Firms in this industry provide the services of lawyers and other legal practitioners to individuals, businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits. Major firms include Baker & McKenzie, Covington & Burling, Latham & Watkins, and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman (all based in the US), as well as Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, DLA Piper International, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (all based in the UK).
Larger firms continue to expand their global footprint to take advantage of rising demand for international law expertise. Besides the US and the UK, key markets for legal services include Australia, Canada, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. Emerging markets, with growing numbers and values of deals, include China, India, and other parts of Asia.
The US legal services industry includes about 180,000 establishments (single-location firms and units of multi-location firms) with combined annual revenue of about $250 billion. In addition to offices of lawyers, the industry includes establishments that provide paralegal, notary public, process serving, and patent agent services.
Demand depends primarily on the volume of commercial transactions, which is influenced by the level of corporate profits. The profitability of individual firms depends on the partners' reputation and ability, as well as effective case management. Large firms have advantages in serving corporate customers with a wide range of needs. Small firms, which rely on individuals and small business clients, can compete successfully providing specialized expertise or superior outcomes and operating in a local market. The...