Hope floats for City listing overhaul but American audacity is vital

Hope floats for City listing overhaul but American audacity is vital

City business has had cause to take heart in recent months with a clear display of political will behind an overhaul of UK listing rules that could see London shake off its Brexit and pandemic woes and reassert itself as a global financial hub. Our Global London report finds US and European firms alike concerned about the status of their London offices now that Brexit is a hard reality.

Proposals set out in the UK Listing Review in March, led by Lord Hill, will particularly pique the interest of anyone tracking the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) market. Indeed, the ubiquity of those deals has made them difficult to miss. There has been much talk of London jumping on the bandwagon in a fit of FOMO as other listing destinations, especially the US and Amsterdam, pile into that frothy market with gusto. However, to say that London has been lagging competitors in the US, Europe and Asia for too long is an understatement, and any shake-up to expedite parity with peers has not come a moment too soon. Continue reading “Hope floats for City listing overhaul but American audacity is vital”

The work from home dilemma – get creative

The work from home dilemma – get creative

If 2020 was about surviving coronavirus and lockdown, 2021 is most certainly about rebuilding and making up for lost time. With the Covid-19 vaccine rollout progressing well, and pubs and shops reopening ahead of a supposed return to normality by late June, going back to the office is becoming a reality.

As The Legal 500 UK editor Georgina Stanley points out in ‘Living at work’, the past year has seen the stigma that working from home is less productive than long office hours eradicated, but we have also lost the benefits of spontaneous social interaction with clients and colleagues and the ease of separation between work and home life. As for the younger generation of lawyers, they are suffering from a lack of face time with clients and partners, losing out on crucial training and development. Continue reading “The work from home dilemma – get creative”

Guest comment: The post-pandemic recruitment race

Guest comment: The post-pandemic recruitment race

Nathan Peart, managing director at Major, Lindsey & Africa, says firms must become flexible or lose their best associates.

Without much choice, the legal industry got flexible last year. Even firms that snubbed working from home pre-pandemic had to get on board. Through the lens of recruitment, this has laid bare the realities of law firm life – without the fancy offices, wining and dining and team camaraderie, associates have reflected on the core of their job and what they get in return for mounting workloads and blurring lines between work and home. Many are questioning whether their firm is all it is cracked up to be. Continue reading “Guest comment: The post-pandemic recruitment race”

Guest comment: the global/local leadership conundrum

Guest comment: the global/local leadership conundrum

Leading a professional firm with offices spread across multiple countries always creates a tension between global and local priorities. Professor Laura Empson and David Morley argue that what feels like a leadership challenge, is actually a deeper and very human struggle.

In our podcast –Leading Professional People – and in these blogs, we find ourselves frequently grappling with a timeless and very human paradox that sits right at the centre of what it means to lead a professional firm. Continue reading “Guest comment: the global/local leadership conundrum”

Learning from the ghosts of decades past

Learning from the ghosts of decades past

Although it seems like I’ve been around forever, I wasn’t here when Legal Business first hit desks in January 1990. I was probably listening to Soul II Soul’s Club Classics Vol. One, worrying about my 16th birthday and GCSEs coming up that summer.

I joined Legalease in the autumn of 1997 amid a very vibrant time for the UK and its legal market. We were just a couple of months into the heady days of New Labour; the accountants were all over Big Law; and the Magic Circle firms were rampaging all over Europe. Continue reading “Learning from the ghosts of decades past”

Depressing end to Weinstein gagging order narrative means closure for none

Depressing end to Weinstein gagging order narrative means closure for none

The whimpering conclusion to the three-year saga that dragged City law into the middle of #MeToo could hardly have been more frustrating for everyone concerned.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) announced in January that it had decided to stay proceedings against Allen & Overy employment veteran Mark Mansell (aka Solicitor Z) relating to a non-disclosure agreement drawn up for disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 1998. The grounds for the decision were that Mansell’s ill health meant that continuing with a trial posed a significant risk to his life. Continue reading “Depressing end to Weinstein gagging order narrative means closure for none”

Guest comment: Whatever happened to the heroes?

Guest comment: Whatever happened to the heroes?

Traditional leadership models suggest people hanker for a hero in time of crisis. That’s an unfamiliar and uncomfortable role for law firm leaders say Professor Laura Empson and David Morley

What do people look for in their leaders when crisis strikes – especially one as profoundly disconcerting, enduring and uncertain as the current Covid-19 pandemic? Continue reading “Guest comment: Whatever happened to the heroes?”

Not a roaring start to the 2020s but bravery is key

Not a roaring start to the 2020s but bravery is key

The ink was barely dry on our cover feature at the start of this year – an upbeat look at how the UK profession will evolve through the 2020s following a bruising decade – when a global pandemic hit. Despite an apocalyptic lockdown year, the piece – ‘The vision thing’ – has aged well and makes for interesting reading in the context of what has happened. But any optimism to be gleaned from our predictions for a resurgent legal profession over the next decade has been tempered in the current climate.

But as the Roaring Twenties came to an abrupt end in 1929 with the Wall Street Crash, so can we hope that this decade can work in reverse. It has started with a crisis but law firms, hardened by more than a decade of conditioning and resilience, are better placed to pick themselves up and dust themselves down. Continue reading “Not a roaring start to the 2020s but bravery is key”

Failings in Beckwith prosecution undermine #MeToo fight and muzzle regulator

Failings in Beckwith prosecution undermine #MeToo fight and muzzle regulator

The High Court ruling in November that overturned the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT)’s finding against ex-Freshfields partner Ryan Beckwith has sent shockwaves reverberating around the profession.

In the unlikely event that the substance of the ruling has escaped anyone, the Queen’s Bench Division’s judgment reversed the SDT’s October 2019 findings that Beckwith’s drunken sexual activity with an intoxicated associate breached Principles 2 and 6 of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)’s code of conduct, reversed his £35,000 fine and quashed the £200,000 costs order. Continue reading “Failings in Beckwith prosecution undermine #MeToo fight and muzzle regulator”