The announcement in February that Madrid-based Eversheds Lupicinio was to leave the Eversheds International network and strike out on its own, followed by the decision of competition boutique Martínez Lage to regain its independence, has once again brought into question the relative merits of exclusive ties between national firms and global networks.
Law firms like their clients are looking to new markets to balance declining or at best flat revenues at home. For some this means a greater focus on established markets, forging new alliances or even rethinking the way they approach their international operations. In certain parts of the world there may still be a “land grab”, but firms seeking to build their international profile also wish to do it in a more collaborative way.
A recent series of events bringing General Counsel and law firm Managing Partners in London, Madrid and Washington DC together, organised by Iberian Lawyer with IE Law School as part of the Lawyers’ Management Programme (LMP), indicates that since the onset of the financial crisis, the pendulum has firmly swung in favour of the buyers of legal services and away from the sellers. It is, suggest some, a total reversal of the situation seen only a few years ago at the height of the boom years
The economic downturn has put pressures on law firms few Managing Partners could have imagined in the summer of 2007 when the first tremors of the sub-prime crisis emerged. Practice growth has been restricted or non-existent and firms have had to reassess how they balance their size, shape and service offerings to the new “normal” market conditions.
While some may believe that increasing regulation is the best remedy for the financial crisis, Iberian Lawyer finds that businesses and law firms alike are reluctant about the prospect of facing more law.