Talk of the town: Why Kirkland/Paul Weiss underlines the value of controlling the management message

Talk of the town: Why Kirkland/Paul Weiss underlines the value of controlling the management message

Clandestine conversations, a recruitment strategy on steroids, eye-watering salaries and internal politics galore, the Paul Weiss/Kirkland story has enough drama in it to keep the attention of even those outside the legal market.

For City partners, the interest in what’s going on has been off the scale. Continue reading “Talk of the town: Why Kirkland/Paul Weiss underlines the value of controlling the management message”

After the party – market slowdown pushes US leaders to take stock in London

After the party – market slowdown pushes US leaders to take stock in London

The easy narrative is that the party is over. After years of rapid expansion by international law firms in London, 2023 saw lawyer headcount at Global London firms inch up by just 1.8% – a figure which appears to provide confirmation that the City interlopers are finally starting to apply the brakes in London as deal volumes dry up.

And that narrative does bear up to scrutiny – to an extent. Last year more than half of the 50 Global London firms saw headcount in the capital flatline or decrease, and across the largest ten, combined headcount fell by 1%, with big firms such as White & Case, Baker McKenzie and Reed Smith all seeing London lawyer count dip. Continue reading “After the party – market slowdown pushes US leaders to take stock in London”

ChatGPT has drunk the Kool-Aid on A&O Shearman – let’s see what it makes of Paul Weiss

ChatGPT has drunk the Kool-Aid on A&O Shearman – let’s see what it makes of Paul Weiss

So much ink has been spilled over game-changing developments in recent weeks – namely the partnership vote in favour of the A&O Shearman deal, and Paul Weiss’ assault on the talent pools of the Square Mile – that it can be difficult to find an angle that isn’t hackneyed to within an inch of its life.

Nevertheless, a ring around senior contacts for a different take paid dividends, even if some of the suggestions are more about playing devil’s advocate and mischief-making. Continue reading “ChatGPT has drunk the Kool-Aid on A&O Shearman – let’s see what it makes of Paul Weiss”

Silence is not golden as Legal Business 100 firms need a different tune

Silence is not golden as Legal Business 100 firms need a different tune

A glance at our Legal Business 100 table this year shows the post-Covid, frothy corporate market conditions have finally come to an end. The significant number of red, downward pointing arrows for profit metrics in particular means the leaders of the top 100 firms by revenue in the UK have reason to be nervous.

The choice of a music chart theme for our report is no accident – this year has seen more movement up and down the table than there has been since the pandemic hit hard. Continue reading “Silence is not golden as Legal Business 100 firms need a different tune”

Women deal stars prove you can have it all – but don’t worry men, you are Kenough

Women deal stars prove you can have it all – but don’t worry men, you are Kenough

Chatting with a male managing partner recently about – what else – the hire of Kirkland’s debt superstar Neel Sachdev into Paul Weiss in London, talk eventually turned to the Barbie movie (obviously).

With the managing partner intending to see the film soon, I ask him to report back on whether he thinks its messaging is as anti-male as many critics have suggested. His reaction? ‘Isn’t it about time something was not all about how great men are, for a change?’ This is an interesting point, and segues us nicely into our cover feature this issue on the City’s standout women dealmakers, five years on from our influential ‘Alphas’ analysis. Continue reading “Women deal stars prove you can have it all – but don’t worry men, you are Kenough”

Paul Weiss’ hire of Kirkland rock star is the shake-up we didn’t know we needed

Paul Weiss’ hire of Kirkland rock star is the shake-up we didn’t know we needed

‘Paul Weiss hasn’t got enough partners in London for doubles ping pong!’ scoffed a senior source at the beginning of August when it emerged that the Wall Street powerhouse had lost its City managing partner, Alvaro Membrillera, to Kirkland & Ellis.

What a difference a few short weeks make. While the political skirmishes inside Kirkland that prompted the exit of private equity star Roger Johnson can only be guessed at – and, ringing around the market, there is no shortage of such rampant speculation – what followed has been nothing short of extraordinary. Continue reading “Paul Weiss’ hire of Kirkland rock star is the shake-up we didn’t know we needed”

The Last Word: Gender agenda

The Last Word: Gender agenda

‘Firms have to be flexible and acknowledge they may have fantastic senior associates who want to put their partnership ambitions on hold for a few years while they have a family.’ Isabella Roberts, Simmons & Simmons

Following on from our Alphas 2.0 feature, we ask female deal stars to talk about the challenges they have faced and still plague the industry today

Continue reading “The Last Word: Gender agenda”

Big Law’s diversity stats remain uninspiring – time to revisit the problem of social mobility

Big Law’s diversity stats remain uninspiring – time to revisit the problem of social mobility

As we go to press on Legal Businessthird annual ESG report, the data points gathered on firms’ ethnicity and gender diversity make for disheartening reading, not least because they are entirely predictable in their lack of substantive progress from last year.

In truth, the continued lack of engagement on diversity data as part of our ESG survey among many of the top 25 Legal Business 100 and top 25 Global London firms is wearing a little thin now. Continue reading “Big Law’s diversity stats remain uninspiring – time to revisit the problem of social mobility”