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Ashurst has made a fresh start in the US. As revealed by TheLawyer today, the silver circle firm has drawn up a network of six firms it will forge a referral relationship with to better tackle the challenging US legal market.
Some of America’s finest have made it on to Ashurst’s list - including Boston-headquartered private equity shop Ropes & Gray. Ashurst has a rich history with Ropes, working together with the firm on deals for Bain Capital, TPG and Silverlake in recent years.
But Ropes’ appearance on Ashurst’s referral network is intriguing given its recent London launch (see story).
The US firm wants to go it alone in Europe and is confident it can build a powerful private equity following in the City. Such ambition is likely to scupper any long term dreams for Ashurst’s referral relationship with the firm.
It’s early days for Ropes: new London heads Maurice Allen and Mike Goetz are yet to find permanent office space. But it won’t be long before Ashurst has a new competitor in Europe.
Despite this, Ashurst is unfazed. “Yes, Ropes has a new strategy for Europe, but it won’t hit the ground running,” says one Ashurst partner. “They’ll still need firms that have resources in London and Europe to be able to be active in the market.”
Ropes’ relationship with Ashurst is intact for now. But old friends can quickly turn into rivals.
Also on TheLawyer.com: Clifford Chance crowns new London managing partner; Outer Temple Chambers launches in New York; and, what’s going on in the offshore world? Find out in our Offshore Special Report.