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Retaining firms in foreign countries: many of the major firms in France are American

Two listings in ALM’s Focus Europe, Winter 2007 at 1, deserve consideration for what they say about how law departments might find and work with law firms outside the United States. In one listing, of the 25 highest-grossing firms in France, 7 of them are US-based (Baker & McKenzie, Cleary Gottlieb, Jones Day, Latham & Watkins, Shearman & Sterling, White & Case, and Willkie Farr) while another 5 are UK-based.

In the second listing, the 25 firms in France with the highest revenue per lawyer, 13 of them are US-based, 4 UK-based. Included in the US firms were six of the seven listed above – not Latham & Wakins – as well as Mayer Brown, Sullivan & Cromwell, Debevoise, Skadden, Gibson Dunn, Weil Gotshal, and Paul Hastings.

In other words, based on size and profitability, for legal work based on French law or in need of French presence, US law departments can – and indeed probably do – look to US firms. A similar pattern may hold in several of the countries where US companies do much of their business.