Reversal of fortunes – A decade-spanning view of the Global 100

Reversal of fortunes – A decade-spanning view of the Global 100

Back in 2007 UK-based firms were living large on a boom in the City and sterling. A global financial crisis and currency turmoil then changed the narrative fundamentally

In the summer of 2007, the proverbial had not quite hit the fan yet. The global economy was still riding high on the back of the boom years of 2005 and 2006, and it was not until July 2007 that Bear Stearns reported that two of its hedge funds had imploded. Lehman Brothers was still very much in business. The first iPhones went on sale at the end of June. And, in stark contrast to today, City-backed law firms were dominating the Global 50.

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Market comment: A year of living dangerously

Market comment: A year of living dangerously

‘There isn’t much to differentiate between law firms. It is predominantly relationship-based, not on massive differentials in service.’

Chris Newby, AIG

Global law firm leaders look back over a turbulent 12 months to cite the big trends shaping the legal industry

SOFT TARGETS

‘The impact of changes in sterling FX rates has made a number of UK targets more attractive to overseas buyers. It’s no coincidence there has been an increase in M&A with UK targets. Interestingly, UK outbound investment has also been strong in recent months and M&A activity in Western Europe is set to continue at a high level for the second half of this year.’

Andrew Ballheimer, global managing partner, Allen & Overy Continue reading “Market comment: A year of living dangerously”

‘It’s the clothes on top that matter’: how much does structure affect the Swiss Verein firms?

‘It’s the clothes on top that matter’: how much does structure affect the Swiss Verein firms?

DLA Piper, the world’s second-largest Swiss Verein-structured law firm, saw global turnover in 2016 drop 3% to $2.47bn from $2.54bn. The drop in overall revenue was attributed by the firm to exchange rate fluctuations across the global firm’s international business, which is divided between an international LLP and a US LLP. In sterling, DLA says, turnover was up 3%.

Similarly, Norton Rose Fulbright saw turnover drop 3% to $1.69bn, with the firm again attributing the performance to currency fluctuations. In a statement, a spokesperson said the firm had seen a 3% increase on 2015 revenue using like-for-like exchange rates, adding: ‘Our stated US dollar figures are very susceptible to currency exchange moves and, in the past year, the sterling, euro, Australian/Canadian dollars and South African rand experienced significant negative moves against the US dollar.’

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London calling: the client view

London calling: the client view

‘I prefer to use the Magic Circle rather than US firms. They are, if anything, becoming better-run businesses.’
Philip Bramwell, BAE Systems

It should come as no surprise that clients on the global stage continue to demand more from their advisers. Yet, for the most part, those London-headquartered firms at the top end of the Global 100 report are delivering for clients despite the influx of international firms, particularly those based in the US, into their home market.

‘I continue to believe that the Magic Circle firms offer excellent strength and depth on big-ticket issues,’ says Philip Bramwell, group general counsel (GC) of multinational defence, security and aerospace company BAE Systems. ‘Their strength is in their gene pool – their core systems and the processes that they continue to invest in – and they are, if anything, becoming better-run businesses.’

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