LB100 proves pacier than hoped but there’s plenty of ground still to cover

LB100 proves pacier than hoped but there’s plenty of ground still to cover

While commentary from LB100 leaders in recent years may have occasionally sounded like a broken record, with gingerly repeated soundbites about ‘cautious optimism’, this is certainly not true of our 2021 report.

This time last year, despite the market’s best efforts to put a brave face on things, we were still very much in the throes of coronavirus uncertainty, with no-one really knowing the true extent of the damage. ‘I’m more worried about what happens next year,’ noted Roland Turnill, Slaughter and May’s head of M&A in 2020, spelling out the quandary felt by many at the time. ‘The financial crisis was six to eight months of nothing happening, but this could be a bit more of a lull and then six months from now it gets tough. It will be a funny-shaped recovery.’ Continue reading “LB100 proves pacier than hoped but there’s plenty of ground still to cover”

We’ve listened: important new changes to The Legal 500 UK 2022

We’ve listened: important new changes to The Legal 500 UK 2022

This month’s issue of Legal Business may be dedicated to the largest firms in the UK by revenue but sibling title The Legal 500 is a much more inclusive church. The latest UK solicitors guide includes no fewer than 1,154 distinct firms operating in the UK across nearly 10,000 distinct rankings, of which nearly 4,500 are in the all-important London market. And with client feedback levels up 50% to more than 50,000 responses across the UK, they should reflect general counsel opinion better than ever.

We’re going to be taking a closer look at the rankings themselves and the performance of the LB100 in the next issue of Legal Business but there are a few important points about the most recent research that I want to highlight now. This year, on top of my general drive towards pushing for quality at the top of our core City rankings, improving diversity and ensuring our rankings are as reflective of the current market as possible, we have made two new tangible changes. Continue reading “We’ve listened: important new changes to The Legal 500 UK 2022”

Time to stop sneering at the leaders recognising the value of humanity

Time to stop sneering at the leaders recognising the value of humanity

It is hard to introduce a column on female leaders without sounding trite or – as a woman – vaguely condescending to those featured. In a blatant attempt to side-step this quandary, I will start with an admission of guilt. In our haste to speak with the new wave of non-male leaders for our cover feature, we had all but neglected to speak to any men. ‘Well, I bet you’ve never had that problem before!’ correctly guessed more than one industry contact as we belatedly, and sheepishly, canvassed them for some token male views.

Meeting many of the new leaders over Zoom, some for the first time, has been an energising experience. Even allowing for the inevitable professional veneer, there is a sense of genuine dynamism among this new cadre of women at the upper echelons of law, and much enthusiasm about their impact on the future of the industry. Continue reading “Time to stop sneering at the leaders recognising the value of humanity”

This time, walk the talk behind the ESG bandwagon

This time, walk the talk behind the ESG bandwagon

Three letters seem to be everywhere you look these days: ESG. Law firm after law firm seems to be offering environmental, social and governance advice and even new practice teams to corporates on a weekly basis. Press releases talk about helping clients ‘navigate the regulatory requirements’ and ‘lead the way’. The fastest land animal is arguably not the cheetah, but instead a lawyer jumping on the ESG bandwagon.

Excuse me for sounding a little jaded. It’s just that we’ve been here before with three little letters: CSR. At first that was all about good intentions, firms demonstrating their commitment to corporate social responsibility. But it soon descended into a cynical PR exercise, with those that did a bit of pro bono, an occasional charity bake-off and remembered to turn their lights off once in a while touting themselves as the epitome of CSR best practice. This was before the global financial crisis came and took many of those good intentions away. Continue reading “This time, walk the talk behind the ESG bandwagon”

Letting go: anathema to a control-freak partner

Letting go: anathema to a control-freak partner

Two observations from the GC of BT Technology, Chris Fowler, stand out in our innovation feature, ‘Arrested development’. One: ‘If the work is repeatable and needs delivering to certain set outcomes at a certain price point, you become agnostic as to who is actually doing the work’ – suggesting the sacred cult of the individual may be diminishing in the eyes of clients. Two: ‘It always appears to us that the partner wins the work, the partner prices the work, and the partner delivers the work. I struggle with that in today’s world.’

While partnership and megalomania can go hand-in-hand, we have come a long way from the days when power-play behaviour from individual partners could actually hurt firms. Control has been ceded in many areas, recognising that allowing business professionals to play their part and junior lawyers to develop on the job enhances the offering that clients receive. Continue reading “Letting go: anathema to a control-freak partner”

Hope floats for City listing overhaul but American audacity is vital

Hope floats for City listing overhaul but American audacity is vital

City business has had cause to take heart in recent months with a clear display of political will behind an overhaul of UK listing rules that could see London shake off its Brexit and pandemic woes and reassert itself as a global financial hub. Our Global London report finds US and European firms alike concerned about the status of their London offices now that Brexit is a hard reality.

Proposals set out in the UK Listing Review in March, led by Lord Hill, will particularly pique the interest of anyone tracking the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) market. Indeed, the ubiquity of those deals has made them difficult to miss. There has been much talk of London jumping on the bandwagon in a fit of FOMO as other listing destinations, especially the US and Amsterdam, pile into that frothy market with gusto. However, to say that London has been lagging competitors in the US, Europe and Asia for too long is an understatement, and any shake-up to expedite parity with peers has not come a moment too soon. Continue reading “Hope floats for City listing overhaul but American audacity is vital”