Silver Circle: trouble ahead?

Silver Circle: trouble ahead?While the magic circle has won some mega-instructions from Wall Street’s woes, there is not much good news for the smaller elite firms in the Silver Circle.

Other than a flurry of work advising clients on deals or investments connected to Lehman, the bank’s collapse looks set to be more bad news firms like Macfarlanes and SJ Berwin.

The magic circle’s smaller cousins are unlikely to get the trophy insolvency or merger mandates and the effect on mid-market deals, the lifeblood of the silver circle, could be devastating.

The key question now, as Travers Smith managing partner Chris Carroll points out, is when things are going to get better.

Travers is setting its sights on 2010 and battening down the hatches until then. Macfarlanes, by contrast, is slightly more positive. Senior partner Charles Martin says: “The nastier it is, the nearer the bottom we are. How long we will stay there will become a little clearer by Christmas.”

Herbert Smith’s David Gold is pinning his hopes on 2009, but admits: “If it gets worse we are all in for a difficult.”

Plus [BLP HEART] Dentons? SJ Berwin 4 Simmons? Travers Smith HEART Latham & Watkins. The Silver Circle write-ups also includes a little matchmaking between Silver Circle firms and a few outside the group that could be mutually beneficial.

Still, don’t take our word for it. Read the feature for a full round-up of the Silver Circle’s figures and its prospects for the coming year, and perhaps suggest a few [HEART]s of your own.