Brodies’ Nick Scott on family commitments, returning to university, and building Scotland’s first £100m firm

Brodies’ Nick Scott on family commitments, returning to university, and building Scotland’s first £100m firm

I’m the only one in my immediate family who isn’t a scientist – they’re all biologists and engineers. My grandfather, though, was a lawyer in a small market town in Fife so I’d always been interested in law as a career. He was a traditional high street lawyer – doing very little corporate work – so training at Clifford Chance (CC) was a completely different professional life from his. But from him I saw someone who was regarded as an upright person in the community.

I began my career at CC which, at the time, was the biggest firm in the world. I came to London to follow my then girlfriend who was a professional violinist, but we’d split up by the time I got there! I wanted the experience and challenge of working in a huge organisation. Continue reading “Brodies’ Nick Scott on family commitments, returning to university, and building Scotland’s first £100m firm”

The path to net zero: the legal sector’s blueprint for climate leadership and competitive advantage

The path to net zero: the legal sector’s blueprint for climate leadership and competitive advantage

With a wave of environmental disclosure legislation on the horizon – CSRD, SECR, and many more – legal firms are filling a new niche: advising clients and organisations with sustainability compliance, greenwashing-proof marketing, and financial communications with new emissions line items. And more than ever, legal firms are recognising the need to implement their own carbon reporting and to build meaningful reduction plans.

This article will explore the main drivers and benefits of carbon emissions reduction in the legal sector, as well as the challenges organisations face and a path forward. Continue reading “The path to net zero: the legal sector’s blueprint for climate leadership and competitive advantage”

Life During Law: Scott Hopkins

Life During Law: Scott Hopkins

When I was 18 I left Vancouver to play ice hockey in university in Japan. That got me off on kind of an adventurous track. I grew up dreaming of nothing more than becoming a hockey player. When you try to do that in Canada, you work your way up through the junior leagues. And the junior leagues are tough. You leave home and you go live in a small town, and the hockey team is sort of the centre of life in those towns. You become a minor celebrity. But it’s tough. Not many people make it. There are three levels of junior hockey in Canada, and when you get to the very top level you can be classed as a professional, which means you’re ineligible for university scholarships. I got up close to that level and I had a good look at it and I wasn’t convinced that I was going to make it. I didn’t want to take the risk of dedicating my life to that. So I decided to go for a university education, to at least get something out of all that time playing hockey.

I decided to become a lawyer so I would have more control over my working life than I would have had if I had gone into foreign relations. I did politics as an undergraduate in London. I came to the UK in 1994. As far as I got down the politics line was interning for the Member of the European Parliament who was the special rapporteur for EU-Japan economic relations. I got to spend some time in the circus that is the EU, moving that circus back and forth between Brussels and Strasbourg. It was interesting, certainly. But I just didn’t feel that I could make an impact in that world.

Continue reading “Life During Law: Scott Hopkins”

Legal 500 EMEA: Which countries have seen the biggest rankings increases?

Legal 500 EMEA: Which countries have seen the biggest rankings increases?

Last month’s launch of Legal 500 EMEA 2024 featured rankings for 15,496 firms throughout the EMEA region, alongside the individual rankings of thousands of lawyers across multiple business practice areas. After crunching the numbers, our analysis revealed that the growth in both firm and individual rankings was consistent across all regions with countries from Africa, Europe, the CIS and Middle East all well represented. We’ve compiled our findings into various top ten charts focusing on firms and individuals.

Continue reading “Legal 500 EMEA: Which countries have seen the biggest rankings increases?”

Moves of the month: recruitment market picks up as leading firms think laterally

Moves of the month: recruitment market picks up as leading firms think laterally

Lateral hiring saw a notable pickup during the first quarter of 2024, with partner moves across sectors from litigation to corporate, finance, and restructuring, to ESG, energy and competition.

