Private Equity Investments in Law Firms Have arrived in the UK and Have Largely Ignored BigLaw; What Will Happen as This Phenomenon Arrives in the United States?

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With the advent of the Tesco laws (Alternative Business Structure) across the pond, investors flocked across the pond last year in the same mad dash for riches as the hordes moved to Northern California in the gold rush of 1849. Many a British lawyer began counting the money that they were sure was about to be foisted on them by private and public investors.

But for BigLaw and, particularly, commercial law firms in general, it just didn’t happen and it is, in my opinion, unlikely to occur. The returns just aren’t there.

There is a place for private equity investment in law firms. They are in contingency law tort firms where the returns can be formidable and in commoditized legal work. In the former, cash is required to promote the practices and fund the firm until the brass bell is rung. In the area of commoditized work, an extremely highly leveraged model can also turn a handsome profit.

But this brass bell won’t be ringing for BigLaw.

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Jerome Kowalski
Kowalski & Associates

Jerry Kowalski is the founder of Kowalski & Associates, which provides law firm management... View Profile »


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