A wake-up call for regional firms

Having staked their claims in the capital, the US giants are descending on cities further north. The news that Reed Smith Shaw & McClay is eyeing up the Midlands comes as good news for the Government which can claim a nationwide economic recovery. But it is a salutory message for firms outside London which have been watching the partner moves and takeover fever from a distance.

Regional firms may have thought themselves immune to the effects of globalisation and the predatory moves of foreign firms. But now global players are set to compete on their turf, and they may well find themselves sucked into the competitive and cutthroat world of the global legal business.

The news comes as a leading in-house lawyer warns that firms must think global if they are going to stop young lawyers moving in-house. Regional firms that used to worry about losing partners or business to London now face losing them to the US. They must formulate the sort of global strategies that London firms have had to develop.