(thanks to fullhalloween.com)
This is not to say that all law firms outside the Big Bang are zombies waiting to be slaughtered. (Although George Romero's movies are good!)
But after commenting on Norton Rose's "Noah's Ark" three-way merger betwixt UK, Canada, and South Africa, its imperial ambitions are running amok. This is clearly where the benefits of external investment will come into play next year.
LegalWeek reports that Norton Rose has a masterplan for world domination that includes, first, a US merger to be followed by takeovers in Turkey, Qatar, and South Korea, as well as Brazil and Latin America.
This is ambitious. Norton Rose wants to be in the top 25 global law firms. (See also the comments here on their strategy.)
Last week I gave a series of talks about the changes in the UK legal services market in New York. To say that a number of the lawyers who listened to me were sceptical is to underrate their reactions.
"Why would a law firm want external investment? What would they do with it?" were typical questions. One answer I gave was that it would ease international expansion. This is a costly enterprise and law firms are notoriously under-capitalized. With bank lending being difficult, alternative sources will be tapped.
Norton Rose is indicating to these lawyers how this will play out. You've been warned. This is no time for complacency.