I have been editor of The Lawyer since 2000 and in that time have launched numerous products, such as our student title Lawyer 2B, the Hot 100, the Workplace and Diversity Awards (now The Lawyer Management Awards) and the UK200, our annual investigation into law firm finances, as well as leading the transition from a pure print title to a digitally focused product. My interests within the legal sector span from global law firm strategy to diversity and social mobility, and I also have long experience writing about corporate and finance transactions and issues facing in-house lawyers. I speak French and Welsh and I tweet as @thelawyercatrin.
Let us praise legal services.
A few weeks ago I asked why Leeds seemed to have fallen off the pace compared to other regional cities’ legal offerings.
This week we publish the second edition of The Lawyer Asia Pacific 150, the most comprehensive study of the legal market in the region
It’s a critical balance in the push for innovation and durability. In the run-up to our Awards, Law Firm of the Year contenders tell us their secrets of success
Any discussion of innovation in private practice must confront two challenges: nurturing culture and managing risk.
The Lawyer editor Catrin Griffiths speaks to leading figures from Clyde & Co, DWF, Macfarlanes, Mishcon, Pinsent Masons and Slater & Gordon about the growing appetite from in-house lawyers for collaborative working
More and more City firms are disaggregating in the quest for efficiency.
Profitability is still a valid metric when examining law firm performance.
The accountants are making some lawyers jittery. Some, but not all.
In October 2012 Deloitte decided to tackle the issue of workplace mental health seriously
Our focus this week is on a relationship: we profile the general counsel of Universal Music Richard Constant with his favoured external lawyer, Stephen Kon of KWMSJB, a year after the titanic merger with EMI was given the nod
Insurance giant QBE has revamped its roster of external advisers for its European operations and created two distinct panels for the first time.
Weil Gotshal & Manges banking chief Stephen Lucas is leaving the firm for Kirkland & Ellis after three years at the firm.
The financial year has ended, the bills are in, and results time is upon us.
The 20th anniversary shortlist of The Lawyer Awards is brimming with excellence.
Former Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) head of finance Matthew Kellett is leaving the firm to join accountancy and consulting giant EY as it ramps up its investment in the legal sector.
Our survey of top international firms is, for the first time, truly international.
Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) senior partner Richard Crump has relocated permanently to Singapore in a move that underlines the firm’s ambitious plans to grow its Asia practice.
Weil Gotshal & Manges has lured Goldman Sachs star Andrew Wilkinson back into legal practice to boost its pan-European restructuring business.
Today’s issue of The Lawyer is a first: we survey 153 LLP accounts taken from the list of firms in The Lawyer’s UK 200 to investigate debt levels within the UK’s leading legal practices.
After 30 years in the City, you might think that a corporate partner would want to put his or her feet up. This is not the case at Freshfields.
When The Lawyer was researching The Africa Elite, one of the questions we asked the continent’s top independent practices was which international firms they worked with or they would like to work with
Where do you think your local government clients are heading? It’s not a rhetorical question
Atlanta and Washington DC-based US firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan is entering the UK market through a merger with London commodities boutique Arbis.
Have the magic circle firms squandered their lead in acquisition finance?
Last week Paris firm August & Debouzy quit its six-year alliance with Nabarro, which leaves the London firm rather stranded in France.
Last month PwC Legal got an ABS licence, which will allow it to own its legal arm at last.
Last week we reported that Hogan Lovells was setting up an on-site confidential counselling service for its staff as part of its health and wellbeing policy
After a decade of phenomenal growth, Chinese law firms are now having to confront the issue of succession.
DLA Piper is set for a leadership shake-up as co-CEO Nigel Knowles is to replace Tony Angel as global co-chairman and London IP partner Simon Levine is appointed as the firm’s next joint CEO.
BLP’s Eisenberg blames PEP slump on not-so-magical undercutting
For Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) managing partner Neville Eisenberg one of the most frustrating things is not the extraordinary 40 per cent slump in PEP in 2012/13 or the 20-odd partner departures over 18 months, but undercutting by major City firms on pitches.
Great news for junior lawyers: trainee retention rates are on the up.
For some reason the politics of King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin’s corporate department attracts extraordinary attention online from our readers.
