Comment: Less dire than expected but profession may yet squander influx of BAME lawyers

Comment: Less dire than expected but profession may yet squander influx of BAME lawyers

The good news is that up close the reality turns out to be not as awful as the cynics have feared. After all, for years the profession has avoided a frontal discussion of its record on ethnic diversity, choosing to submerge the topic within the umbrella of diversity and inclusion even as law firms became …

Comment: A Big Four breakthrough will need a far better GC offensive

Comment: A Big Four breakthrough will need a far better GC offensive

This title is on the record as having doubts regarding the Big Four’s legal ambitions, at least judged against claims typically made by some outside observers. Readers will all know such assertions: that the group are more sophisticated, slicker and tech-savvy than law firms and set to disrupt law on a global scale. But while …

Paywars III – City elite caught between rock and hard place

Paywars III – City elite caught between rock and hard place

The news last month that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was to push through the highest real-terms pay rises by a major City firm for a decade is a significant moment for the London legal market. The decision to hike its associate pay scale, raising its benchmark rate for newly-qualified solicitors from £85,000 to £100,000 is a …

The influx of BAME lawyers may yet be squandered

The influx of BAME lawyers may yet be squandered

The good news is that up close the reality turns out to be not as awful as the cynics have feared. After all, for years the profession has avoided a frontal discussion of its record on ethnic diversity, choosing to submerge the topic within the umbrella of diversity and inclusion even as law firms became …

Cross-selling to glory will only get the Big Four so far

Cross-selling to glory will only get the Big Four so far

This title is on the record as having doubts regarding the Big Four’s legal ambitions, at least judged against claims typically made by some outside observers. Readers will all know such assertions: that the group are more sophisticated, slicker and tech-savvy than law firms and set to disrupt law on a global scale. But while …

Comment: Vital signs – the passing of old Ashurst holds surprising new life

Comment: Vital signs – the passing of old Ashurst holds surprising new life

Sometimes in institutional terms, something has to die before something new can live. The good news for Ashurst, as chronicled in this month’s cover feature, is that the City player is showing vivid signs of renewed life, with the firm set to post by far its best performance after a decade that has been plain …

Comment: Being most things to most clients isn’t sustainable (and it’s choking the City elite)

Comment: Being most things to most clients isn’t sustainable (and it’s choking the City elite)

Years ago, in the immediate wake of the banking crisis, I wrote a column on the notion that top London law firms, having pursued consolidation and growth for the preceding quarter century, had fallen out of love with being big. The argument was that they were increasingly focused on segmentation – meaning tighter focus on …

Gender diversity debate: Quantum of equality

Gender diversity debate: Quantum of equality

Alex Novarese, Legal Business: Tracey, shall we talk about the background of the All Rise project? Tracey Dovaston, Barclays: We realised we had an opportunity as part of Barclays’ panel process to make some of our expectations on diversity measurable. We set out the expectations of our panel firms, which include that diverse teams work …

Lucrative, dependable business-as-usual

Lucrative, dependable business-as-usual

The fourth, and largest, Disputes Yearbook returns to find the contentious legal scene much as we left it in 2018. For lawyers offering high-end and upper-midmarket dispute services that remains a good thing, even if there have been busier years post-Lehman. The licence to print money from banking crisis-related work and Russia-inflected conflicts has been …

City paywars: a history lesson – Freshfields hikes hark back to era of Magic Circle domination

City paywars: a history lesson – Freshfields hikes hark back to era of Magic Circle domination

The news this week that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was to push through the highest real-terms pay rises by a major City firm for a decade is a significant moment for the London legal market. The decision to hike its associate pay scale, raising its benchmark rate for newly-qualified solicitors from £85,000 to £100,000 is a …