The American Lawyer released a recent article reporting that a number of midsized law firms have doubled down on their commitment to secure, and deepen existing relationships with midmarket clients. According to the article, law firm leaders in the middle market segment, which generally includes businesses with $50 million to $500 million in annual revenue, agree deep-rooted relationships are extremely common among law firms that service midmarket clients.
Law firms with roots in major markets are also finding ways to prosper in middle-market locations. For some midsized firms, including Cozen O’Connor, Ballard Spahr and Fox Rothschild, that has spurred geographic expansion across the country. For others, like McCarter & English and Vorys Sater Seymour & Pease, it has meant doubling down in the region where they already have roots.
“Midmarket companies are normally always in growth mode, so as they’re growing there are opportunities to grow with them and expand the amount and type of work that you’re doing for them. They have the same sophisticated work that larger Fortune 1000 companies may have. The number of zeroes may not be the same, but the sophistication of the work is and the complexity of the matters are,” notes Cozen O’Connor’s CEO, Michael Heller.
ALM journalist, Lizzy McLellan concludes, “the perception of value often attracts midmarket clients to firms with a more affordable rate structure than the very top of the Am Law 100 offers. Sometimes that means a national Am Law 100 firm in the second 50, like Cozen O’Connor or Fox Rothschild. But it can also mean a midsize firm like Pryor Cashman or a regional Am Law 200 firm like McCarter & English.” McCarter & English’s chairman, Michael Kelly, notes “the big expensive firm gives them cover, but I can tell you with no uncertainty that we will do a better job with less cost.”
See highlights from the full article on the American Lawyer.
Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.
Intellectual property boutique Brinks, Gilson, & Leone lost four litigation partners to Midwest-based Barnes & Thornburg last week, according to The American Lawyer. This follows the recent trend for IP boutiques, many of which have either been absorbed by larger firms or have also had an unusually large number of partners depart.
John Gabrielides, one of the four partners that moved to Barnes, explained that they felt “limited in the services we could offer to our clients” at Brinks Gilson, and that joining a full-service firm “gives us a lot more flexibility and latitude” (as reported by The American Lawyer).
The National Law Journal recently released a review of the major legal news in Washington’s ‘big law’ for 2015, including reports on the paramount moves and mergers, influential administrative changes, and the “reinvention” of the D.C. law practice.
Dentons continues its reign as the world’s largest firm, announcing ten “tie-ups” with other firms in 2015, including those in China, Australia, and Mexico, among other countries (as reported by the National Law Journal).
Litigators with multi-millions in portable business and experience in the federal government were in high demand, according to the National Law Journal, since “the hotbed of white-collar enforcement activity is now centered squarely in Washington, D.C.” (Debevoise & Plimpton partner David O’Neil, as quoted by The National Law Journal). Many former representatives and senators flocked to the ‘big law’ D.C. firms in search of positions in lobbying and legislative practice groups.
In fact, despite the financial drawbacks of lobbying as a legal practice, the National Law Journal announces that “the large law firms in Washington still want to do it.” And lobbying certainly got its fair share of the limelight when Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Washington lobbyist, pleaded guilty to federal charges of evading currency-reporting requirements by illegally structuring cash withdrawals.
Read more about these and the other legal trends of 2015 in the National Law Journal.
Innovative strategies are necessary for continued firm growth in the corporate legal market, according to a recent article from The American Lawyer. William Henderson and Evan Parker report that due to decades of organic growth, when law firms simply grew with their clients, the “supply of capable outside counsel [now] exceeds demand,” requiring firms to consider a new, focused approach for future expansion.
They posit that the Am Law 200 firms are now forced to grow solely by taking the market share. Henderson and Parker believe that focus is key to successfully doing so, quoting the approach that Apple’s Steve Jobs took of “starting with the customer experience and working backwards to the technology.” They encourage law firms to act similarly by exploring their particular niche and studying their existing clients in order to effectively take the market share.
The article also broke down market size by practice area, and found that “the largest market is the one most synonymous with large-firm practice: antitrust, corporate, securities, finance, and insurance”–essentially, the commercial world.
Henderson and Parker use the $15 billion labor and employment market as a case study to illustrate Jobs’ focused approach, attributing the L&E firms success to “working backwards from the needs of the client” in order to build “an ark that won’t sink.”