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Black swans are no longer anomalies. Anything can and will happen.

Clients now routinely think of all the internal and external factors which could even remotely impact a deal. This includes everything from pandemics and natural disasters to a hairpin turn in public policy. Not to mention stock market volatility and evolving work from home rules.

Clients point to 32 law firms to get the deal done no matter what. Clients say they will find a way and make it happen — no matter what the obstacle. Please join me in congratulating these BTI Dauntless Dealmakers — who can handle whatever the world throws at them.

The 5 Dauntless Dealmakers

Clients single out of 5 firms as truly dauntless. Nothing stops them. They are unrelenting, client-centric, and bring conviction in their approach. These firms are, in alpha order:

Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Latham & Watkins
Sullivan & Cromwell
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

The Diligent Dealmakers

Clients point to another 7 firms who don’t let any obstacles get in the way. They challenge the Dauntless Dealmakers in their relentless approach and prowess. These firms are:

Baker McKenzie
Davis Polk
Jones Day
Kirkland & Ellis
McDermott Will & Emery
Shearman & Sterling
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

The Deft Dealmakers

Top decision makers see another 20 firms bringing a rare sense of deal savvy, determination, and boundless energy to get the deal done. These law firms are:

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Clifford Chance
DLA Piper
Eversheds Sutherland
Foley & Lardner
Fried Frank
Gibson Dunn
King & Spalding
Kutak Rock
Lewis Rice
Mayer Brown
Morgan Lewis
Nixon Peabody
Paul Hastings
Ropes & Gray
Winston & Strawn

What Makes a Law Firm Dauntless?

Clients tell us 6 key behaviors separate these law firms from the others:

    • Nimble — they move and change based on known and unknown events
    • Practical — no time for theory, clients say their feet are firmly on the ground
    • Anticipate — these firms look way ahead, create scenarios, and play things out in their minds in multiple ways so they are ready for whatever comes next
    • Communicate — keeping clients in the loop is key — silence kills client confidence — and you become much less dauntless in silence
    • Confident — there is no doubt — or at least any doubt showing to the client
    • Don’t give up — any obstacle is just something else to overcome — and quickly

The dauntless firms include midsize firms and large firms. Not all daunting deals are mega deals — clients report some midsize and smaller deals can get pretty thorny.

Please join me in congratulating every firm on their ability to impress and gain the confidence of the most demanding clients in the world.

This research is based on more than 325 in-depth interviews with top legal decision makers after the pandemic started. You can find details on this and more in our brand new report the BTI M&A Outlook 2022: A Whole New World of M&A. This report covers every aspect of what may be the most robust M&A legal market in the last 30 years. Learn more here.

Best in the market ahead. And be safe.


The Mad Clientist

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