The American Lawyer October 2007 “Global Issue” focuses on the recent success of leading UK law firms, especially the Magic Circle. Many factors contribute to their success; I’ll focus on two that I follow closely: outsourcing and law firm management. 

Magic Touch notes that leading UK firms “have taken better control of their global costs, introducing tighter management of their back-office functions and starting to explore savings from outsourcing support services.”

Touched by an Angel reports that Linklaters’ managing partner “relies on legions of nonlawyer managers, including 14 on the firm’s ‘strategy team,’ several recruited from elite consultancies and paid on a profit basis.”

Both these trends also apply in the US. On outsourcing, Hildebrandt’s 2007 Client Advisory, (3/07) notes that “a number of [US] firms have begun to experiment with ‘outsourcing’ as a means of controlling costs.” On management, many large US firms have hired professionals with years of industry experience for roles such as the CIO, CFO, CMO, and CSO.

Quantifying whether the Brits or the Yanks are ahead on either front is hard. But the impressive gains in London make these articles worth reading. And perhaps emulating some of the success factors.

[There is only one passing and uninteresting reference to technology in these two articles. Hmmm!]