Innovation: a driving force in reshaping the legal sector

Innovation: a driving force in reshaping the legal sector

Baker Tilly’s George Bull sets the scene for change.

Visiting clients in Chicago a few years ago, I saw in bright lights the title of a show at one of the city’s theatres: The Male Intellect: an oxymoron? When I returned to the UK, my wife had only one question: ‘Why the question mark?’

So it is with innovation and law firms. With management teams and advisers alike, urging firms to innovate to succeed, even to innovate to survive, Axiom Law in its latest advertisement simply observes: ‘Innovative lawyers. No longer an oxymoron.’

This demonstrates how far the legal service sector has come. What some have seen as the perfect storm of regulatory reform, financial uncertainty and client demands is being embraced by other legal service providers as the perfect laboratory for innovation and change.

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The UK’s changing legal landscape

The UK’s changing legal landscape

Fox Rodney’s Adrian Fox analyses UK legal market trends.

How have commercial dynamics in law firms changed?
I was practising in the mid-1980s when law firm commercial dynamics really changed – the time of the Big Bang. I remember having a more than slightly heated discussion with a then senior partner of my firm about whether a law firm’s purpose was to service its clients or make profits for the partners. He was from the old school and he had gone within 12 months.

What has most defined the legal landscape in the last 25 years?
The rise in prominence of US firms is the single most important feature that has defined the legal landscape over the last 25 years. When the majority started to open in London in the mid-1990s, they often set up in the West End (as near as possible to Lady Diana) and they also thought Brussels would be the next DC. It was quite quaint back then. How times have changed. Alongside this, the demise of lockstep has been a central theme.

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Recruitment at record levels

Recruitment at record levels

Frank Varela of V&P Global details the changing face of legal recruitment over the last 25 years.

Legal Business is 25 years old and the legal recruitment market has played a significant part in its development and in its revenues. It has provided many of the headlines and inspired some of the stories that have captivated the market over that period.

It seems opportune then to look at how the legal recruitment market itself has fared over that period. There has been a demonstrable surge in recruitment over the last 25 years – certainly more lawyers, more law firms in the market and so more demand for talent than ever before. After a post-2008 lull, the competition for the best talent is so hot that guarantees are ‘back in vogue’.

The market is now full of headhunters, but that certainly wasn’t always the case. When Legal Business first went to the printing press, I was founding Longbridge International, at the time the first executive search boutique dedicated to the legal profession.

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The Israeli legal market over the last 25 years – then and now

The Israeli legal market over the last 25 years – then and now

Yigal Arnon’s Simon Weintraub and Ruth Loven report on the burgeoning Israeli market.

The Israeli legal market has undergone a robust expansion in the last 25 years. In 1990 there were 10,697 lawyers registered with the Israel Bar Association. As of the beginning of 2014 there were 53,750 registered lawyers in Israel. Israel has the highest number per capita of lawyers in the world, with 585 lawyers per 10,000 people. Correspondingly, there has been a significant increase in the size of Israeli law firms. If you look at our law firm as a microcosm you will note that in 1990 there were only 21 lawyers in Yigal Arnon & Co., and currently, in 2014, Yigal Arnon & Co. has approximately 140 lawyers. In 1990 there was no single Israeli law firm which had even 50 lawyers and today there are approximately 11 law firms in Israel who have more than 100 lawyers. Law firms in Israel have been consistently growing in size from year to year with an emphasis on creating large ‘one-stop shop’ law firms.

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November sees introduction of new immigration rules

November sees introduction of new immigration rules

Rahul Batra of Hudson McKenzie details the changes.

The written ministerial statement laid in the House of Commons on 16 October 2014 by James Brokenshire, Minister of State for Immigration and Security, and in the House of Lords by Lord Bates, outlined a number of changes to the UK Immigration Rules.

Tier 1 (Investor) Category – Investors must now invest more

As of 6 November 2014, the minimum investment threshold has been raised to £2m. However, any successful investor visa applicants that applied before that date are covered by the current £1m investment rules. New investors can no longer allocate 25% of their investment into UK assets. The entire £2m will need to be invested in UK trading companies, or UK government bonds (previously 75%). The loan option has also been removed and topping up of investments accounts are no longer required if the invested amount falls below the required level. However, if investments are sold, they will need to be replaced within the same reporting period. Yet another change is that entry clearance officers are being empowered to refuse investors if they have reasonable grounds to believe the funds were obtained unlawfully, or if they have concerns about the character and conduct of the party ‘providing the funds’ – this could extend to those gifting the funds to the investor.

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