In early 2020, it seemed as though Norway would be hit exceptionally hard by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, compounded by the drop in oil prices and revenues. In response, the oil and gas sector has seen a period of diversification and expansion into renewables, and the effect has been further mitigated by a tax relief package and a recovery in oil prices, bolstering PE investment. The economy generally has rebounded strongly: the residential real estate market is very active, the logistics sector is booming, and retail and commercial real estate has rallied. Maritime and shipping work has proved resilient, although there has been a marked decrease in transactions and an increase in M&A disputes. Although a growth in bankruptcies, insolvencies and related disputes is still anticipated, so far this has been avoided thanks to government relief plans. The technology sector has continued to be highly active, particularly when it comes to innovative technology and private equity investment.
The legal market has remained stable, without the large-scale mergers seen in previous years. The top five full-service firms - Advokatfirmaet Schjødt, BAHR, Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS, Wikborg Rein and Wiersholm- have a steady edge, but both Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS and Arntzen de Besche have seen significant expansion. The market remains largely domestic, apart from DLA Piper and the Big 4 accountancy firms.