Litigation helps large law firms surge in Q2

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The large law firm sector in the US scored a triple win in the second quarter, gaining in demand, rate growth and productivity.

The Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor Index saw its highest score since 2011, after surging 10 points to 62.

The Am 100, the largest of the large firms, had a stellar quarter with growth in demand of 3.2%, although the second 100 firms saw a decline of 0.2% in this metric. Midsize firms gained 1.8% on average.

The standout practice area was litigation where demand gained 2.2% following years of decline.

Worked rates were up 3.4% with an average 4.2% for Am100, 2.9% for the second 100, and 3% for midsize firms.

Productivity gained 0.9%.

However, the strong results in the second quarter do not necessarily hint at an upward trend.

“The market remains somewhat volatile, as this follows a surprisingly soft first quarter,” said Mike Abbott, vice president, Client Relations and Global Thought Leadership, Thomson Reuters. “But at the midpoint mark for the year, overall results so far have been encouraging. If favorable trends such as improved pricing power and restraint in headcount and expenses continue, the market could be poised for a strongly profitable 2018.”

Another global firm announces Latin American expansion
Following yesterday’s news that Dentons has acquired a law firm in Chile, another global firm has announced a further push into Latin America.

DLA Piper has reached agreement with Argentine firm Cabanellas Etchebarne Kelly Abogados (CEK) which will operate as DLA Piper in Argentina.

CEK has offices in Buenos Aires and Mendoza in Argentina but also a New York office.

"Under this arrangement, we will be able to provide local companies with a world-class international platform to satisfy their legal needs, particularly as they relate to regional and international expansion," said Marcelo Etchebarne, co-founder of CEK and head of the firm's New York office. "DLA Piper has expanded its commitment to Latin America significantly over the past several years, and we are thrilled to come together with them during a time when the market in Argentina is rapidly growing and opportunities in a number of industries are increasing."

The deal with DLA Piper follows the firm’s agreements with local law firms in Chile and Peru. It also has a cooperation agreement with a firm in Brazil.

Simmons & Simmons hires NZ firm practice head to lead in Tokyo
Aaron Patience is rejoining Simmons & Simmons in Tokyo to lead its Japan office.

Patience has spent most of his career at Simmons in Japan but has been with Kensington Swan in New Zealand since 2016 leading its Japan practice.

The corporate and commercial lawyer who specialises in transactions with an IP element, especially in TMT and life sciences, will rejoin the firm from October 2018 subject to regulatory approval.

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