Archive for the ‘Globalization’ Category

US law firms in China 2012

April 11th, 2012 by Altman Weil

The National Law Journal has updated its statistics on US firms in China.

China continues to be a draw for NLJ 250 firms, which added 194 lawyers to their offices there during the past year. The number of those offices grew from 124 to 132 during 2012.

China has long been viewed as the next big legal market, and the steady growth in attorneys and office openings are proof that firms are willing to make long-term investments there. But the market has yet to produce big profits, said Ward Bower, a consultant with Altman Weil.

“I don’t know of anyone making money there yet,” Bower said. “The experience in a lot of these foreign offices of U.S. firms is that it takes a lot of time and investment to make money. That’s true even in London.”

Read it at

South Korean legal market opens to US firms

November 29th, 2011 by Altman Weil

South Korea is the latest target for US expansion according to today’s AmLaw Daily:

“Less than a week after a free trade agreement between South Korea and the United States was finalized, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton announced Monday that it plans to open a Seoul office…  The free trade agreement between South Korea and the U.S. allows U.S.-based law firms to advise on U.S. and international trade law and opens the doors to local alliances with Korean law firms. Starting in 2017, U.S. firms will also be able to merge with Korean firms or hire local lawyers.”

Other firms eying the market, according to AmLaw Daily, are Paul Hastings, Simpson Thacher, McDermott Will, and Ropes & Gray.

Read it at The AmLaw Daily

BigLaw Canada update

October 4th, 2011 by Altman Weil

Two interesting developments today - if you’re not watching the Canadian market, you should be!

“Norton Rose, the globe-straddling British law firm that swallowed up Montreal-based Ogilvy Renault LLP last year, is merging with Calgary-based Macleod Dixon LLP. The move gives the massive international law firm a renewed Canadian wing with a strong presence in the oil patch, and it stands to shake up this country’s legal landscape.”

Read it at The Globe and Mail

“Canada’s Gowlings has opened a representative office in Beijing, becoming the third Canadian firm to land in China.  The launch, which sees Gowlings follow Canadian counterparts Blake Cassels & Graydon and Bennett Jones into China, marks the firm’s third foray into international markets. The firm already has offices in Moscow and London.”

Read it at The Lawyer

Update on Canada: More mergers on the horizon?

May 13th, 2011 by Altman Weil

“Every summer, rodeo fans flock to Calgary for the city’s annual Stampede. This year they may be joined by a posse of managing partners from Am Law 100 and other international firms, looking to rope a merger partner.”

…notes Chris Johnson, in his “Letter From London” column in the AmLaw Daily.

“A host of other U.S. and international firms are apparently investigating potential launches after merger-mad U.K. firm Norton Rose sparked the sleepy market into life last November by announcing its combination with 450-lawyer Canadian practice Ogilvy Renault….  Much of the action is centered on Calgary, Canada’s third-largest city and the home to its vibrant energy and natural resources industry, which has been attracting growing levels of interest from resource-hungry emerging markets.”

Read it at the AmLaw Daily

The international legal market

January 5th, 2011 by Altman Weil

The New Year brings two new articles reviewing the international legal scene, one taking a broad look at new markets for US firms and the other focusing on the Canadian legal market in the wake of the 2010 announcement of the upcoming Norton Rose merger with Ogilvy Renault.

“With only a modest amount of growth predicted for the U.S. legal market in 2011, the hot spots for expanding firms will be the up-and-coming economies of Asia and Latin America — and the resource-rich countries that will feed their demand, experts said… In the year ahead, the so-called BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — and countries like Canada, Australia and South Africa that can provide emerging markets with energy and other resources will capture the attention of U.S. firms looking to bulk up their operations, experts said.”

Read it at Law360 (requires registration)

“Ogilvy Renault’s announcement that in June the 132-year-old firm will cast aside its name and merge with the global law firm Norton Rose begs some questions. Is this the beginning of a major consolidation trend that will see other Canadian law firms scramble to find their own global marriage partners? Or is it simply a blip on the legal marital map? Moreover, what does it mean for the handful of Canadian law firms that are building their own global offices? Do they now have to give up their brands and join one of the rising number of global law firms, which are mostly based out of the U.K. or the United States, or can they continue to plant the Canadian legal flag in foreign soil?”

Read it at the National Post 

US law firms in China

November 17th, 2010 by Altman Weil

Last week the National Law Journal released data on Chinese offices of US firms as part of their annual NLJ 250 list, noting that 43 NLJ firms have offices in Hong Kong.   A review of the list also shows 42 US firms have offices in Beijing and 38 in Shanghai.  So what are they doing over there? 

“Never mind the domestic business climate. During the second quarter of 2010, China surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy behind the United States with nearly $1.34 trillion in gross domestic product, and firms with a beachhead in the People’s Republic are profiting by that growth.

“The underlying trend of an increasing interaction between China and the rest of the world is good for international firms like us who specialize in doing things like cross-border transactions,” said Rowland Cheng, managing partner of the Shanghai office of Latham & Watkins.

Meanwhile, “Chinese law firms are getting better. They’re increasingly competitive and have increasing skill sets and expertise,” Cheng said.”

Read it at New York Lawyer

Transatlantic growth

November 15th, 2010 by Altman Weil

Yet another transatlantic merger was announced today, this time between 400-lawyer, Canadian law firm, Ogilvy Renault LLP and UK-based Norton Rose Group.  At the same time Norton Rose announced a merger with South African law firm Deneys Reitz.   When both deals are finalized next June the combined firm will have 2,500 lawyers.  Ogilvy’s managing partner John Coleman cited the globalization of their client base as the impetus for the deal.

“This will make Ogilvy Renault the first Canadian law firm to be part of a truly global network. … We made this decision because so many of our clients are growing internationally and more and more global companies and investors are looking to Canada. This move will enhance our international reach, and create one of the best legal practices in the world.”

This is the fourth transatlantic deal announced in the last twelve months, the others being Hogan & Hartson’s combination with Lovells, Sonnenschein’s merger with Denton Wilde and Squire Sanders merger with Hammonds.   Proskauer Rose and SJ Berwin called off their merger talks last week.

Read it at the Globe and Mail

Canadian law firms look to the US

November 3rd, 2010 by Altman Weil

Today’s Financial Post offers a view from BigLaw Canada on serving US-based clients, opening US offices, and hiring US lawyers while still maintaining referral relationships with US firms.

“While Canadian law firms like Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, Blake, Cassels & Graydon and Macleod Dixon are busy expanding into countries like France, Saudi Arabia, China, Britain, South Africa, Colombia and Brazil, others are sticking closer to home.

The reality is that the United States is still Canada’s biggest trading partner by far and there’s no one on the horizon to eclipse that anytime soon. “


“Maybe now is the time for more Canadian law firms to seize the opportunity. Legal talent is plentiful in the U.S., the dollar is on par and vacancy rates are high. It’s never been a better time to invest in a foreign office south of the border. “

Read it at The Financial Post