The American Lawyer reports that after years of globalization, some firms are pulling back to focus on building a stronger platform in the world’s most lucrative legal market. According to the article, the United States remains the world’s largest, strongest and most lucrative legal market. A recent study by U.K.-based market research company Acritas found that U.S. companies spend 166 percent more on legal services per dollar of revenue than companies around the globe.
The United States’ strength in the global legal market has also drawn attention from across the pond, particularly from London’s top firms. According to the article, Allen & Overy is reportedly in merger talks with O’Melveny & Myers, a potential move that has sent ripples throughout London and signals an increased desire and interest to finally break through in the U.S. legal market. “The U.S. is the largest and most lucrative legal market in the world, so it makes sense that firms with global ambitions would want to be here,” notes Dave Koschik, a member of White & Case’s executive committee and head of its U.S. growth team, (as quoted in The American Lawyer).
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Baker and McKenzie retains its title as the best-known law firm in the world, according recent rankings by UK-based research firm Acritas. However, although the “sun never sets on Baker & McKenzie’s empire,” reports The American Lawyer, “challengers continue to make progress against established, old-line firms in the minds of senior counsel at big corporations.”
Chief executive of Acritas, Lisa Hart Shepherd, observes that they are “continuing to see a decline, in the brand sense, of premium-priced brands,” but notes that global brand awareness is not easy to build in today’s increasingly fragmented market, where the average client works with 12 firms (as quoted in The American Lawyer).
If possible, however, corporate clients tend to favor sticking with their current domestic firms for any international work, said Shepherd. She adds that “once attention is won,” firms can keep such clients through “the promise of a great client experience and, for much of the work, good value” (as quoted in The American Lawyer).
Mary Young, a consultant at the Zeughauser Group, is quoted by The American Lawyer as advising any law firm trying to enter new markets to consider “what you can offer that others can’t, or what relationships you can leverage that others cannot.”
The Acritas surveys also found that many companies coveted more business-savvy firms–one client explaining that it gives the firm a competitive edge by being able to have a better understanding of potential risks and gains.
Read the full article at The American Lawyer.