Olswang: a firm at the crossroads

The drum beat surrounding the much-trailed launch of US firm Cooley got a little bit louder last month following some significant disruption at its former alliance partner and one-time merger candidate Olswang.

Seeing your CEO walk out the door half-way through his term doesn’t happen every day, so when David Stewart exited the Holborn TMT stalwart stage left, tongues in mid-town and beyond began to wag. Stewart quit Olswang less than a month after he resigned as CEO, events that immediately had market watchers wondering about the strategy of the firm.

Those tongues are still wagging, as this week’s cover feature reveals. What’s more, the article digs into data contained in The Lawyer’s UK200 this year and over the past decade to show that over the past 10 years Olswang has steadily lost ground on former tech-related peers such as Osborne Clarke, Taylor Wessing, legacy Masons (now Pinsent Masons) and Bird & Bird.

The quickest way for the firm to close that gap would be via a potentially transformative merger. As this week’s feature puts it, “Stewart’s exit is unlikely to have removed the need for a merger at Olswang. It might even have accelerated it”.

For all the data on Olswang go to the UK200 home page.

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