Global law firms are racing to find new ways to build revenue. This isn’t really surprising. They know times have changed. The hot deal market that drove last year’s record revenue and profits has cooled. Crippling inflation, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, continued uncertainty about China and fears of a recession have all hampered global business.
This explains why law firms have been launching new offices all over: In the past week alone, U.K.-based Watson Farley & Williams opened in Seoul—its fifth office in Asia; Nagashima Ohno also established its fifth office in Asia, launching in Indonesia, where Japanese clients have pledged to invest billions over the next few years; DAC Beachcroft opened offices in Milan and Rome, hoping to expand its insurance offering and provide regulatory advice to clients in Europe; and Clyde & Co merged with a U.S. boutique, gaining a stronghold in Boston.
We don’t know if all these offices will gain traction in the pursuit of profit. But we do know that the Clyde & Co merger was one of several that took place last week in the U.S. And it was especially important to the U.K.-based firm, which believes the merger will enable it to expand its offering across the Northeastern United States—a region that is home to insurance, biotech, healthcare and professional services companies.
Clyde & Co may be taking a page from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s playbook. In its last financial year, Freshfields’ U.S. revenue grew 29%—outstripping its growth in all of the other regions in which it operates around the world. Freshfields has made a substantial investment in the U.S. over the past few years, launching an office in Silicon Valley, poaching top talent from elite law firms, and paying competitive associate salaries. But those moves demonstrate the importance of the U.S. market to
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