America has long been a difficult nut to crack for elite UK firms. For much of the past decade, Allen & Overy (A&O) has been on-record saying it would consider a US merger, with recruiters in New York saying the office suffers something of an identity crisis.
But an increasing number of UK-based clients are now turning to America. Budget retailer Primark certainly didn’t scrimp on costs (up to £850 an hour) when it turned to the magic circle firm for advice on its US launch last week. It’s a bold move from Primark, and one which could have enormous benefits for its legal pal A&O.
According to sources the firm didn’t have to pitch for the mandate, given that it was already a longstanding adviser to Primark’s parent company. It wasn’t the only firm with UK roots to pull in work from the launch, either – DLA Piper’s Boston office is advising the retailer’s new landlord in Boston.
Back in the UK, elite US firms continue to bag the monster deals. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is advising Pfizer on both US and UK matters related to its multi-billion dollar takeover of UK pharmaceuticals rival AstraZeneca, having advised Pfizer for a number of years.
It’s all about the contacts, in the end.
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