Comment: Global 100 reportcard – US leaders continue decade-long surge as City rivals dither

Comment: Global 100 reportcard – US leaders continue decade-long surge as City rivals dither

Judging the world’s largest law firms, it is becoming a familiar tradition after we unpack the results of the Global 100 to look ahead to a more troubled outlook… which then turns into another year of robust growth. Take 2019’s results, one of the strongest showings since the banking crisis a decade ago, which have …

Comment: Profit per equity partner and law’s other enduring hypocrisies

Comment: Profit per equity partner and law’s other enduring hypocrisies

No-one got into journalism to be consistent, the trade typically being more attractive to trouble-makers than those hunting for enduring responsibility. But while hoping that proud tradition continues, in one area the legal media has pushed its licence for hypocrisy that step too far: the debate around law firm profitability. This over the years has …

As specialists thrive in law’s Darwinian age too many drift on

As specialists thrive in law’s Darwinian age too many drift on

There are times in my career as a legal pundit where I’ve gone against trend to argue the unpopular view. This is not going to be one of those columns. Instead, this is about speaking up for a truism that is unusual for being largely true and one that law firm leaders themselves frequently cite. …

Comment: The Mindful Business Charter: In praise of baby steps

Comment: The Mindful Business Charter: In praise of baby steps

The name, the Mindful Business Charter, does not in itself inspire huge confidence but, judging the legal profession on its willingness to at least try to address stress and mental health pressures, the initiative still constitutes pretty much law’s quality-of-life cutting edge. The venture, first put together last year by Pinsent Masons, Addleshaw Goddard and …

Being most things to most clients just isn’t sustainable

Being most things to most clients just isn’t sustainable

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 …

The Mindful Business Charter: In praise of baby steps

The Mindful Business Charter: In praise of baby steps

The name, the Mindful Business Charter, does not in itself inspire huge confidence but, judging the legal profession on its willingness to at least try to address stress and mental health pressures, the initiative still constitutes pretty much law’s quality-of-life cutting edge. The venture, first put together last year by Pinsent Masons, Addleshaw Goddard and …

Vital signs – the passing of old Ashurst holds new life

Vital signs – the passing of old Ashurst holds 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: Innovation needs law firm champions as Axiom doubts emerge

Comment: Innovation needs law firm champions as Axiom doubts emerge

We have at LB Towers something of a reputation for being sceptical of the claims to fresh thinking surrounding much of New Law Land. One exception, though, has been Axiom, the pioneering outfit that pushed lawyering into the mainstream. Sure, Axiom’s message could be obscured by strangulated attempts to ape Silicon Valley speak, an odd …

Comment: ‘This ain’t stewardship’ – delaying partnership until mid-30s is unsustainable

Comment: ‘This ain’t stewardship’ – delaying partnership until mid-30s is unsustainable

Having recently shared a few drinks with one of the most talked-up youngish corporate lawyers in the City, the question came up about mid-way through as to what age they made partner. The answer: 36! And there lies much of what ails major law firms, though older partners continue to float around effecting increasingly unconvincing …

The International Arbitration Centre launches: The City finally gets the disputes space it’s been waiting for

The International Arbitration Centre launches: The City finally gets the disputes space it’s been waiting for

For years seasoned practitioners have bemoaned the lack of top-notch arbitration facilities in London, casting an envious eye at the polished offerings in rival hubs like Singapore, even as the City has boomed as a global centre for dispute resolution. Now advisers sick of arguing about venues and decamping to hotels for major disputes are …