Alphas – the hunt for female deal stars (and why it’s hard to be a City woman)

Denise Gibson

‘You will have to go out and find the women – they won’t come to you,’ warns Travers Smith partner Lucie Cawood when Legal Business began researching this cover feature. That proved an astute prediction.

Searching for senior female talent in the City, amid weeks spent amassing nearly 60 interviews with partners, law firm leaders, corporate heads and recruiters, it becomes clear that it takes more work to get women deal lawyers talking than their male equivalents. A lot more. Continue reading “Alphas – the hunt for female deal stars (and why it’s hard to be a City woman)”

Being great at one thing is not enough – remaking a City leader for the times

Mark Rigotti

LB: What have been the big wins for Herbert Smith Freehills [HSF] over the last two years?

Mark Rigotti (MR): It has been the shift from integration. That’s by definition backwards-looking so it’s good to move on. We’ve been strengthening some of the smaller offices. We’re different from the Magic Circle that have long-established European practices. We’ve grown about 50% in five years in mainland Europe. The German, Madrid and Paris offices are all significantly bigger. There are more European clients and more leadership positions going to Europeans. That’s a big cultural shift. Continue reading “Being great at one thing is not enough – remaking a City leader for the times”

The Icarus syndrome – the highs and lows of Slater and Gordon

Icarus illustration

Pride before a fall. Everything was going well when the world’s first listed law firm, Slater and Gordon, announced another blockbuster UK buyout in early 2015.

‘In getting to this point, we undertook a very extensive due diligence process,’ said the firm’s managing director, Andrew Grech. ‘The business we are buying is of high quality with robust infrastructure and systems, and good people. This move will accelerate and consolidate our position in the UK market, and bring benefits to the clients and staff of both businesses.’

Continue reading “The Icarus syndrome – the highs and lows of Slater and Gordon”

Off the leash – as regulators target City leaders, is more to come?

dog chasing businessman

It was a prized scalp. In December, Clifford Chance (CC) became the first Magic Circle player to fall foul of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), when the firm and its disputes partner Alex Panayides were each fined £50,000 for their role in the well-documented Excalibur professional negligence saga.

It was a highly-symbolic move. But the £50,000 penalty is small beer relative to CC’s global revenues, and to the fines received by White & Case and Locke Lord in 2017. US firm Locke Lord, with a small City operation, was ordered to pay a record £500,000. Continue reading “Off the leash – as regulators target City leaders, is more to come?”

Higher learning

EU flag with locks

1998 seems like a lifetime ago, where e-commerce was a fantasy for ordinary people just discovering the internet. Yet 1998 was year zero for the European Union’s Data Protection Directive – the basis for legislation protecting personal data across member states today.

But over the past two decades, digitalisation has detonated a data explosion, giving rise to data mining on a level of sophistication and scale that was unthinkable at the time the directive was conceived. In keeping with the spirit of our globalised age, data, like everything else, is ‘big’ – and so are the threats.

Continue reading “Higher learning”

Reversal of fortunes – how three mid-tiers outgunned the City elite for a decade

Michael Chissick

It is dominated by mid-sized firms while global players and City leaders lag far behind. Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) sits in the third spot. You must scroll down nearly 40 positions before finding the likes of Linklaters and Clifford Chance.

It is not the chart for revenue, profits or partner earnings. It is a table of major British law firms’ organic growth over the last ten years, marking the period since the financial crisis. Continue reading “Reversal of fortunes – how three mid-tiers outgunned the City elite for a decade”