Major International – Wedding Bells

In comes a new peer group to the Legal Business 100. Thanks to a flurry of transatlantic marriages over the past 18 months, it is no longer appropriate to sit the likes of DLA Piper, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose, SNR Denton and Squire Sanders Hammonds in their old peer groups.

Take DLA Piper. Historically the firm has never been judged on the basis of its global business in the LB100 because the firm operates a Swiss verein structure with two separate profit pools and, up until now, it probably wasn’t appropriate to do so. Of this group DLA was the forerunner in terms of US ambition when it moved into the market, pulling off a three-way deal with Chicago firm Piper Rudnick and Californian firm Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich in 2005.

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Global Elite – Scaling up

With an unerring consistency, the UK Global Elite has maintained its grip on the market throughout the recession and 2010/11 was no different. Some will have hoped that the global law firm may become an endangered beast, but if anything the last few years have made them stronger.

While it hasn’t been easy for the global giants, there has been a fair bit of soul searching, cost cutting and re-jigging of business plans, which has resulted in this group of six firms holding tight to a 36% market share of the entire LB100.

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Mergers – Answers on a postcard

Despite much hype over mid-market consolidation recently, the number of mergers between law firms in the UK has been modest. LB discovers why not every struggling firm is looking for a tie-up

If you were to slap an ‘at risk’ sign on any segment of firms in the LB100 then it would have to go somewhere on that diverse group of City firms that pull in between £20m and £70m in turnover. The list of threats to their businesses is growing. From pricing pressures in a crowded market to a lack of differentiation and a stagnant transactional market, there is much to think about. ‘If you’re not growing turnover now, you’re not going anywhere nice,’ one commentator suggests.


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Wish you were here?

This year’s Legal Business 100 firms continue to grow in revenue, but how much is performance in foreign markets masking woes at home? LB finds out

Things have changed in the Legal Business 100 this year. At least seven firms have merged with others, either overseas or at home, while another three have bolted on chunks of the now extinct Halliwells. Five of these firms have seen superficial revenue rises as a result of consolidation, while it is impossible to analyse the fee income ebb and flow at Norton Rose and Hogan Lovells because of recently completed mergers.

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Free at Last – Enyo Law

Three litigation partners left Addleshaw Goddard last year to set up a conflicts-free, disputes-only boutique. LB finds out how well the model is working.

For many, it’s a depressingly familiar scenario. You’re an experienced litigation partner handling financial services and contentious civil fraud disputes, advising corporates, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals. A senior in-house lawyer from a bank asks you to represent them against another major financial institution after being given your name by a partner from a rival firm. A conflict check then reveals a banking partner at your firm had dinner with the other side and anticipates some corporate work in the pipeline. You have no choice but to decline the instruction.

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On the rebound

Government initiatives and a resurgent economy have made Singapore and South-East Asia a key focus of the international legal profession once again

In 2006 Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s then Asia managing partner Perry Noble explained to LB why the firm had pushed through a major rationalisation of its partnership in the Far East. In the hope that its Asia business would begin to make the profits that the London HQ demanded, the firm radically reduced the size of its partnership in Asia and closed its Singapore office.

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Global 100 – The top table

A strong economic downturn means that the stars of global law are shining ever brighter. Time to reassess just who makes the grade

The world has changed and the Global Elite needs to reflect that. To butcher a phrase: the gap between the haves and the have-a-bits is widening. By almost every measure this elite group of firms is moving ahead. The average net income at a Global Elite firm is $545.5m compared to $291.6m for the whole Global 100 – the gap in profit per equity partner (PEP) is no less marked, with the Global 100 average PEP sitting at $1.4m compared to $2.3m for the Elite firms.

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Global 100 – Slice by slice

The Global legal market is stratifying at a pace never seen before. From the rocketing profits on Wall Street to the rapidly expanding global giants, which model paid off in this year’s Global 100?

Whether your strategy is to devour the world whole, or take it piece by piece, financial centre by financial centre, global competition has never been fiercer. Bounding straight into the top ten of the Global 100 this year is the newly merged Hogan Lovells, while a dose of revenues from down under has seen Norton Rose rocket into the top 40. Continue reading “Global 100 – Slice by slice”

Tip Top

Intellectual property is the trophy practice for many firms in 2011. LB examines the current popularity of IP at law firms and the story behind a spate of lateral hires in the past year

Whisper it, but for the global legal community the demise of Howrey brought two pieces of good news. First, its collapse meant a credible competitor had fallen away in the areas of intellectual property (IP), litigation and antitrust. The other bonus was that a number of excellent IP specialists were suddenly on the market. While Howrey’s decline has been well documented, the speed with which other firms scooped up many of the survivors is worth noting.

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