Although law firms from the United Kingdom have extensive global reach, so far they haven’t been able to work their magic in Washington D.C. According to a recent article in Legal Times, the so called “magic circle” of five U.K. law firms have a limited presence in the Washington D.C. market — only two have offices with a small contingent of lawyers. This is a very small presence compared to the rest of the world where these firms employee 10,000 lawyers and rake in about $5 billion dollars annually.
So why aren’t these firms descending on the American capitol? For one, the magic circle has been content to base their U.S. offices in New York City, where they have access to America’s financial markets, if not Washington’s regulatory work. The global financial markets have a been a focus of these law firms for centuries. In fact several of the firms predate the founding of America as a country. Right now it seems the Magic Circle is content to partner with U.S. firms and bide their time before entering into the Washington D.C. market. Which may suit some Washingtonians fine, considering that the rivalry hasn’t always been friendly.