Weightmans – Feet on the ground

Weightmans – Feet on the ground

After four years of consecutive revenue growth and two transformative mergers in 2011, Weightmans is our National/Regional Firm of the Year. However, there’s no chance of any of it going to the managing partner’s head.

Weightmans’ Patrick Gaul (pictured) is as laid back and straightforward as managing partners come. In an unmistakable scouse accent reminiscent of Ringo Starr, his answers are economical and precise. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and, in a trait quite rare among managing partners, is very low on hyperbole.

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The right chemistry

The right chemistry

Forget the egos, conflicts and pay packets. Here’s our winning formula for creating a dream team outside of the established elite.

In July 2002, we carried a feature bringing together a group of partners that would create a genuine competitor for the Magic Circle, a true fantasy law firm (‘Futures, options and swaps’, LB126, page 36). A decade on, it’s time to have another look at where the true talent outside of the elite group of law firms can be found.

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Gold Standard

Gold Standard

Mishcon de Reya was a standout performer in the 2011 LB100, jumping 11 places on the back of a 37% leap in turnover. LB charts the firm’s recent success and asks senior management where it is heading.

Kevin Gold, Mishcon de Reya’s managing partner, leads the way to a meeting room clutching a walking stick, the result of a motorcycle accident in June 2008. He broke his leg and encountered a number of complications while recovering, including contracting MRSA in hospital. For almost two years, as he underwent 19 operations restoring him to mobility and health, Gold was not always around. But such was the strength of the firm he had shaped over the preceding ten years that Mishcons went from strength to strength during that time becoming, as Gold puts it, ‘pretty unique’.

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Renaissance Man

Renaissance Man

Mark Dembovsky joined Howard Kennedy as chief executive in January 2011, charged with turning around the fortunes of a West End firm widely considered to be on shaky ground. A year on, LB assesses his progress.

Sitting in on one of the newly established management meetings in Howard Kennedy’s West End offices, it is initially hard to work out exactly who is in charge. Head of corporate Michael Harris, property finance chief Jason Lewis, and dispute resolution head Craig Emden all chip in to answer questions about the firm and its new strategy, while one member of the group sits watching quietly. Suddenly one of the partners falters, unsure of how to answer a question about what the firm’s new ‘Aiming for Excellence’ scheme entails, and the quiet man springs into action.

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Dynamic Duo

Dynamic Duo

Clyde & Co’s Michael Payton has held the top job at the firm for 27 years and since 1997 has formed a formidable partnership with CEO Peter Hasson.

On the eve of the firm’s much-hyped union with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, LB takes a closer look at this successful management duo.

Michael Payton has presence: there is no other word for it. As one of the longest-serving senior partners in the City, when he enters the room he instantly seems to take charge.

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BLP – Ten years gone

BLP – Ten years gone

Berwin Leighton Paisner is a decade old this year, a period marked by impressive financials, a revolving door of partners and tentative international expansion. LB assesses the firm ahead of its difficult teenage years.

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) managing partner Neville Eisenberg is impeccably well prepared for our meeting. Next to his black coffee he has printed e-mails and details of the firm’s financials over the past ten years. In his soft South African brogue, his responses are polished and littered with management-speak. He gives nothing away. But one question gives him pause – when asked if he will stand for re-election next year, he hesitates before answering cautiously: ‘Obviously I’m thinking about it.’ However, he says it’s still early days.

 

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A matter of time – Simmons & Simmons

A matter of time – Simmons & Simmons

After a failed merger, a drop in both revenue and a profits, and a slew of partner departures, Simmons’ new managing partner Jeremy Hoyland certainly has his work cut out. Can his plans for change deliver?

Jeremy Hoyland’s timing has always been a little off. He qualified just before the 1990s’ recession, tried to launch a finance practice in Asia just as the Asian financial crisis hit in the late 1990s and has now taken over Simmons & Simmons at a time when the firm’s financials continue to struggle and it is being over-shadowed by several of its closest rivals. Continue reading “A matter of time – Simmons & Simmons”

A Matter of Time – Simmons & Simmons

After a failed merger, a drop in both revenue and a profits, and a slew of partner departures, Simmons’ new managing partner Jeremy Hoyland certainly has his work cut out. Can his plans for change deliver?

Jeremy Hoyland’s timing has always been a little off. He qualified just before the 1990s’ recession, tried to launch a finance practice in Asia just as the Asian financial crisis hit in the late 1990s and has now taken over Simmons & Simmons at a time when the firm’s financials continue to struggle and it is being over-shadowed by several of its closest rivals. Failed merger talks with Mayer Brown have also hardly helped the firm’s market profile.

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Two’s company

Two’s company

After getting Beachcroft fit for the modern age, senior partner Simon Hodson and managing partner Paul Murray will run the firm for five more years. Time for a progress report

Beachcroft senior partner Simon Hodson (see left) often has his tongue firmly in his cheek when commenting on the industry, but this time he’s deadly serious. ‘These pissing contests over how many hundreds of thousands people get paid are obscene and, frankly, not good for the profession.’ You might expect this from a buyer of legal services, but not from the senior partner of the 23rd largest firm by revenue in the UK. To his left, managing partner Paul Murray (see right) nods in agreement. Continue reading “Two’s company”