12 December 2011
2011 saw the SRA called in to investigate three high-profile cases of alleged expenses fraud, while negligence actions abounded and the phone-hacking scandal dominated the headlines
2011 is set to be the year of the high street-friendly alternative business structure, and the players are already jostling for position
While launches swept the Continent this year, with boutiques and new offices springing up all over, 2011 was also marked by the passing of many leading figures on the legal scene.
Big revenue rises have been seen by a few of the top firms, but the more usual story is one of marginal recovery
We interviewed some of the very best legal chiefs practising in a variety of industries, from media to finance to the police force
The in-house sector saw some major movement in 2011, with many private practitioners choosing in-house roles and vice-versa
It was a busy year for partner moves, with private equity funds a particular focus. But all eyes are on DLA’s next move with the arrival of Tony Angel at the helm
?The Clydes-BLG and Beachcroft-DAC deals are a smart reaction to a changing insurance landscape, while Canada, Australia and Asia all featured prominently
The launch of the Prime initiative to help state school students climb the legal ladder was the highlight of the social mobility year?.
Asia and Houston were big blips on the radars of the major US players during 2011, although Howrey disappeared without trace
Australia is playing host to more UK firms, while partner moves, mergers and expansion have set the tone for the Asian market
Allen & Overy (A&O) has appointed a new global corporate co-head following Sietze Hepkema’s announcement that he will retire in the New Year.
Allen & Overy (A&O), Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have vowed not to carry out a partnership cull in response to the latest downturn.
Boutique shipping law outfit Campbell Johnston Clark recently celebrated its one-year anniversary following its launch in autumn 2010.
Eversheds is rolling out a groundbreaking two-year pilot that will blend the LPC and the training contract.
Gide Loyrette Nouel’s incoming management team is considering a strategic shift and is mulling best friend alliances with independent firms around the world.
The past year may not have been marked by a constant flow of deal activity, but there were still a number of prized mandates to be had.
Herbert Smith is to de-equitise around 15 partners, which represents 10 per cent of its equity partnership, as it seeks to attain magic circle-level profitability in the wake of its Project Blue Sky strategic review.
Qatar is gearing up to host the Fifa World Cup in a decade’s time, which means teams of lawyers are also filing in. Dale McEwan reports on their goals
The proposed tie-up between Chinese top-tier firm King & Wood and Australia’s Mallesons Stephens Jacques has sparked lively discussion in the global legal market since the plan was announced in July.
The announcement that Linklaters Sweden has sealed its first lateral hire signals the start of a reversal in the office’s dwindling partnership headcount.
Lawyers and market-watchers have been predicting a tidal wave of mid-market mergers among firms for close to a decade – and every year the market disappoints.
As any Linklaters or Herbert Smith partner will affirm, it’s an uncertain world out there.
Cambridge-headquartered Hewitsons has announced a new head of commercial property in the shape of Martin Smith, who joined the firm in July this year. Smith has been in the sector for more than 20 years.
As well as attempting to sort out the eurozone crisis, Germany, France and the UK are battling over which country should host the Central Division of the proposed European Unified Patent Court.
Pinsent Masons and Salans have called time on their strategic alliance as Pinsent Masons prepares for New Year launches in France and Germany.
In a recent decision which will be welcomed by employers in the oil and gas industry and may also impact atypical workers in other sectors including education, tourism and certain areas of manufacturing, the Supreme Court confirmed that offshore workers may be required to take annual leave during onshore “field breaks”.
A kaleidoscope of sequins, feathers, Lycra and fake tan marked the grand finale of Hogan Lovells’ ’Legally Ballroom’ extravaganza.
“There’s a saying here in Germany that it’s better to have a little bird in the hand than a big bird on the roof.” Says Christian Harmsen co-head of IP at (Little) Bird & (Big) Bird, where talk is obviously cheep. (Feature, 17 January)