Shell legal director Peter Rees QC has left the oil giant, just three years after joining the company.
In September this year The Lawyer devoted an entire issue to futurology. What would the legal profession look like in 2020? We made specific predictions around UK market consolidation and law firm collapses, a radical change in resourcing structures and growing demands from in-house lawyers.
Hogan Lovells is gearing up for a change of leadership as co-CEOs Warren Gorrell and David Harris prepare to step down next June and the firm abolishes its dual-headed management structure.
The Lawyer’s annual report into the top 50 firms for global litigation is eagerly awaited by those with ambitions to grow their contentious business.
You’re an in-house lawyer outside London. Your usual external law firm is spending less time on you but wants to bill you more.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Chris Bown is leaving the magic circle firm to join private equity house CVC, a key client of the firm’s corporate group.
While law firm financials may be on a sounder footing, management problems abound.
Dangerous things, mergers. I’m not talking about Penningtons’ takeover of zombie firm Manches, although that deal is tricky enough in itself – as we expose in considerable detail this week.
Berwin Leighton Paisner head of banking and finance Matthew Kellett has resigned in the latest departure to hit the mid-market firm.
This week’s issue is devoted to cyber security, a topic simultaneously fascinating and terrifying.
Linklaters has moved quickly to replace private equity partners Richard Youle and Ian Bagshaw by relocating Stockholm-based corporate partner Roger Johnson to London and appointing corporate partner Nick Rees as head of the group.
UK 200: Litigation boosts PEP subscription
Litigation-heavy firms continue to be the high rollers in the ever-popular profit per equity partner stakes
UK 200: RPL subscription
Our revenue per lawyer figures show that there’s high-value work in niche firms, but are this metric’s days numbered?
Grand old Paris firm takes radical action to reboot dwindling partner line-up
The Lawyer published a bumper edition including an executive summary of The Lawyer UK 200 Annual Report 2013 in association with KPMG, in which we reveal the financial rankings for the top 200 law firms in the UK, the top 30 international firms and the top 30 barristers’ chambers. To purchase access to the full report visit www.thelawyer.com/uk200 or contact Daniela Badcock on +44 (0) 207 970 4582
Freshfields corporate partner and former London head Tim Jones is leaving the firm to join England Rugby 2015 as general counsel.
Linklaters private equity partners Richard Youle and Ian Bagshaw have resigned from Linklaters to join the London office of White & Case.
One of the big human interest stories last week was the news that Paul Hastings financial litigation partner Thomas O’Riordan had lied on his CV and had been suspended from practice by the Bar Standards Board. O’Riordan even got the front-page splash in the London Evening Standard, something the ...
Do a Ted Burke and go in-house at a private equity house, but pin down those perks
Let’s be realistic: those procurement people aren’t going away, and we need to learn to live with them. The discipline of procurement has engendered remarkable hostility among many lawyers; its first wave was all about process rather than strategic relationships. But peace is breaking out.
Leadership, organisation and funding in a fast-changing market were the themes of our recent law firm management event
At The Lawyer Management Conference last week I chaired an absorbing session on pricing. In the past few years the debate has, thankfully, moved away from whether the hourly rate is dead towards are more nuanced exploration of the issue.
What do Aviva GC Monica Risam and Standard Life GC Malcolm Wood have in common?
Hogan Lovells has pledged to examine its policies and procedures around workplace stress and mental health in the wake of the death of IP partner David Latham earlier this year.
Panel reviews elicit many opinions, but remain the most popular way of choosing counsel.
This much we all know: since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008 the clients have called the shots on pricing and service delivery.
Berwin Leighton Paisner is restructuring its Managed Legal Services (MLS) division after it emerged that Patrick Somers, who led the initiative, has left the firm along with fellow high-profile lateral Andrew Bamber, an acquisition finance specialist.
Writing about brands is like wrestling an oiled octopus; it seems to require a grounding simultaneously in psychology, economics, art and textual analysis.
An interesting paper put out recently by Laura Empson, professor at Cass Business School is doing the rounds. It focuses on the ambiguities of law firm leadership.
