Byrne in the USA: Here, there, and everywhere

Here, there, and everywhere

Thanks again to K&L Gates for giving us the chance to compare and contrast the thinking behind what we at The Lawyer like to call, “the international growth strategies of law firms” (catchy, eh?).

Barely a day goes by without K&L opening up somewhere or other.

This time it’s Paris. It’s at least as good a place to open an office as any. Good for croissants, apparently. And wine.

The raid on Kahn and Associés, which led to the opening of the firm’s most sparkly outpost represents K&L’s second major strategic step in as many weeks (see story). Last week its takeover of Texas firm Hughes & Luce went live, giving K&L a seat at the ever-growing 1,500 lawyer-plus table.

Nigel Knowles beware: Pete Kalis is after your global crown.

Slowly does it

You can imagine the bumper sticker: Cravath does it more slowly.

Yesterday (7 January), Cravath Swaine & Moore announced it had relocated one of its top litigators, John Beerbower, from New York to London (see story). Later this year the firm will watch as another partner, corporate specialist David Mercado follows the same route.

For Cravath, this is radical stuff.

Now there are lots of lovely business reasons behind these moves. In essence, the firm is ramping up (if you can call two partners in six months ramping up) to meet client needs. More international arbitration in London? Bring in Beerbower. More deals? Get Mercado on a plane.

But underlying both moves is Cravath’s innate conservatism. Unlike most other firms with international pretensions, Cravath does things at a snail’s pace. Which has at least one major benefit.

As Beerbower puts it, “The one thing you can say for sure about slow growth and gradual expansion is that you don’t have to deal with the contraction issues”.

This year particularly this might make Cravath even more different than usual.

To read more on this topic, click here to read the latest ‘Byrne in the USA’ blog.