Pastures new at Freshfields

20-Apr-2015

The senior partner race at Freshfields will be fascinating to watch. The magic circle firm is widely recognised to be the only UK outfit to have built a credible top-level US presence, but with increasing competition among the global elite, the new senior partner will need to be an effective ambassador.

Catrin Griffiths

Russian rule

20-Apr-2015 | By Catrin Griffiths

Russia is becoming increasingly problematic for Western firms. Despite the fact that English law is popular, the imposition of sanctions on the country is having a clear effect on business activity. UK and US practices are quietly downsizing, while local firms are consolidating – and beginning to hire English-qualified lawyers. 

Upwards trajectory

14-Apr-2015

Spring brings welcome news for some. Across the UK, it’s partner promotion season. National firms are adding plenty to their partnerships, but magic circle firms are being more circumspect. At Freshfields, for example, only three made the grade in London out of 17 worldwide

The legal reaction to the Budget

27-Mar-2015

The Lawyer’s Briefings section hosts thousands of papers from law firms on the latest legal developments, all free to download. Last week many of them responded to the Budget. Here’s a selection, ranging from digital currencies to oil and gas. For more, sign up to our weekly Briefings email

Competing for time

23-Mar-2015

April 2014 marked the beginning of a new era for UK’s competition lawyers, with the establishment of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). And the CMA is already having an effect, say private practice lawyers, who claim that recent changes have slowed the merger process. For more insight into the way the CMA is changing the legal landscape, see our articles below

The recruitment wrangle

16-Mar-2015

The SRA is planning to withdraw from the Graduate Recruitment Code, which prevents law firms offering students training contracts before their final year of university. The move has provoked concern in many quarters, particularly for its diversity implications. Is this liberalisation going too far?

Rental arithmetic

10-Mar-2015

The efficient use of a firm’s real estate is fast becoming one of the most pertinent issues as the market gets to grips with rapidly changing working environments. What is certain is that for the majority of firms property is still one of their biggest costs. Which is why for the past three years The Lawyer, exclusively, has been collecting attributed real estate data as part of the research for the annual UK 200 report. As our in-depth analysis reveals, despite a growing momentum ...

Flexible working

4-Mar-2015

The trend for working flexibly is gathering significant pace and as this week’s analysis of Allen & Overy’s Peerpoint reveals, for some firms it’s also a way into new markets domestically and internationally. For years lawyers who worked part time or flexibly were derided in some quarters as second rate. Now, with rapidly growing number of lawyers working flexibly and impressive turnover increases at various offerings, it looks like an idea whose time has come.

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Brand management

16-Feb-2015

Building a law firm brand is a complex business. It involves everything from culture, client service, operational efficiency, ethical values – and then communicating that whole package to the outside world. As our recent analysis shows, tailoring that message to Generation Y, firms’ future trainees, presents even more challenges.

East meeting West, again

3-Feb-2015

The combination of US-European Dentons with China’s Dacheng will create the world’s biggest law firm. On paper, that’s a lot of global reach – as long as integration issues are tackled. For more on Dacheng and a close analysis of Chinese firms, check out our China Elite.

The West Coast comes to London

23-Jan-2015

The launch of Cooley’s UK office has been rumoured for months. Last week The Lawyer broke the news that the West Coast tech firm – whose clients include Facebook and LinkedIn – had finally inked the deal on its London launch. It is starting up with 55 lawyers drawn from MoFo and Edwards Wildman. Nothing like beginning with a bang.

Professional claims

12-Jan-2015

The Lawyer will shortly be unveiling its top 20 cases to look out for in 2015. How many of them will be professional negligence claims? Many of 2014’s biggest claims settled, but not all; current cases involving Mishcon and Bird & Bird are still active.

Latest cases: what you need to know

11-Dec-2014

Keep up to speed with the latest cases by checking out The Lawyer’s Briefings section online. It’s an unparalleled resource; below is just a selection of recent papers by law firms putting the latest decisions into context.

Busy litigators

3-Dec-2014

There’s no slacking off for litigators in the run-up to Christmas. From divorce to insolvency and investigations, contentious practices have been firing on all cylinders. See below for a selection of our litigation coverage – and keep logging on to the site to hear the latest litigation news.

Doing business in the Arab world

1-Dec-2014

How do you best access the Arab market? It’s a lucrative world out there, but you’ll need to understand the cultural nuances. The Lawyer’s guide to doing business in the Arab world provides key insight on the region, and includes research on the leading independent firms in the Middle East and North Africa.

