Top 10 stories: 15-21 January 2016

Litigation was the theme of TheLawyer.com last week as we revealed our pick of the top 20 cases for 2016. With over £6bn estimated to be in dispute, barristers and their instructing solicitors will be kept busy throughout the next 12 months.

In related stories, we also reported that Lewis Silkin is to appeal a ruling that it acted in breach of duty in its advice to cricket chief Tim Wright on his £10m severance guarantee.

Meanwhile Shell is cracking down on the amount it spends on litigation, cutting its costs by 20 per cent as it reviews the way it handles contentious work.

Away from litigation, the annual ranking produced by equality charity Stonewall of the most gay-friendly employers saw 12 firms named in the top 100 – the most ever. Clifford Chance was the highest debutant while Pinsent Masons, in fifth, was the highest-ranked law firm.

King & Wood Mallesons hit the headlines twice last week as its chief operating officer Rachel Reid followed UK and Europe managing partner William Boss in resigning from her post. The firm is also reviewing its partnership contribution structure in an effort to cut down on exits from its UK arm.

Clifford Chance is another firm looking at its partnership structure. Managing partner Matthew Layton revealed that the magic circle outfit is considering overhauling its equity structure to bring all partners into the equity.

US firm Reed Smith announced it was planning to cut 45 lawyer roles from the US, UK and Europe in an firmwide restructuring that was a result of a fundamental shift in the nature of the legal services market.

Over at Osborne Clarke, the firm has recruited its first-ever chief finance and operating officer, Claire Binyon, responsible for its wider strategy.

And strategy was also under discussion in our leadership interview with Withers managing director Margaret Robertson, as we asked whether the firm had bitten off more than it can chew when it comes to international expansion.