Global London firms were especially busy during this period, often to the detriment of their Magic Circle peers. While Paul Weiss has been making headline-grabbing hires, Skadden, McDermott, Kirkland & Ellis, and Paul Hastings have also seen considerable movement over the last two months.

Continue reading “Moves of the month: recruitment market picks up as leading firms think laterally”

Paul Hastings finance partner leaves for Davis Polk as London churn continues

Paul Hastings finance partner leaves for Davis Polk as London churn continues

While there is no shortage of fast-growing US firms in London, Paul Hastings is a notable standout, increasing London lawyer headcount by 68% over the past five years with a steady stream of eye-catching hires.

However, this rapid growth has also come with departures as the firm repositions itself in the City, and yesterday (2 May) it was announced that highly regarded former global finance co-head Luke McDougall is leaving to join Davis Polk. Continue reading “Paul Hastings finance partner leaves for Davis Polk as London churn continues”

Business and human rights laws: CS3D and other important developments

Business and human rights laws: CS3D and other important developments

After a protracted and hotly contested legislative process, the forthcoming EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CS3D) is set to become law having been formally approved by the EU Parliament during its plenary session on 24 April. It will represent the latest, and arguably the most significant, business and human rights law to emerge since the UN Human Rights Council adopted the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in 2011. CS3D is by no means alone, however, as various other stringent laws continue to emerge incorporating human rights related requirements into broader due diligence obligations concerning a range of issues such as conflict minerals, deforestation and battery supply chains.

Continue reading “Business and human rights laws: CS3D and other important developments”

A&O’s Wim Dejonghe on mergers, money and his plans for life after law

A&O’s Wim Dejonghe on mergers, money and his plans for life after law

I wanted to go into sports. I was a sailing instructor, close to professional. But then I had knee issues, so I needed to change my plans last minute. I still do a lot of exercise, but I hate the gym. That’s how I relax, reflect, enjoy myself, and get energy. I do a lot of sport with my sons, who are all into sailing, biking, jogging, and skiing. I can still keep up with them on the bike, but in skiing I have no chance!

I never planned to be a lawyer. When I started my law course I focused on international public law – the United Nations, NATO and international treaties. I wanted to be a diplomat but there are two issues with being a diplomat in Belgium: one is that you need political connections, and the other is that you’re not so relevant in the international diplomatic community. I worked as an assistant professor at a university but found it a bit too quiet. So, I decided to do a trainee internship as a lawyer, and never stopped. At the time I went into law, we were still obliged to do military service. I did six months in a law firm while I was waiting to get called up, then I went back to the firm after my time in the army, and technically I haven’t changed firms since. It wasn’t by design – it was more the elimination of other options.

Continue reading “A&O’s Wim Dejonghe on mergers, money and his plans for life after law”

‘Credibility in both US and English law is non-negotiable’ – A&O Shearman readies for launch

‘Credibility in both US and English law is non-negotiable’ – A&O Shearman readies for launch

As the latest edition of Legal Business went to press in late April, Allen & Overy (A&O) and Shearman & Sterling were working to a deadline of their own – the 1 May go-live date for their mega-merger.

The headline figures are undeniable – A&O Shearman will come into existence with 4,000 lawyers in 48 offices across 29 countries, as well as $3.5bn in revenue; enough to rocket it up to fourth place in the Global 100.

Continue reading “‘Credibility in both US and English law is non-negotiable’ – A&O Shearman readies for launch”

Brand capital can drive your law firm’s growth

Brand capital can drive your law firm’s growth

There remains a tendency for law firms to treat ‘branding’ as a one-off initiative, which they look at, on average, every eight years. Sadly, this often results in a great deal of wasted time and money, and consequently a great deal of frustration.

Is this to suggest there is little or no value in branding? Far from it. It’s merely that the approach is flawed and leadership teams need a better understanding of how to gain maximum value and momentum. Continue reading “Brand capital can drive your law firm’s growth”