When a top US disputes firm with only six offices outside its home territory has launched two of those in under half a year, it’s probably one to watch.
Expansive Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is continuing to widen its international footprint with a launch in Sydney via the hires of two Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) rated litigators.
The profile of the judiciary was significantly raised this week as the search to fill the most senior judicial role in the country began and arguably now the most well-known civil barrister in the country was appointed as a High Court judge.
Linklaters has begun playing the game of Washington D.C. catch up with its Magic Circle rivals after yesterday announcing the hire of two highly respected Bingham McCutchen tax partners.
David Brockway and Jasper Howard have already joined the tax practice of the firm’s Washington office, which re-launched last year after closing in 2002, when it cited no economic justification for a presence in the US capital.
As Europe shows little sign of clawing its way out of the economic doldrums high growth markets continue to dominate the agenda with the announcement that firms including Linklaters, Baker & McKenzie, Simmons & Simmons and Clyde & Co are to launch new offices in the Asia Pacific region.
Over the past week Simmons announced that it is opening its fifth Asian office in Singapore, while Clyde & Co totted up its eighth presence in the region by securing a licence in Beijing. Both Linklaters and Baker & McKenzie won approval to launch in Seoul, with the latter’s claim to ‘unrivalled breadth’ in the Asia Pacific region borne out by its now 15 offices.
Since the rise of social media gave professional lawyers a fast-expanding number of outlets in which to publish their views, there has been a protracted (and often turgid) debate on the liabilities and brand risk for law firms and chambers regarding the statements made by their lawyers.
But this has appeared to be largely about lawyers being lawyers – hunting for the potential pitfalls and liability in any situation – rather than there being much of a problem.
I enjoyed the recent debate triggered by reports of the US lawsuit accusing DLA Piper of over billing. As expected the comments included a few laments about lawyers’ strange habit of charging clients for inputs in the form of billable hours – strange in the sense that when we buy a quart of milk we expect to pay for milk, not bushels of livestock feed and hours of dairy workers’ time.
In a move that stands out against the recent backlash towards business process outsourcing, Wragge & Co is to cut up to 30 full-time equivalent support roles following an agreement with Intelligent Office.
A consultation has been launched with affected PAs, secretaries and other administrative staff following a comprehensive review of the firm’s back office functions, which was launched at the start of the year.
Latham & Watkins is to further expand its German corporate capability with the launch of a Düsseldorf office after hiring a three-partner team from US rival Shearman & Sterling.
A further reminder comes this week that despite much talk of the pressure on the legal market (see Comment: Things I would have said about the future of law if I hadn’t forgotten my notes), leading City players continue to be highly profitable with Linklaters announcing on Tuesday (7 May) that it is raising its salary bands for associates.
Both sides of the volume insurance market saw significant Legal Services Act-themed developments today as two of the most touted investor-backed law outfits announced four proposed acquisitions in a single day.
Plexus Law today (7 May) confirmed it is to merge with insurance dispute resolution practice Greenwoods, creating a £90m defendant insurance litigation business. Plexus is the defendant arm of the Parabis Group, the legal outfit that last year sold a majority stake in its business to buyout house Duke Street in a move expected to fund a war chest for expansion.