It is often rightly noted that law is a conservative old game, as can be gleaned from the identikit strategies of City law firms. Invest in transactional work and international offices, manage your partnership proactively, half-heartedly corporatise the business and hire a load of non-lawyer professionals with dubious mandates. Makes sense right? Except when everyone else does it. Turns out there is a little thing called supply and demand and if you are chasing clients in the same place as everyone else, it is harder to make a buck.
And as the entertaining, buccaneering, bling-styled ascent of Mishcon de Reya illustrates, going your own way can be obscenely good business and fun to boot. Mishcon wanted to change in the 1990s but still decided to stick to what it was good at. Luckily what Mishcon was good at proved to be a licence to print money as disputes, private client and real estate boomed even as larger City law firms looked elsewhere. As ever the most important thing in business and life is being lucky but you don’t move Harvard Business School case studies saying that.