Let me be your fantasy

Let me be your fantasy
The Lawyer is joining the rest of its UK readers on holiday on Monday so you won’t receive the paper or Lawyer News Daily, but we’ll be back in your inbox on Tuesday and back on your desk on Monday 1 September.

The Lawyer is joining the rest of its UK readers on holiday on Monday so you won’t receive the paper or Lawyer News Daily, but we’ll be back in your inbox on Tuesday and back on your desk on Monday 1 September.

The 1 September edition of The Lawyer is a bumper one including our annual opus The Lawyer UK 200 Annual Report.

As ever we’ve delved behind the figures to find out what’s really going on at the UK’s top 200 firms, the bar top 30 and the top 30 international firms operating in London. But this year we’ve had a bit more fun and used the figures as a starting point to look at the future shape of the legal market.

Globalisation and the Legal Services Act are just two factors that make this a unique moment of change and opportunity for the legal market – a sector that leading commentators such as Allen & Overy‘s David Morley and H4’s Alan Hodgart predict will see massive consolidation.

So we’ve grabbed the chance to play cupid with all from the magic circle to the Rising 100. This year’s report contains a guide to your firm’s fantasy merger.

Which deal would make your firm bigger and better? Which firms are desperately in need of a merger to save the day? And which firms can approach the new era from a position of strength?

Grab your copy of The Lawyer on 1 September to find out. Have a good weekend, we’ll see you on Tuesday.


Wow. Sometimes lateral hires provoke little interest for the outsider, but at other times the signature of a high-profile rainmaker can really get the blood racing as one struggles to figure out the consequences. Ashurst‘s hire of Dechert Islamic finance ace Abradat Kamalpour certainly lies in the latter category. See story.

For Ashurst, the benefits of scooping the well-connected Kamalpour are obvious. The hire gives its fledgling Middle East presence a real shot in the arm.

For Dechert, Kamalpour’s departure robs the firm of one of its real stars in London. Dechert chairman Bart Winokur spoke to us last week about his desire to launch in the Middle East, but it seems that Kamalpour was not prepared to wait while Dechert scopes out the opportunities.

This is a young lawyer in a hurry. Kamalpour was an associate at Norton Rose just three years ago and now he is one of the go-to names in the thriving practice of Islamic finance.

Apparently, Dechert’s Islamic finance practice will now be led by New York-based partner Andreas Junius, which says a lot about Dechert’s failure to build out a practice around Kamalpour.

A Dechert spokesperson claimed this does not change the firm’s “commitment to the Middle East”, but it puts a serious dent in Winokur’s global ambitions.

SRA shame

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will be hanging its head in shame today after being accused of institutional racism (see story).

The former head of the Commission for Racial Equality Lord Ouseley said in an independent report that the SRA’s investigations potentially leave the legal watchdog open to the charge of institutional racism.

Society of Black Lawyers chair Peter Herbert feels the findings are “as serious for the legal profession as the inquiry into the police investigation of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence was for the Metropolitan Police Service”.

Now that’s an investigation the SRA will not want to be linked with.

It’s unlikely that solicitors will now spend so long debating whether the Legal Services Board should have been brought in as an over-arching regulator of the legal profession.

A regulator to regulate the regulators must now be seen as a welcome move by the Government.

Working from home

It’s not easy being an international law firm. One of the biggest challenges is making sure the disparate parts of your network feel like part of the family.

Ruling a global empire from head office without keeping foreign branches in the loop is likely to send your overseas lawyers running into the arms of poachers. With this in mind, Simmons & Simmons latest move is a bold one (see story).

The firm has replaced the only international practice group (IPG) heads based outside of London with City partners. And this only three months after creating the IPG role to emphasise its new global outlook.

The firm insists this is not a deliberate policy, but the result is the same. Around half of Simmons’ lawyers work in its international offices. And yet not one of the 10 IPG chiefs, who are responsible for hiring, firing and strategy, works outside of London.

Hardly representative government. Both the outgoing IPG heads will now focus on their own jurisdictions – Job Rietkerk in Holland and Damon Le Maitre-George in Asia, particularly China.

Now that Le Maitre-George has more time on his hands, could the long-awaited Beijing office finally be about to open? It has been three years and counting since Simmons first applied for a licence and, with the Olympics in full flow, the timing could not be more perfect. Better late than never.

No Gray days for lawyers

Lawyers are a cheery bunch. Despite research showing they are now doing more work than they were at the start of the year, what with the credit crunch meaning posts are left unfilled, the majority of lawyers remain satisfied in their jobs (see story).

Just how long this will be the case is another matter, with too-heavy workloads generally leading to an unhappy workforce.

Eversheds chief executive David Gray is perhaps a case in point. As The Lawyer revealed today (18 August), Gray has loved leading the firm for the past six years, but having worked more than his fair share of extra days, he “misses his missus” (see story), so is stepping down from the management position.

Some future partners at Linklaters will have many extra days to work. The magic circle firm has proposed an extended lockstep that will see partners in new practice areas having to climb a few extra lockstep rungs before reaching plateau (see story). That’s bound to add up to weeks of extra work.

Still, with only three-quarters of lawyers surveyed by recruiter Badenoch & Clark actually taking their full holiday allowance this of all years, they’re obviously not bothered.