Legal Business

Legal 500 Data: Behind the story

Legal 500 Data: Behind the story

The Legal 500 UK 2020 : Who tops the new rankings?

Pinsent Masons is once again the firm with the most top-tier rankings in the newly released Legal 500 UK Solicitors 2020 guide. The national leader has achieved 69 top-tier rankings across the UK and 163 rankings overall.

Legal Business

Stake in the ground: Pinsents bolsters alternative services with project management division

Stake in the ground: Pinsents bolsters alternative services with project management division

Pinsent Masons has launched a client and legal project management division as it continues to ramp up investment in non-legal services.

The firm said today [8 October] it had launched the division of more than 20 project managers, led by head of client and legal project management Dee Tamlin (pictured). That team has largely been built up since May last year and won mandates in the UK, Europe and South Africa, with the firm now looking to invest further through recruitment in the UK, Asia-Pacific and Middle East.

The project managers work both within the firm and externally with clients, with Pinsents placing project managers into client teams on major projects, litigations and transactions, regardless of whether Pinsents is also delivering legal advice on the matter.

Tamlin told Legal Business the firm first recruited project managers in about 2013, recognising that their lawyers had been providing both legal advice and managing projects simultaneously. The early project managers worked in different practice groups to try improve efficiency, but would now operate from a centralised division which will have its own P&L.

Clients had also been demanding training and support on project management for their own legal matters, she said, a service a number of law firms, consulting and project management organisations had already been offering. Typical mandates so far include disputes work, M&A deals, as well as GDRP projects and regulatory changes.

‘Where we can offer something different is that we’re happy to second our legal project managers into our client’s in-house legal department even if we don’t have the legal work on that particular matter,’ Tamlin commented. ‘In a law firm there’s a whole lot of lawyers, in-house legal teams have a whole lot of lawyers, and both of those organisations are doing legal projects. There’s no reason why the in-house legal team shouldn’t need legal project managers to help deliver their legal projects more efficiently to their business.’

Tamlin added that where other law firms could specify that you needed to be a lawyer to be a legal project manager, Pinsents was open to those without a legal background. The firm was also partnering with the Association for Project Management and other law firms to establish a competency framework for legal project managers so that clients would know what they are buying.

‘We know we’ve got our lawyers and we know they deliver great legal expertise and it’s about making sure that those lawyers are supported professionally on legal project management to really put a stake in the ground,’ she commented. ‘We are a professional services firm, so how can we develop the offerings that are not really the delivery of law and legal matters? How can we enhance that? There is a huge investment by the firm in this.’

Pinsents in July said it had ring-fenced ‘significant funds’ from partner profits in a bid to prioritise investing in the business, in turn cutting profit per equity partner (PEP) by 5%. Revenue at the firm for the 2018/19 financial year rose 7% to £482m and gross profit rose 2.5%, but PEP fell to £620,000 from £653,000 as the firm put aside funds for investment in areas including IT and cybersecurity.

It has been steadily building up complementary services in recent years as it positions itself as a professional services firm with law at its core. That includes contract lawyer business Vario, which grew revenue 50% last year and boasts more than 750 consultants, diversity consultancy Brook Graham, and public policy and forensic accountancy units.

Revenue from the firm’s alternative offerings sits at about £17m.

Legal Business

The price of everything – Law firm metrics cannot measure broader values that will define their future

The price of everything – Law firm metrics cannot measure broader values that will define their future

Pinsents senior partner Richard Foley argues the industry needs new benchmarks for success

As Legal Business publishes its LB100, it seems apt to step back and ask ourselves whether the industry is focusing on the right things as it seeks to measure success. It should be uncontroversial to say that if law firms are to work better – for themselves, the wider business community and society – they must be diverse and inclusive of all talents. Measuring that type of success is every bit as important as whether a firm moves up or down a place or two in the financial league table. So, perhaps one measure we should look to in the next year’s LB100 is the progress firms are making in tackling issues of inclusion and diversity?

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Back to school for new City Clydes, Kennedys and Pinsents laterals as European hires continue apace

Revolving doors: Back to school for new City Clydes, Kennedys and Pinsents laterals as European hires continue apace

City firms have been gearing up for what looks to be a busy September as Clyde & Co, Kennedys and Pinsent Masons have added to their London benches and others continue with European investment drives.

Clyde & Co has appointed Stephen Jurgenson as partner in the firm’s global projects and construction group.

