Nobody talks about it anymore.” That’s the way a senior partner at a New York firm describes the prospect of competition from top London firms for the U.S. portion of big cross-border deals.
What a year or two ago was the talk of the town, and a seemingly pressing strategic issue for any American firm with international aspirations, now draws a shrug from many American partners. Ho, hum. While the English have continued to hire American lawyers in both London and New York–particularly securities and project finance specialists–they haven’t stolen a noticeable slice of American firms’ securities pie, let alone eaten their lunch. “In our mainstream securities practice, we almost never run into their U.S. lawyers,” says Bruce Buck, a partner in Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s London office.