It does not take a legal market expert to know that the landscape of major law firms is changing like that of the polar ice caps. Since 2000 at least nine firms have collapsed from their perches amidst the Am-Flawed 100 directly into oblivion, namely: Dewey & LeBoeuf, Howrey, Heller Ehrman, Thacher Proffitt, McKee Nelson, Wolf Block, Dreier, Thelen, and Brobeck — or on average one firm every one and a half years.
Thankfully, the tsunami that claimed so many BigLaw casualties in 2009 and 2010 is increasingly a distant memory as the waters of 2011 have remained relatively tranquil. We are certainly not only leaner and more efficient but also more circumspect as we venture further into the heart of 2011, major American and British firms focusing more of their attention outward and exploring opportunities especially in the emerging foreign markets of the so-called BRIC countries – namely Brazil, Russia, India and China. Francis B. Burch, Jr., global chairman of DLA Piper explained: “If you look at where the large multinationals and the most attractive emerging technology companies are generating their revenue and their net income and where they expect to see the most growth, it’s in the BRIC countries.”