Inflection point – Ashurst steps back from the brink but can the revival last?

It was not all plain sailing,’ reflects Ben Tidswell, Ashurst’s chair, on the aftermath of its 2013 merger with Australia’s Blake Dawson. ‘But partners saw what we were trying to achieve and most wanted to be part of that. Now the firm is enjoying the success of that.’

Tidswell speaks with the palpable relief of one whose darkest days are behind him. The merged firm is now on the brink of revealing its best financial showing to date after years of indifferent or poor performance. Tidswell may well celebrate given the upheaval that preceded this inflection point, dwarfing any woes suffered by City rival Lovells following its 2010 union with Washington DC’s Hogan & Hartson. Continue reading “Inflection point – Ashurst steps back from the brink but can the revival last?”

Picking up the pieces – the risk debate gauges the #MeToo era

Niamh Counihan

A clear focus on a number of #MeToo episodes among City law firms has led to a close examination of culture by risk teams as well as wider discussion of reputational damage and the extent to which this can be measured.

We gathered leading risk experts from some of the UK and international firms in the eye of the storm to debate what steps can be taken not just to deal with reputational fallout but to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Continue reading “Picking up the pieces – the risk debate gauges the #MeToo era”

Can law tech’s big beasts Lexis and Thomson stay on top in a changing industry?

Digital whales

So ubiquitous have two companies become in legal tech circles that they are rarely discussed directly, just accepted as facts of life, like gravity or air. Those two are, of course, LexisNexis and the legal division of Thomson Reuters, which have over the last 30 years positioned themselves as the dominant providers of the informational ‘plumbing’ law firms require to ply their trade.

For LexisNexis that key moment came in the 1970s when an arm of the Ohio State Bar Association commissioned a project to deliver an information service exclusively aimed at legal research, named Lexis. During the same decade West Publishing was Lexis’ main competitor, using a computer-assisted legal research project that would later be branded Westlaw. Continue reading “Can law tech’s big beasts Lexis and Thomson stay on top in a changing industry?”

Bench strengths – Sizing up the City’s top dispute teams

Damien Byrne Hill

The best dispute lawyers often have something of the diva or rockstar about them – argumentative, uncompromising and brash. Michael Davison, head of Hogan Lovells’ litigation, arbitration and employment group, describes Neal Katyal, who runs the firm’s Washington DC disputes team, as such a figure. It is easy to see why: at the age of 48, Katyal had argued more Supreme Court cases than anyone else in US history and appeared as himself in Netflix’s political drama House of Cards.

London, of course, has no shortage of big characters in litigation, even if the clubby world of hard-living, hard-working boys is giving way to a more diverse crowd. To assess the prospects for the disputes market, Legal Business decided to focus on a dozen of the largest players in the City, spanning traditional leaders, the largest specialist firms and a handful of the most expansive US outfits. Continue reading “Bench strengths – Sizing up the City’s top dispute teams”

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 on Barclays matters. We encourage panel firms to recommend diverse teams at the tender stage and that those teams then work on the matter. We want to be introduced to people other than those we have been working with for many years. Continue reading “Gender diversity debate: Quantum of equality”