One man’s slashing red tape is another’s endless tinkering. Either way, the much-meddled field of legal regulation may face more intervention with news this week that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is to conduct a wholesale review of the profession’s regulatory landscape, little more than a year after the Legal Services Act (LSA) came into full force.
As Bristol-based TLT yesterday posted a double-digit hike in turnover and announced a dual hire to launch an office in Manchester, in contrasting fortunes Glasgow-based Maclay Murray & Spens became the latest UK firm to announce a redundancy consultation in a move that could affect up to 30 roles.
It has swiftly moved from obscure regional player into one of the most closely watched practices on the national scene and financial results announced today (6 June) confirm the extent of its dramatic ascent. DWF, which has completed five mergers in under 18 months, has unsurprisingly reported significant revenue and profit increases for the 2012/13 financial year.Turnover at the law firm is up 84% to £188m, while the firm’s net profit is up 41%, with profit per equity partner standing at £429,000, against £408,000 the previous year.
The #SAVEUKJUSTICE demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice yesterday (4 June) was well attended. Coverage of the event has been extensive and well dealt with in the law blogs.
A few observations…
The unified stance taken by the Bar and Law Society has been a remarkable feature of the campaign.Leading lights from the legal profession have given time and thought to putting the message across through blogs and on twitter. Many bloggers have written on the subject. Patrick Tornsey has a comprehensive listing of blogs written by lawyers and others from the legal blogging community.
King & Spalding has continued its City recruitment drive with the hire of Steptoe & Johnson’s London dispute resolution partner and co-head of the Russia and CIS group, Egishe Dzhazoyan.
Listed by Legal 500 as a leading arbitrator with ‘excellent common sense’, Dzhazoyan is a UK and Russian-qualified lawyer who has represented clients in more than 50 arbitration and litigation proceedings across a host of international jurisdictions. He has a particular focus on the banking, telecoms and energy sectors.
Europe has been the focus of much lateral partner activity over the past week, as firms including Eversheds and Osborne Clarke make senior hires across the continent.
On 3 June, Osborne Clarke announced it is to open in Brussels with a two-partner, five-lawyer team from former Belgian ally De Wolf & Partners, led by De Wolf’s head of employment Thierry Viérin and commercial partner Stefan Deswert.
Linklaters has elected four new members to its most senior governance board responsible for strategic and other major decisions at the Magic Circle Firm.
The new members of the international board are London capital markets partner Paul Lewis in place of outgoing City partner Michael Kent, Düsseldorf corporate partner Klaus Hoenig who takes over from Frankfurt partner Eva Reudelhuber, Moscow capital markets partner Dmitry Dobatkin in place of retired former Moscow colleague John Goodwin, and Antwerp corporate partner Jean-Pierre Blumberg in place of Brussels-based litigation head Francoise Lefevre.
It’s no mean feat to get the various branches of the profession and legal regulators singing from the same hymn sheet but controversial government proposals to slice £220m off the annual criminal legal aid budget have managed just that. As the consultation today (4 June) closes on the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ’s) ‘Transforming Legal Aid‘ proposals, the Law Society, Bar Council and Bar Standards Board (BSB) have combined to condemn the move.
Despite generally gloomy market conditions there were renewed signs of underlying confidence at top London firms with Clifford Chance (CC) joining its peers today (4 June) in announcing rises in associate and trainee pay and bonuses for the year ahead.
The firm is the last of the Magic Circle to announce pay changes across the board, adding an extra £2,000 to newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers’ pay packets, up to £63,500 from last year’s £61,500, a rise of 3%.
Two international firms with strong European practices and a core media focus, Bird & Bird and Olswang, have posted solid revenue increases for the 2012/13 financial year.
Bird & Bird has announced revenue growth of 6%, from £235m to £249m, marking 25 years of continuous growth. Profit figures are yet to be released although a firm spokesperson said that the expectation is that net profits will have risen again in 2012/13.
The performance was described by the firm as solid and in line with budget ‘in the face of challenging economic conditions in our major markets’.