The continuing integration of the global legal market was underlined last week when partners from magic circle firms descended on Georgetown University in Washington DC.
Clifford Chance senior partner Stuart Popham and global head of litigation Mark Kirsch attended the Future of the Global Law Firm event last Thursday and Friday (17 and 18 April) to discuss the challenges in the global legal market and the pros and cons of using external capital investment. The event was also attended by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer chief executive Ted Burke.
Popham said: "The conference addressed how law firms have changed as businesses over the years and how they are likely to continue to change in the future. The management structure of firms has become more crucial and the question of external capital investment has become a prominent discussion in the market."
Popham continued: "Traditionally firms assumed it was only lawyers that had a sound understanding about how a firm should be run but increasingly we see that strong managerial skills and the application of business skills and knowledge are important to build and run a successful global firm."
Earlier this month (8 April) The Lawyer reported on DLA Piper CEO Nigel Knowles and Travers Smith managing partner Chris Carroll teaming up with Dechert managing partner Bart Winokur to discuss the impact of the Legal Services Act on the UK legal market at the Legal Leaders Forum.
Popham said: "I think both UK and US firms are interested in different approaches to running firms. The concept of external capital is something that we discussed at the conference because it has been a topic of interest for some time."