Our exclusive, in-depth analysis of the UK’s mid-tier, independent firms was easily the most-read story on TheLawyer.com this week.

For the first time we have split up our annual analysis of the top 200 UK firms and this week’s executive summary of the focus on smaller firms, Inside the Independents, proved immensely popular. It delves into the finances, structure and strategy of some of the UK’s fastest-growing firms.

Last week’s top story on Ashurst’s pilot scheme to allocate work on a “blind” basis was followed up this week with news that Hogan Lovells is also trialling new ways of handing out instructions to associates. The Hogan Lovells pilot will focus on the real estate department and will also be aimed at making allocation fairer.

Exclusive interviews with law firm leaders and in-house counsel form a key part of The Lawyer’s coverage, and the top 10 stories list this week features three examples. Comments from K&L Gatesglobal managing partner Peter Kalis at our recent Business Leadership Summit on the six key challenges facing law firms drew in the readers, as did last week’s leadership interview with Charles Russell Speechlys’ managing partner James Carter.

Meanwhile last week’s in-house interview with Lucozade Ribena Suntory general counsel Mollie Stoker also drew in the readers as Stoker described the task of setting up the company’s first legal team following its creation through merger at the end of 2013.

Three chunky pieces of litigation also featured on this week’s list. HSBC has turned to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to defend it against a multi-million pound Libor claim; Slaughter and May won a victory for British Airways in the latest stage in the mammoth case concerning air cargo; and Irwin Mitchell won a landmark Supreme Court test case over “unfair” divorce settlements.

The final story on the top 10 this week was the news that Herbert Smith Freehills has won a place on Standard Chartered’s global panel, as the bank’s review draws to a close.

The top 10 in full:

1. UK 200: 101-200 – Inside the Independents

2. Hogan Lovells joins Ashurst in piloting “fairer allocation” scheme to associates

3. K&L Gates’ Kalis: the six key challenges facing every law firm

4. Charles Russell Speechlys one year on: “We’re ready to start recruiting”

5. HSBC instructs Freshfields to defend million-pound Libor claim

6. Ashurst trials “blind allocation” of work to corporate associates in attempt to ensure fairness

7. BA strike-out appeal upheld as CoA rules against Peter Smith in air cargo cartel claim

8. In-house interview: Mollie Stoker, Lucozade Ribena Suntory

9. HSF added to Standard Chartered’s global panel

10. Irwin Mitchell wins Supreme Court battle in landmark test case over court room dishonesty