News in brief – September 2015

News in brief – September 2015

BAKERS’ 2014/15 FINANCIALS SEE FIRM SLIP BEHIND DLA

Baker & McKenzie revealed it generated $2.43bn in the year to 30 June 2015, a 4% fall on last year’s $2.54bn. The firm said a strengthening dollar had hit its top-line and also helped push profit per equity partner down to $1.14m from $1.29m. The firm said it had invested in a new financial and management system and hired 51 lateral partners over the year.

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Comment: Lockstep has to go for Magic Circle to enter new global elite

Comment: Lockstep has to go for Magic Circle to enter new global elite

Conservatism and intransigence are qualities often bemoaned in the legal industry, in many cases beyond their manifestation. But there is one aspect in which the upper reaches of City law have shown a resistance to change verging on the surreal: the desperate embrace of a highly restrictive model of lockstep.

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Lockstep has to go for Magic Circle to enter new global elite

Lockstep has to go for Magic Circle to enter new global elite

Conservatism and intransigence are qualities often bemoaned in the legal industry, in many cases beyond their manifestation. But there is one aspect in which the upper reaches of City law have shown a resistance to change verging on the surreal: the desperate embrace of a highly restrictive model of lockstep.

As we argue in our Future of Law special this month, the Magic Circle model is under intense pressure after seven years in which big changes in the industry and global economy have shifted against the group. Under the bonnet, these firms – which are well-run institutions that have been a British success story for very good reasons – have been through substantial restructuring in response. With a better global economy, strong international networks and transactional and contentious activity currently robust – a leaner and more productive big four are positioned for dramatic increases in profitability as their core markets pick up. And 2014/15 should be a very respectable year for the group.

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So long, Magic Circle: Latham sets blistering pace for global elite as 2014 revenues up over $300m

So long, Magic Circle: Latham sets blistering pace for global elite as 2014 revenues up over $300m

Latham & Watkins‘ global strategy has paid off with its 2014 revenues surging by 14% to $2.61bn in 2014 and making it the largest law firm in the world, an achievement managing partner Bill Voge (pictured) puts down to the recovery of the global M&A market and to clients increasingly using multiple offices across its ‘global footprint’.

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Comment: Magic Circle real estate withdrawal isn’t a myth, but it’s not that simple

Comment: Magic Circle real estate withdrawal isn’t a myth, but it’s not that simple

In a 2011 piece on the decimated real estate market in the City, we noted that few senior property partners were in their mid-40s, due to the fact that law firms largely ceased hiring junior real estate lawyers following the early ’90s crash. It looks like history will repeat itself in roughly 15 years’ time: post-credit crunch, the most established real estate practices went into hibernation. Some started to disintegrate. Either way, if you were a trainee interested in real estate around 2010, pickings were slim.

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Comment: Join our club – law firms’ obsession with the in crowd is beyond parody

Comment: Join our club – law firms’ obsession with the in crowd is beyond parody

As I reach my middle years I find much to admire and celebrate about the legal profession, and lawyers in general. This column is not going to be about any of that stuff. Instead, we turn to a facet of the typical lawyer’s character that does them no credit: the obsession with joining a crowd, or rather a club that the lawyer believes says something ego-stroking about them.

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Join our club – law firms’ obsession with the in crowd is beyond parody

Join our club – law firms’ obsession with the in crowd is beyond parody

As I reach my middle years I find much to admire and celebrate about the legal profession, and lawyers in general. This column is not going to be about any of that stuff. Instead, we turn to a facet of the typical lawyer’s character that does them no credit: the obsession with joining a crowd, or rather a club that the lawyer believes says something ego-stroking about them.

Whatever you call a law firm, however factually you try to describe it, that firm will want a different, self-authored tag and often one that stretches credibility. One firm’s comms team has stalked me for years demanding I call a practice that generates less than 15% of its revenue outside the UK, and a good deal of its income from the UK regions, ‘global’. Golden Circle, Silver Circle – when I heard these terms years ago, I figured there was no way they’d catch on. Magic Circle sounds bad enough as it is, but it became currency because it defined a basic truth: as bluechip advisers, five London law firms were in a league of their own by the end of the 1990s. They still are.

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Comment: Converging on boom-time profits without a boom – the big four now and then

Comment: Converging on boom-time profits without a boom – the big four now and then

They say averages lie, though in my experience not as much as people, but producing an annual report with 2,000 data points as we do with this month’s LB100 means it can be hard even for professional anoraks such as myself to find the nuggets of meaning in the thickets of information.

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Converging on boom-time profits without a boom – the big four now and then

Converging on boom-time profits without a boom – the big four now and then

They say averages lie, though in my experience not as much as people, but producing an annual report with 2,000 data points as we do with this month’s LB100 means it can be hard even for professional anoraks such as myself to find the nuggets of meaning in the thickets of information.

Well, when in doubt I start with the market leaders, so I dug up the numbers on London’s big four in their peak of 2008 to compare against this year’s results to see how they have changed. Continue reading “Converging on boom-time profits without a boom – the big four now and then”

A&O brings salaries into line with big four rivals as starting lawyer pay hits £64k

A&O brings salaries into line with big four rivals as starting lawyer pay hits £64k

Allen & Overy (A&O) has announced a salary increase for its associates, bringing the firm in line with its key City peers.

For a newly-qualified (NQ) lawyer, pay will rise to £64,000 from £61,500, for one year post-qualified experience (PQE), salary rises to £69,500, two year PQEs goes from £74,500 to £78,500 and three year PQEs will earn £89,000, against £86,000 currently. The news was first reported on the legal site RollOnFriday.

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