LB100 drives income up 9% to £26.35bn but fears mount of a chaotic no-deal as Brexit fallout spreads

LB100 drives income up 9% to £26.35bn but fears mount of a chaotic no-deal as Brexit fallout spreads

With daily headlines reminding the City of the Brexit-induced crisis engulfing the UK, the Legal Business 100 (LB100) has shrugged off the pervasive uncertainty to post another year of robust growth.

Amid the increasing probability of the UK facing a wrenching ‘no-deal’ exit from the EU on the looming 31 October deadline, the LB100 results show the UK’s leading law firms driving collective revenues up 9% to £26.35bn. Continue reading “LB100 drives income up 9% to £26.35bn but fears mount of a chaotic no-deal as Brexit fallout spreads”

A no-deal outlook and the law – time for pragmatic pessimism

A no-deal outlook and the law – time for pragmatic pessimism

We go to press with Parliament locked in battle with the Government over threats to take the UK into a ‘no-deal’ exit from the European Union (EU). I’m not going to offer political predictions but we are clearly at the point where a disorderly exit from the EU is a very real prospect for the country and the profession.

The good news is that the largest UK law firms feel confident they can largely mitigate the immediate impact of no-deal, even with the abrupt end of EU rights to practise that have been such a boon. This is because potentially obstructive Bars in key markets in France and Germany have been kept onside and UK lawyers feel that other decent workaround options are available (see pages 12-13). With leading UK firms also having substantial foreign operations, including the Legal Business 100 having 19% of their lawyers in mainland Europe, and rapidly increasing their ranks of Irish-registered solicitors, the large outfits at least are braced. The Law Society recently issued research arguing a no-deal would knock 10% off the value of the UK legal market, equivalent to more than £3bn, and costing 10,000 jobs. Most law firm leaders see such predictions as excessive – a scepticism I share – though the industry does believe such an exit would be damaging. Continue reading “A no-deal outlook and the law – time for pragmatic pessimism”

LB100: Legal elite shows resilience amid ominous haze

LB100: Legal elite shows resilience amid ominous haze

It is a measure of how fast-moving the Brexit-dominated landscape now is that imagery in this year’s Legal Business 100 (LB100) is dominated by Conrad, Castro and Coppola as the summer months have moved to rapidly challenge notions of how Britain works. One of the most stable and predictable major economies in the world has been locked into a mounting political conflict more akin to a banana republic than the Mother of Parliaments. Sooner or later Westminster drama on this scale will spill into a real economy that already contracted in the second quarter.

And yet, the UK’s largest law firms have endured another 12 months of uncertainty and ominous haze with impressive resilience, pushing revenues up 9% to £26.35bn, one of the better years of all-round performance since the banking crisis. And though a handful of mergers flatter that headline figure, 28 firms managed double-digit revenue growth, showing that plenty of UK firms are thriving in these challenging conditions. Continue reading “LB100: Legal elite shows resilience amid ominous haze”

LB100 drives income up 9% to £26.35bn but fears mount of a chaotic no-deal as Brexit fallout spreads

LB100 drives income up 9% to £26.35bn but fears mount of a chaotic no-deal as Brexit fallout spreads

With daily headlines reminding the City of the Brexit-induced crisis engulfing the UK, the Legal Business 100 (LB100) has shrugged off the pervasive uncertainty to post another year of robust growth.

Amid the increasing probability of the UK facing a wrenching ‘no-deal’ exit from the EU on the looming 31 October deadline, the LB100 results show the UK’s leading law firms driving collective revenues up 9% to £26.35bn. Continue reading “LB100 drives income up 9% to £26.35bn but fears mount of a chaotic no-deal as Brexit fallout spreads”

Dealing with no deal – Can top law firms cope with a chaotic Brexit?

Dealing with no deal – Can top law firms cope with a chaotic Brexit?

Simon Davis has had quite a start to his one-year term as the 175th president of the Law Society of England and Wales. Taking office just a few weeks before Boris Johnson was appointed Prime Minister in July, the Clifford Chance (CC) litigation partner faced the reality of a nation that was heading for a cliff-edge exit from the EU, with major potential disruption for its legal industry.

With the new Conservative government promising to deliver Brexit on 31 October – ‘do or die’ – and the path to a withdrawal agreement with the bloc getting narrower by the day, the prospect of a disorderly exit has rapidly become a realistic possibility. Continue reading “Dealing with no deal – Can top law firms cope with a chaotic Brexit?”

Brexit vs Dicey – The constitutional lawyer’s view on these strange days

Brexit vs Dicey – The constitutional lawyer’s view on these strange days

With Brexit entrenching divisions, Britain’s patchwork constitution is being increasingly pitted against political upheaval. Do legal experts see crisis brewing?

Britain has developed an uncharacteristically laid-back attitude to constitutional change, with once-rare reforms to the UK’s ad hoc democratic settlement coming at a startling pace in recent years. The previous Labour administration ushered in varying degrees of devolution in Scotland and Wales, before in 2003 pulling the UK’s highest court out of the House of Lords and into the new Supreme Court (tacked on was reform of the Lord Chancellor’s historic role). The process of further EU integration under the Maastricht Treaty, not to mention Labour’s 1998 Human Rights Act, which gave domestic force to the European Convention on Human Rights, also had significant impact. Continue reading “Brexit vs Dicey – The constitutional lawyer’s view on these strange days”

Challenging Brexit headwinds force City middleweights to look to Europe for growth

Challenging Brexit headwinds force City middleweights to look to Europe for growth

Thomas Alan assesses the early financial results in a tougher year for the UK’s chasing pack

The latest financial results from the UK’s mid-table firms show a more challenging economic environment is producing a lag on growth in the domestic market, as firms look to Europe to continue Brexit-proofing their growth. Continue reading “Challenging Brexit headwinds force City middleweights to look to Europe for growth”

Buckland becomes Justice Secretary as Johnson administration unveils Brexit-dominated team

Buckland becomes Justice Secretary as Johnson administration unveils Brexit-dominated team

The newly-installed British Government led by Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson will see a barrister take the role of Justice Secretary after Robert Buckland QC was appointed to replace David Gauke.

Johnson announced Buckland’s appointment on Wednesday (24 July) as part of the new Prime Minister’s sweeping cabinet shake-up that saw all but four of the senior ministers that served under his predecessor Theresa May resign or fired. Continue reading “Buckland becomes Justice Secretary as Johnson administration unveils Brexit-dominated team”

SRA shoots down Government plans for post-Brexit mutual recognition of legal qualifications

SRA shoots down Government plans for post-Brexit mutual recognition of legal qualifications

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has condemned a Government plan to mutually recognise international legal qualifications as part of post-Brexit trade deals.

The Department for International Trade had opened consultations on its tactics for free trade agreements (FTAs) with Australia, New Zealand, the USA and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Continue reading “SRA shoots down Government plans for post-Brexit mutual recognition of legal qualifications”