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07/11/06

DLA Piper doubles lawyer strength, plans expansion in Europe


DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary LLP, with nearly 3,100 lawyers worldwide, plans to add another 1,000 in the coming three years. Expecting a wider scope of growth in the European markets, the firm is scheduling more offices in Frankfurt and Madrid and a new office in Munich. The firm's German office has reported major growth in numbers from three lawyers to around 80 in the last two years.

Varied opportunities in Germany's growing private equity market have lured many international firms to set up shops in Munich. Major U.S. firms like Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy all have offices in Munich with an emphasis on strong private equity practice.

DLA Piper's headcount is growing by leaps and bounds. It plans to augment its Paris lawyer-count from 20 to 100 by 2009 and increase it ranks in Scandinavia by 150. Recently, the firm opened a Dubai office, and is planning to expand in the Middle East.

Spain's booming legal market means big revenues for foreign firms
Spanish law firms are doing good business this year, reports American Lawyer. The strength of the legal market translates into profits for the U.S. and U.K. firms as well. Baker & McKenzie ranks highly in Spain, with 7.6% growth and $55.8 million in revenues. Jones Day scored the second highest revenues for a U.S. firm in Spain, with $10.8m in turnover.

The Spanish legal market has grown nearly four times faster than the national economy at an average of about 13.7%.

Linklaters recorded a 22.7% increase in revenues to $25.6 million, and Allen & Overy crossed the $12.8 million mark. DLA Piper was slightly ahead, touching $14.1 million. Clifford Chance was the top UK firm in Spain, reporting revenues of $69 million, an impressive growth of 13%.

Baker & McKenzie teams up with top Australian bank
Top U.S. law firm, Baker & McKenzie, is short-listed in the new ANZ legal panel to provide the Bank with quality legal advice, greater choice, and flexibility. With 32 firms on the new panel, the Bank plans to introduce an electronic billing system for the tracking and payment of legal services.

Effective immediately, the new ANZ Legal Panel will help the bank to start the new e-billing and management system. Other firms empanelled by the bank include Hall & Wilcox, Minter Ellison, Pacific Legal Network, Phillips Fox, Piper Alderman, and Ward Keller.

Attrition of women in law firms
Even though the number of women in law schools is about the same as men, the same cannot be said for female partners according to Karen Asner, a commercial litigator and an administrative partner at White & Case LLP in New York.

Asner reports on law.com that this could be because women are working for relatively shorter spells at their firms than men. Before many women become eligible for promotion to partner, they leaves the firm, often to take on additional family responsibilities. Statistics indicate that women start leaving their firms after 3-4 years upon joining. It becomes a challenge to balance personal and professional obligations for a female lawyer who may also be a mother and a housewife. This leads female lawyers to reduce their work hours or even quit.

Asner discusses what firms can do to tackle female attrition. An example offered is that of her firm, White & Case. It pursues a model that encourages career and business development, networking, and inter-office support teams.

While no readymade solutions are forthcoming, efforts in this direction will help increase the strength of female partners in the future, it is hoped.

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