Legal Business

One-stop shopping is here but it’s not doing what it was supposed to


Sometimes in business what you correctly forecast can prove as problematic as what you get wrong. Because even when you manage the considerable feat of identifying what will happen in the world you are left with problems of unintended consequences.

Take the one-stop shop, a dominating idea during the legal industry’s defining 1990s-era globalisation as firms fought to become larger players that could serve clients across borders and product lines. The idea was that plc clients would narrow their adviser lists to smaller numbers of larger law firms. And this has largely come to pass – the trend of smaller panels has been well documented for years and the shift shows no sign of changing. There is also ample evidence that being a one-stop shop for high-end work across borders is highly profitable for law firms.