Friday, January 18, 2002

A few law firms on

A few law firms on the verge of global domination ::: In this month’s American Lawyer, Peter Zeughauser writes about what it’ll take for a handful of firms to emerge from the pack and be true global powerhouses. Zeughauser (who is the founder and prinicipal at The Zeughauser Group) predicts that to be truly global, firms will need:

  • A succession of leaders who shared a vision of global dominance with their partners
  • High profitability (based either on dominance of a particular niche practice, or “countercyclical finance and dispute resolution practices”
  • Small equity partnership ranks, with equity partner to associate ratios as high 1:50
Furthermore, Zeughauser predicts that two or three of the firms will be from London, eight to ten will be from New York, one or two will be Big 5 accounting firms, and the remaining five to nine slots are up for grabs. A few of the contenders? Kirkland & Ellis, Brobeck, Latham & Watkins, and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (Zeughauser points out: “all are highly profitable firms with tightly controlled equity partnership admission standards leading to favorable equity partner ratios .”)

Can’t resist including his final point:

One has to wonder when the inexorable march of technology will affect expansion strategy. One would think that it will, and that someday soon, geography will matter less than technological brains and brawn.
Read the article. There’s a lot more in there that’s worth reading – good observations about firm size, governance, and financial issues affecting a firm’s ability to prosper.

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