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Seismic shift: Rise of the global law firms

Will 2013 be the year of the global law firms? ?Ben Rigby reports on how market forces are ?pushing large law firms towards mergers

24 January 2013

 

With over a quarter of large UK law firms involved in a merger in 2012, the desire to augment one’s resources has never seemed more intense.

As clients have grown more international, seeking new markets, the downturn has caused them to rigorously focus on panel appointments and legal costs. For law firms, that has meant servicing a smaller number of large clients and thinking global, not just regional.

There were nine major international mergers in 2012, including Norton Rose with Fulbright & Jaworski and Herbert Smith with Freehills. In addition, 26 mergers were announced by the top 100 UK law firms over the past year, a 24 per cent increase in activity over 2011, according to research by Jomati Consultants. In the US, there were 60 law firm mergers in 2012, according to Altman Weil data.

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