Globalization of Law Firms: A Survey of the Literature and a Research Agenda for Further Study

D. Daniel Sokol
William H. Hastie Fellow
University of Wisconsin Law School

The international expansion of law firms plays a critical role in understanding the business of law and the nature of globalization. This article responds to the articles by Carole Silver and Len Bierman and Michael Hitt on law firm expansion in this symposium issue on the Globalization of the Legal Profession. The essay utilizes management studies’ theoretical work on internationalization and applies it to law firm expansion to explain law firm strategic decision-making. The author creates a six-part taxonomy for types of law firm expansion and provides a snapshot of the increasing U.S./U.K. dominance of capital markets, corporate and mergers & acquisitions legal work around the world. Finally, the article proposes an interdisciplinary research agenda that incorporates law, economics, sociology, economic geography, and management studies to more fully understand law firm expansion.

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