Chambers USA 2020 Market Snapshot

A data visualisation identifying key areas of concern during COVID-19

Image: Bankruptcy, Labor law and Insurance have been identified as key areas of concern during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Chambers ranked firms across these areas are shown above.

Introduction: Legal support in response to COVID-19

In this time of global uncertainty caused by the novel coronavirus COVID-19, Chambers-ranked law firms represent the first port-of-call for many companies, financial institutions and individuals seeking advice on how to handle the enormous number of unprecedented challenges that have arisen over the past few months. Alongside the launch of Chambers USA 2020, Chambers has compiled a series of Market Snapshots, which focus on the impact COVID-19 is having on the legal market in the USA and how law firms are helping clients navigate these new challenges.

Chambers USA 2020 is free to access here and includes information on recommended firms across a wide range of different states and practice areas.

What the legal industry is doing to help:

Many law firms have risen to the challenge of providing up-to-date insightful coverage of how governments and markets are reacting to the global pandemic. Online homepages have been transformed, directing clients expediently to coronavirus specific offerings, frequently in the form of a Coronavirus Resource Centre, collating relevant materials and information ranging from client alerts to technical practice area specific breakdowns.

The resource centres in many cases, not only collect insight pieces and other documents but also provide partner contact information for the COVID-19 response teams within the firms; collate useful links to external content and information from the federal government, CDC, WHO and others; links to news articles and important up-to-the minute information for clients, prospective clients and anyone coming to the firms for advice.

Links to COVID-19 resource centers:

McDermott, Davis Polk, Debevoise, Seyfarth Shaw, Gibson Dunn, Hogan Lovells and Milbank stand out from the crowd with particularly strong resource centres, collating helpful information in an accessible manner to allow clients to get the right information they need quickly. The immediate focus of the coronavirus information is on corporate governance and how clients can safeguard their businesses. All of the firms with coronavirus resource centres offer immediate information on how the CARES act affects businesses across all sectors of the economy.

The sheer number of business areas affected by COVID-19 regulations and orders can be overwhelming. As such, resources such as the reference guides, regulatory round-ups and daily updates produced by firms including Covington, King & Spalding, Ropes & Gray, Kramer Levin, Willkie Farr, and Simpson Thacher are extremely helpful documents, helping clients stay abreast of the latest developments and understand what they need to do now.

Many of these firms are also producing in-depth analysis of business impacts across a huge range of areas. The best resource centres offer clearly delineated practice area insights, covering areas such as employment law, financing and refinancing, tax concerns, insurance matters and healthcare law changes. In addition to those producing general checklists, Cravath, Cahill, Steptoe, Skadden, Vinson & Elkins and Jones Day are among the other firms also offering detailed long-form insight pieces. Jones Day has notably produced excellent whitepapers on a large number of pertinent areas affected by coronavirus.

Many firms are also producing analysis of issues pertaining to different international jurisdictions. Morgan Lewis, McDermott and Debevoise offer particularly impressive international content. Notably, McDermott has produced impressive what-to-do guides for multinational employers as well as bespoke content for employers in several EU countries.

Certain firms are drawing on niche practice area expertise to provide further guidance; McDermott offers insights specific to challenges facing the alcohol industry, Hogan Lovells speaks to UAS companies and Seyfarth Shaw offers automotive sector specific advice. Hogan Lovells and Cleary notably draw attention to the existing crisis management resources within the firm, with Cleary providing links to its crisis management handbook for immediate reference.

Many of these firms are advising on data protection and online privacy concerns. These are issues that, while always important, have become often extremely pressing as companies and public bodies have moved to remote working.

As the pandemic continues, more and more firms are using video and audio contact to demonstrate their capabilities across a myriad of areas. McDermott, Hogan Lovells, Ropes & Gray, Davis Polk, Cleary and Baker Botts are among the firms highlighted for excellent audio/visual content, producing insightful webinars, conference calls, podcasts and other media. This content is a great value-add for clients and prospective clients looking for insightful content delivered in an approachable, service-focused manner.

Beyond website content, email updates and social media posts also represent a helpful avenue for law firms to keep clients informed and demonstrate available expertise. Some firms have also taken to social media such as LinkedIn as a way of connecting in a more personal way. Hogan Lovells, for example, provides excellent digital content with tips for working from home for parents and advice on adjusting to working during the lockdown, as well as links to its insight pieces.

How Chambers can help:

In addition to the firms described here, many more are offering cutting-edge advice to clients on the COVID-19 crisis, whether through email alerts, pandemic resource centres or direct attorney contact. Chambers USA ranks thousands of law firms and individual attorneys practicing across the country. Our rankings enable companies seeking legal counsel to make informed decisions when searching for the firms and lawyers best placed to assist them with any legal issue that may arise.

Many of the websites mentioned above belong to firms in Bands 1 and 2 of our Nationwide Banking & Finance, Insurance, Healthcare, Bankruptcy, Labor & Employment and Energy rankings. It is no surprise that firms excelling in these areas are among those with the best resources to advise clients on COVID-19-related concerns. Many will be the first call for business of all sizes seeking immediate advice on employment and benefit plan issues; counsel on how the pandemic affects financing obligations and insurance plans; advice in preparation for potential future financial or business restructuring; and sector specific advice pertaining to the Energy and Healthcare industries.

We have produced Market Snapshots, focusing on areas of expertise which are heavily in demand due to the challenges of COVID-19, including the Bankruptcy, Labor & Employment and Insurance sectors, available via the links opposite. The Chambers USA editorial team has also produced a series of podcasts covering Commercial Litigation, Cannabis law, Labor & Employment and White-Collar Crime, discussing market trends seen during research for the 2020 edition, which are available to stream here.

The new edition of Chambers USA 2020, available for free online here, features our latest rankings of the best lawyers and law firms practicing in the US today.