The Lawyer Africa Elite 2014 features an in-depth look at 46 leading independent firms’ strategies in 15 key sub-Saharan jurisdictions, as well as the views of in-house counsel from some of Africa’s largest companies... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
The pharmaceuticals sector has experienced a period of unprecedented consolidation which has impacted on the demands it makes of its external legal advisers. In January, SmithKline Beecham and Glaxo Wellcome began to arrange a £114bn merger, just weeks before Pfizer and Warner-Lambert announced their £52.1bn merger.
This consolidation has led to an increased demand for corporate and M&A advice. Most companies are seeking a good relationship with recognised City players because of their ability to operate in banking and financial circles. But a lot of these relationships are dependant on individual contacts, especially in the more sector-specific practice areas, such as patent and healthcare work.
While cost is an important issue, it is knowledge and experience of the industry that are vital for a company when choosing a firm. Most pharmaceutical companies do not use the staple methods for choosing their law firms such as beauty parades and directories. In-house lawyers prefer to rely on more informal methods, such as recommendations, sector-specific literature and online offerings that firms provide, because it is believed that they are a far more accurate way of gauging a firm's knowledge and experience.
Because of the global nature of the industry, knowledge of US law is also important and a wide range of US firms are used for patent and class action litigation.
Despite the growing need for a City firm's corporate and M&A expertise, global firms are not highly sought after because, according to one insider, they "don't pay enough attention to their clients".