You know who has a little dusting of special magic for the Magic Circle? It’s the U.S.-based Biglaw firms setting up outposts in London. A new ranking from Law.com International reveals that American firms are packing on the extra Pounds in Great Britain.
USA! USA! USA!
Non-U.K.-based law firms make up almost half of the largest legal institutions in the U.K., according to inaugural rankings by Law.com International.
Ranking the largest global firms by only their U.K. revenue, the research shows 12 of the top 30 are U.S.-based, meaning they have more lawyers in the U.S. than in any other single country, while a further two are Asia-based.
This isn’t exactly a shock. Late last year, we wrote about the increasing pressure on UK firms to take bold action to keep up with American firms invading their shores. Allen & Overy tried to tie up with O’Melveny for over a year and now appears poised to make things happen with Shearman.
Latham & Watkins and Kirkland & Ellis clock in at sixth and eighth by UK revenue, placing them on par with stalwarts like Slaughter and May, CMS, and Eversheds Sutherland according to the report.
But for the traditional powerhouses, aggressive US marketing to UK clients presents an existential threat as firms carve you larger slices of the pie offering trans-Atlantic service.
One Freshfields insider commented that their position, and that of many U.S.-based competitors ”is actually unsurprising” adding: “The coming years for law will constantly be more and more global. That means that the elite will have to perform well both in the U.K and in the U.S., regardless of where they’re based.”
Global indeed. Too bad one of those countries boorishly cut off its prime positioning in a continental trading bloc.
US Firm Strength Showcased in Inaugural UK Revenue Rankings [Law.com International]
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.