Big data, big problems

24-Nov-2014

The rise of big data has created some logistical headaches for lawyers, who are often unversed in the intricacies of computer forensics. A recent survey by The Lawyer Research Service and Grant Thornton underlined this knowledge gap. Get up to speed on the issue by clicking on the links below.

Probing questions

19-Nov-2014

Regulatory and investigation work has become the backbone of many City firms’ litigation practices. As the stories below demonstrate, the high-profile mandates involving the high street banks are largely being dominated by a handful of law firms.

Tales from the top

17-Nov-2014

The Lawyer’s weekly leadership interviews have become a fixture among readers; you’re accessing them in droves. Catch up with the movers and shakers in private practice every Friday, and remind yourself of their thinking by clicking on to our most recent interviews below.

A feast of data

4-Nov-2014

The Lawyer UK 200 is now out. It’s the most comprehensive and influential report on the financial health of the UK legal market. Take a peek at some of our round-ups below. Follow the links to buy the full research, and don’t miss out.

In and around the house

28-Oct-2014

What should aspiring general counsel know about getting the top job? A recent roundtable brought a number of in-house heads and deputy heads together to discuss preconceptions of the GC role. And as our other stories indicate, the GC jobs market is a very fluid one at the moment.

Gender dilemmas

24-Oct-2014

Women make up over half the entrants into the legal profession, but nowhere near that proportion make it to partner. Do they need help from above, or should they look to themselves to build their own networks?

Brand magic

21-Oct-2014

Linklaters achieves top law firm ranking in Superbrands index

Time well spent

10-Oct-2014

Mishcon boss Kevin Gold attracted a lot of attention last week in our regular Leadership Interview when he declared that the firm’s lawyers could take as much holiday as they feel they need. It’s controversial and it’s certainly creative. But will it catch on?

Managing the managers

8-Oct-2014

The 22 October the second annual The Lawyer Management conference will take place. With sessions on financial trends, knowledge management, HR, real estate strategy and risk, it’s a must-attend for managing partners and senior operations people in law firms. The future of the law is here.

Burgeoning Belfast

6-Oct-2014

Belfast has become a magnet for international firms wanting to site their low-cost operations; think Herbert Smith, Allen & Overy and Baker &McKenzie. But it’s also become popular with firms wanting to expand their legal offerings. Pinsent Masons, Kennedys and most recently BLM have all merged with local firms.

The China Elite is here

29-Sep-2014

When The Lawyer published the Asia Pac 150, 35 of the region’s top firms were Chinese. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the PRC legal market. This week we publish the most detailed research available on Chinese firms: their financial performance, growth and international strategy and the particular challenges that each of them faces. Click the links below to download it and the Asia Pacific research.

So it's a No

22-Sep-2014

Scotland has decided to stay in the United Kingdom, but the Downing Street declaration, in which David Cameron has pledged more devolution across the UK. The questions raised by the independence debate will keep constitutional lawyers busy for years.

A big yes, or a big no?

19-Sep-2014

As the Scottish referendum campaign enters its final week, the debate is getting increasingly heated. While many lawyers are declining to go on the record, The Lawyer’s exclusive that a major Anglo-Scottish firm is shifting its cash to English accounts has caused waves. Read more about the Scottish reaction in our stories below.

An unbundle of joy

11-Sep-2014

Not a week seems to go by without another firm revealing a low-cost centre, almost always to house document production and general support. This summer brought a whole host of announcements: if you blink, you might just miss them.

Feeding the deals

8-Sep-2014

With corporate work well and truly firing again, M&A lawyers are basking in the sunlight. Don’t forget to sign up to our weekly Deals Insider email for the latest news on who’s acting for whom.

Space, the final frontier

22-Aug-2014

Newly-weds Charles Russell and Speechly Bircham want to get even closer. Following the successful conclusion of their merger talks, they’re now after an office where they can really get to know each other. Just don’t bother offering them a Canary Wharf office.

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Litigation, litigation, litigation

18-Aug-2014

The Lawyer’s bank of briefings has a wealth of up-to-the-minute information and analysis on legal developments, provided by top law firms across the world. Just check out the recent summaries on litigation, free to download.

Justice is blind

18-Aug-2014

Clifford Chance, Macfarlanes and Mayer Brown are rolling out CV-blind recruitment policies to try and counter unconscious bias in favour of privately-educated applicants. Will it really make a difference? Why have so few firms followed suit?

