Global London Overview – Vantage points

Global London Overview – Vantage points

A group of elite firms using their vast resources to further reinforce in the City; a larger group suffering attrition or stasis as their presence wanes – 2019 proved to be another year of diverging fortunes for international firms in London. When you add to the mix that the leading brands have seen UK revenue outstrip global growth once more, at first glance it all seems a continuation of last year’s narrative.

However, the story is not as straightforward. True, overall lawyer count among the Global London 50 reached 7,434 – a steady 4% increase on last year. But compared to 2018’s 7% growth (or 15% if you include Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP)’s debut), the advance of foreign advisers in the City has slowed as their outposts mature. Continue reading “Global London Overview – Vantage points”

Heavy hangs the crown – Can Latham remain the global firm to beat?

Heavy hangs the crown – Can Latham remain the global firm to beat?

Early March 2018 looked like the best of times to be a lawyer at Latham & Watkins. At the end of February the Los Angeles-bred giant had become the first law firm to report revenues above $3bn. This distinction crowned two decades in which it had been the most upwardly mobile firm in BigLaw, smoothly transitioning from West Coast challenger to global trailblazer, upsetting established hierarchies in New York and London along the way.

But by the end of the month, its 700 partners spread across 30 offices throughout the world were to get an email summoning them to a conference call. Latham’s two vice-chairs Richard Trobman and Ora Fisher informed the global partnership that the firm’s executive committee had accepted the resignation of global chair and managing partner, William Voge. Only three years into his role, Voge was leaving with immediate effect following a series of ‘voluntary disclosures’ relating to personal conduct. Continue reading “Heavy hangs the crown – Can Latham remain the global firm to beat?”

Letter from Manhattan – The $6.4m question

Letter from Manhattan – The $6.4m question

‘Not everybody gets corrupted. You have to have a little faith in people.’ The parting shot from Woody Allen’s iconic 1979 film Manhattan resonates among the Wall Street elite lamenting the increasing lure of megabucks within even the most clubby of partnerships.

In a legal community renowned for its glacial pace of change, New York has recently seen its share of upheaval, triggered by headline-grabbing paychecks testing faith in patrician partnership models. Continue reading “Letter from Manhattan – The $6.4m question”

Quinn closes NY office after partner tests positive for coronavirus

Quinn closes NY office after partner tests positive for coronavirus

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has temporarily closed its New York office after a partner tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

The partner has been absent from the office since early March due to the virus, with the firm instructing staff to work remotely from March 9 to March 13 as a result. It is now tracking down individuals who have been in contact with the partner in previous days. Continue reading “Quinn closes NY office after partner tests positive for coronavirus”

The head, the tail, the whole damn thing: UK firms suffer again as Global London sharks circle

The head, the tail, the whole damn thing: UK firms suffer again as Global London sharks circle

With recent financial results displaying the added bite of US firms in the City, it appears their approach to the lateral recruitment market will continue to be just as aggressive. Paul Hastings continued to signal its M&A ambitions with the hire of Steven Bryan from Hogan Lovells, while Latham & Watkins proved again it is one of the biggest predators of the City elite after hiring Linklaters insurance partner Victoria Sander.

For Paul Hastings, the hire of Bryan is of little surprise. The firm has made no secret of its ambition to strengthen in public M&A and private equity, as seen last spring with the hires of Roger Barron from Linklaters and private equity star Anu Balasubramanian from DLA Piper. The addition of Bryan, meanwhile, sees another highly-rated M&A practitioner leave for a US firm – an area widely considered the last bastion of the institutional City firms. Continue reading “The head, the tail, the whole damn thing: UK firms suffer again as Global London sharks circle”

‘A third way’: Taylor Wessing enters alliance with West Coast leader Wilson Sonsini

‘A third way’: Taylor Wessing enters alliance with West Coast leader Wilson Sonsini

Marco Cillario assesses Taylor Wessing’s alliance with Silicon Valley royalty Wilson Sonsini as RPC forges US insurance partnership

While the issue of securing a meaningful US footprint for many UK-bred firms endures, Taylor Wessing UK managing partner Shane Gleghorn claims his firm has found the way to gain transatlantic coverage without a complicated merger. Continue reading “‘A third way’: Taylor Wessing enters alliance with West Coast leader Wilson Sonsini”

Global London: The Big Long – Inside Sidley’s daring attempt to relaunch as a private equity leader

Global London: The Big Long – Inside Sidley’s daring attempt to relaunch as a private equity leader

Summer 2015. Four US lawyers meet at Nobu restaurant in London. Sidley Austin management committee chair Larry Barden and Europe head George Petrow have invited two City-based lifers from long-time Chicago rival Kirkland & Ellis: private equity (PE) partners Erik Dahl and Christian Iwasko. On the table is a plan to shake up Sidley’s loss-making London operation by building a PE practice from scratch. Dahl and Iwasko are sceptical, but their patience with Kirkland has been worn thin by its latest round of top-dollar hires.

A few weeks later, Dahl and Iwasko sneak out of a Kirkland partner conference in Chicago to meet Barden and Petrow again. Doubt is giving way to enthusiasm: Sidley is prepared to invest an eye-catching sum and give the duo free reign. Six months later, the deal is signed. Dahl, Iwasko and four other London partners join Sidley in February 2016. Continue reading “Global London: The Big Long – Inside Sidley’s daring attempt to relaunch as a private equity leader”

Global London overview – Sharks in the fish pond

Global London overview – Sharks in the fish pond

In last year’s Global London overview, attention focused on three non-UK firms with more than 400 lawyers in the City. Now, the 500-lawyer barrier has been broken by Baker McKenzie and two rivals are not far behind. Many US firms are achieving London headcount and revenue growth that is leaving worldwide performance for 2018 – which in itself has been strong overall – trailing in its wake.

Global London firms now have more than 7,000 lawyers in the City, 61% more than in 2008, the year Lehman collapsed. But the Global London top 50 in 2019 is again polarised by either dramatic expansion or significant decline – few firms have remained static. Continue reading “Global London overview – Sharks in the fish pond”

Marching on – A Global London debate exploring the progress and prospects for US leaders

Marching on – A Global London debate exploring the progress and prospects for US leaders

Marco Cillario, Legal Business: Are US firms in London about to reach a maturity that means we will see less growth and movement of partners?

James Roome, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: If you look at the underlying business that came here from the States – for instance, growth of the high-yield bond market, which went from nil to $50bn in the late nineties – a lot of American firms had very strong business from the US, which gave lots of knock-on opportunities. Do I think the growth of the American finance and corporate base into Europe and the UK will continue? Yes. Most of the bigger US firms will benefit from that. Continue reading “Marching on – A Global London debate exploring the progress and prospects for US leaders”