There have been US law firms in London for many years. A lot of them have struggled to grow and then maintain consistent strength against strong competition from other incomers and from the indigenous UK firms.
Now a batch of firms seem to have cracked it.
They have done it by keeping their practices in London aligned with the natural strengths of the firm back home. Using "Power alleys" has allowed the firms to create synergy with existing practices and build strongly in London.
The same approach works for any firm building a new office in a new location.
How has Kirkland and its ilk done it? Several consistent themes emerge across this current batch of US firms. If you were to create a word cloud from The Lawyer’s conversations with US law firm leaders and London office heads, the following would loom large: vision; strategy; platform; brand. But the word that would feature most prominently would be ‘alignment’. If you want to achieve growth in the City, you’d better make sure your practices match up with your strengths back home.