Jurgenson was previously a partner at Winston & Strawn in London and advises on project development and financing, banking and institutional finance, corporate lending and M&A in the utilities, renewable energy, oil and gas, natural resources, real estate and transport sectors.

Clydes partner and member of the global management board Liz Jenkins told Legal Business: ‘We needed to increase our project finance capabilities. We are particularly strong in disputes but we needed a better offering on the front end and Stephen absolutely ticked that box.

‘He will be working alongside our partners and teams in Africa and doing quite a bit of work looking into Latin America as well, which is a very interesting growth area. It’s an exciting time for the team,’ Jenkins added.

Meanwhile Clydes’ head of pensions Mark Howard has left after almost eight years to join workplace pension’s platform Smart Pension as general counsel. Clydes confirmed that partner Terry Saeedi would be taking over as head of the pensions team.

Elsewhere the ever-expansive insurance firm Kennedys has made four partner hires in its professional liability teams across three UK offices, including London partner Paul Castellani from RPC.

In Birmingham, partners Paul Chaplin and Steve Oates joined from DWF. Chaplin was head of professional indemnity at DWF in Birmingham while Oates is also qualified in the Republic of Ireland. Helen Ager has also been hired as head of the professional liability team in Taunton and joins from DAC Beachcroft.

Head of professional liability Jeremy Riley told Legal Business: ‘They all bring new client relationships to us and new specialisms, so it’s grabbing that market share through these hires. What’s been refreshing is that people are knocking on our door as opposed to us approaching people externally.’

Elsewhere in London, Pinsent Masons has hired Fieldfisher’s co-head of life sciences Nicole Jadeja.

Clare Tunstall, head of life sciences at Pinsents, told Legal Business: ‘We were interested in Nicole as somebody who is clearly a preeminent adviser in patent litigation supporting target clients. She’s a likeminded individual with the right skillset, doing really interesting work for exactly the sort of clients we act for.’

Further afield in Paris, Ashurst has hired Allen & Overy counsel Tom Longmuir as partner in its project finance team and Fieldfisher has appointed Emmanuel Paillard from Gowling WLG as partner and head of a new public law team.

Co-head of Ashurst’s global projects Joss Dare told Legal Business: ‘We’re making a consistent push at the moment to grow our international project finance capabilities in strategic locations, and one of those is Paris. We’re looking to capitalise on the opportunities with francophone clients and French banks in particular, who are operating out of Paris into francophone Africa.’

In Frankfurt, Morgan Lewis hired Sabine Konrad to its international disputes team from McDermott Will & Emery.

Konrad told Legal Business: ‘Morgan Lewis has the exact geographical spread that I need for an international arbitration practice, especially with the focus on the Middle East.’

Managing partner in Frankfurt Joerg Siegels told Legal Business: ‘It’s a once in a lifetime chance to find someone like Sabine, with her reputation, recognition, demand and connections into the market. Sabine, from an arbitration perspective, is an excellent fit and addition to the practice.

‘On the other hand it is a new field. It doesn’t mean we give up on our transactional focus. From a strategic point of view, although it’s a new field in terms of practice area, it helps us as a Frankfurt office to connect further with our colleagues all over the world,’ Siegels added.

Legal Business

Revolving doors: City move for Weil as HSF adds duo in South Africa

Revolving doors: City move for Weil as HSF adds duo in South Africa

In a quiet week for lateral recruitment, Weil, Gotshal & Manges hired from Ashurst in the City as other firms made notable moves further abroad.

In London, Weil expanded its banking and finance practice with the hire of Paul Stewart, currently at Ashurst. Stewart has experience in domestic and international finance transactions as well as leveraged acquisition finance and debt restructuring.

Weil London managing partner Mike Francies (pictured) commented: ‘We are delighted to have recruited someone of Paul’s caliber. His expertise and diverse lender practice are a perfect match for our market leading leveraged finance team.’

Meanwhile in South Africa, Herbert Smith Freehills added two partners and their teams to its Johannesburg office, for a total of 13 hires.

The hires included Nick Altini from Baker McKenzie, where he headed the firm’s competition practice, as well as corporate transactions partner Ross Lomax from Norton Rose Fulbright, who joins next month. HSF’s Johannesburg office now has three corporate partners and two competition partners.

