Clients Name New Firm to Fearsome Foursome, 10 New Awesome Opponents

Dentons Adds Fear to the Global Network

Creating a global network and linking up with Chinese law firms was just not enough. Dentons is adding a dose of fear as the firm earns a coveted spot on the BTI Fearsome Foursome. This makes 2 important points:

  1. Being aggressive to the extreme makes your law firm fearsome.
  2. Fear can be fleeting as we see 1 new firm join the 2017 Fearsome Foursome.

At the same time, being fearsome can be a cultural phenomenon: Jones Day, Kirkland & Ellis and Skadden have remained the most fearsome over the last 5 years of tracking.

Overall, clients see 70 law firms as substantially more fearsome than most—accounting for about 11% of all law firms serving large companies. A total of 11 firms managed to become more fearsome. These newly fearsome firms are:

  • Dentons (as discussed above)
  • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
  • Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
  • Cravath, Swaine & Moore
  • Davis Polk & Wardwell
  • Fish & Richardson
  • K&L Gates
  • Latham & Watkins
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
  • White & Case

Except for Dentons, these firms moving up in ferocity jumped into the BTI Awesome Opponents (click for full list of BTI Awesome Opponents) this year. The Awesome Opponents nip at the heels of the Fearsome Foursome.

Making a Firm Fearsome

Clients talk about 3 reasons the Fearsome Foursome standout:

  1. These firms are especially savvy at pulling together multiple strategies to reach their goal—opponents sense this broad strategic approach.
     
  2. Aggressive and unrelenting approach—the Fearsome Foursome don’t take a breath and don’t stop. Opponents know they are in for 24/7 litigation made up of a stream of both new and continuing approaches.
     
  3. An ability to predict the future—top legal decision makers talk about how the most feared firms have an uncanny ability to anticipate what will happen next and ensure they are ready to respond well in advance.

A law firm’s ability to instill fear is emerging as a clear differentiator. Corporate counsel are on the lookout for more fearsome firms as complex and Bet-the-Company litigation has grown. Be sure to join us next week as we discuss the continued growth in Bet-the-Company work highlighted in our newly released BTI Litigation Outlook 2017.