Hot, hot, hot

11-Aug-2014

Off on your hols? Flying somewhere warm? Impress the barman with your superb knowledge of the local legal market by reading up on our jurisdictional reports. You never know when it might come in useful.

North wind

8-Aug-2014

Has Leeds lost its lustre? That’s the question we posed earlier this month, and trawled through much data to find out. Is the Yorkshire legal market losing out to its rivals across the Pennines?

PEP spray

6-Aug-2014

The debate over profit per equity partner (PEP) as a financial metric never seems to go away. Earlier this year Dentons decided to stop disclosing global PEP to The American Lawyer, saying it was ‘meaningless’. For a British take on the issue, read what former Ashurst boss Charlie Geffen has to say.

Leaders of the pack

4-Aug-2014

The Lawyer’s weekly leadership interview has proved very popular with readers. In our regular slot we find out the stories behind the figures, and what makes law firm managing partners tick.

Layton's first hundred days

30-Jul-2014

Within just a few months of taking the helm at Clifford Chance, managing partner Matthew Layton is making his presence felt. His radical slim-down of the management layer will be watched closely by other magic circle firms.

Magic numbers

28-Jul-2014

The Big Four have revealed their results in the space of a week, and it’s good reading for partners at those mega-firms. Freshfields still maintains top spot in PEP, but more pleasing for the big firms is top-line growth. Check out our analysis of the magic circle’s performance over ten years.

Barclays' panel beating

8-Jul-2014

Barclays has taken a radical approach to appointing legal advisers in its first review since 2011, which has slashed the list of firms.

Triumph and tiaras

2-Jul-2014

The Lawyer Awards, in association with Travelers, is the biggest night of the legal year. The top prizes went to RPC, No5 Chambers, Jones Day, PayPal and Royal Mail among others. To find out more about the winners, read below.

Better together

26-Jun-2014

In-house teams are increasingly demanding that their panel firms collaborate more on projects. This week has already seen significant moves by RBS and Barclays, which are now requiring law firms to partner with each other. This is the future.

Trebles all round

26-Jun-2014

Get your glad rags on and prepare to celebrate. The biggest night in the legal calendar is here: It’s The Lawyer Awards 2014, now in its twentieth year. Find out more about our finalists.

China ambitions

25-Jun-2014

What does Linklaters need to do in China? Will it replicate its alliance strategy in South Africa and Australia? Relationships in the Chinese market are shifting all the time, as the stories below demonstrate.

A&O follows its own partner

24-Jun-2014

Magic circle firms are flirting with different ways to approach jurisdictions. Allen & Overy has opportunistically opened in Canada after partner Francois Duquette said he wanted to go back home. Duquette had already spearheaded the firm’s foray into Africa and Abu Dhabi. That’s some track record.

The accountants really are coming

23-Jun-2014

We all know that the Big Four are eyeing the legal market again – and this time, they want to get it right. The question is, are law firms ready and able to defend their perch?

Pound signs

20-Jun-2014

Financial results are starting to pour in. It’s a mixed picture, but largely positive. Here are just some of the recent results stories we’ve run; for more, go to our dedicated financial news page.

Croatian skies

19-Jun-2014

As Croatia takes the stage in Brazil today, thoughts turn lightly to the country’s legal developments. We’ve teamed up with some of the country’s leading firms to bring you their analysis.

Russia, South Korea

18-Jun-2014

Russia and South Korea are fascinating not just because they’re slugging it out in a packed stadium. Both jurisdictions create plenty of work for lawyers, so get a handle on the latest market news by reading our stories below.

The discreet charm of onshoring

17-Jun-2014

Opening a low-cost support centre in the UK has now become the norm amongst larger firms. Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills have launched in Belfast, Ashurst in Glasgow and most recently Hogan Lovells in Birmingham. Where next – Cardiff, Newcastle, Dundee?

Commoditising the market

16-Jun-2014

Nowhere has the legal market changed so radically as the insurance sector over the last ten years. The Lawyer’s research shows the extent to which consolidation has become the norm. Pricing challenges remain, but the dominant firms are truly emerging.

Brazilian trends

13-Jun-2014

It’s begun! If the world media coverage hasn’t put you off, and you want to find out more about Brazil and football from a business perspective, then don’t miss the analyses we’re curating. Lawyers and sport: a volatile mix?

World cup rules

12-Jun-2014

There’s a small matter of a football tournament beginning this week. Is your workplace prepared? Check out the following pieces by Allen & Overy, Eversheds,  Gateley, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and Shoosmiths to make sure you’re covered.

