The Last Word: Elite forces

The Last Word: Elite forces

International focus

‘In 2017 we had a record performance. 2018 was a year of big investment to consolidate our development in Africa and the Middle East but we did it halfway through the year. We are going to continue and consolidate our strategy. A lot of attention and energy will be on the international development. Our strategy is still to become a leader in the Mediterranean area, Africa and the Middle East. For now we are optimistic but from the second half of 2018 we have seen a decrease of investment in M&A.’ Continue reading “The Last Word: Elite forces”

The Last Word – Best foot forward

The Last Word – Best foot forward

As bellwether Forsters opens the 2018/19 financial reporting season in the UK announcing steady revenue growth, we ask law firm leaders for a progress report

A decent year

‘We don’t have an enormous exposure to M&A. It makes up about 10% of our business, but the sense is people are getting used to the new normal. No one really knows what is going on with Brexit, but they’re just getting on with it and there are deals out there. I dislike the phrase cautious optimism, but it’s been a decent year. The challenge for firms will be finding active clients; we have been looking further afield than we would have done years ago.’

Paul Roberts, managing partner, Forsters Continue reading “The Last Word – Best foot forward”

The Last Word – Global London perspectives from inside the shark tank

The Last Word – Global London perspectives from inside the shark tank

To mark the launch of our 2019 Global London report, we ask senior management at the leading US firms in London for a progress update

Brexitproof

‘Milbank does not just have stellar transactional practices: a very significant component of the London office are countercyclical businesses such as restructuring and litigation. They are among the strongest performers. At some point the economy may deteriorate, but we have positioned ourselves to thrive in good and bad conditions.’

Julian Stait, London co-managing partner, Milbank Continue reading “The Last Word – Global London perspectives from inside the shark tank”

The Last Word: Opportunity knocks

The Last Word: Opportunity knocks

The deal market tailed off at the end of 2018 after a generally resilient year. Here we ask the City’s leading corporate players for their prognosis on 2019

Powder dry

‘2018 started with a bang, but overall it was a tale of two halves. With competition for assets pushing valuations to eye-watering levels, investor fatigue and a degree of scepticism around the value-creating potential of M&A also took a toll. Looking forward to 2019, many of the factors that supported activity last year remain relevant. These include global growth, strong balance sheets, affordable debt and plenty of dry PE powder. But it’s hard to see 2019 topping 2018. We don’t expect a major correction, but we do anticipate a dip.’
Bob Bishop, co-chair of corporate, DLA Piper Continue reading “The Last Word: Opportunity knocks”

The Last Word: The clients’ view

The Last Word: The clients’ view

Interviewed for our in-house lawyer survey, some leading general counsel give their views on ethics, law firm engagement and technology

Great expectations

‘There’s no question that stakeholders and the population at large have higher expectations of ethical conduct by companies and that this is only going to increase. Some of that will manifest itself as greater regulation. In-house functions play a greater role in ethical matters. It’s not just advising on legal issues – in-house functions can play a leading role in ensuring companies continue to follow the ethical path.’
Richard Price, group general counsel, Anglo American Continue reading “The Last Word: The clients’ view”

The Last Word: The hard path to enlightenment

The Last Word: The hard path to enlightenment

As part of our autumn tech special, we asked partners, innovation heads and CIOs to give a pragmatic take on the state of law firm tech

Just do it

‘In the next year or two, people will stop talking about AI and just use it. AI will just be embedded in the way firms work – like computers or emails. I don’t think in the long term we’ll have the situation where AI alone gives some firms a sustainable competitive advantage over others.’
Kevin Harris, director of IT, Taylor Wessing Continue reading “The Last Word: The hard path to enlightenment”

The Last Word: One way or another

The Last Word: One way or another

From retaining talent to going public, LB100 leaders give their take on how to survive in an age of disruption

Go big

‘The markets are pretty buoyant in terms of legal services despite all the economic and political disruption out there. It was a particularly good year if you are global and full service. Anecdotally, I talk to lots of managing partners and the firms that have had a harder time I tend to think of as being quite niche or quite local to a particular country or market. The broader you can be geographically and from a service point of view, the better you’ve done.’
Simon Levine, global co-chief executive and managing partner, DLA Piper Continue reading “The Last Word: One way or another”

The Last Word: The Big Long

The Last Word: The Big Long

From Trump and Brexit to debt and tech, we ask Global 100 leaders for their assessment of a turbulent 12 months

Trouble ahead

‘Confidence is pretty high, but there are some significant challenges ahead. The growth of tech is going to have a transformational impact, which is going to increase in velocity over the next year or two. At some point we are due for a recession. It is going to happen soon and Trump’s trade war could provoke it.’
Peter Martyr, global chief executive, Norton Rose Fulbright Continue reading “The Last Word: The Big Long”

The Last Word: Generation Next

The Last Word: Generation Next

As part of our partnership special, we asked young partners and managers alike for their take on the latest wave of partners coming through

Buck stops here

‘The biggest change for me when becoming partner was this immediate sense of responsibility – a responsibility to retain and attract talent, and to bring in interesting work. Suddenly you are supervising work and the buck stops with you. I miss the gossip! You got all the gossip when you were an associate, but when you become a partner people don’t want to gossip with you that much.’
Nicole Jadeja, partner, Fieldfisher Continue reading “The Last Word: Generation Next”

The last word: New order

The last word: New order

As part of our technology special, we canvass the experts and ask where the legal start-up market is headed

Most will fail

‘1,400 legal tech companies are not going to succeed. This is the normal curve for any disruption of an industry: we’re going to see failures and people abandoning software, you’re going to see a consolidation phase. I see some of these failures freaking people out, but that’s normal. Lawyers have to understand in early-stage entrepreneurship most companies don’t make it. Failure is not investing in a little company that went under; it’s the portfolio not generating an overall great return.’
Dan Jansen, chief executive, Nextlaw Ventures Continue reading “The last word: New order”