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”

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”