When big U.S. law firms set their sights on the growing demand for legal services by international businesses, their instinct seems to be: merge with an established foreign firm and overwhelm the competition. Jeffrey Shields is going after the same clients with exactly the opposite strategy.

Two years ago, after 14 years as an international litigator with Morrison & Foerster and Bryan Cave, he dropped out and opened a solo practice in Irvine.

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