Freshfields in the US: Don’t call us magic circle

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has been no stranger to the headlines this month, having made a series of bold – and rare – US lateral hires. Now the firm has come out with an even bolder mission plan.

As outlined in this week’s cover feature, the firm wants to discard its magic circle tag in the US in favour of being part of an international elite. It insists its US strategy is a key part of that.

Managing partner David Aitman and corporate head Edward Braham say the firm is on track to take on the UK and Wall Street elite through a special brand of regulatory, antitrust and corporate nous.

That explains the firm’s keenness to win over some heavy-hitting US partners and maybe its readiness to tinker with the hallowed lockstep too.

The magic circle brand is a tricky play in the US. Firms risk being pigeonholed as one of ‘the Brits’, according to Aitman. That’s why Freshfields wants to redefine itself as a member of a new global category.

Don’t see these recent hires as a straightforward bid to build a corporate practice then, rather as the reconstruction of Freshfields’ brand across the pond. Just don’t expect this to be an easy sell either.

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