One thing is for certain: the legal services sector is in the early stages of a seismic shift. Law firms that do nothing in the face of this changing landscape, do so at their peril.
Let me describe the context of the changing international face of this industry. First I will address the emerging segmentation of the top end of the law firm market, then I will talk about some of the other forces that are at play in this industry, forces that will change the sector forever.
There are two main segments emerging internationally, the Global Elite and the International Business Law Firms. The Global Elite are transaction focussed firms looking to the Fortune Global 250 and comparable companies as their core client group. To give a feel for the market activity, there were 16 cross Atlantic mergers consummated in Q1 2011 alone with another 22 being openly discussed. These numbers do not account for the more confidential discussions that are taking place. It is common knowledge that all major single geography firms have at least considered the international situation they are facing. A number of these firms are actively working on an international merger/combination strategy.
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