Corporate partner Rudolph Du Plessis told Legal Business: ‘Towards the end of 2018, there was a dip from an M&A point of view but we’re expecting it to pick up in 2019. We have seen, in the first part of 2019, an increase on transactions both inbound and outbound. With an enhanced M&A activity there will be enhanced competition activity and there seems to be quite a lot of movement on the African continent in respects to competition law.’

Elsewhere, Pinsent Masons added to its life sciences and technology practice in Dublin with the hire of Michael Finn, who joins from Matheson. Finn, who led Matheson’s IT disputes group and established its life sciences regulatory and litigation practice, has experience in advising technology companies on life sciences and medical device laws, as well as IP litigation and the defence of product liability litigation.

Clare Tunstall, head of life sciences at Pinsent Masons said: ‘Pinsent Masons has a pan European team of lawyers specialising in life sciences and healthcare who advise across a range of IP, transactional and regulatory matters and Michael’s stellar reputation and experience makes him a fantastic addition to our team.’

Finally, Simmons and Simmons has hired George Vlavianos to its dispute resolutions practice in Doha, Qatar. Vlavianos joins from Bennett Jones and has a particular focus on complex energy and construction disputes with experience in advising owners, contractors and sub-contractors on contractual issues.

Legal Business

Pinsents holds back ‘significant’ investment from partner profits amid 7% revenue growth

Pinsents holds back ‘significant’ investment from partner profits amid 7% revenue growth

Pinsent Masons has ring-fenced ‘significant funds’ from partner profits in a bid to prioritise investing in the business, in turn cutting profit per equity partner (PEP) by 5%.

Revenue at the firm for the 2018/19 financial year rose 7% to £482m, slightly ahead of last year’s 6% increase and good for growth of more than 40% over the last five years. Gross profit rose 2.5%, but PEP fell to £620,000 from £653,000 as the firm put aside funds for investment in areas including IT and cybersecurity.

Pinsents managing partner John Cleland told Legal Business the firm had for the past four or five years diverted profit into investing in the business when necessary, but this year it was being ‘more overt’ about it. He expected the move would not be a one-off, although would not specify how much had been held back: based on last year’s equity partner numbers, however, the fund is likely to be in excess of £6m.

‘We’re deliberately signalling that while a significant proportion is going back to the principle stakeholders, the rest of it is being reinvested directly in the business,’ he commented. ‘Once we make investment, then we will redistribute back out to partners, so it’s a prioritising of investment, as opposed to moving away from a full distribution model.’

Cleland pointed to what he called an ‘aggressive’ eight office openings over the past four years as one area of investment, most recently opening its third German outpost in Frankfurt.

Furthermore, in March it appointed Kirsty Dougan to develop the firm’s Vario business – its flexible resourcing offering – in Asia-Pacific, having now launched in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Cleland said that business had seen significant double-digit growth this year and its headcount has reached 600 globally. The firm also has about 50 legal technologists, analysts and engineers in an R&D function it is developing.

The firm’s overall partnership grew by 4% to 446 partners last year. It was also one of the leading firms on the Mindful Business Charter, an initiative it spearheaded alongside Addleshaw Goddard at Barclays to try to mitigate unnecessary stress for in-house and external lawyers.

‘We’ve continued to focus on organic growth in the business, but have also been investing in the services we think broaden our offering. We have a number of things that are important to us as a business and we need to invest in those,’ Cleland commented. ‘We continue to be interested in Europe. Germany’s been a very good market for us.’

Legal Business

Prohibitively expensive: Pinsent lands £25m litigation funding deal

Prohibitively expensive: Pinsent lands £25m litigation funding deal

Pinsent Masons has secured a £25m preferred-supplier deal with litigation funder August Ventures to offer ‘non-recourse’ funding at better terms than would normally be available.

Clients will have access to a dedicated facility at preferred rates and a fast-tracked due diligence process, while Augusta will also refer some clients to Pinsents.

Claimants will pay nothing if a claim is unsuccessful, and Augusta will fund the cost of pursuing the claim, including lawyer and expert fees, and recover payment from the paying party if the outcome is successful. The fee is reflective of the time taken to make a recovery, meaning the sooner the case settles, the smaller the fee.

Pinsents head of international arbitration Mark Roe, who leads third party funding for the firm, told Legal Business many clients viewed litigation and arbitration as prohibitively expensive. Even those that could afford it often preferred to invest in other areas of their business, he said.

He claims the deal with Augusta will provide clients with access to better prices for litigation funding than were generally available in the market.

