One particularly interesting statistic emerged from our in-house survey last month: 33% of respondents said they felt law firms were not handling their work at the appropriate level. And the biggest losers in all of this? The senior associates.
Allen & Overy’s worldwide senior partner David Morley remembers doing his first deal for Goldman Sachs as a young partner in the banking group in 1992.
This was a time when the fact that an American investment bank was in London was still big news: the arrival of the US financial institutions, which began at the end of the eighties, shook up the City.
‘I remember a UK corporate client being asked about the difference that Goldman had made in London,’ recalls Morley. ‘He said he used to ring up his merchant bank about a deal and they said they’d come round tomorrow to talk to him. When he rang Goldman, they said they’d be round in half an hour, and they ran.’
Turnover at Magic Circle firms rose by a modest 2.6% this year, with the UK’s five Global Elite firms pulling in over £5.2bn of fees and £4.2bn worth of profit in the 2011/12 financial year.
As the UK’s financial reporting season kicks off, Allen & Overy emerges as one of the top performers after another strong year that saw turnover climb by 5% to reach £1.18bn, up from £1.12bn in 2010/11. The firm is one of the best performing in the group over the past five years, growing revenues by an average of 3% each year since 2008. Much of that can be attributed to the firm’s network in emerging markets, with around 15% of A&O’s lawyers now based in Asia.
Good news for senior associates in emerging markets: there are now more partners than ever being made up in Asia. If you are an aspiring associate in Asia or Australia you stand a much greater chance of making partner at a UK firm now than five years ago. According to data collected by LB, this year the UK’s top 25 firms made up 48 partners in Asia, compared to just 26 in 2008.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has ruffled Allen & Overy (A&O)’s feathers in London after the US litigation specialist hired the Magic Circle firm’s global arbitration chairman Stephen Jagusch and fellow partner Anthony Sinclair in May. The firms are understood to be locking horns over the departure terms, with a deal yet to be struck.
The hires will see Quinn Emanuel launch its own City arbitration practice, to be led by Jagusch. While the firm has already had some success in arbitration work in London, it plans to grow the office to 35 lawyers, of which ten will be partners.
After two years of speculation in the financial services sector, it has finally happened. Margaret Cole, Financial Services Authority (FSA) managing director and all-round tough lady, is leaving the regulator after seven years.
Dubbed in 2011 by a finance partner as the ‘most hated woman in the City’, Cole’s legacy at the UK watchdog will forever be entrenched in her recent uncompromising stance against the country’s banking industry. The past five years have seen the FSA hand out a number of jaw-dropping fines and crack a series of insider trading rings.
In the same way the sports media has speculated long and hard these past couple of years on the ‘demise’ of Tiger Woods, much has also been said about the Magic Circle also losing its aura of invincibility since the global financial crisis.
The Magic Circle’s relentless pursuit of domination has inspired awe over the last two decades but at the same time has drawn brickbats when things have gone awry. It is all too easy to build something up only to knock it down.
As the sovereign debt crisis threatens to bring the euro to its knees, a group of lawyers has been working behind the scenes to keep the cogs turning. LB finds out what happened backstage.
Lee Buchheit has faced a frantic few months. He has been advising the Greek government on how to sort out its massive debt problem. This has seen him shuttle between meetings across Europe for the past five months and spend more time in hotel rooms in Paris, Brussels, Berlin and London than in his hometown of New York.
From the fields of Anfield Road to the offices on Bunhill Row, the takeover of Liverpool Football Club was played out in the full glare of the courts and the press. Legal Business talks to the key legal players
When John William Henry II descended the curving flight of stairs into the cool, inconspicuous client reception at Slaughter and May’s offices on Bunhill Row on the afternoon of 15 October 2010, he was met by an unusual sight. As the threshold of a law firm that has long prided itself on its understated manner, it’s usually exceptionally quiet. But that afternoon there was little evidence of calm: pandemonium had taken hold.