The Global 100 debate – Will stars or institutions define the law’s elite?

David Higgins et al

Alex Novarese, Legal Business: Ten years ahead, what will a global elite firm look like?

Charlie Jacobs, Linklaters: I don’t think it’s going to go the accountancy way, where you just go bigger and the Big Four dominate. A lot of focus seems to be around profitability and if you are driven by that metric, you get a certain type of firm. When I started, it was the Magic Circle in London and a certain category of US firms. We have seen lots of change. But I don’t see just one model prevailing. Continue reading “The Global 100 debate – Will stars or institutions define the law’s elite?”

The technology debate: Ctrl+Alt+Delete

Karyn Harty

With alternative legal services arms at Global 100 law firms in full swing, and innovation and technology experts striving to make those firms relevant and responsive to the demands of increasingly value-conscious clients, it is fair to say the future is now.

But the traditional role of the lawyer is perhaps facing its biggest existential crisis now as those new demands challenge what legal practice means today. Will the lawyer of 2030 render the celebrated black-letter technicians and swashbuckling dealmakers obsolete? Continue reading “The technology debate: Ctrl+Alt+Delete”

Stars and stripes in their eyes – assessing the US ambitions of A&O and Freshfields

New York fortress at sea

Nathalie Tidman looks at the struggle for the City elite as US players dominate home and away

‘People like me, making the switch from the Magic Circle to a US firm – a Kirkland, a Latham, a White & Case – did so because being a powerhouse in the US is critical to becoming a truly global law firm.’ Continue reading “Stars and stripes in their eyes – assessing the US ambitions of A&O and Freshfields”

Law firm tech: Turning the lights on

Working in a lightbulb

What do the individuals responsible for putting together the tech behind Lady Gaga’s concerts, a creative executive of ER and the developer of Reuters’ first-ever online financial products have in common? All three reinvented themselves as tech experts at top UK law firms. And you would be forgiven for wondering why on earth someone would make such a move.

‘Law has traditionally not been perceived as the place to find creative and innovative people,’ concedes Andrew Mcmanus, who was IT director at live events business The NEC Group before joining Eversheds in 2014. ‘But I’m not sure that’s the case anymore.’ Continue reading “Law firm tech: Turning the lights on”

The LB100 overview: Crisis? What crisis?

LB100 Rock punk skeleton

Brexit negotiations stalling, trade wars looming, the high street hit by a raft of collapses – at first sight, there is plenty to suggest the UK has taken a trip back in time. Yet for those with a finger on the pulse in the City, it will come as no surprise to find this year’s Legal Business 100 (LB100) speaks of a standout year for Britain’s legal elite. Turmoil has mattered very little against the backdrop of booming transactional activity, interest rates near historic lows and the cheap pound.

While commercial lawyers spoke with wary optimism of healthy markets in the summer of 2017, caution progressively turned into bemused enthusiasm as the City realised it was living through its busiest winter for years during a period that seemed to resemble the Winter of Discontent. By spring, some were hailing the best financial year since the banking crisis. This year’s survey confirms that there is some substance to such claims. Continue reading “The LB100 overview: Crisis? What crisis?”

LB100 Second 25: The ex-pistols

Punk-style LB100 badges

The story of last year’s Legal Business 100 (LB100) was the emergence of a group of mobile mid-tier outfits that were threatening to take the market by storm. For some, that has become a reality, with the pacesetting Fieldfisher surging into the top 25 on the back of another stellar year. For those it left behind in the 26-50 bracket, the going has been generally tougher.

Despite a modest 5% jump in average revenue to £122.6m for the mid-market cohort, there was a 3% slump in average profit per lawyer to £65,000. Average revenue per lawyer also slipped 2% to £267,000, although there was a 3% rise in the average profit per equity partner (PEP) figure to £501,000. Continue reading “LB100 Second 25: The ex-pistols”