‘Our deal with Augusta allows those who either haven’t got funds available or wish to use their funds on other things, to access justice substantially less expensively than would otherwise be the case,’ he commented. ‘What we’ve done is that by agreeing with Augusta that we will prefer them as our supplier they’ve agreed to give our clients much better terms than are generally available.’

Roe added that the disputes market had been busier this year: ‘What’s driving those varies from industry to industry. In the infrastructure space, margins are tighter, and there has been some tightening of the amount of cash available to contractors to pay claims and honour contractual obligations.’

Pinsents’ deal follows Clyde & Co announcing in March it had entered into an arrangement with Litigation Capital Management (LCM), which listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market last December, to make funding available for its clients on a single case or portfolio basis.

That deal landed its first portfolio financing arrangement in June this year, with LCM giving access to funding for 38 worldwide disputes and contractual claims over an initial five-year period for one of the firm’s aviation clients.

Legal Business

Pinsents, Bird & Bird, BCLP and Network Rail the big winners at the 2019 Legal Business Awards

Pinsents, Bird & Bird, BCLP and Network Rail the big winners at the 2019 Legal Business Awards

Pinsent Masons, Bird & Bird, Network Rail and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) were among the major winners at the 2019 Legal Business Awards in front of more than 1,000 guests last night (28 March).

Hosted by comedian, writer and actress Meera Syal, the evening saw Pinsent Masons crowned Law Firm of the Year for a second time, with judges impressed by the firm’s performance in areas such as client satisfaction, CSR and innovation in addition to financial results.

Meanwhile, alongside BCLP and Heathrow Airport, Pinsents jointly won Energy and Infrastructure Team of the Year as the trio worked together to address the challenge of Heathrow’s proposed expansion. BCLP also picked up another accolade, winning Private Client Team of the Year.

Bird & Bird also won two awards on the night, named TMT Team of the Year in the first award of the evening before being named Legal Technology Team of the Year later on.

Network Rail was the standout in-house performer, a joint winner in the Real Estate Team of the Year category alongside its external advisers Clifford Chance and Eversheds Sutherland for its work on Project Condor, while also being named In-House Team of the Year. Collaboration was evident among a growing number of nominees, with Simmons & Simmons and Travers Smith jointly awarded Commercial Litigation Team of the Year.

Elsewhere, Kirkland & Ellis continues its blistering recent performance, winning the prestigious Private Equity Team of the Year award for a successive year, as well as being Highly Commended in the Law Firm of the Year category. It was a strong year again for US firms in London, with Davis Polk & Wardwell winning Finance Team of the Year, Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom securing Competition Team of the Year, King & Spalding International Arbitration Team of the Year and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher named Corporate Team of the Year.

Individuals recognised on the night included Richard Miskella of Lewis Silkin, who won the Lawyer of the Year award for his work on  #MeToo-related investigations for The Old Vic and subsequent pro bono work in this area. Nick Thomas of Kennedys was named our Management Partner of the Year for his long and successful run as senior partner, while Frances Coats of The Ardonagh Group was named Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year.

The debut Chambers of the Year award went to 3 Verulam Buildings, after reversing its fortunes to produce a robust performance in recent years.

Thanks go to our external judging panel of prominent general counsel who selected the winners: Nigel Paterson, GC and company secretary, Dixons Carphone; Anna Cosgrave, head of legal, Graze; Ruwan De Soyza, GC, Worldpay; Rushad Abadan, GC, Standard Life Aberdeen; Charlotte Heiss, group chief legal officer and company secretary, RSA; Neil Murrin, GC and director – regulatory affairs, Trainline; Richard Price, GC and company secretary, Anglo-American; Angus McBride, GC, News UK; Geoffrey Timms, GC and company secretary, Legal & General; Kirsty Cooper, GC and company secretary, Aviva; Dan Guildford, GC, The Financial Times; Nayeem Syed, assistant GC, Refinitiv; Liz Tanner, director of legal services, SSE; Elisabeth Messud, group legal director, Kingfisher; Joanne Jolly, GC and company secretary – Insurance and Wealth, Lloyds Banking Group; and Jeremy Barton, GC, KPMG UK.

Our May edition will include a full report of the night. For more details on the winners and the awards in general click, here.


