Byrne_Matt_2016_LeaderLast week The Lawyer’s editorial team was putting the finishing touches to this year’s Global Litigation 50 report. When the news of Donald Trump’s election victory broke.

Most of the conversations we had from last Wednesday onwards with New York-, Washington DC- and California-based lawyers were muted, to say the least. Several sounded like they hadn’t had a ton of sleep.

It’s all too obvious that a lot of lawyers, many of whom were quizzed for this report and are based on the US coasts rather than in what are sometimes dismissively called the ‘flyover states’, are not Trump fans. And yet. There’s always an ‘and yet’.

While politically some lawyers might not agree with the President-elect’s policies, in practical terms the changes he is expected to introduce next year (notably repealing Dodd-Frank, reforming the Affordable Care Act aka ‘Obamacare’ and likely announcing a ton of infrastructure projects) will result in a boom in legal work.

As our opinion article by Dentons’ global chairman Joe Andrew confirms, clients from all around the world were already calling his firm last week about what Trump’s election victory would mean for the US, the world and their own businesses.

As with Brexit it will take some time for the full implications to play out, but last week saw firms lining up to highlight their credentials. The signs are that Trump’s softer line on regulation generally and antitrust enforcement specifically will mean a boom in M&A, while many suggest a rise in cross-border litigation and arbitration is a certainty next year. If the latter happens, most of the firms in the Global Litigation 50, published today, will be poised to capitalise.

Although this year’s report confirms signs of a slowing in the growth of total fee income for the world’s top disputes practices, there is very little sign of a drop-off in activity.

Indeed, events such as the collapse in the oil price is creating disputes while firms are finding ever-smarter ways to respond to the continuing client pressure on fees – inevitably through the use of technology.

As Clyde & Co points out in its submission to this year’s report, highlighting present and future litigation and arbitration trends – one of a record number of firm insight contributions included in this year’s Global Litigation 50 – “disputes are generally dependent on disruptive events”. Need we say more?

Can London win the battle of the arbitration centres?

To purchase a copy of the Global Litigation 50 contact Richard Edwards on 020 7970 4672 or