Oh, what a night. The Lawyer Awards, in association with Travelers, took place last week, with 1,400 of the great, good and groovy members of the legal profession packed into the Great Room at the Grosvenor. The spread of winners was remarkable, particularly in the in-house categories. Check out page 10 for the full listing; on the private practice side Nabarro,
One of our most-read stories on last week on TheLawyer.com was a defiantly geeky report on Addleshaw Goddard mapping 46 primary legal processes.
Today we’re launching our newest and arguably most ambitious research project. Just as The Lawyer UK 200 has become the leading benchmark for private practice firms operating in the UK market,
Will it be third time lucky at Sullivans?
A merger between SJ Berwin and King & Wood Mallesons could create a serious global player - or major integration problems.
Last year we launched our inaugural City associate attitudes survey. The findings surprised anyone who assumed that junior and mid-level lawyers were obsessed with money; the firms they consistently ranked top were not the stony Wall Street practices but genial internationalists like Baker & McKenzie.
If you were to guess which might be the best-performing US firm in 2020, it could be one that hasn’t even opened yet. Two new US firms in our annual survey - Quinn Emanuel and Ropes & Gray - have been in London for less than five years, but Quinn already tops the London revenue per lawyer (RPL) table with $1.88m, and jointly tops the London revenue per partner (RPP) table with $5.7m along with Davis Polk. Ropes & Gray is the smallest international firm in the top 30, but it ...
BLP shake-up sees firm facing up to a world of changed priorities
Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) real estate chief Robert MacGregor is stepping down from the role next month and will hand over to Chris de Pury.
It’s taken a Scot to kick Davis Polk & Wardwell into shape. Tom Reid’s tenure as managing partner is already taking the white-shoe firm into different territory.
Welcome to The Hot 100 2013: as you’ll see, this year we’ve devoted a lot of space to our highly anticipated feature.
Eversheds is an interesting animal. Less evidently political than DLA Piper and rather less prone to dramatic convulsions, it’s always been short on pizzazz and long on execution.
I suspect Colin MacNeill will be a much-envied man this week. In this issue, we reveal that the Edinburgh-based Dickson Minto partner charged a £1m uplift from £750,000 to £1.7m (dependent on completion) acting for AG Barr on its merger with Britvic.
Welcome to our first print edition of The Lawyer for 2013: and as always, we kick off the year with our pick of the top cases.
What a year. 2012 was the moment when so many predictions started to be realised. Just consider the following:
It’s here: this week we’re publishing a preview of our exclusive annual report on global litigation, where we reveal the top 50 firms in the world by revenue.
Lawyers have become a docile lot. The corporatisation of law firms and the increasingly regimented nature of partnership has produced ranks of professionals who tend to do what they’re told.
Since the summer of 2011 there have been 19 mergers involving major UK firms. Not all have been visionary: our lengthy study of the most recent deals examined some of the more questionable dynamics (The Lawyer, 29 October).
Imagine no head office: it’s easy if you try. No boss in London, management on the fly. Imagine all the lawyers living life in peace… Such is the utopian refrain suggested by the declaration last week by SNR Denton, Salans and Canada’s Fraser Milner Casgrain (FMC) that the merged firm would be “truly polycentric” with no single HQ and simply bursting with diversity.
A few weeks ago I was chairing a round table discussion of in-house lawyers at Taylor Wessing on the topic of outsourcing. It was, if I’m honest, one of those enjoyable evenings during which many of your assumptions are pleasantly overturned. However, it did rather confirm my suspicion that in-house lawyers and private practice are two cultures divided by a common language.
The trend for unbundling legal work is advancing through the law firm ranks but there is still resistance in some quarters - namely in-house. We asked why
To listen to former Schillings partner Gideon Benaim, you might be forgiven for thinking that every member of the media is enrolled among the forces of Lucifer.
What do you do with a practice area whose margins do not match the rest of the firm’s? As James Swift explores in this issue, nowhere is this problem more acute than at Linklaters’ real estate department – although given the current size of that team, perhaps we should call it the real estate unit.
Allen & Overy (A&O) has closed the biggest ever internationally-led project finance deal in Israel, advising Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Dor Gas Explorations as sponsors on the US$900m (£562m) financing of the development of the Tamar gas field, first discovered 50 miles off the coast of Israel in January 2009.
