Are American Law Firms Taking over London?
A reverse of the British invasion.
American law firms in London have a reputation of enticing the elite London City lawyers to their firms with seven-figure packages. Well-known partners and associates within well-known English law firms have been offered million pound deals to come and work for the US firms in London. However, many are skeptical to the large million dollar hiring packages doubting that these new recruits will stay for long. The US firms now all have around 100 or more lawyers working in their London offices and compete with the top “magic circle” English firms for clients and business. Most of their clients are European rather than US-based. Many of the so-called US firms in London are actually results of mergers between one US and one English firm although the top tier firms in both countries have not been attracted by each other yet. The US firms often have a large number of lawyers working with English law which they state makes it easier for them to compete with the English firms. Firms like White & Case have the largest London office of any non-merged US firm where 80 per cent of the lawyers are qualified lawyers in England & Wales. While some US firms opened offices specialized in finance and mergers and acquisitions (M&A), many have grown into full service firms which offer services from litigation, employment, and real estate law to finance and M&A. Of course the US firms have a reputation for not only paying well but also working their lawyers extremely hard. US firms’ annual London billings exceed £1.2 billion putting many of the partners into the £1 million annual earnings level. However, one of the largest US firms, Latham & Watkins, claims it is able to be a considerate workplace and be profitable at the same time. Many are sceptical knowing that the US firms need to work their UK staff hard in order to support US level salaries.