Over the last weekend I (@RWS_01) got into a tweet exchange with the author of a recent good analysis post on the thelawyer.com – ‘UK law is focusing too much on the wrong things‘ – Mark Brandon (@MotiveLegal). As part of the exchange, I promised Mark a response to his article.
First off, as it has been some time since I worked directly in UK law, my reply to Mark’s post should be read from an Australasian perspective.
Second, in my reply I have used the same numbering and headings as Mark used in his original post.
So, here goes.
1. The mega-consolidators will struggle
I partially agree with Mark on this one.
If, as I think Mark suggests, law firms are merging simply to ‘purchase’ market share, then I generally agree with him. Likewise, if by ‘conglomerate’, Mark means ‘full service’, then I would also agree.
However, as someone who lives and works in an environment (#Auslaw) where there are roughly:
- 30 law firms,
- who earn in excess of A$50 million per year in revenue,
- with a population of approximately 23 million people,
then I have to say that the trend of consolidation seen in the sector over the past two to three years here will, and needs to, continue.
Will some of these mergers/consolidations result in regional (Asia-wide) mega-firms? Yes, I believe they will [and indeed, with the likes of King & Wood Mallesons, have].
Will these firms struggle? Some yes (most likely those who, as Mark suggests, have consolidated solely to purchase market share), but those who have the right strategy and culture in place, ie where the consolidation is done in consultation with clients, resulting in a more efficient and better service to the client – rather than solely for the financial benefit of the partners of the firms involved, will likely thrive.
Finally, I have to say that I disagree with Mark’s comment that:
“When it comes to law firms, there is such a thing as ‘too big’.”
2. Vereins are over (more…)