Marc Tobias - Managing Director, DMJ Recruitment
In recent years, Law firms from the US have been taking the UK market by storm. Statistics show that they are even outperforming their UK rivals and have become an increasingly important part of the UK Legal Market.
According to new research, US partners are generating 25% more than the average at the top 15 UK law firms.
This trend can be credited, in large part, to the US Firms' strategy, focusing on highly profitable practice areas such as mergers and acquisitions, private equity, banking and corporate finance. However, experts warn that this strategy could leave them vulnerable to market fluctuations and economic events. In contrast, UK firms' "full spread" model allows them to weather economic crises by diversifying their practice areas and having a foothold in areas that may benefit from a recession.
Difference between the two (pros and cons)
Both UK and US Law firms have a significant presence in the UK Legal Market. However, there are certain differences in the way these firms operate and the types of clients they tend to serve.
US law firms are known for offering higher salaries than UK firms, which is a major factor in attracting top talent in London and has led to a significant number of UK lawyers moving to US firms in search of better pay. The higher salaries offered by US firms can be attributed to the difference in team sizes and structures, US law firms typically have smaller teams compared to UK firms, which means that associates may have to work longer hours.
Smaller team sizes in US firms result in quicker career progression, which facilitates faster advancement to partnership roles.
Kirkland & Ellis and Weil Gotshal, among other well-established firms, have implemented policies that provide opportunities for their outstanding associates to be promoted to partner status at an accelerated pace. Kirkland & Ellis, for instance, have offered promotions to associates who have gained 6.5 years of post-qualification experience.
Overall, while both US and UK law firms are prospering in London, they possess distinct strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, it is important for clients and candidates alike to carefully consider their individual needs and preferences when choosing a law firm. Weighing what’s most important for you, mainly work/life balance versus salary, will go a long way to ensuring a happy and successful legal career.