International Firm of the Year

The British Legal Awards 2007: International Firm of the Year. Winner: Allen & Overy. Finalists: Clyde & Co, DLA Piper UK, Eversheds, Salans, White & Case

Winner: Allen & Overy

The challenges of managing professional services firms across many jurisdictions are well known. But if you get it right, the rewards can be enormous. And you don’t have to be a global behemoth to join in the fun.

This is reflected by the success of Clyde & Co and Salans, whose entries for this highly competitive category caught the eye of the judging panel. In the last couple of years Clyde & Co has quietly added offices in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Russia and Rio de Janeiro to its network. Salans has been building out from its Central & Eastern European heartlands to invest in the Middle East and Western Europe. Two practices that are often characterised as ‘UK national firms’ also made it onto the shortlist. There is no sign of the momentum that has catapulted DLA Piper onto the international stage diminishing, while the leadership qualities of Eversheds’ chief executive, David Gray, were also singled out. White & Case’s credentials as a truly international firm are underlined by its strength in London, where it has one of the largest, and best, practices of any US firm. It is close to achieving its goal of having 40% of its lawyers in the world’s two pre-eminent financial centres, London and New York.

However, the judging panel was unanimous in its support for Allen & Overy (A&O) as the 2007 International Firm of the Year. The firm has combined an outstanding set of financial results with targeted international expansion – into Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Mannheim and Duesseldorf – and a stream of high-quality mandates across both its finance and corporate departments, as testified by the presence of its name on the shortlist for so many categories in these awards. Equally impressive has been the firm’s drive to meet the concerns of its junior lawyers by implementing an imaginative new career and bonus structure. This included the establishment of a senior associates conference, run by associates for associates.

It has, the judges agreed, been A&O’s year.


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