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US law firms in London

US law firms operating in the London market are at different stages of their development cycles. In our experience, they initially establish offices in London to provide advice to their US clients focused on the areas for which they have particularly strong reputations in the US, such as energy, insurance or finance and capital markets. As the London office expands, the firm is called on to provide clients with a greater range of legal services.
Not all US law firms wish or are currently able to offer the full range of legal services through their London office. There may be a variety of reasons for this:

  • It may be difficult to recruit the appropriate specialist lawyers
  • It is not always cost effective to invest in recruiting specialists for non-core areas of English law
  • The economics may suggest recruitment into new areas should be deferred to other priorities
  • Specialist expertise could be outsourced more cost effectively.

So how can client demands for non-core expertise best be met and how can the process of sourcing this expertise be simplified?

Sourcing specialist non-core legal services US firms that do not yet have a full service capability often purchase legal services on an ad hoc basis from other UK law firms. This process can be hit and miss until a good working relationship has been established and difficult to manage where advice from a number of outside firms needs to be co-ordinated. Clients also have rapidly changing needs, requiring providers of new areas of expertise to be sourced.

Any law firm that is going to recommend another firm to its client needs to be entirely confident:

  • about the quality of the advice to be given - technically correct and commercially astute
  • about service delivery – will the firm meet US service delivery standards and mirror the US firm’s style of working?
  • that the US firm will, if it chooses, remain in control of the process
  • that the UK firm will not attempt to usurp the US firm’s relationship with its client.

There also needs to be a ‘cultural fit’, so that the lawyers in the two firms work well together for the benefit of clients.

"We promise that your clients will be looked after exactly as you would like them to be."

How do you currently provide non-core services to your clients?
In the past, some US firms had “best friends” relationships with one of the larger City firms. Using a City firm ensured quality of advice and similar service delivery standards.

Some of those City firms have themselves merged with US firms and are competing directly in the US/UK market. There continues to be significant consolidation of the UK legal market place. Understandably, the “best friends” strategy is under threat.

Using boutique UK law firms, which provide advice only in one particular specialist area, also has its fair share of problems. Specialist firms can offer high quality advice but, on larger deals, the practical problem arises of co-ordinating and monitoring the activities of specialists from a number of different firms. Not an easy task.

Even if your firm fronts the legal advice, it can often become apparent to clients that the specialists are not employed by your firm. This can leave a negative impression.

There is another choice. Use one high quality, full service law firm that is not going to compete in your market. A firm that is used to working with US law firms and US clients: Fox Williams LLP.

Fox Williams: quality and integrated support
Fox Williams is unique in the London market. It is a highly regarded ‘independent’ City law firm, providing quality legal advice in a range of specialist areas. Many of our lawyers have previously worked in top City firms, and are acknowledged experts in their fields.

We are used to working with US law firms, having assisted many of them to set up in London, and operate similar service delivery standards to those adopted by US firms. We promise that your clients will be looked after exactly as you would like them to be.

You will be kept fully informed at all stages and we will not seek to establish a relationship with your firm’s clients beyond your wishes. Our aim is to work with you and your clients to provide a seamless service.

You can use Fox Williams’ specialists to create an integrated support package for your clients in all or any of the menu of specialisms listed below:

  • Agency Distribution, International Trade
  • Arbitration
  • Competition & EU Law
  • Corporate
  • Data Protection
  • Immigration
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Intellectual Property
  • Insurance
  • Joint Ventures
  • Labour & Employment
  • Litigation
  • M & A
  • Partnership
  • Tax
  • Real Estate
  • Restructuring & Insolvency
  • Technology, IT & online commerce

A Fox Williams partner will be appointed to work with you, and co-ordinate the delivery of an integrated service package to you and your client, to meet your client’s deadlines.

We are totally committed to building long-term relationships with the US firms for whom we work.

Our unique integrated support offering is designed to help you to service your clients’ needs to the highest standards at whatever stage of your firm’s development in London. We hope to have the pleasure of working with you.

If you need more information on putting together an integrated support package, or if you just need support in a particular area, please contact:

Tina Williams
Strategic Consultant
T: +44(0)20 7614 2502

Who should I contact?


Daniel Sutherland
Direct dial: +44 (0)20 7614 2624


Tina Williams
Strategic Consultant
Direct dial: +44 (0)20 7614 2502


  • Top Ranked Chambers UK 2014 - Leading Firm
  • Ranked in Chambers Europe 2013 - Leading Individual
  • Ranked in Chambers Global 2014 - Leading Firm
  • Legal 500 - Leading Firm
  • The Lawyer UK 200 - Listed Firm
  • The Law Society Excellence Awards 2012 - Shortlisted
  • Investors in People - Bronze