For many Global 100 firms, the past year has exposed how complex and risk-laden managing an international law firm has become. Firm leaders have been forced to manage against a downturn in commodity markets, turmoil in foreign exchange markets and slow growth in many of the world''s key economies. Moreover, the United Kingdom''s vote to leave the European Union has put at risk decades'' worth of investment in London by global firms.
The net effect is that many firm leaders are rethinking the conventional wisdom that has guided their international expansion. In Europe, global firms are beginning to look less London-centric. In China, firms are taking divergent paths. Some are exiting, while others are investing in local expertise.
What is clear is that firms are not responding to trouble in the global economy by backing away. Instead they are embracing a more nuanced, less hub-and-spoke approach that forces them to engage with a wider range of markets. This is true in developed markets such as Europe and in emerging markets including Africa, Latin America and southeast Asia. Here is a snapshot of legal markets that global firms are actively rethinking.