Brexit looms yet City law tilts further towards US leaders

Brexit looms yet City law tilts further towards US leaders

Striking numbers abound in this year’s Global London table, if you are into that kind of thing. The three pace-setting US brands in London – Latham & Watkins, Kirkland & Ellis and White & Case – are all generating in the $300m region in the Square Mile, last year saw the first $10m lateral and my back-of-the-envelope scribbling indicates that the top 50 US firms are comfortably pulling in over $5bn in the UK.

The market is increasingly now defined by this trio, predictably so in the case of Latham, though City lawyers are still trying to get their heads around the idea of Kirkland and White & Case as mounting a frontal challenge. A few years ago, I’d have been equally sceptical, particularly in the latter’s case, but if there is a glaring hole in the game plan of these two outfits, they are hiding it well. With all three making ground in mainstream transactional work through 2017 and securing significant hires – the idea that certain kinds of M&A will remain the preserve of City advisers over the next three years looks fanciful.

Continue reading “Brexit looms yet City law tilts further towards US leaders”

Former City solicitor Gauke becomes fourth Justice Secretary in two years amid latest Cabinet reshuffle

Former City solicitor Gauke becomes fourth Justice Secretary in two years amid latest Cabinet reshuffle

In a stunning blow to traditionalists, the latest government reshuffle has seen a lawyer appointed as the UK’s new Justice Secretary, with minister David Gauke transferring from Work and Pensions to take over from David Lidington.

Lidington lasted all of six months as Lord Chancellor, having been last year drafted in to replace the gaffe-prone Elizabeth Truss before this week being transferred to the Cabinet Office. The appointment of the former City solicitor Gauke makes him the fourth Justice Secretary since Michael Gove stepped down ahead of the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign and the sixth in eight years under two Conservative-led administrations. Continue reading “Former City solicitor Gauke becomes fourth Justice Secretary in two years amid latest Cabinet reshuffle”

Bristows points to Brexit as TMT specialist launches first-ever international office in Brussels

Bristows points to Brexit as TMT specialist launches first-ever international office in Brussels

The impact of Britain’s exit from the EU on the international strategy of City firms is still largely obscure – those announcing Dublin launches since the referendum have sought to play down the role of Brexit in their decision.

But Bristowsʼ joint managing partner Marek Petecki is clear: the rationale for launching the firm’s first international office in its 180-year history ‘is about addressing the challenges of Brexit’. Continue reading “Bristows points to Brexit as TMT specialist launches first-ever international office in Brussels”

The Brexit effect: Bristows to open first international office in 180-year history with Brussels launch

The Brexit effect: Bristows to open first international office in 180-year history with Brussels launch

Technology and life sciences specialist Bristows is to open in Brussels next year in a move that underlines the impact of Brexit on City stalwarts.

In what will be its first move overseas in its 180-year history, Bristows’ EU regulatory and competition lawyers will be using the new office from March 2018 as a base for representing international clients on EU law, with the firm currently not planning to recruit any new partners to work there full-time. Continue reading “The Brexit effect: Bristows to open first international office in 180-year history with Brussels launch”

Irresistible forces

Irresistible forces

Alex Novarese, Legal Business: Looking at the top of the market, how is buying behaviour changing?

Donny Ching, Royal Dutch Shell: I see increasing sophistication in sourcing legal services. I am sure you all have experienced tenders and reverse tenders. More corporates are looking at using different tools, also driven by the contracting and procurement [C&P] organisation. Procuring legal services used to be the last bastion, where C&P could not touch. That is changing. We hired our own pricing analyst sourcing officer a couple of years ago. He has done phenomenal work and opened our eyes to what is possible. Continue reading “Irresistible forces”

The LB100: Forex flatters market leaders but most struggle to find their form in another tough year

The LB100: Forex flatters market leaders but most struggle to find their form in another tough year

LB100 firms weather initial Brexit turbulence but good times remain a distant memory

Flattered by turbulent forex markets, the UK’s largest law firms outperformed smaller rivals in the Legal Business 100 (LB100), as the group weathered economic and political headwinds through 2016/17 to eke out an ultimately indifferent performance. Continue reading “The LB100: Forex flatters market leaders but most struggle to find their form in another tough year”

Legal Business 100 overview: Your story

Legal Business 100 overview: Your story

This year’s Legal Business 100 coincides with the most inauspicious of anniversaries after a year with the most inauspicious of beginnings. A decade since the start of the global financial crisis and just over a year since the result of the Brexit referendum, the perception is that political and economic uncertainty has ultimately had little impact on the performance of top 100 UK law firms. Particularly on those at the top.

The drama has been well documented. UK and European markets continued to show resilience, mainly aided by foreign investment, despite the last financial year starting off with six to eight weeks of post-referendum impact. By Christmas, transactional practices were upbeat and grew stronger into 2017. Then article 50 was triggered just before the end of the financial year and unease settled in again. Continue reading “Legal Business 100 overview: Your story”

A long time in politics

A long time in politics

Oh for the days when politics was the last thing on the minds of City advisers. For years, British politics was an ignored backdrop for a legal profession used to a globalist, free-market agenda since the 1980s. How quaint such times seem in a national economy and City now overshadowed by Brexit and a convulsing political dynamic in a country once famed for stable one-party government.

Teaming up with NatWest, Legal Business gathered a group of senior City lawyers on the evening of the UK’s general election on 8 June to gauge what is on the agenda for the UK’s largest law firms. If nothing else it was striking how concerned – and disenchanted – City lawyers have become with the political classes and uncertainty… even speaking just hours before it became clear that the Conservative government was to lose its working majority. Continue reading “A long time in politics”

The last word: A period of drama

The last word: A period of drama

From living with Brexit to harnessing technology, Legal Business 100 leaders state what must be done to thrive

HARD CHOICES NECESSARY

‘We’ve been building on our strengths and worrying less about the things we don’t do but other firms do. We’ve been forced to make choices that we didn’t have to ten years ago because it isn’t viable anymore to do everything or pretend to do everything. Not even the Magic Circle can do that. It is about identifying where you want to play and focusing on that.’

Jeremy Hoyland, managing partner, Simmons & Simmons Continue reading “The last word: A period of drama”