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When our chief international correspondent, Michael D. Goldhaber, moved to London in 2001 to begin covering the U.K. and Continental legal markets, the first thing he wanted to write about was the World Trade Organization. He figured that the international trade court, then six years old, must be creating a new, cutting-edge legal specialty at the intersection of public policy and private trade interests. But Goldhaber didn’t get very far with his proposed article. “I asked everyone, ‘Is a WTO bar emerging?’ ” recalls Goldhaber, who is now based in New York. “ People sneered.” There was no such animal, he was told. Five years later, things are very different. The WTO is hearing two huge international disputes that pit Europe against the United States: the mutual finger-pointing over government subsidies to the new supersized airplanes from The Boeing Company and Airbus S.A.S., and the clash over Europe’s refusal to import genetically modified foods and hormone-treated beef from America. And as Goldhaber found when he revisited the WTO beat, a healthy WTO bar has come into existence, based in Washington, D.C., Brussels, and Geneva. Leading the pack are Sidley Austin and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. How did two U.S. firms establish their dominance so quickly in this developing international specialty? Read ” Trade Warriors” to find out. European lawyers may have a new practice area of their own to develop. Class actions have long been a peculiarly American phenomemon that, unlike Big Macs or Disneyland, never really caught on in Europe. Now, as contributing writer Heather Smith reports, jurisdictions across Europe are grappling with how best to handle mass litigation. U.S. companies and their counsel should be on notice: The European class action is no longer an impossibility. To learn more, please see Smith’s article, ” Critical Mass.” American law firms themselves have proven to be a remarkably successful export to Europe, reshaping many legal markets in a relatively short time. Germany’s Haarmann Hemmelrath, shaken by many high-level departures, is just the latest European firm to feel the strain of U.S. competition, as contributing writer Chris Crowe explains. But then there’s Carnelutti Studio Legale Associato. Two years after tying the knot with McDermott Will & Emery, the Milan-based firm has decided it can do just fine on its own. Read all about it in ” Divorce, Italian Style.”

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