UK awash with brides-to-be?

UK awash with brides-to-be?The future of the legal market, domestic and international, has been very much front of mind at The Lawyer this summer. In May we launched The Transatlantic Elite – a new spin on the race for global dominance that included our guide to the current – and future – superpowers.

Now, after one of the rockiest 12-month periods for years, comes arguably the timeliest publication we’ve ever produced. All summer long our editorial team has been stolidly plugging away, compiling The Lawyer UK 200 Annual Report 2008.

As always, the 148-page epic is chock-full of data on the financial performances of the UK’s leading and largest firms. And as we revealed last month, the theme of this year’s edition is mergers – real or fantasy. As such, there are enough imagined ­‘marriages’ within to feed an army of family lawyers.

Although none are real (yet), future consolidation in the UK market is a certainty. Accordingly, for the second year running the book features not just the UK’s top 100 revenue-generating firms, but also data on the next 100. Broadly, these are firms with turnovers between £5m and £20m. But, as special reports editor Tom Phillips observes in the book, smaller does not necessarily mean less interesting.

Over the past few years, in the Annual Report and the Rising 50 before it, The Lawyer – uniquely among UK legal market media – has shone a light on the often intensely dynamic firms that fail to make the top 100 merely by dint of having lower revenues than their larger cousins’. Increasingly, this is where the action is.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the lower half has already attracted attention. Two years ago expansionist Canadian firm Fasken Martineau swooped on one of the inhabitants of the second 100 and got itself a beefed-up UK presence in the shape of ­London-based life sciences specialist Stringer Saul.

Now there is no shortage of similarly ambitious internationally minded firms eyeing some of the jewels in the nether reaches of the UK market.

Generously, The Lawyer has provided these acquisitive firms with a detailed list of takeover ­targets. Call it a shopping list, if you like, and feel free to take full advantage of it. No extra charge.