Everyone knows the legal industry has been a different place since the banking crisis but it is only when you take the long view that you realise how dramatic these changes have been.
For this month’s cover feature, we looked at three mid-tier law firms that have sustained above-trend growth for ten years. To identify our trio we looked long term at the performance in the LB100, focused on organic growth. Our working assumption was that, while top firms dominated until the credit boom, in relative terms smaller practices excelled over the last ten years. It turned out we had underestimated just how wrenching that post-Lehman shift has been.
Watson Farley & Williams has capped off an impressive year of financial growth with international expansion, securing a formal law alliance (FLA) with Singaporean firm Wong Tan & Molly Lim (WTL).
The tie-up, which will be known as WFW & WTL, will allow WFW integrated marketing, billing, client and legal services thanks to the FLA. The FLA structure was introduced by the Singapore government to allow greater flexibility between local firms and their international colleagues.
Osborne Clarke (OC), one of only three firms in the current UK top 100 to have more than doubled its revenue organically since 2012, has seen Andrew Saul re-elected as senior partner for a second four-year term.
Saul (pictured), a corporate partner at the firm for more than 21 years and head of that team for seven years, was voted in unopposed to the position he first took on at the start of 2014. He will remain a member of OC’s international council with his re-election.
A raft of transatlantic firms have won roles advising on The Walt Disney Company’s $52.4bn acquisition of 21st Century Fox, including Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells.
The deal includes the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, as well as the company’s cable and international TV businesses, in addition to its 39% stake in satellite broadcaster Sky. Disney will also add 21st Century Fox’s entertainment properties such as X-Men, Avatar and The Simpsons to its portfolio.
Jeremy Cohen will lead Dentons’ UK and Middle East operations until 2021 after the partnership approved him for a second term following an election in which he stood unopposed.
Meanwhile, the firm also announced today (14 December) that UK managing partner Brandon Ransley has decided to step down from his role in April 2018 and retire from the partnership.
Following a two-week trial at Southwark Crown Court, former Burges Salmon partner Roger Hawes has been found not guilty of a money-laundering offence.
The trial, which began on 27 November, related to Hawes’ alleged involvement in a £245m fraud at HBOS in Reading which took place between 2003 and 2008 while he was a partner at the firm. Hawes, who was a corporate finance partner, was charged with conspiracy to conceal criminal property, in breach of section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1997.
In the latest sign of pressure to secure the best young talent, Slaughter and May has confirmed it is to pay five-figure bonuses to many associates amid modest salary rises for junior lawyers.
Slaughters today (13 December) announced that associates achieving ‘a good or exceptional level of performance’ will receive a bonus ranging between 9% and 16% of salary, broadly matching the rates the City leader paid out last year.
‘Lockstep in its current form has to go. It’s just not working.’
Legal Business, June 2015
‘The current incarnation of lockstep is an overly restrictive model that was a child of its time…. The failure to substantively adapt the model… has increasingly threatened to shatter a system that still delivers considerable benefits.’
Legal Business, October 2013
Mayer Brown will open a new office in Tokyo next year after hiring the former head of Ashurst’s Tokyo office.
Rupert Burrows, Ashurst Tokyo’s former managing partner, will lead a new team at Mayer Brown as it looks to expand its offering in Japan in 2018.
Days after veteran managing partner Tim Eyles announced he is stepping down next year, Taylor Wessing has elected Dominic FitzPatrick as its new senior partner, effective immediately.
Private equity specialist and a former head of the firm’s energy group, FitzPatrick replaces Adam Marks after six years.