Blame Kraft-Cadbury again. Since that politically controversial deal the Takeover Code has required that bids for UK-listed companies have to include estimates of legal fees on both the buy and sell sides.
Weighting list subscription
As team GB law firms bulk up for the global challenge, mergers have transformed this year’s rankings – with some surprising results
In an Olympics season where the world has become obsessed with competitive rankings, it’s fitting that this week we’re running a sneak preview of The Lawyer UK200 Annual Report. I
Brand positioning is relative, and it’s complex. Take The Lawyer UK 200 Annual Report - the most extensive and detailed study of law firm finances available. When we pore over the financials and interview managing partners and finance directors, the variety of law firm structures proliferates year-on-year. That makes categorisation increasingly vexed.
If you’d asked your average lawyer in your average ?firm about Mishcon de Reya 10 years ago the response would have been based on two impressions.
Here are two firms solving their problems by mergers. Herbert Smith’s full financial integration with Freehills will bring about the sort of culture change advocated by Allen Hanen in Project Blue Sky (The Lawyer, 5 January); and King & Wood Mallesons, which won International Firm of the Year at The Lawyer Awards last week, primarily for its extraordinarily imaginative vision.
CMS Cameron McKenna and its affiliate firms have agreed to focus on delivering a transatlantic merger over the next year as the European network moves closer to integration
The entrants for The Lawyer Award’s Banking and Finance Team of the Year stand out for their creativity during the crunch
When it comes to law firm dating, a GSOH is most definitely required.
More than 65 per cent of private practice solicitors would consider moving into an in-house role, a survey by The Lawyer reveals today.
Thomas Eggar partners have elected litigation head Victoria Brackett as the firm’s first-ever female managing partner while also revamping its overall management function.
Every year in Westminster Hall a small group of honorary QCs line up to get an award alongside the real ones.
Tony Angel puts matter at top of agenda for firm’s Tuesday board meeting after partners express outrage
LawVest has signed up 12 silks for its legal services offering Riverview Law, which launches today.
Two big beasts, a whole bunch of questions. When The Lawyer broke the story of Tony Angel joining DLA Piper last year, one question everyone asked was how he would get on with Nigel Knowles.
Nigel Knowles took DLA Piper from a Northern upstart to a global player. Can Tony Angel push the firm to the next level?
I yield to no one in my delight that Nabarro has secured another alliance member, in the shape of Spanish firm Roca Junyent.
Let’s play Pollyanna for a moment. Could it be that the collapse of the alliance with Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe is a blessing in disguise for Herbert Smith?
Former Linklaters managing partner Tony Angel is set to join DLA Piper as senior partner in one of the most sensational lateral hires in the legal market.
You wait months for a good judicial speech, then four come along at once.
Funny how multijurisdictional firms are viewed in binary. First, there’s the global elite made up of the super-profitable group of New York and London transactional firms.
Part of the fascination of reading all the tributes to Steve Jobs last week was wondering how much of his leadership style could be translated into a context outside the consumer and creative industries.
First profession-wide work experience scheme unveiled as 23 top firms sign up
Slaughter and May has rejigged its Greater China practice as veteran finance partner George Goulding retires.
The dispute between Greenberg Traurig Maher (GTM) and former equity capital markets partner Andrew Croxford has settled just two weeks before it was due to be heard at the London Central Employment Tribunal.
Largest membership since 2008 as Ashurst reappears and Clydes joins
A raft of law firms are lining up for the restructuring of Irish telecoms group Eircom, one of the biggest this year.
The partners at Beachcroft and Davies Arnold Cooper (DAC) have voted in favour of the proposed merger between the two firms.
Nabarro managing partner Nicky Paradise is to retire from her role this summer, prompting a shake-up of the firm’s management.
IMO, European Directories and WorldPay have done little to sort out intercreditor disagreements.
I’ve always thought the fact that neither Keith Schilling nor David Price has voicemail was a slightly overzealous response to the antics of the tabloids. But as has become clear in the past week, it is entirely proportionate.
US firm aims to complement its financial restructuring strength with a serious litigation player in the City.
When Watson Farley & Williams partner Celia Gardiner first started singing at church, she did not expect to found a chamber choir. In fact, when she started out she was the only amateur singer in a group of professional musicians.
