Large law firms reap rewards of global strategy

November 6, 2012 A small number of law firms dominates the international market for legal services, according to a global ranking published last week, the AM Law Global 100.

The ranking created the ‘global law firm’ designation to describe law firms where at least 50 per cent of their lawyers work outside the firm's home jurisdiction, and the firm has a clearly international field of operation and identity independent of its national home base.

There are now 12 truly global law firms, according to the ranking, up from nine last year. These are Baker & McKenzie, Norton Rose, Clifford Chance, Freshfields, White and Case, DLA Piper, Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Hogan Lovells, Squire Sanders, Simmons & Simmons and Ashurst. And a further nine law firms are on the verge of becoming global.

These firms are seeing bumper profits as they denationalise from their home jurisdiction to developing genuinely global strategies of operation. Many adopt a Swiss verein structure -- which allows merging entities share a common strategy while retaining their existing form, and without integrating profits.

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