Legal Business Blogs

The Friday edit: choosing panels, choosing leaders and choosing to stick with the lockstep

Happy Halloween – if you’re into that sort of thing.  For those who are not nine years-old, here’s our weekly review of the stories that may have scared some and thrilled others. For subscriber content, click here for full access to Legal Business.

Analysis of the week: The usual suspects

Panel selection is never far from the top of the agenda for private practice and in-house teams alike. This was certainly the case this week in one of our most popular posts – news of GDF Suez’s major panel review planned for early next year. With this in mind, in the third part of our annual in-house survey, we asked more than 400 in-house lawyers to name three firms or alternative legal services providers for strategic, high-quality legal advice; pragmatic commercial advice and strong service delivery; and three for value for money. The order in which some big names are ranked and why they are chosen may come as a surprise. Subscribers can access the piece here.

Theme of the week: leaders staying put… and moving on

It’s been a week for reaffirmation of some established leaders, with Clifford Chance senior partner Malcolm Sweeting, who provided some interesting insight in our Partnership round table earlier this year, being re-elected for a second four-year term, while Norton Rose Fulbright global CEO Peter Martyr has been selected for the fifth time for another three years. Elsewhere, Taylor Wessing senior partner Adam Marks was voted in, uncontested, for a second term. Not everyone is staying put, however. After announcing earlier this month that he was stepping down from his role as Olswang chief executive, the firm this week confirmed that David Stewart had already resigned and left the firm to pursue ‘new opportunities’.

Story of the week: ‘We won’t break lockstep, we see it as a strength’: Clifford Chance US chiefs talk growing revenues and love of the lockstep

The US market, the Magic Circle and breaking lockstep are all big draws in terms of reader interest so it is unsurprising that our interview with CC’s Americas managing partner Evan Cohen and Washington DC managing partner David DiBari was the most popular post. The subject of the Magic Circle digging deep to lure big-name hires from US firms in New York is nothing new – Allen & Overy’s pursuit of Dan Cunningham from Cravath in 2001 being a well-documented example– but the recent hiring spree of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Manhattan over the summer has attracted attention. In this post, Cohen and DiBari state why paying partners outside the lockstep doesn’t work.

Almost as popular was news of Freshfields defending Sotheby’s in one of those interesting cases that made the nationals this week, in which the claimant, represented by Boodle Hatfield, alleges the auction house failed to recognise a genuine Caravaggio worth over £11m, instead selling it as £42,000 copy.

Quotes of the week:

‘If I were a general counsel, I would pick this system over any other in a heartbeat because I know it’s putting my interests first’ – CC’s Washington head David DiBari stands up for the lockstep – ‘We won’t break lockstep, we see it as a strength’: Clifford Chance US chiefs talk growing revenues and love of the lockstep

‘If Three Crowns grows quickly, the way successful firms have done, then it will be a failure’ – Jan Paulsson, co-founder of the arbitration boutique, on why he wants the practice to remain small and tightly focused – Disputes Yearbook 2014 – Perspectives: Jan Paulsson, Three Crowns

‘Its expertise means it’s good at cutting through unnecessary issues and getting to the task: it wants you to be happy with what it has done and what it has charged, as it wants you to be back as a client for the next decade.’ – Carillion GC Richard Tapp on why Slaughter and May is value for money – The In-House Survey: adviser feedback – The usual suspects

This week’s top posts:

‘We won’t break lockstep, we see it as a strength’: Clifford Chance US chiefs talk growing revenues and love of the lockstep

A ‘massive’ difference in value: Sotheby’s picks Freshfields to defend it against Caravaggio claim

‘Enhancing the role of the panel’: GDF Suez set to launch major panel review

Seeking new opportunities: Olswang’s former CEO Stewart resigns

Keeping it in-house: Lloyds appoints Jennifer Nielsen as general counsel of retail