Europe still matters for US firms

When much of the world’s attention is focused on developing markets it’s sometimes easy for international firms to take the eye off Europe. But this week US firm Morrison & Foerster has made a commitment to the continent by appointing its first-ever European managing partner.

Global investigations and competition partner Paul Friedman has got the nod and is relocating from San Francisco to London to take up the role. His remit is to improve communication and relationships between MoFo’s three European offices in London, Brussels and Berlin.

The move comes on the back of the firm’s German launch last year, which Friedman says has been extremely successful. But MoFo wants its European offices to do more, and to work more closely with the rest of its international network – notably Asia.

Of course MoFo isn’t the only US firm to be keeping the focus on Europe. Others, such as Latham & Watkins, have also been expanding their European presence recently, while Baker & McKenzie – as we reported earlier this year – has the largest continental European presence of any firm, international or independent.

MoFo’s move to create a European managing partner role comes at a time when some of its rivals are consolidating or slimming down in Europe, including Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, Shearman & Sterling and Sidley Austin.

But Friedman says future growth for MoFo in Europe is planned, so it seems that this US firm at least is committed to the continent for years to come.

Also on TheLawyer.com:

  • Three brothers who ran one of Gibraltar’s largest law firms were jailed last week for fraud, four years after their firm, Marrache & Co, was put into liquidatio
  • Herbert Smith Freehills has picked up Taylor Wessing competition partner Michael Dietrich to bring the number of partners in Germany to six
  • And Bird & Bird has further expanded its horizons with the announcement of a cooperation agreement with Turkish firm BTS & Partners
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