Rapid expansion around the world
As the new millennium dawned, the blue-chip client base and the global increase in cross-border trade meant clients looked to Bird & Bird to support their international expansion. The challenge for David and his team was to build the firm’s global capabilities in a way that built on its rich history and did not undermine the strengths that made it different from other law firms.
The approach they adopted relied on recruiting leading individuals and small teams, rather than by merging with other law firms or establishing offices with English lawyers. The firm retained a structure – through a single profit pool – that meant that all partners shared a stake in the overall success, ensuring they were able to work effectively across borders for the benefit of clients.
This proved extremely successful. In 2000 the firm opened in France and Sweden. One year later it opened in The Netherlands and year after that it opened its first office in Germany. In 2003, the expansion continued, with a new office in Italy and a second office in Germany.
The rapid growth meant that in 2004 the number of partners at the firm reached 100 for the first time, and the expansion continued unabated with a new office in Beijing. The following year saw new offices in Madrid, Rome and Frankfurt, while 2006 saw a further opening in Lyon in France.
2008 saw the firm open a Finnish office in Helsinki through a merger with a leading Finnish firm Fennica, as well as four other offices in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia and a third office in China with the opening of an office in Shanghai. On top of this, expansion in London continued through a merger with Lane & Partners.
In 2008, the success of the strategy was recognised by The Lawyer, which named Bird & Bird its International Law Firm of the Year, and in 2009 the firm entered into a Global association with one of Singapore's leading law firms, which is now known as ATMD Bird & Bird. Two years later, a fourth German office was opened in Hamburg and another opened in Abu Dhabi.
Bird & Bird continued to expand its international reach and in May 2013, merged with Danish outfit BvHD, completing its coverage of the Nordic region – a unique offering among international firms. The same year, the firm signed an international cooperation agreement with BCCC Avocats, located in the important knowledge economy of Switzerland. In November 2014, Bird & Bird merged with leading Australian new economy specialist law firm, Truman Hoyle, to create our first office in Australia, bringing our presence in the Asia Pacific region to 5 offices, with another 5 formal co-operation agreements in place in Malaysia, China, Indonesia and Korea. Bird & Bird's international growth continued with the launch of a Luxembourg office in 2016, followed by the opening of a hub office in Amsterdam in 2018, and the opening of a representative office in downtown San Francisco, our first office in the USA.
Bird & Bird has also continued to be honoured by awards, garnering recognition from the British Legal Awards, The Lawyer Awards, Legal Business Awards, Managing Partners' Forum Awards, Europe Women in Business Law Awards, ILO Client Choice Awards and others.