Norton Rose puts US high on agenda

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  • this cannot end well..

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  • It is like arriving in new Zealand and turning your watches back 10 years ? This was the firm's objective a decade ( and more ) ago and will fail , as it did then, because the firm believes in its heart that it is Magic Circle and it is not and the lucky hit list of firms in the US are quite comfortable without NR thanks very much. Good to see the firm recovering some prestige recently and planning for the long term because it is a good firm with likeable partners but the marketing noises make me think of a 50 something UK male chasing a 20 something US female and the wrong party has a fat wallet!.

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  • A questionable decision… NR has made significant progress over the last two years in achieving an outstanding reputation for the prudent yet caring and fair way it handled the economic downturn in being able to maintain profitability while remaining loyal to its employees. One hopes that this will not represent a step backwards in any of the above as can quite often be the case in transatlantic partnerships.

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  • To the poster - "50 something UK male chasing a 20 something US female and the wrong party has a fat wallet!."

    The 20 something US female ex-capmarkets or ex-corporate sat at home twiddling their thumbs because they were axed I am sure are not quite as assured as you purport.

    To make it clear - I do not agree that that the notion of merger is a good one. Although not because US firms have proven to be giants lording over the legal world sitting above the UK competition, as the poster seems to claim, rather learning from history a wave of US firms have proven to be somewhat unstable entities, fragile, fickle, and over exposed to market change. NR has proven to be a stable ship and talks of a merger at the moment makes one think of a 40 something UK male chasing a 20 something US female yet unbeknown to the UK male the US female has an STI !

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  • It is exactly because NR knows it is NOT a Magic Circle firm that it is broadening its horizons in the way mentioned in the article.
    The theory used to be "Hey, we're a top 10-15 UK firm, so we ought to be able to merge with a top 10-15 US firm". That led to a decade of wasted discussions with US firms with PEP well in excess of a firm like NR.
    NR has wised up and realised that there are plenty of so-called "regional" (i.e., not New York) US firms that are actually pretty healthy potential merger partners.

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  • If you're aiming for the US, and you end up in Australia, is it a natural assumprion that you're heading in the wrong direction?

    Arnie

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  • Deacons made a lot of sense as a merger partner for NR - an all credit to them for pulling it off. I don't suppose anyone at NR is daft enough to think they're gunning for Sullivan & Cromwell. There are some nice little asset finance boutiques in New York that would both make commercial sense and allow NR to claim that it's got one up on its peers. If they manage that as well then good luck to them.

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  • The term "magic circle" is utterly meaningless. People who cling to such labels (read: hide behind past glory) will be relegated to the outer circle. The business of law is changing - maybe even more rapidly than firms realise or can effectively respond to. Employees don't buy the old self-love BS and clients certainly don't. Those firms that innovate, embrace technology and are not afraid to change and grow will succeed. Example from Japan: Linklaters is no powerhouse. Nor is Clifford Chance. Freshfields isn't top tier in this town. Slaughter & May is a non-entity. Cravath is less than zero. Sullivan & Cromwell a bare thread. Simpson, Thatcher ditto. Debevoise nadda. Skadden is here in numbers, but not making leaps and bounds. Latham & Watkins might still be here somewhere, hiding. The real winners in Japan are those firms, like MoFo that have a US heritage but have adapted their offering to suit the market and in doing so take the lion's share of marketshare among foreign firms. In sum, taking on new markets in Asia (where the real growth will be) is all about attitude and desire. If Norton Rose wants to be big in Asia it will be. If a US firm wants in on that action, then it would be a very sensible decision for them. Asia is there for the taking, and so far not many have shown that they know how to play the Asia game with any real finesse.

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