Survival of the fittest

Survival of the fittest

RBS’s James Tsolakis on why law firms must adapt

On so many levels, the business of law is changing and the velocity of change has never been greater. These changes are creating unforeseen tensions within law firms and they challenge some of the fundamental principles that have historically defined the legal profession in the UK, a profession characterised by a tradition of conservatism and consistency, which are both foundations on which the enduring stability of the profession was founded. Continue reading “Survival of the fittest”

Team moves – Alec Harvey and Richard Nicolle discuss the risks

Team moves – Alec Harvey and Richard Nicolle discuss the risks

Team moves in London’s legal market are on the rise, particularly among US law firms establishing new offices or practice groups.

The potential benefits of a team move are not limited to critical mass – the new employer may gain a significant competitive headstart by acquiring a ready-made team, client relationships and increased market credibility.

Even where single partners are targeted, they are frequently asked whether they require support from existing team members and acquiring junior lawyers, who often service the daily needs of clients, can enhance the ability to leverage client relationships. Continue reading “Team moves – Alec Harvey and Richard Nicolle discuss the risks”

Garrigues in Latin America: a step ahead – Javier Ybañez discusses the firm’s international position.

Garrigues in Latin America: a step ahead – Javier Ybañez discusses the firm’s international position.

We would like to think that staying one step ahead is one of Garrigues’ hallmarks – one of our obsessions. Garrigues was the first Spanish law firm to become an institutional organisation and leave behind the traditional model of an inherited family business to become a firm owned purely on merit, and this some decades before our competitors chose the same route.

Being the first to take such a difficult step is probably what instilled our enduring pioneering spirit. Many years ago we were the first major Spanish law firm to open an office in New York and, more recently, the first to publish a corporate social responsibility report. To some extent, this background has undoubtedly driven us to be the first major Spanish law firm to open its own offices in the principal Latin American cities.

Continue reading “Garrigues in Latin America: a step ahead – Javier Ybañez discusses the firm’s international position.”

Look back, face forward: 25 years of offshore in Asia – Frances Woo looks at the past and future of offshore.

Look back, face forward: 25 years of offshore in Asia – Frances Woo looks at the past and future of offshore.

Twenty-five years ago, when Appleby opened an office in Hong Kong in 1990, it was one of the first offshore law firms to establish a physical presence in Asia, delivering offshore legal services on the ground in the Asian timezone. We have seen first-hand the market-shaping events that have defined our clients’ requirements for offshore advice and services, and we have been on the frontline as Hong Kong, and Asia, has emerged as one of the world’s most vibrant economies.

We have witnessed the transitional period right after Tiananmen Square running up to the handover, the opening up of the Chinese market, the Asian financial crisis right after the handover, SARS, the global financial crisis etc.

Continue reading “Look back, face forward: 25 years of offshore in Asia – Frances Woo looks at the past and future of offshore.”

Why are there no lawyer-backed MDPs?

Why are there no lawyer-backed MDPs?

With the rise of multi-disciplinary practices (MDPs) receiving daily comment in the professional news, this is certainly a question worth asking.

Before adding my own observations to the debate, I should spell out what I am thinking about and what I am not.

For starters, I appreciate that much work of many solicitors’ firms in England and Wales falls outside the reserved areas. As a result, there is a sense in which many law firms are already MDPs. Similarly, I am not thinking about those alternative business structures (ABSs) that, in the course of providing retail legal services, offer ancillary, non-legal services, such as car hire, medical reports, etc.

Continue reading “Why are there no lawyer-backed MDPs?”

The use of a Cyprus International Trust (CIT) as a business vehicle

The use of a Cyprus International Trust (CIT) as a business vehicle

Andri Tsangarou and Andrianna Solomonides of Kinanis LLC discuss a new use for the CIT.

The economic and business instability of recent years, stemming from the worldwide economic crisis as well as widespread uncertainty and increased national scrutiny, have changed the rules of the business game dramatically. The international investor is faced with the need to seek additional safeguards towards business assets, as well as the need to provide a stable and unimpeded environment against any internal or external threats.

Continue reading “The use of a Cyprus International Trust (CIT) as a business vehicle”

The new Swiss perspective on international arbitration

The new Swiss perspective on international arbitration

Gentium Law’s Matthew Parish discusses a quiet revolution.

Switzerland is distinctive as a centre of international arbitration. It packs a punch well above its size. Although statistics about arbitration are by their nature confidential, anecdotal evidence indicates the diminutive country of a mere 7.5 million people is host to several hundreds of arbitrations per year. This is a remarkable figure.

The London Court of International Arbitration has perhaps only 150 cases per annum, while the International Chamber of Commerce hosts roughly double that number. In petite Geneva – a mere 185,000 people – arbitration lawyers may be the largest group of legal specialists in the city. Continue reading “The new Swiss perspective on international arbitration”

Important decision of Swiss Federal Supreme Court on intra-group financing arrangements

Important decision of Swiss Federal Supreme Court on intra-group financing arrangements

Bär & Karrer’s Till Spillmann and Luca Jagmetti discuss its practical consequences.

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled in a recent decision that up-stream and cross-stream loans granted by Swiss companies must be entered into on arm’s-length terms. If not at arm’s length, the decision seems to suggest that such loans constitute de facto distributions and may only be granted for an amount not exceeding the lender’s freely distributable reserves. If already granted, it reduces the lender’s ability for future dividend distributions by the amount corresponding to the nominal value of the loan. The court also imposed stringent requirements on satisfying the arm’s length test.

Further, the court raised the question of whether Swiss companies are allowed to participate in zero-balancing cash pools at all.

Continue reading “Important decision of Swiss Federal Supreme Court on intra-group financing arrangements”

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

Law firms have work to do to keep up with market shifts in the post-Lehman world. Here, leading legal industry figures chart the progress so far at a debate organised by Graham Gill.

In December, recruitment consultants Graham Gill hosted the latest in its series of breakfast round tables, which bring together a roster of heavyweight figures from in-house and private practice to discuss the future of the legal profession.

Continue reading “Waiting for the other shoe to drop”