Top 10 stories 20 July – 27 July 2014

Mark Brandon’s forthright opinion article on the future shape of the legal market continues to have the market talking and commentators commenting.

In case you missed it, Brandon’s points include his contention that US firms will eventually be dominant in London, that Vereins have had their day and that the modern obsession with process is a waste of time.

Year-end financials also continued to come through last week, with the comparative performances of the UK’s largest firms on show. In particular the impact of the series of mergers seen in recent years was obvious in the gap closing that is currently ongoing at the top of the revenues table and the proportion of the top 10’s revenues that is accounted for by the Big Four.

Turnover for the top 10 firms, excluding Slaughter and May, which does not report financial data, hit £10.643bn at the end of the 2013/14 financial year. The magic circle accounted for £5.076bn of that, or 47.7 per cent.

This, we revealed, is a significant reduction on the 2004/05 year-end position, when the combined revenue for the UK200 top 10 was at £4.832bn. In that year the magic circle produced collective revenues of £3.165bn or 65 per cent of the top 10 total for the financial year.

Consolidation was also the theme as Charles Russell and Speechly partners said ‘yes’ to a £135m merger, while major lateral partner moves last week included that of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson’s lawyer Jo Rickards from DLA Piper to Kingsley Napley, and Kirkland & Ellis private equity duo Claire McDaid and Matthew Dean, who have quit to kickstart Willkie Farr’s City PE practice.

Click on the links below to access The Lawyer Top 10 stories for the last seven days. Your views are always welcome.

1. Mark Brandon: UK law is focusing too much on the wrong things

2. Magic circle sees UK market share shrink as global consolidation takes hold

3. Charles Russell and Speechly partners say yes to £135m merger

4. Panel punch-up: DWF and the panel-place High Court case

5. Macfarlanes rolls out CV-blind policy to training contract applicants

6. Kirkland duo McDaid and Dean quit to kickstart Willkie Farr’s City PE practice

7. Robert Tchenguiz switches Shearman & Sterling for Stephenson Harwood in £300m SFO trial

8. The power behind Jones Day’s mid-market M&A knock-out

9. Coulson’s lawyer Rickards exits DLA Piper for Kingsley Napley

10. Former Times legal chief Brett to appeal SDT suspension