I noticed something this week that I haven’t seen before in years gone by; the Halloween explosion that has happened in my neighbourhood. I write this blog on the eve of Halloween, which, in my boyhood in the 80’s and 90’s meant nothing more than hanging a pumpkin on the porch and praying that the candle didn’t blow out. Nowadays every shop and restaurant along Northcote Road is decorated with cobwebs and spiders along with all of the other spooky paraphernalia that one can get one’s hands on.
So what’s changed? Has Britain become spookier? I guess as with other trends and our increasing appetite for consumerism, the whole notion of Halloween has become Americanised. I don’t think we will celebrate “All Hallows Eve” as much as the Americans just yet but we’re probably not too far away. The Americans celebrate it so much that in New York the world’s largest Halloween parade attracts more than 60,000 costumed participants, 2 million in-person spectators, and a worldwide TV audience of over 100 million – that is a lot of pumpkins!
The English legal sector has also seen change brought about by firms across the Pond and I’m not just referring to “commercial property” now referred to as “real estate” or the introduction of “contract attorneys”. I read with interest this week an article published on The Lawyer which stated that US firms now dominate the mid-tier of firms in London. According to research carried out by The Lawyer US firms collectively generate over £2bn annually and are major players in the 100 firms bringing in the most revenue from the UK. Whilst no US firm has made the top 20 list, US firms now dominate in the 21-40 bracket. Within the 21-40 bracket overseas firms earned over 50 per cent of the total £2.36bn brought in by the group.
So what does this mean for UK firms? More competition for sure, greater choice for clients and opportunities for lawyers. This migration of international firms to London also highlights the importance of the capital, and demonstrates its heavyweight credentials, as being one of the leading legal centres of the world.
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