Our exclusive analysis of the FTSE 250’s favourite law firms, based on data from digital information tool The Lawyer Market Intelligence, topped our most-read stories list last week.

The analysis by editor Catrin Griffiths revealed that Slaughter and May has the deepest relationships with FTSE 250 companies, advising 44 constituent members, ahead of Linklaters and Eversheds.

Slaughters also turned up in another of the top 10 stories of the week, after we revealed that Rolls-Royce had instructed the firm in a late instruction to defend it on a criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

The biggest hire of the week was Linklaters’ recruitment of Baker & McKenzie litigation partner Tom Cassels. The Hot 100 alumnus has relationships with a raft of clients such as Shell, mobile phone operator Three and McLaren Mercedes, and a stellar reputation.

The long-running saga of the future of Parabis Law subsidiary Plexus Law developed further last week. First, it emerged that partners were continuing to leave Plexus; then news broke that Keoghs had withdrawn from its efforts to buy the firm, before Parabis confirmed that Plexus’s original founders, led by Andrew McDougall and Tim Roberts, had agreed a buyout of the firm.

The move to contract lawyering seems inexorable and DLA Piper made a significant move last week by announcing it had agreed a bespoke deal with major provider LOD. The deal is the first of its kind, prompting LOD co-founder Jonathan Brenner to dub the firm “brave” for its innovation. But LOD, DLA and other firms looking at this market should beware – the Government is threatening a clampdown on tax avoidance by consultants. 

In other news, last week a Treasury report revealed that the Government had considered retendering the adviser role on the sale of its stake in Eurostar over concerns that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s fees were too high. The revelation was largely slammed by readers, who pointed out that clients looking for magic circle advice should expect to pay magic circle rates.

Lawyers’ work on a High Court case between hotel group Dorchester and construction company Kier was also criticised recently. Mr Justice Coulson found that the disclosure process by Kier’s solicitors, Pinsent Masons, had been “cumbersome, and inadequate”, and ended up costing three times its original budget.

The final story in the top 10 last week was our leadership interview with Bevan Brittan managing partner Duncan Weir. Weir revealed his plans to break into the Manchester market and that the firm was aiming for revenue of £80m.

The top 10 stories in full:

1. Relationship capital: The FTSE 250’s favourite law firms

2. Baker & McKenzie loses litigation partner Cassels to Linklaters

3. Plexus saved by management buyout

4. Treasury wanted to retender Eurostar legal adviser role over “concerns” at Freshfields’ £2.8m bill

5. “Brave” DLA Piper teams up with LOD for flexible resourcing venture

6. Rolls-Royce turns to Slaughter and May in late instruction on SFO criminal probe

7. High Court judge slams “cumbersome and inadequate” disclosure process in Kier case

8. Parabis partner fallout continues as Plexus buyout looms closer

9. Government tax clampdown threatens contract lawyer market

10. Bevan Brittan MP Weir: “Next stop: Manchester and £80m revenues”