Post-merger chemistry and an absence of crisis mark BCLP launch but firm is yet to settle into its stride

Post-merger chemistry and an absence of crisis mark BCLP launch but firm is yet to settle into its stride

Thomas Alan finds mixed omens in the wake of BCLP’s high-stakes union. A solid start cannot obscure that 2019 will be a crucial period for the Anglo-American challenger

When indications of a merger between legacy firms Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and Bryan Cave first emerged in late 2017, there were mixed reactions about the potential union. As Legal Business noted last summer: ‘Confirmation earlier this year that BLP was uniting with a solid US operator, but one whose brand had limited potency in Europe, did not quicken the pulse.’ Continue reading “Post-merger chemistry and an absence of crisis mark BCLP launch but firm is yet to settle into its stride”

New Law meets Big Four – Has Deloitte got the conviction to match its free-thinking legal pitch?

New Law meets Big Four – Has Deloitte got the conviction to match its free-thinking legal pitch?

Thomas Alan asks if Deloitte can find a new angle on legal services

The often cited but seldom-seen legal arrival of the Big Four has long passed into a professional joke, though renewed investment from the major accountancy groups in the last three years has given the debate fresh urgency. But, truly, something must have changed in the wind, as even that traditional hold-out, Deloitte, has signalled its intention to build a significant law presence. Continue reading “New Law meets Big Four – Has Deloitte got the conviction to match its free-thinking legal pitch?”

M&A focus: A sign of things to come? Europe’s deal market ends 2018 with a whimper after a forceful start

M&A focus: A sign of things to come? Europe’s deal market ends 2018 with a whimper after a forceful start

The ghost of political turmoil did little to hinder deal-doing in Europe in the first half of 2018 but its presence appears to have made itself increasingly felt as the year wore on. With plcs wary of major investments ahead of the threat of mounting Brexit-related convulsions, not to mention a mainland European economy that lost some pace through 2018, it was an uneven run for corporate takeovers.

Globally, the latest figures from Mergermarket show the volume of deals completed in 2018 fell for the first time since 2010 to 19,232, after a decade of steadily rising. However, if overall activity was subdued, there was more cause for cheer with marquee deals; average deal value rose to $384.8m, the second-highest value on record, falling just short of the $400.3m notched up in 2015. Continue reading “M&A focus: A sign of things to come? Europe’s deal market ends 2018 with a whimper after a forceful start”

Whatever happened to PRIME? – Drift sets in for once lauded diversity project

Whatever happened to PRIME? – Drift sets in for once lauded diversity project

Thomas Alan assesses the initially lauded, now forgotten social inclusion initiative

‘Forgive my ignorance, can you tell me what you mean by PRIME? What is it exactly?’ asks one partner at a top-25 UK law firm, a partner charged with responsibility for overseeing apprenticeships at a firm with membership to that same cross-industry group. Continue reading “Whatever happened to PRIME? – Drift sets in for once lauded diversity project”

Still more promise than delivery but Paul Hastings shows signs of progress

Still more promise than delivery but Paul Hastings shows signs of progress

Thomas Alan assesses the fortunes of the US giant after a (relatively) expansive 2018

Paul Hastings’ recent London history could be seen as a story of tempered ambitions. In the mid-2000s, the firm talked about hitting 200 lawyers in the City, while in 2012 the hope was to be at around 140 lawyers by 2016. With lawyer headcount only reaching 100 this year, it is clear that those lofty ambitions are hard to realise. However, between 2012 and 2017, the firm’s City headcount increased by 78%. If you aim high, falling short does not mean disaster. Continue reading “Still more promise than delivery but Paul Hastings shows signs of progress”

Legal tech focus: Slaughters’ tech ally Luminance makes impact but battle for City elite wages

Legal tech focus: Slaughters’ tech ally Luminance makes impact but battle for City elite wages

Luminance has shot to prominence unlike any other UK legal tech start-up. But Hamish McNicol finds there is still plenty to do to break into the top of the profession

‘We’re changing things to the extent Excel changed the way accounting is done,’ Luminance chief executive Emily Foges proclaims. ‘You can’t imagine doing anything financial without it.’ Continue reading “Legal tech focus: Slaughters’ tech ally Luminance makes impact but battle for City elite wages”

Legal tech focus: Is Kira the real deal?

Legal tech focus: Is Kira the real deal?

AI contract analysis system Kira has been on a trying journey. Having landed $50m in funding, Hamish McNicol and Thomas Alan assess how much longer that journey could last

Noah Waisberg recently threw a diamond into an audience of more than 1,000 people. It was the annual Legal Geek legal tech conference in London. Public Enemy’s Don’t Believe the Hype blared as he took the stage. Continue reading “Legal tech focus: Is Kira the real deal?”

Under the influence – how pressure to climb the ladder can corrupt in-house counsel

Under the influence – how pressure to climb the ladder can corrupt in-house counsel

Being risk savvy and commercially aware is the equivalent of ‘leaning in’ for today’s in-house lawyer. Can one do this and retain the mantle of professionalism? Or rather, how can one do that? That is the central concern of our book, In-House Lawyers’ Ethics: Institutional Logics, Legal Risk and the Tournament of Influence. We interviewed dozens of in-house lawyers and surveyed 400, mainly from business but also from government and the third sector, to shed light on the ethical dimensions of in-house practice and risk management. Our central lessons? Organisations matter. Individual lawyers matter. Ideas about the in-house role and professionalism matter. Talking about professionalism and good decision making openly and frankly matters.

The usual academic analysis of in-house lawyers dwells on concerns that in-house counsel are business people first and lawyers a distant second, but we think other questions are more important and useful. In particular, we are interested in how in-house roles and practitioner mindsets about those roles influence their ethical inclination. When we work with in-house teams using the tools in our book, they are often astonished at the different views they and their colleagues have about what in-house lawyers should be like; how they draw on ideas of professionalism; and how to deal with ethical dilemmas. Gordon Gekko can be lurking in the most surprising of places. Continue reading “Under the influence – how pressure to climb the ladder can corrupt in-house counsel”

Reports of the death of CC’s sponsor practice prove exaggerated but surviving isn’t thriving

Reports of the death of CC’s sponsor practice prove exaggerated but surviving isn’t thriving

Marco Cillario finds much more substance to CC’s PE business than the usual critique but stopping managed relative decline will only get harder

‘Look at the team they had in the mid-2000s: strong personalities, industry leaders, primary advisers to any significant private equity house. There has never been a team that strong in Europe. They failed to bring through any meaningful succession.’ Continue reading “Reports of the death of CC’s sponsor practice prove exaggerated but surviving isn’t thriving”

Keystone becomes second UK law firm to float in 2017 while Gordon Dadds goes shopping

Keystone becomes second UK law firm to float in 2017 while Gordon Dadds goes shopping

Recently listed Gordon Dadds acquires tax advisory business CW Energy

November saw New Law player Keystone Law become the third UK law firm to float on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), following the trail blazed by Gateley two years ago and Gordon Dadds earlier this year. The mid-market challenger firm, which was granted an alternative business structure (ABS) licence in 2013, saw shares priced at 160p and raised £15m from its initial public offering (IPO). It will be known as Keystone Law Group plc. Continue reading “Keystone becomes second UK law firm to float in 2017 while Gordon Dadds goes shopping”