Davies Arnold Cooper (DAC) and Beachcroft are in merger talks to create a £175m insurance giant, The Lawyer can reveal.
Clifford Chance has upped the stakes in the highly charged situation surrounding the quadruple exit of its funds team by threatening to take action against some of the group for breach of fiduciary duty.
The dispute between Greenberg Traurig Maher (GTM) and former partner Andrew Croxford has moved up a gear, with both sides instructing counsel.
The more corporate the law becomes, the more emotional the fallout: discuss. Our three main stories this week all involve contentious partnership issues, in different forms.
Global food conglomerate Heinz is kicking off an extensive review of external advisers with a view to setting up a European panel in the autumn.
The financial reporting season usually reveals a few surprises, but new levels of boggling were reached a fortnight ago when Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) announced its results.
The restating of sector guidelines on retail structured products is politically well-timed, says Catrin Griffiths
As Hogan Lovells partners and employees passed through the stages of denial, anger, depression and finally acceptance last week, the rest of the world was digesting the extraordinary news that litigation partner Christopher Grierson had been dismissed for claiming more than £1m in false expenses.
Family constitutions, governance, succession planning and plain old hard work are in the spotlight, writes Catrin Griffiths from Monaco
Lincoln’s Inn firm Farrer & Co has posted a revenue of £46.7m for the last financial year, an increase of 9.6 per cent from £42.6m in 2010.
Hogan Lovells senior litigator Christopher Grierson has been dismissed from the partnership after claiming over £1m in false expenses over the course of four years.
David Harris had his quip all ready at last year’s press party celebrating Lovells’ merger with Hogan & Hartson. “I know this looks like a coalition,” he said, “but neither of us is the Nick Clegg in this relationship.”
And so the rituals of the financial results season begin. As The Lawyer went to press the day before the Royal Wedding, most firms we contacted were still hoping their partners would be making one last push on billing.
Second round of voting sees star litigator come out on top; rival Dawkins to return to fee-earning
Colin Passmore has won the senior partner election at Simmons & Simmons, beating former managing partner Mark Dawkins in the final round of voting.
Twenty years ago a brash Yorkshire firm called Dibb Lupton decided it could go mid-tier and that SME corporate clients needed a more responsive service than City firms were providing.
Kirkland & Ellis has scooped Shearman & Sterling high yield partner Ward McKimm in its latest foray into the lateral hiring market.
Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) has made its 20th lateral in three years with the hire of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) real estate partner David Johnston.
Most managing partners would kill to have Andrew Lilley’s problems.
Dickinson Dees has launched a partnership consultation on remuneration as part of a wide-ranging overhaul of its business.
Six Simmons & Simmons partners have confirmed their intention to stand for the senior partner job, to be vacated by current incumbent David Dickinson by the end of June.
The genesis of our In-house Thought Leaders project can be traced back to our annual summit for in-house lawyers last year, when we eavesdropped on conversations among delegates. Whatever sector those lawyers were operating in we found that a consistent set of non-industry-specific topics animated them, from workplace issues or reputation to regulation or data protection, and they were relishing the opportunity to learn from their peers’ experiences.
One of the biggest issues in litigation management at the moment is e-disclosure.
The Lawyer has assembled a stellar list of judges for The Lawyer Awards 2011 this summer.
Last week I chaired a debate on the future of legal blogging, held at One Crown Office Row and featuring three excellent web commentators: David Allen Green of the Jack of Kent blog, Carl Gardner of the Head of Legal blog and Adam Wagner of the UK Human Rights Blog.
City firm Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has revamped its management structure, appointing a London head to support firmwide managing partner Michael Greville.
Routine work to be sent to new paralegal centre; associates to ramp up client-facing skills
Former Herbert Smith senior partner David Gold will set up on his own as a strategic litigation consultant when he leaves the City firm next month after 37 years.
Olswang spent its teenage years alternately wanting to be accepted by the City establishment and cocking a snook at it. Always best known for its hip (well, by law firm standards) media brand, its decision to go all-out for corporate, private equity and real estate seemed like borrowing another girl’s lipstick.
Shell has upped the ante on anti-corruption prior to this year’s implementation of the Bribery Act by extending its scrutiny to law firms that advise third parties involved in joint ventures, and therefore are not employed by the company.
