Many UK law firms were early adopters of international expansion strategies and have often been among the strongest advocates of a robust global presence. US firms – which have a much bigger home market than their UK counterparts – have been traditionally more cautious about international growth, although there are some significant exceptions to this. However, in the past 10 years most US firms have decided to expand their network of European offices. This has been driven in part by clients, who see greater business opportunities for themselves outside the US, but it's also been encouraged by an increasing perception – or conventional wisdom – that all consumers of services now prefer 'one-stop shopping'. But where exactly is this expansionist trend among our US colleagues being played out? And is it always the best informed, or most appropriate, strategic move for a big law firm?
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