In November 2013, The American Lawyer® published a provocative article by its Chief European Correspondent Chris Johnson entitled “How the Magic Circle Lost the Battle for New York.” In it, Johnson argued that, despite 25 years of work and huge investments, the leading UK law firms had failed to gain any significant share of the New York market.

In the December 2014 issue of The American Lawyer, Johnson turned his gaze on US firms operating in London and concluded that, despite some individual success stories, most have done no better than their UK counterparts in New York. Together, the two articles may create the impression that the prospects for genuine trans-Atlantic competition in the US and UK legal markets are limited at best. In my view, however, that conclusion would ignore several positive trends and seriously underestimate the rapidly changing dynamics in both markets.

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