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In the decade since the Great Recession, the largest U.S. law firms have mirrored their global clients, spreading their footprint in an effort to bring in more business. In doing so, they’ve opened offices from Sheffield to Shanghai and everywhere in between, adding thousands of international attorneys, with some firms focused on operating in key financial centers, and others looking to open in as many locales as possible.

A review of 10 years of data for the 2019 Am Law 200 firms shows that the 110 firms on the list with international lawyers have added 6,626 lawyers and 198 offices outside the United States, when accounting for mergers, openings, ­closings, hirings and departures. (Firms without 2009 data available were not included.) That amounts to an 8% increase in offices around the world and 35% growth in global lawyers employed by the biggest U.S. firms.

One-third of all those new lawyers can be found in London, far and away the biggest driver of U.S. firms’ international growth. That leap in head count matches the growth of the next seven busiest cities combined: Paris, Hong Kong, Sydney, Mexico City, Singapore, Milan and Melbourne. (View an infographic breakdown of the data at the bottom of this page.)

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Ben Seal

Ben Seal is managing editor of The American Lawyer. He joined the magazine in February 2018, and previously spent five years working for The Legal Intelligencer, editing the paper's magazines and supplements and reporting on Pennsylvania's state courts, legislature and Attorney General's Office. Contact him at [email protected] or @BSealTAL.

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