US Law firms in the UK

Since 2011, major US law firms have gradually been expanding their London offices, often bringing firm culture and idiosyncrasies with them. The US model, which focuses on profitability, is characterised by high bonuses for their biggest earners and a resistance to bureaucracy. By contrast, UK law firms are famous for their more traditional approach, which was surprisingly dominant until the banking crisis shook the market. Since then, a significant portion of legal transactions in all areas of UK market has been competed for by American firms, which retain the huge advantage of being headquartered in the world’s biggest economy. The degree to which British firms have ceded market share and profits to their US rivals has been especially evident in 2015.

UK skyline and US skyline

London and New York are undeniably the two biggest draws for the best legal graduates and junior lawyers worldwide. Firms like Latham & Watkins, White & Case, Allen and Overy and Linklaters have the size and prestige to consistently entice the best trainees, assistants and associates.