Clients Care Less About Prestige In Era Of Mega-Vereins
Andrew Strickler, 9 March 2015
"While some in the legal industry grumble about the ascent of Swiss vereins and consolidation in potential deals like the one between Dentons and McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, experts say corporate clients don't care as much about "elite" brand names anymore and are looking to mega-firms for a good deal.
Concerns about data security and other questions about vereins notwithstanding, BigLaw's clients have in recent years effectively blessed the structure by judging firms like Dentons and Baker & McKenzie LLP by the same criteria as traditional firms and finding that they're largely delivering on promises.
Meanwhile, the perceived prestige of the acquired firms is a waning priority for clients relative to the incoming local lawyers' expertise regarding their individual markets and industries.
And when it comes to a verein's use of separate profit pools and complex tax issues, clients "just don't care, provided they are being serviced well in the places they need and at the quality they want," said Elizabeth Duffy, vice president for legal market research firm Acritas US Inc. "No client ever really says, 'I don't like this firm or that firm because of their financial structure,'" she said. "They're not distinguishing between the firms that are vereins and those that aren't." Just weeks after Dentons announced a deal to absorb Dacheng Law Offices, China's largest firm, the firm was again in merger mode and rekindling talks with Atlanta-based McKenna Long, according to two sources familiar with the situation..."
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