An IT director at a top 20 firm bet The Lawyer features editor Matt Byrne last week that he could get the phrase ’leveraging their centricities’ into his story on Clifford Chance teaming up with Microsoft. As none of us knew what that meant we couldn’t oblige, but it neatly illustrates the semantic gulf between IT strategists and lawyers.
The first issue of The Lawyer in January is traditionally an exercise in talent-spotting, since it has a fortunate conjunction of The Hot 100 and the top cases of the year. Both are barometers of the market in different ways.
If you’d said in 2007 that local authority legal directors would emerge as the profession’s most imaginative group of lawyers, most people would have gone slack-jawed in amazement.
It is not often that in-house lawyers summon their external advisers to an evening of Afrobeat, but Associated Newspapers group legal director Harvey Kass did precisely that earlier this month.
Our lead story this week, on Dentons suing its former India head Gauri Advani following the allegation of a bribe (something she strongly denies) and costs of a subsequent court case, is a preview of the future for law firms.
With the exception of Slaughter and May, every law firm has built parts of its business by recruiting external senior talent. Some, such as Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), have been flamboyantly hiring laterals during the recession, much to the incomprehension of its rivals.
From boasting an enviable proportion of female partners to currently having one of the worst showings in the City, Simmons is trying to tackle the problem head-on
In an uncertain world where transactions are down, it makes sense to qualify as a litigator, right?
Allen & Overy (A&O) has put organic business improvement at the centre of its strategy as it looks to improve profitability and efficiency in what it sees as a low-growth era for legal services.
Our report on Slaughter and May setting up a panel of LPO providers seems to be proof that outsourcing is here to stay.
…despite five-year trend revealing gradual decline in number of owners
With the chances of making equity gradually reducing across the top 100, has the focus on PEP radically changed the structure of partnership?
I always smile when partners complain about how radically different things are from a decade ago.
Davies Arnold Cooper (DAC) is putting Latin America at the heart of its strategy with a formal association with São Paolo boutique insurance law firm JBO Advocacia.
Kingsley Napley is on an expansion drive.
With more than a million participants, Pride has now become one of the biggest parades in the country. And yet up until a year ago it never had formal representation from the legal profession, when around 40 turned out.
The shrinking starts here: as we report today, total revenue for the UK top 30 was £10.84bn, down half a billion from last year’s figure of £11.36bn. So are the days of City growth over?
Amid all the celebrations at The Lawyer Awards last week, one of the most warmly received was the Editor’s Award, reserved for individuals in the profession who have made a difference.
First it was on, then it was off, then it was on again: Mayer Brown and Simmons are doing a bit of a Burton-Taylor, but with a tad less flouncing.
“There’s a lot of similarity between acting and the law,” says Victoria Ross.
?The Lawyer Debate on Dispute Resolution, 8 June 2010: THE LAWYER’s first town hall debate on dispute resolution took place last week (8 June), with a stellar panel and an audience of general counsel and City litigators.
Human resources strategy is no longer just about managing redundancies; it now requires a creative engagement with a new legal world. That was the message from The Lawyer’s annual HR Strategy conference last week.
The experience of CMS Cameron McKenna is a lesson for anyone who assumes that reorganisation of business processes can lead us to the sunlit uplands.
AT THE Hogan Lovells annual press party last week co-chief executive David Harris gave a short speech. As always, there was a strategic theme. This time the new American partners were in town, and three weeks into the merger Harris was keen to push the firm’s perennial line that this was a deal between equals. “I know this looks like a coalition,” he said, “but neither of us is the Nick Clegg in this relationship.”
US firms go head-to-head with magic circle establishment.
The financial year ended last week in the usual flurry of bill-chasing, but the mood was more relaxed than I’ve seen for a while.
You can’t fault Ralph Baxter’s tenacity. It’s a standing joke among managing partners that at some point they will have received a call from the Orrick chairman, but a decade on from its failed talks with Bird & Bird the US firm’s obsession with completing a London merger has still never been realised.
Former Travers Smith managing partner Chris Carroll is to take over as the firm’s senior partner. He will replace Alasdair Douglas, who is understood to be retiring in June after 25 years as a partner at the silver circle firm and nearly five years as senior partner.
