The wheat from the chaff – Hustling start-ups meet City law

In a quiet east London street off the bustling Brick Lane, a few doors from a sign tagged ‘Vegan Hair Salon’ is a co-working space. You meet Gaz, the office’s bulldog, and work among Star Wars figurines, gaming consoles and an electric drum kit.

It has blackboard walls and is suspiciously empty on a Friday afternoon given the barbecue outside. Equidistant from the corporate hub at Liverpool Street and the ‘scene’ of Shoreditch High Street, music plays. Continue reading “The wheat from the chaff – Hustling start-ups meet City law”

The future of disputes debate: The justice brand

Alex Novarese, Legal Business: Will the UK legal system be more or less trusted post Brexit?

Abhijit Mukhopadhyay, Hinduja Group: As a business, we trust English law and the English courts. Whenever we do business in any part of the world, unless it is in the US, we always go for English law. So long as the courts remain a brand – and they will, irrespective of whether Brexit happens – London will be attractive. Continue reading “The future of disputes debate: The justice brand”

The disputes funding debate: The value of everything

Sean Upson, Stewarts Law

Craig Arnott, Burford Capital: Litigation finance used to be perceived as a last-ditch resort for impecunious clients. That has transformed, largely because of cost pressure. It is just at the start of the change, especially on the corporate side and what possibilities there are for outsourcing. It seems a little crude, but it is an outsourcing alternative for corporates that involves financing in a way that would be thought of as outsourcing before, but is a way in which they can take books of business off their balance sheet.

Tim Brown, RPC: Several years ago we went to a bank and spoke to somebody fairly high up about the possibility of them instructing RPC to act for them under 100% CFAs [conditional fee agreements]. The offer was for them to select some cases, give them to us, and if we considered they had a good chance of success then we would do them effectively at no cost, which had the benefit of removing the cost risk from the balance sheet. The lawyer there was very interested but he came back about a month later and said the necessary people were interested but not at the moment and we asked why. Continue reading “The disputes funding debate: The value of everything”

Boutiques: Highly evolved

cat with lion's shadow

With the disputes market evolving and clients becoming more discerning, it has been a phenomenal ten years for boutique law firms focused on litigation. The pressure on generalist, mid-market dispute teams has played towards this dynamic, leaving true contentious specialists increasingly going head-to-head with the traditional London elite.

A glance at the financial results of some of the main litigation specialists – Stewarts, Signature Litigation and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan – shows dramatic increases in revenue amid a string of major cases. Continue reading “Boutiques: Highly evolved”

The Bar Elite: Silk and steel

Helen Davies QC

Despite Brexit, costs pressures and the loss of financial crisis work, reports of the commercial Bar’s decline are overblown. We identify the sets and the silks redefining the modern Bar

Everyone in the global business community seems to know that many of Britain’s brightest lawyers practise at the commercial Bar, helping to maintain London’s position as a world leader in litigation. Over the past decade, nearly 70% of cases in London’s commercial Court have been brought by overseas clients: Russia, Kazakhstan, Switzerland and the US routinely originate the most litigants. Continue reading “The Bar Elite: Silk and steel”

The Silk Round: One fine day

Sophie Lamb QC and Louis Flannery QC

Legal Business writes many high-minded pieces focused on the finer analytical points of the legal industry. This is not one of those pieces.

In an intensively people-driven business like the law, there cannot be many more resonant and personal experiences than becoming a Queen’s Counsel (QC). Firstly, there is the trial of the arduous application process and the agonising wait to find if you have secured the favour of peers and the selection panel. Continue reading “The Silk Round: One fine day”

The International Arbitration Summit: Trusting the cowboys

Stephen Jagusch QC

I am going to take a narrow view of a narrow subject: less of a keynote speech, more of a keyhole speech. Indeed, it is through a keyhole that I will ask you to join me in a voyeuristic peer into the room of what I call broken arbitrations, the room into which I have stuffed myriad examples of how the process of arbitration can too easily become corrupted.

And ‘keyhole’ is apt, in that privacy and confidentiality – and I hope we understand that they are very different things – prevent the door to arbitration from ever fully opening. It is merely through a keyhole that we form our impressions and understandings of what happens in actual cases. Continue reading “The International Arbitration Summit: Trusting the cowboys”

International Arbitration Insight: Bigger, longer, more complicated

digital map

‘Arbitration has gone from being the exotic bird of dispute resolution to become almost the norm,’ argues Constantine Partasides of Three Crowns (3C).

The appearance of boutiques such as 3C and Hanotiau & van den Berg is itself a sign of arbitration’s entry into the mainstream. It is tempting to consider parallels with the US-based litigation firms that emerged in the late 1980s and ’90s, when Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Boies Schiller Flexner broke away from the full-service model to focus on disputes work. Continue reading “International Arbitration Insight: Bigger, longer, more complicated”