A&O opening Fuse tech lab for third round as it partners on £1.2m AI legal services project

A&O opening Fuse tech lab for third round as it partners on £1.2m AI legal services project

Allen & Overy (A&O) will open its technology incubator space Fuse to a third group of companies from early next year, as it partners with a University of Oxford AI project.

The firm announced today (December 13) that applications to enter Fuse will be welcomed from companies until 25 January. A selection pitch to the firm will follow in February before successful applicants move into the space shortly after. Both early stage and mature companies can apply, joining Fuse for about six months.

LLP accounts: Linklaters posts fall in profits as top earner doubles income at Macfarlanes

LLP accounts: Linklaters posts fall in profits as top earner doubles income at Macfarlanes

Operating profits at Linklaters dipped 1% to £472.3m, while Macfarlanes’ highest-earning partner brought home almost £4m in 2017/18, the two firms’ LLP accounts showed this week.

In a mixed bag of financial results, the fall in profits at Linklaters came despite a 6% rise in turnover to £1.51bn. The operating profit figure reported is more than £200m lower than the £676.2m pre-tax profit the firm posted in July .

Comment: Women redefining City law – a few teachable moments and the odd necessary evil

Comment: Women redefining City law – a few teachable moments and the odd necessary evil

When high-profile GCs still talk of being mistaken for a PA (as BT’s Sabine Chalmers was not that long ago), it’s a reminder of how much more progress needs to be made to clear the path to the top for women in law.

Yes, there has been improvement over the last ten years. According to the panel of female partners and in-house speakers taking part in last month’s Legal Business/Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer reception championing women in law, the grip of the boy’s club in the City is loosening. Slowly.

Slaughters lifts associate salaries alongside performance-related bonuses

Slaughters lifts associate salaries alongside performance-related bonuses

Slaughter and May has increased its salary rates for newly qualified (NQ) associates by £3,000, with junior associates also seeing an increase alongside performance-related end-of-year bonuses.

All associates from NQ to 18 months post-qualification (PQE) will enjoy salary increases, with NQs seeing their pay increase to £83,000 from £80,000. Pay for associates 6 months after qualification will see their pay go up £2,000 to £86,000, while associates one year and 18 months post-qualification will see their pay go up by £1,000 to £89,000 and £93,750 respectively.

Comment: PRIME and the rise of law’s tick-box diversity ‘solution’

Comment: PRIME and the rise of law’s tick-box diversity ‘solution’

The sheepish evasion now emanating from the once-lauded social mobility project PRIME is an abject lesson in what ethically ails the modern profession. Flashy initiatives, heavily promoted and then… nothing. Because the truth is that large commercial law firms confronted with all manner of social dilemmas have developed an increasingly unhealthy reflex response of reaching for gestures to give the facsimile of action with at best minimal focus on tangible results.

As you can see in Thomas Alan’s piece this month, the lack of rigour and quantifiable results emerging from PRIME, the most celebrated response to a social affairs issue to ever emerge from the commercial UK profession, is an ominous sign for an industry that purports to be getting more progressive.

European Court of Justice makes landmark Brexit ruling as Fieldfisher prevails in $1.9bn Ukrainian banking dispute

European Court of Justice makes landmark Brexit ruling as Fieldfisher prevails in $1.9bn Ukrainian banking dispute

As a crunch parliamentary vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal looks to be postponed, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled the UK is free to unilaterally revoke its decision to a divorce from the EU.

The landmark ruling means that UK parliament can instruct the government to bring an end to the Brexit process, if it so wishes.

After the hammer, a scalpel – Kirkland confirms long-groomed successor to ‘visionary’ chair Hammes

After the hammer, a scalpel – Kirkland confirms long-groomed successor to ‘visionary’ chair Hammes

In probably the worst kept secret in Chicago legal circles, Kirkland & Ellis has confirmed that partner Jon Ballis will become its next chair when highly-rated incumbent Jeffrey Hammes steps down in February 2020.

Ballis’ elevation was officially confirmed last week, though Legal Business reported the succession plan back in July. Nevertheless, the Chicago-based private equity specialist faces a challenge in taking over from a leader who transformed Kirkland from regional challenger to unquestioned global elite.

Revolving Doors: Fieldfisher lands new energy co-head as King & Spalding and Pinsents strengthen City benches

Revolving Doors: Fieldfisher lands new energy co-head as King & Spalding and Pinsents strengthen City benches

Firms began their Christmas shopping in earnest last week, with LB100 pacesetter Fieldfisher strengthening its energy practice while Pinsent Masons recruited in structured finance and King & Spalding enhanced its City corporate practice.

Meanwhile, TLT made a hire in the regions as Bird & Bird and Dentons made moves abroad.

First big defeat for Osofsky as SFO fails in Tesco prosecution

First big defeat for Osofsky as SFO fails in Tesco prosecution

Newly-installed Serious Fraud Office (SFO) director Lisa Osofsky has suffered her first major setback, as the agency’s prosecution of two former Tesco executives was quashed this morning.

At Southwark Crown Court, Judge Sir John Royce instructed the jury to acquit John Scouler, formerly Tesco’s UK food commercial director, and Chris Bush, previously Tesco’s UK managing director. Both men had been prosecuted by the SFO on fraud and false accounting charges over a £250m profit overstatement by Tesco in 2014.

‘Scale and investment capability’: Ashfords and Boyes Turner merger to create £60m southern force

‘Scale and investment capability’: Ashfords and Boyes Turner merger to create £60m southern force

South west-based Ashfords and Thames Valley firm Boyes Turner are primed to merge, creating a 100 partner-strong £60m southern law firm.

The merger will go live on 1 May 2019, subject to due diligence and legal agreements, while initial talks taking place in early 2017. The new firm will have a total of 700 employees and seven offices, with scale, future investment opportunities and client wins the cited motivations for the move.