Finding your own conversational gambits used to be the mark of the averagely socially skilled lawyer.
“I woke up and heard the news on the radio on Friday morning,” says a magic circle partner, “and thought, ’Christ, I hope that law firm they’re talking about isn’t us’.”
David Pyatt doesn’t get to meet his audience too much. The principal French horn player of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) tends to spend his life shuttling between rehearsal rooms and the Barbican concert hall.
You’re running a mid-sized regional firm and the pressure is on. The systems are there, the staff are there, but the work’s drying up. Can you find new revenue streams? Here’s a niche: pitching for the standardised work the big names deem too unprofitable.
Too often the magic circle firms are lumped together as if they were strategically homogenous. Allen & Overy’s (A&O) decision to open in Australia, taking 17 partners, mostly from Clayton Utz, is a tacit endorsement of Clifford Chance’s world view.
Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) is set to abandon its modified lockstep for an entirely merit-based partner remuneration system, while also considering a move away from associate lockstep as part of a firmwide shake-up of performance.
After years railing against Mr Justice Eady’s judgments, has the Daily Mail found a judge it actually likes?
Flexible working is no barrier to promotion, as these women - all working mothers at the top of their game - can testify
Weil Gotshal & Manges restructuring partner Tony Horspool is leaving the firm to join Ropes & Gray less than two years after defecting from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft.
If 2008 was the year of Buncefield and 2009 the year of professional negligence, then 2010 is the year of bank-on-bank litigation.
In a year of chronicling the recession, it’s fitting that our final issue of 2009 leads on the effect of the downturn on the future members of the legal profession.
Ralph Cohen is being perfectly upfront. It’s been a tough year for SJ Berwin; if it makes its next quarterly partner payments next February that’ll be the first in 12 months.
Workplace issues have dominated 2009, and not always in a good way. As The Lawyer Legal JobWatch recounted, there were more than 4,200 redundancies in The Lawyer’s UK 200 list - and those were just the official ones.
Former Kirkland & Ellis restructuring specialist Lyndon Norley is to join Greenberg Traurig Maher (GTM) in London next month as the US-headquartered firm continues to build its UK operation.
As this year nears its close, The Lawyer will be running a number of analysis pieces on the impact of the recession on private practice, having already taken the temp-erature among clients this year with our research related to charge-out rates and fee discounts.
It’s hard to escape the suspicion that legal education is becoming a soap opera. It has all the required elements: a closed community, loads of bitching, a dollop of social realism - and my, here’s the obligatory cliffhanger.
It was an unusual invitation. When Carter-Ruck partners Nigel Tait and Guy Martin arrived at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon on 10 November, they were hardly surrounded by fans.
New Clifford Chance London managing partner David Bickerton is exploring how to create an appraisal process that will measure how well partners collaborate with each other, in what he has dubbed a “balanced scorecard”.
BAE Systems chief counsel Roger Wiltshire has urged in-house lawyers to take a proactive approach to reframing their ethical and compliance programmes.
CISCO Europe has indicated that it will start using Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) interim lawyer service Lawyers on Demand to cope with spikes in work.
In-house lawyers have called for greater and more creative collaboration with external counsel for the benefit of all parties.
Here’s a very modern tale. Last week we were contacted by someone claiming to be a client of Shoosmiths partner Andy Ballard who took exception to a gag he had made in our pages.
Clifford Chance is to ask its senior associates to choose one of 13 nominated industry sectors as part of its organisational shake-up.
Ropes & Gray has hired finance partners Maurice Allen and Mike Goetz to spearhead its London office launch.
Cynics, begone. So much for all those glum predictions that the recession will put paid to law firms’ fancy corporate responsibility (CR) programmes.
Linklaters’ former capital markets head Nick Eastwell is joining Kinstellar, the Central and Eastern European (CEE) practice spun off by the magic circle firm in November 2008.
A joint working party of in-house and private practice lawyers has thrashed out a common standardised approach for the exchange of electronic deal bibles. The new approach is intended to enable in-house departments to access important post-transaction documents.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett acquisition finance veteran Tony Keal is retiring at the end of this calendar year, with the firm nominating recently promoted partner Ian Barratt to take over the key Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) relationship in London.