Gender tenders

11-Jun-2014

City law firms have now officially put female career progression at the top of their to-do lists. Linklaters has become the latest firm to set targets for female representation at partnership level. Is this a sign of real change, or is it hot air?

Taking the temperature

9-Jun-2014

If you want to find out what’s going on, ask an expert. The Lawyer’s regular peer panels quiz leading practitioners and business professionals on the key trends in their areas. Hear it from the horse’s mouth.

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Harmony reigns supreme

29-May-2014

Dissenting opinions at the highest court in the land used to be rife. But as The Lawyer’s article, All For One, highlighted, there has been a dramatic decline in dissenting opinions at the Supreme Court. What’s the reason for this?

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Predicting the unpredictable

28-May-2014

Mergers are tricky to pull off at the best of times, and sometimes there are random and unforeseen consequences. As our links below show, mergers can lead to some big names changing home, or knotty integration issues.

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In-house rising stars

27-May-2014

Who’s making waves in the in-house community? The best way to find out is to make sure you read our weekly in-house interview, which covers sectors as diverse as mining and funds to retail and leisure. Below is a selection of our most recent profiles.

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Asia calling

23-May-2014

Asia may not be the high-growth region that some may have hoped for, but legal talent is still flocking there. Its volatility means there are plenty of potential opportunities, but firms may have to play the long game.

New breed

22-May-2014

A number of law firm leaders have been newly elected recently: Freshfields, Clifford Chance, Travers Smith and Herbies  to name just a few. How big is the scale of their task?

Process and profit

20-May-2014

The Lawyer’s Management Awards has been a runaway success. It showcases excellence in the operational side of the business of law, from HR IT strategy and client relationship management to finance, training and business development. If you want to find out more, click on the links below.

South African goldmine

19-May-2014

Clyde & Co has entered the South African market with something of a bang. It has poached two partners from Linklaters’ ally Webber Wentzel to launch in Cape Town. Clydes has a habit of nabbing partners from Linklaters allies; it did the same in Australia

Sing sing sing

15-May-2014

Blame Gareth Malone. The legal profession’s first ever choral competition, Legal Harmony, is taking place in Southwark Cathedral this week. Competing for the ultimate prize, and raising money for their own charities, are Devonshires, Kingsley Napley, Norton Rose Fulbright, Sidley Austin, Travers Smith, Wragge Lawrence Graham and 23 Essex Street. Read some of the choir diaries and place your bets.

European 100 unveiled

14-May-2014

Now in its fifth year, The Lawyer European 100 is unveiled today. Find out who’s up and who’s down in our exclusive report, in which the top firms are ranked by revenue – plus, how much the top UK and US firms turn over in Europe. You can buy the full report online.

Training abroad

12-May-2014

Pinsent Masons’ move to set up a training contract focused on the Middle East underlines the commitment that firms have to make to grow their own talent, rather than relying on laterals. Hogan Lovells did the same in Moscow and Davis Polk in Hong Kong: who’s next?

External spend

9-May-2014

Sainsbury’s has added two more firms – KWMSJB and TLT – to its formal roster following its recent panel review, which was run jointly by the legal and procurement functions. See below for a selection of the most recent tenders.

A West End tale

8-May-2014

Davenport Lyons has been absorbed by the considerably smaller Mayfair firm Gordon Dadds following the former’s administration. It’s rocky times for small-to-medium sized firms, but West End practices have been feeling the pinch more than most.

Nothing more certain than taxes

2-May-2014

It’s not been the easiest time for salaried partners in LLPs. Their tax status has been queried by the HMRC following suggestions that they have been enjoying a ‘disguised salary’ status. Trouble is, official guidelines on how to deal with the issue have been woolly at best. Read ‘Tax Code Breakers’, our investigation into  how firms are coping with the headache, below.

Beware the bean counters

1-May-2014

EY has hired BLP’s former finance head to launch a financial services legal team. It follows the hire of an Addleshaws partner to kickstart a corporate practice and existing investment in Asia and an application for an ABS. Could EY be a force to be reckoned with in the legal market?

Dear Leaders

30-Apr-2014

Our weekly leadership interview regularly has among the highest views on our site. And no wonder; with profiles of the managing partners at top firms such as Olswang, DWF, RPC, Taylor Wessing and DLA Piper, you can get an inside track on what’s going on in private practice.

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