Macfarlanes senior partner Charles Martin considers the main characteristics of an independent firm, and how they can compete with global rivals.

  1. Mindset - An independent firm has a culture of encouraging productive individuality amongst its people. That has a self-reinforcing impact on the type of people who are attracted to work for the firm, as people who fit the mould sense a less institutional and rigid approach.
  2. Single jurisdiction - Independent firms are certainly not defined by being single jurisdiction. 
  3. Size - Independent law firms tend to be smaller in overall terms than law firms that are international or global. 
  4. Governance - The governance of an independent firm is most likely to be closely aligned with the kind of cultural features that I have described above.