Offshore: Deal or no deal?

Offshore: Deal or no deal?

Protracted arguments over Brexit have led a divided Britain to the point of exhaustion. In the months leading up to the June 2016 referendum, offshore firms were concerned about the potential impact of a ‘Yes’ vote – although perhaps less so than some of their onshore counterparts. Even before the financial crisis, there had been a continued diversification by larger firms in the major offshore jurisdictions away from a reliance on the UK economy.

Since the referendum, offshore firms in the British Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories have been dealing with the problems of continued uncertainty that Brexit has created for their clients and advising them in relation to investment opportunities that may arise once it is eventually resolved. Continue reading “Offshore: Deal or no deal?”

The LB100 Comment: UK legal elite shows resilience amid the ominous haze

The LB100 Comment: UK legal elite shows resilience amid the 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 “The LB100 Comment: UK legal elite shows resilience amid the ominous haze”

Victory for Mishcon and Blackstone heavyweight as Supreme Court rules Parliamentary suspension unlawful

Victory for Mishcon and Blackstone heavyweight as Supreme Court rules Parliamentary suspension unlawful

Mischon de Reya and Blackstone Chambers are among the legal reputations seeing a significant boost this morning after securing a historic victory in the Supreme Court challenge to the suspension of Parliament by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Unveiling its verdict this morning (24 September), president of the Supreme Court Lady Hale said that the advice given to the Queen to suspend Parliament was ‘unlawful, void and of no effect’, leaving it to Commons’ speaker John Bercow to decide whether to recall MPs immediately. The much-awaited decision was handed down unanimously by 11 Supreme Court judges. Continue reading “Victory for Mishcon and Blackstone heavyweight as Supreme Court rules Parliamentary suspension unlawful”

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

Comment: 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 “Comment: A no-deal outlook and the law – time for pragmatic pessimism”

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?”