Lawyers are a pessimistic bunch by nature and, with the big four Magic Circle firms posting another year of solid but unspectacular revenue and profit per equity partner (PEP) growth, the consensus view is that 2018/19 could have been a lot worse.
Amid a wider slowing of the UK economy and Europe’s deal markets in the face of Brexit and a range of cross-border headwinds, the City’s big four international players posted another year of the moderate results that have defined their post-banking-crisis form. Continue reading “Linklaters leads Magic Circle pack amid solid 2018/19 trading but uncertainty looms over the City elite”
The news this week that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was to push through the highest real-terms pay rises by a major City firm for a decade is a significant moment for the London legal market.
The decision to hike its associate pay scale, raising its benchmark rate for newly-qualified solicitors from £85,000 to £100,000 is a bold and expensive step for the City giant. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest such a move, which will put Freshfields well ahead of its Magic Circle peers, comes at an annual cost of more than £10m. Continue reading “City paywars: a history lesson – Freshfields hikes hark back to era of Magic Circle domination”
Nathalie Tidman looks at the struggle for the City elite as US players dominate home and away
‘People like me, making the switch from the Magic Circle to a US firm – a Kirkland, a Latham, a White & Case – did so because being a powerhouse in the US is critical to becoming a truly global law firm.’ Continue reading “Stars and stripes in their eyes – assessing the US ambitions of A&O and Freshfields”
City heavyweights Slaughter and May and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have taken the driving seat on the proposed initial public offering (IPO) of Aston Martin, a float reportedly valuing the luxury car maker at £5bn.
Slaughters won the mandate advising Aston Martin with a corporate team led by Nilufer von Bismarck and including Roland Turnill and Filippo de Falco. The firm is working alongside Aston Martin’s general counsel (GC) Michael Marecki, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is advising on US law, led by London-based partner Gil Strauss. Continue reading “Magic Circle duo goes full throttle on Aston Martin’s landmark London listing”
A heavyweight line-up of Slaughter and May, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Dentons, Clifford Chance (CC) and Linklaters have mobilised as construction giant Carillion files for liquidation in one of the largest UK insolvencies for years.
Dentons’ restructuring partners Nigel Barnett and Neil Griffiths are advising the liquidator, the Official Receiver, which the government will be providing with funding required to continue to carry out the company’s public services. Continue reading “Magic Circle scrambles as UK construction giant Carillion falls into liquidation”
Slaughter and May has announced today (12 July) that it will retain 91% of its second-year trainees for newly qualified (NQ) lawyer positions at the firm this autumn.
Continue reading “Magic Circle: Slaughters first to announce 91% trainee retention rate”
To recap as the UK tiptoes towards banana republic territory in the wake of last month’s inconclusive, prediction-defying general election: City professionals face the prospect of an unsteady government negotiating a logistically-epic exit from the EU with an uncertain agenda against a much larger and better prepared counter-party. That is until the next general election in perhaps the autumn.
But let us put politics to one side and assume that a form of substantive Brexit is happening. Where does that leave top London law firms with such ominous clouds hanging over London as a finance and legal services hub?
Continue reading “Magic Circle playbooks in Europe are full of contradictions”
The UK’s Magic Circle (MC) – a variable, but severally-numbered group of firms which represent a charmed band favoured by the government, banks and major companies in the UK – will not, I think, survive in the longer term. Continue reading “Guest post: The Magic Circle is doomed. Here’s why.”
Madeleine Farman reports on recent remuneration changes among the City elite
With the growing threat of losing star partners to aggressively-expanding US firms, the Magic Circle’s traditional remuneration models have come increasingly under pressure. Last month Linklaters voted through changes to its remuneration model, while at press time Clifford Chance (CC) was due to complete a review of where partners should sit on its lockstep in a bid to retain key contributors and manage under-performers, 18 months after voting through the last set of changes.
Continue reading “Snakes and ladders: Magic Circle tweaks lockstep but is it enough to hold off US firms?”
Magic Circle firms have taken a ‘disappointing’ approach to the government-backed scheme, the Trailblazers Apprenticeship in Law initiative, with both Slaughter and May and Clifford Chance ruling apprentices out completely, while Allen & Overy (A&O) and Linklaters have been non-committal.
The only firm to announce any willingness to offer apprenticeships is Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, with a spokesperson confirming last month it was ‘looking at a number of ways to attract talented people in Manchester and the apprenticeship model is one that we are hoping to be able to offer later this year’. It is understood the firm is currently mulling over paralegal apprenticeships with no decision on whether this will be offered in conjunction with Trailblazers.
Continue reading “Magic Circle’s ‘disappointing’ approach to apprenticeships”