"It has been a bull market for corporate lawyers, with multimillion- and billion-dollar M&A deals galore. But the recent stock market plunge sent a little chill down the backs of some, a reminder that the high times won't last forever. A day after trouble in the China market dropped the Dow more than 400 points, Fenwick & West corporate group Chairman Daniel Winnike said he was relieved Wall Street had stabilized.
"'If it had dropped another 300 points,' he said, 'then some of the companies might have had second thoughts about some of the M&A deals we're working on.'
"Corporate law leaders like Winnike remember well the dot-com bust that forced layoffs at such star Silicon Valley firms as Fenwick & West, Cooley Godward, Venture Law Group (now with Heller Ehrman) and Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich (now DLA Piper) five years ago. As they have built up their departments in this economic upturn, they're applying two key lessons: Diversify your practices [PDF] and hire smarter."