Legal Business

Sponsored foreword: expect the unexpected – 2022 and beyond

Sponsored foreword: expect the unexpected – 2022 and beyond

It hardly seems a year ago that I was writing a commentary on the state of the UK disputes market and predicting that the only certain thing about the landscape was its unpredictability. At that time, I assumed that vaccines would be the panacea for Covid and that the whole rotten ordeal would be over by now. Furthermore, I felt that the fallout would quickly become obvious. I was wrong in making those assumptions. That said, by reading a combination of the tea leaves and observing the market, I do think it is possible to detect some discernible trends for the near future.

Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: Claims in a post-pandemic litigation landscape

Sponsored briefing: Claims in a post-pandemic litigation landscape

Tim Symes and Alice Glendenning discuss claims against valuers, auditors and banks in a professional liability context, and where such claims will go in a post-pandemic litigation landscape

Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: Costs and funding

Sponsored briefing: Costs and funding

Stewarts’ Julian Chamberlayne, Bradley Meads and Stuart Carson consider the most significant developments in relation to costs recovery, cost management, security for costs, conditional and contingency fees, litigation funding and insurance

Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: 2021 – a year of change

Sponsored briefing: 2021 – a year of change

Stewarts’ Sean Upson considers how the upcoming year will define and influence new working practices

Certain years define and influence our practices for years to come, and 2021 will likely be one of those. If anything, it will eclipse the 2007-2008 financial crisis, where the market disruption played out in the courts for well over the following decade. Unlike 2007–2008, we are not now simply seeing market disruption but also seeing new working practices caused by Covid-19 and the disruptor that is Brexit. These themes are likely to define the disputes landscape for the next decade.

Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: History has shown us that fraud and recessions are natural bedfellows

Sponsored briefing: History has shown us that fraud and recessions are natural bedfellows

Stewarts’ Alex Jay and Tim Symes discuss past and present growth in international fraud

The increase in fraud following the 2007-8 financial crisis was sharp and sustained. KPMG’s ‘Fraud Barometer’ – the longest-running fraud report of its kind in the UK – showed that fraud cases in 2008, 2009, and 2010 increased
year-on-year both by value and volume.

Legal Business

Sponsored foreword: Litigation amid a pandemic – 2021 and beyond

Sponsored foreword: Litigation amid a pandemic – 2021 and beyond

One of the strangest features of Covid-19 is that it manifests itself in the human body in a random and unpredictable manner. The same can be said of its effect on the world of commercial disputes. My view is that nothing ever quite pans out in a way many commentators assume.

If one thinks back to the financial crisis of 2008, the only racing certainty was an economic downtown. To that extent, the same might be said of 2021. The prediction 13 years ago was that we would see the usual raft of fraud and insolvency work that typically accompanies a recession. It was anticipated that events would mirror those of the early 1990s, which gave rise to a boom in white collar crime cases and resultant professional negligence claims arising from corporate failures. It did not play out in that way. The scale of the frauds made them almost beyond the scope of litigation. The banks did not rush to insolvency proceedings since they themselves were on the brink of collapse and had no appetite for repossessing worthless assets.

Legal Business

Stewarts steels itself for the hit as it reports solid financials for 2019/20

Stewarts steels itself for the hit as it reports solid financials for 2019/20

Disputes specialist Stewarts has seen double-digit revenue growth for two years on the spin, posting an 11% increase in turnover to £77m for 2019/20, up from £69m from the previous financial year when it increased just shy of 11%. Profit per equity partner, meanwhile, saw a modest 3% increase to £1.25m; a needed rebound after the figure plummeted 16% in 2018/19.

The latest results show Stewarts continued recovery after its 2017/18 setback , where ‘non-linear’ income patterns from contingency work accounted for revenue falling by a fifth. The broader picture is that revenues over a five-year period have enjoyed a healthy uptick – rising almost 46%.  

The firm also stressed it has widened the equity across the partnership in a bid to remunerate future talent. Currently the firm’s equity spread stands at £609,000 – £1.72m. 

Commenting on the results, managing partner John Cahill (pictured) said: ‘We are pleased to post another good set of financial results. During the year we have made substantial investment in strengthening existing practice areas and in our book of contingency fee cases.  In previous years I have indicated that our revenue patterns would be non-linear and that remains the case. We expect that Covid-19 will have a negative impact on both revenue and profit in the financial year 2020/21.’ 

The emerging picture as firms continue to announce their financials for 2019/20 is one of resilience in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, and Herbert Smith Freehills are among the major players to have increased revenue, albeit as profitability across the LB100 suffers some attrition. 

thomas.alan@legalbusiness.co.uk