Legal Business Blogs

Looking back on 2018 – The year in law through ten on-point pieces

As 2018 draws to a close, an editor’s thoughts naturally turn to digging out stuff we’ve already done when they should be focusing on stuff we haven’t yet done for 2019. So with that proud tradition in mind, dear reader, below are ten defining pieces from the last 12 months that shone some light on this funny old game we call law.

We’ll now be taking a break from live blogging over the Christmas period but we’ll be returning early in 2019 for what promises to be another… eventful year in the legal profession. Nearly mentioned Brexit just then but I got away with it…

Have a great Christmas and we’ll see you in 2019.

Our 2018 highlights:

Alphas (February). Given how understated most women lawyers are in comparison to male counterparts, this in-depth assessment of female deal stars proved one of the most challenging cover features Legal Business has ever attempted. But what resulted after weeks of toil was a candid look at the realities facing women trying to reach the top echelons of City law and a rigorous line-up of figures who have succeeded.

Our values are imperatives(March). Ignore the flat headline, this knock-about, wide-ranging interview with Pinsent Masons senior partner Richard Foley marked the start of a series of probing, irreverent interviews with law firm leaders. Expect more in 2019.

The wheat from the chaff (May). Kicking off a bi-annual law tech focus, this lively look at the sometimes comical interaction between hustling start-ups and City law firms brought plenty of colour alongside extensive research into the much-hyped sector.

16 easy steps to making you a great managing partner (May). One of the most popular pieces of the year, this sincere but not-entirely-serious leader boiled down more than a decade of hanging around with law firm leaders to save you having to do that Harvard course. While readers felt point 15 (Consultants – just don’t) was the hot take of the bunch, on reflection LB is still sticking with the sign-off tip, Be lucky.

Wrecking ball (July). Probably the most talked about feature of 2018, and certainly the most read, this extended look at the improbable rise of Chicago juggernaut Kirkland & Ellis was packed with detail, insight and the big personalities that have powered its dramatic ascent. If there was one piece that captured the shifting hierarches at the top of global law, this was it.

Crisis? What crisis? (September). The lead piece from our flagship LB100 report captured a remarkable age in which a divided UK wrestles with political unrest, rows over Europe and economic uncertainty. An age in which law firms must still earn a buck…

Draining the swamp (September). Tackling the murky intersection between gagging clauses, the #MeToo movement and the profession’s role in covering up bad behaviour by clients and their own partners, this article took a deep dive into the role of non-disclosure agreements and the lawyers drafting them. In a year in which tales of abusive behaviour towards women plagued the law, what emerged was troubling for the profession.

We come not to bury the Magic Circle but to save it (October). Probably the most read leader of 2018 and certainly the one that garnered the most comments from readers, this piece pulled together the threads of what Legal Business argues is ailing the City’s leaders. If our assessment is even half correct, the profession is facing a fundamental shift.

Star gazing (October). To mark our Global 100 report, we assembled an A-list group to debate the changing shape of law’s Premier League. Forget the tired conference rhetoric, this was a punchy, on-point discussion from the best in the business.

No free lunch (October). This much-read piece went beyond the usual clichés attached to the topic of law firms IPOs to delve into the recent run of floats and piece together what tapping the capital markets would mean for major law firms. A defining piece of the year.