To what extent has research conducted by the GaWC Research Network aided our understanding of large EU law firm geography?

Parnham, R. 2016. To what extent has research conducted by the GaWC Research Network aided our understanding of large EU law firm geography? PhD thesis University of Westminster Westminster School of Law

TitleTo what extent has research conducted by the GaWC Research Network aided our understanding of large EU law firm geography?
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsParnham, R.
Abstract

This thesis explores whether a specific group of large EU law firms exhibited multiple common behaviours regarding their EU geographies between 1998 and 2009. These potentially common behaviours included their preferences for trading in certain EU locations, their usage of law firm alliances, and the specific reasons why they opened or closed EU branch offices. If my hypothesis is confirmed, this may indicate that certain aspects of large law firm geography are predictable – a finding potentially of interest to various stakeholders globally, including legal regulators, academics and law firms.

In testing my hypothesis, I have drawn on research conducted by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Research Network to assist me. Between 1999 and 2010,
the GaWC published seven research papers exploring the geographies of large US and UK law firms. Several of the GaWC’s observations arising from these studies
were evidence-based; others were speculative – including a novel approach for explaining legal practice branch office change, not adopted in research conducted previously or subsequently. By distilling the GaWC’s key observations these papers into a series of “sub-hypotheses”, I been able to test whether the geographical behaviours of my novel cohort of large EU law firms reflect those suggested by the GaWC. The more the GaWC’s suggested behaviours are observed among my
cohort, the more my hypothesis will be supported. In conducting this exercise, I will additionally evaluate the extent to which the GaWC’s research has aided our
understanding of large EU law firm geography.

Ultimately, my findings broadly support most of the GaWC’s observations, notwithstanding our cohort differences and the speculative nature of several of the
GaWC’s propositions. My investigation has also allowed me to refine several of the GaWC’s observations regarding commonly-observable large law firm geographical behaviours, while also addressing a key omission from the group’s research output.

Year2016
File

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