‘Stay home, save jobs’ – How the legal elite are charting a course through half-lockdown summer

‘Stay home, save jobs’ – How the legal elite are charting a course through half-lockdown summer

Try driving across London or walking its crowded parks in sunny May and it becomes hard to remember that the nation, and much of the Western world, exists in a state of at least semi-lockdown.

While food queues and the inability to do much beyond kick around the house testifies that things are far from normal, since the government in early May started obtusely unwinding the lockdown, the business and legal worlds have entered an ambiguous chapter of the coronavirus saga. Continue reading “‘Stay home, save jobs’ – How the legal elite are charting a course through half-lockdown summer”

Comment: Welcome back to the office? Re-thinking law’s real estate for the post-corona age

Comment: Welcome back to the office? Re-thinking law’s real estate for the post-corona age

If we can already make a few forecasts about some aspects of the post-coronavirus world, currently pole position among things the legal industry abruptly realised will look radically different as of ten weeks ago are large-scale, grand, frightfully-expensive offices. It turns out that we were all used to the modern, shiny, flagship office and now realise we had only the most tenuous grasp of why we believed it so fundamental to the business of professional services all along.

Yet the office will never be the same. Continue reading “Comment: Welcome back to the office? Re-thinking law’s real estate for the post-corona age”

Comment: Law firm leaders already know a lot about the post-Corona world but dare they take advantage?

Comment: Law firm leaders already know a lot about the post-Corona world but dare they take advantage?

What we do not know about the surreal period we’re in thanks to the coronavirus pandemic would fill the proverbial book for law firm leaders, or actually several. I won’t presume to speak to medical/scientific issues, desperate as we are to have some clarity; I’m sticking with the economic/business/strategic issues.

What we don’t know, or don’t know with any degree of confidence, are: Continue reading “Comment: Law firm leaders already know a lot about the post-Corona world but dare they take advantage?”

The slaughter of innocence – A&O’s former chief on the stark staffing choices facing crisis-hit law firms

The slaughter of innocence – A&O’s former chief on the stark staffing choices facing crisis-hit law firms

Law firms around the world are being forced to contemplate something a good many have never had to face before, even during the 2008/09 financial crisis – letting partners and staff go at scale.

Fat profit margins and a paternalistic partnership ethos have traditionally insulated law firms from concerns that are relatively commonplace for their clients. Managing partners often recoil at such barbarous conduct. Yet the global coronavirus crisis is rapidly shredding that rulebook. Continue reading “The slaughter of innocence – A&O’s former chief on the stark staffing choices facing crisis-hit law firms”

Covid crystal ball – A&O’s former chief sets out the post-lockdown dynamic awaiting the legal elite

Covid crystal ball – A&O’s former chief sets out the post-lockdown dynamic awaiting the legal elite

No-one knows the robustness or timing of the economic restart, but many now predict a deep second quarter contraction followed by a spluttering restart over the subsequent three. That may underestimate the impact of the shock and the reactions of both client businesses and households.

A dramatic surge in unemployment will encourage households to slash spending. Many clients are focused on conserving cash and rebuilding balance sheets. Aftershocks of reinfections, further lay-offs, tight working capital and insolvencies as businesses struggle to get in shape when activity starts to pick up seem probable. Continue reading “Covid crystal ball – A&O’s former chief sets out the post-lockdown dynamic awaiting the legal elite”

Comment: Latham vs Kirkland means everyone else loses – They own the global elite now

Comment: Latham vs Kirkland means everyone else loses – They own the global elite now

Skadden Arps, Clifford Chance, Linklaters and, currently, Kirkland & Ellis – over the last 30 years these firms have all at one time had claims to have been the most influential law firms of their age, the pioneers that defined the top of the profession through dash, ambition and imagination.

And many senior lawyers would think that list is missing the name of the institution that looked unchallenged until the Kirkland effect gripped the market in the last three years. Continue reading “Comment: Latham vs Kirkland means everyone else loses – They own the global elite now”

For the profession, as the world, the coronavirus is a moment of truth

For the profession, as the world, the coronavirus is a moment of truth

The longer you do this job, the more your mind wanders to the big moments – recessions, terrorist attacks, political shocks, wars. Yet as I sit here typing this leader in a near-deserted London office, the majority of our team working from home as we try to put this issue to bed, it is a struggle to recall anything that compares to the coronavirus pandemic spreading through the world.

We face unprecedented times – hyperbole typically flung around with abandon until you realise with shock that this time it applies. As I write, London and New York, those famous global cities and the world’s two dominant legal hubs, look within days of total lockdown. Continue reading “For the profession, as the world, the coronavirus is a moment of truth”

Latham vs K&E means that everyone else loses

Latham vs K&E means that everyone else loses

Skadden Arps, Clifford Chance, Linklaters and, currently, Kirkland & Ellis – over the last 30 years these firms have all at one time had claims to have been the most influential law firms of their age, the pioneers that defined the top of the profession through dash, ambition and imagination.

And many senior lawyers would think that list is missing the name of the institution that looked unchallenged until the Kirkland effect gripped the market in the last three years. Continue reading “Latham vs K&E means that everyone else loses”

Cranes in the sky: UK real estate market rebuilds

Cranes in the sky: UK real estate market rebuilds

With real estate investment moving out of paralysis post-election, Muna Abdi asks which firms are best prepared to take advantage

The enduring political and economic quagmire in the UK, initially shaped by the 2016 Brexit referendum, provided much of the framework for pessimistic commentary towards the end of the decade on many sectors, not least real estate. But the start of 2020 has brought fresh impetus: ‘The end of Corbynism will encourage most in the real estate market, which is not known for its left-wing leanings. It will also see a return of the uber-rich to London with high-end and luxury residential already experiencing a massive boost,’ predicts Eversheds Sutherland head of London real estate, Bruce Dear. Continue reading “Cranes in the sky: UK real estate market rebuilds”