Legal Business Awards 2019 – The Winners

Bird & Bird – TMT Team of the Year

Davis Polk & Wardwell – Finance Team of the Year

King & Spalding – International Arbitration Team of the Year

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – Restructuring Team of the Year

Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom – Competition Team of the Year

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner/Heathrow Airport/Pinsent Masons – Energy and Infrastructure Team of the Year

Simmons & Simmons/Travers Smith – Commercial Litigation Team of the Year

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner – Private Client Team of the Year

Hebert Smith Freehills – Insurance Team of the Year

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher – Corporate Team of the Year

Kirkland & Ellis – Private Equity Team of the Year

Clifford Chance/Eversheds Sutherland/Network Rail – Real Estate Team of the Year

Northridge Law – Boutique Law Firm of the Year

Richard Miskella – Lawyer of the Year

Hogan Lovells – CSR Programme of the Year

A&L Goodbody – International Firm of the Year

Frances Coats, The Ardonagh Group – Rising Star In-House Counsel of the Year

Network Rail – In-House Team of the Year

Nick Thomas – Management Partner of the Year

White & Case – US Law Firm of the Year

Lucy Vernall, Funding Circle – GC of the Year

3 Verulam Buildings – Chambers of the Year

Bird & Bird – Technology Team of the Year

Ogier – Regional/Offshore Firm of the Year


Legal Business

Third German office and trio of Dublin hires the latest moves in Pinsents’ international odyssey

Third German office and trio of Dublin hires the latest moves in Pinsents’ international odyssey

Pinsent Masons has kicked off 2019 in expansionist mode, opening a new office in Frankfurt, right after finishing 2018 with three partner hires for its Irish base.

Three years after opening in Düsseldorf, Pinsents announced at the beginning of January it had hired six partners from a range of independent and international firms to spearhead the new German branch.

Legal Business

‘A global solution’: Pinsents hires six partners for Frankfurt launch as DLA expands in Dublin

‘A global solution’: Pinsents hires six partners for Frankfurt launch as DLA expands in Dublin

Pinsent Masons has hired six partners from a range of firms for a new Frankfurt office, the firm’s third opening in Germany since 2012.

Frankfurt follows moves into Munich and Düsseldorf for Pinsents in 2012 and 2016 respectively. The new office will focus on the technology, energy and real estate sectors initially with an eye to developing in financial services.

A founding team of six partners has been hired from multiple firms for the launch. Volker Balda joins from KPMG Law, where he was M&A head for Germany and co-head of the global corporate law practice, M&A partners Markus Friedel and Sven Shculte-Hillen join from Dechert, M&A partner Ronald Meissner joins from Oppenhoff & Partners, real estate partner Tobias Nuss joins from Beiten Burkhardt, and intellectual property partner Nils Rauer was hired from Hogan Lovells.

Pinsents’ Germany head Rainer Kreifels commented: ‘Establishing a presence in Frankfurt has been part of our vision for Germany from the outset. The new office in addition to our Munich and Düsseldorf locations will increase the strength and depth of our offering for clients locally and internationally.’

The firm has grown to 38 partners and more than 100 lawyers in Germany over the last six years, including five lateral hires in the past 12 months. Key mandates have included advising German tech company About You on a $300m funding deal and completing three Frankfurt Stock Exchange initial public offerings.

Last year, Fieldfisher and Covington & Burling also opened offices in Frankfurt.

Elsewhere, DLA Piper has hired four partners from different firms to join its Dublin office, which recently launched with the hire of David Carthy from William Fry.

Conor Houlihan joins from Dillon Eustace to lead DLA’s finance and projects practice in Ireland, Éanna Mellett joins as a corporate partner from Matheson, while former A&L Goodbody partners Mark Rasdale and Ciara McLoughlin join the intellectual property and technology and employment practices respectively.

Carthy, DLA’s Ireland managing partner, told Legal Business the firm intended to build a substantial practice in Ireland. He joined DLA in July to help refine the strategy and said the Irish market was ‘ripe for change’.

‘Clients are looking for a global solution and want more choice. DLA works differently from a lot of the Irish players. Clients are increasingly asking, “Can you help me in different jurisdictions?”’

Carthy expected to make further hires and saw the practice growing to at least 100 lawyers over the next couple of years. Financial services, technology and life sciences are a particular focus for the office, with Dublin seen as a key global hub in those sectors.

Carthy added: ‘The Irish economy is doing very well at the moment. Obviously Brexit has added major uncertainty, but there’s still plenty of activity.’

DLA was the fifth firm to open in Dublin after the Brexit vote, following in the footsteps of Lewis Silkin, Simmons & Simmons, Covington & Burling and Pinsents.