‘How the Magic Circle Lost the Battle for New York’
By Chris Johnson
The Am Law Daily, November 1, 2013
“Despite decades of effort and millions of dollars spent, the U.K.'s Magic Circle firms still haven't made a dent in the New York market.
Manhattan can be an intimidating place for an outsider. The buildings are huge, the people are aggressive, and the cab drivers are just plain crazy. The legal market isn't the most welcoming, either. Just ask the Magic Circle.
Four of the five members of this elite club of U.K. firms—Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and Linklaters—have each had offices in New York for between 27 and 41 years, but they are still fighting just to make their presence felt. These pioneers came to America with grand intentions: not just to service the U.S. needs of existing clients, but also to compete head-on with the top Wall Street firms for the biggest-ticket transactional work—the sort of complex and cross-border deals for which the Magic Circle is known around the world. (The fifth Magic Circle firm, Slaughter and May, has generally eschewed international expansion in favor of a global alliance network that in the United States includes Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.)…”
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