Some call it “three-dimensional chess,” and it’s a game of strategy that lawyers with expertise in antitrust, securities fraud, corruption, insolvency and other areas may find themselves playing more often these days, as litigation matters proceed in multiple countries at once. But not everyone can play at the highest level—while many large law firms now have offices all over the world map, it takes a special set of lawyering and project coordination skills to be able to handle a piece of truly international litigation, according to lawyers who have spent years in the arena.

A cadre of firms that includes Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Dechert, Allen & Overy and Kobre & Kim—an international disputes boutique that jumped onto The Am Law 200 for the first time this year—have devoted resources to building up their capacity to handle cross-border litigation matters; lawyers at some of those heavy hitters also point to Debevoise & Plimpton as having a strong global litigation group. Also in the mix is Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, a firm that does a majority of its work on the defense side, but also has a plaintiffs-side practice willing to take on the world’s largest financial institutions. And, increasingly, firms such as Hausfeld LLP, which focuses exclusively on plaintiffs side litigation, are looking abroad to expand offices and take advantage of recent plaintiffs-friendly reforms in the U.K. and European Union.

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