (5) Skadden, (6) Sidley Austin, (7) Morgan Lewis, (8) Hogan Lovells, (9) White & Case, and (10) Jones Day. The order of the firms by decision count in this area is:
Jones Day had lawyers in more of these cases than the other firms followed by Latham & Watkins and Kirkland & Ellis, with the range at a substantial 30 decisions. Another way to look at this is that, over this time period, Jones Day had attorneys involved in 850% more cases that went to written decisions than Baker McKenzie.
The firms often focused their litigation in certain, mainly federal courts. The courts most frequented by these law firms include (the graph notes instances where firms appeared at least three times in a given court):
The firms that litigated most frequently in particular courts include Latham & Watkins in SDNY, CDCA, and NDCA; Jones Day in EDMI; and Sidley in CDCA. The courts with the highest level of participation by these firms include SDNY, CDCA, and DMA.
The litigation frequencies can also be visualized on a national scale:
It is evident that most of this litigation transpires on the eastern and western seaboards with some additional involvement in the south and Midwest. Not surprisingly, the state with the most decisions at 55 is California, followed by New York with 34 decisions, and Massachusetts with 16 decisions. Michigan, Illinois, and D.C. are the other states/territories with over 10 decisions (each has 11).
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