Momentum versus quality. That’s the question for the upper reaches of the legal industry that is never on the lips of managing partners but probably should be. The industry likes to focus on partnership models, strategies, practices, geographic spread and culture. These are all fine up to a point but as major determinants of success, they get too much air time. But momentum – well, the impact of that is dramatically, empirically startling in law. When firms have it they are capable of achieving staggering levels of growth and market repositioning.
Momentum can come as focused application of a counter-intuitive playbook – Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Latham & Watkins, Clyde & Co or Mishcon de Reya. It can come in the form of aggressive expansion via mergers and lateral recruitment, as seen in the emergence of DLA Piper. But look at what firms can achieve if they have it. Quinn Emanuel, for example, was the fastest-growing firm in the Global 100, with revenues growing by 163% in just five years.