The Puzzle and Persistence of Biglaw Clustering

Elite U.S.-based global law firms (Biglaw) concentrate their offices in the costliest districts of superstar cities, especially two neighborhoods in Manhattan. This pattern has persisted despite both the dispersal of Biglaw clients across less-dense, lower-cost U.S. locations and the development of telework capacity. This suggests a puzzle: Law is among the occupations with the highest theoretical propensity for remote work, yet prior to the pandemic, Biglaw required in-person work in the priciest places – meaning it paid (and continues to pay) a premium on both of its biggest expenses, wages and real estate. Yet Biglaw is famously profit-driven, suggesting … Read more