View of the Vatican

The Catholic church and the legal profession have more than a few things in common. Both are ancient, slow to change and sometimes require senior members to wear ridiculous costumes. Oh, and both have a fondness for latin, though that probably harks back to the fact that both are a bit ancient.

Perhaps it is for this reason that lawyers seem to be reacting favourably to the appointment of Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as the new Pope. Bergoglio – or Francis, as he shall be known – was elected following the resignation of the incumbent, Pope Benedict XVI, who appointed German lawyer Ernst von Freyberg as head of the embattled Vatican Bank in one of his last acts as pontiff.

Meanwhile, Peter Smith, an employed barrister at a commercial law firm in London, has given a more detailed view on the challenges that lie ahead for the new head of the Catholic Church.

If certain law firm leaders thought they had a lot on their plates dealing with sclerotic management structures, compliance issues and the perils of globalisation – all the while trying desperately to stay relevant in a rapidly shifting market – they really have no idea.


Also on

  • Clifford Chance has recruited Norton Rose disputes partner Dorian Drew, who advised Barclays CEO Bob Diamond on the Libor scandal
  • Linklaters has raised its legal practice course maintenance grant by 40 per cent
  • And, Shearman & Sterling has made six of its lawyers in Hong Kong redundant