City leaders take drastic action as coronavirus spreads turmoil across European states and economies

City leaders take drastic action as coronavirus spreads turmoil across European states and economies

Nathalie Tidman and Thomas Alan assess the impact of the pandemic on the profession as the world battens down for a health crisis

‘Things that are happening today you wouldn’t have believed a week ago,’ reflects David Patient, Travers Smith’s managing partner. Indeed. The outbreak and rapid spread of the coronavirus has in a matter of weeks transformed from background concern to a health crisis unknown in modern times, with countries scrambling worldwide to handle the outbreak. Continue reading “City leaders take drastic action as coronavirus spreads turmoil across European states and economies”

Freshfields under financial and reputational fire in Germany as cum-ex tax scandal rolls on

Freshfields under financial and reputational fire in Germany as cum-ex tax scandal rolls on

Marco Cillario and Nathalie Tidman report on Freshfields’ role in the tax scandal rocking Germany

It is not often that a law firm makes headlines outside the legal media, yet the name Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is rapidly becoming a regular feature of German newspapers. That is bad news for the City giant. How bad, many are currently trying to assess. Continue reading “Freshfields under financial and reputational fire in Germany as cum-ex tax scandal rolls on”

Legal tech focus: Joined-up thinking

Legal tech focus: Joined-up thinking

With cash flowing freely into legal tech and start-ups scaling, the market is looking increasingly mature. But while bold claims have been made of the disruption start-ups will supposedly trigger in legal, the response from established providers has been a robust acquisition strategy, which could see fledgling companies struggle to compete.

‘Certainly there’s been consolidation and people buying up platforms,’ says Simmons & Simmons innovation and business change director Ben McGuire. ‘Bigger incumbents like Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis are becoming more acquisitive. We’ll likely see more of that from large, existing platforms and fast growers like UnitedLex.’ Continue reading “Legal tech focus: Joined-up thinking”

Leadership pivots and partner exits highlight a period of flux for Clydes – what next for the insurance giant?

Leadership pivots and partner exits highlight a period of flux for Clydes – what next for the insurance giant?

Muna Abdi assesses a period of upheaval for one of the UK’s most upwardly-mobile law firms

Sudden moves in the legal industry are generally viewed with suspicion and the resignation of Simon Konsta as Clyde & Co’s senior partner in June, little more than halfway through his five-year term, was no exception. After all, it remains rare for leaders to step down part way into their term. Continue reading “Leadership pivots and partner exits highlight a period of flux for Clydes – what next for the insurance giant?”

RPC’s surprise partnership shake-up signals focus on next generation but is the firm still playing too safe?

RPC’s surprise partnership shake-up signals focus on next generation but is the firm still playing too safe?

Marco Cillario assesses the background to RPC’s decision to abandon all-equity structure

At a November press event held by a top-25 UK law firm, Legal Business was struck by a sudden spike in the guests’ interest in RPC. The 76-partner firm has long been a respected insurance and litigation business, and solid mid-weight operator, but not generally a firm to cause too many ripples of interest among peers. Continue reading “RPC’s surprise partnership shake-up signals focus on next generation but is the firm still playing too safe?”

Nice problems to have – Where now for Stephenson Harwood as veteran chief hands over?

Nice problems to have – Where now for Stephenson Harwood as veteran chief hands over?

With longstanding chief executive Sharon White bowing out, Stephenson Harwood can look back on a strong ten years. Thomas Alan assesses its record and prospects

‘My understanding is the Stephenson Harwood of 2002 needed a new strategy because it was doing very badly,’ reflects corporate head Andrew Edge, looking back on the City thoroughbred’s much-publicised problems. ‘It was losing people and the finances were extremely precarious.’ Continue reading “Nice problems to have – Where now for Stephenson Harwood as veteran chief hands over?”

Dealing with no deal – Can top law firms cope with a chaotic Brexit?

Dealing with no deal – Can top law firms cope with a chaotic Brexit?

Simon Davis has had quite a start to his one-year term as the 175th president of the Law Society of England and Wales. Taking office just a few weeks before Boris Johnson was appointed Prime Minister in July, the Clifford Chance (CC) litigation partner faced the reality of a nation that was heading for a cliff-edge exit from the EU, with major potential disruption for its legal industry.

With the new Conservative government promising to deliver Brexit on 31 October – ‘do or die’ – and the path to a withdrawal agreement with the bloc getting narrower by the day, the prospect of a disorderly exit has rapidly become a realistic possibility. Continue reading “Dealing with no deal – Can top law firms cope with a chaotic Brexit?”

Moment of truth: New Law champion Axiom unveils float plans but break up of its business raises doubts

Moment of truth: New Law champion Axiom unveils float plans but break up of its business raises doubts

Axiom making good on long-trailed plans to float will be a milestone for New Law. Thomas Alan assesses if the trailblazer can live up to its own rhetoric

When Axiom announced in February its intentions to float, it was a seminal moment for New Law, with the pioneering flexible lawyering company established as the most prominent global brand in the sector. Back in 2013 one excited commentator forecast 2018 as the year Axiom would become the world’s largest legal provider (spoiler alert, it still wouldn’t make the Global 100). Continue reading “Moment of truth: New Law champion Axiom unveils float plans but break up of its business raises doubts”