Residential mortgage-backed securities issue creates buzz in the market as investors flood in. By Catrin Griffiths
Former Slaughter and May senior partner Tim Clark and former SJ Berwin senior partner David Harrel are teaming up to launch a global investigative company called Proven.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is gearing up for closer cooperation with overseas prosecutors as the fight against financial crime gains momentum during the recession.
?Opening speech sparks debate on civil recovery orders as Alderman defends new pragmatic direction
Tax lawyers are no longer on the sidelines. In June the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development announced it was considering forcing multinationals to reveal how much tax they pay in each jurisdiction.
The past decade has brought recession, consolidation and a cultural revolution to the legal sector in the UK. Catrin Griffiths and Margaret Taylor assess how the top firms have evolved and defined the changing times
Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) is continuing to build its tax and trusts department with another recruit from Clifford Chance in the shape of private client partner Murray North.
Kirkland & Ellis is to open in Shanghai in November to create its second Asia office.
Nobody takes pleasure in firms’ bad results, but it’s hard not to smile at what’s going on at Cobbetts. Not because of the firm’s poor financials, but because it thinks it can deflect attention by, er, not declaring its profits this year. This is the law firm equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying “La, la, la, la, la”.
Just one day after TheLawyer.com reported (3 August) that Maurice Allen and Mike Goetz were leaving Freshfields Bruckhaus Derigner, a headhunter was already emailing senior City banking lawyers about a position that was available in a firm with a £1.44m average profit per equity partner (PEP) - the exact number that Freshfields posted this year.
The LPC is a ludicrous anachronism that ought to be scrapped: discuss. Our report last week (27 July) that the Law Society was launching a campaign to warn students off a law career came just a week after the publication of the Milburn report, which criticised the legal profession for being a closed shop.
His £22m bill attracted all the wrong headlines, but Charles Randell has kept his cool. By Catrin Griffiths
I’m not quite sure who Ted Burke thinks he’s kidding. Freshfields’ spin on its financials is cute, but not terribly convincing.
It was entirely coincidental, but last week’s announcement by Norton Rose that it was merging with Australia’s Deacons came on the morning of The Lawyer Awards, where the former won Law Firm of the Year. Nice timing.
Finally, Maher gets to run his own show - with his name on the door. The best thing about setting up Greenberg Traurig’s European operation, says Paul Maher, is the autonomy.
US giant in retreat from Olswang alliance as it launches in London with former Mayer Brown star
Let me break it to Olswang. Greenberg Traurig may be saying nice things about its relationship with you, but the days of your cooperation are numbered.
There’s an old cliché routinely advanced by history undergraduates that the middle class is rising, whatever the century. It’s easy to find the legal market equivalent: whatever the political circumstances, the Indian market is about to open up.
Battle commences as one partner rejects £2.3m cash call following collapse of volume business
London is no longer the promised land for US firms. By Catrin Griffiths
The Lawyer Awards Corporate Team of the Year shortlist was again inundated with worthy winners, says Catrin Griffiths
Who on earth would choose to be a managing partner nowadays?
Key hire Mike Woollard credited with putting firm in the running for big-ticket contracts.
THE CONSULTATION for the next managing partner at Travers Smith is entering the final stages, with a decision expected at the end of this month.
I’m not sure why, but a large proportion of the lawyers I meet are frustrated musicians.
Now that recession panic appears to have lost its stranglehold on the collective consciousness of lawyers, something interesting is starting to emerge. It’s an anti-strategy trend; the freedom to be opportunistic without three sets of position papers and a partner vote.
Chief puts internal communication at top of agenda ahead of major shake-up
Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson has confirmed it is laying off lawyers and staff as a result of the economic downturn.
Ever since the onset of the recession there’s been talk of a paradigm shift within the law. This week Matt Byrne interviews managing partners of mainly transatlantic firms for their views, but that’s not the whole story:
HSBC rights issue has seen Norton Rose steal a march on its magic circle rivals.
No longer the glam drink ticket, Mipim may be changing its spots – and about time too, says Catrin Griffiths
If there’s one topic that elicits more comment on TheLawyer.com than any other, it’s education.cat