Ireland: No luck required

Ireland: No luck required

Legal Business’ last deep delve into the Irish legal market revealed a country on the rebound. Since the country’s exit from a bailout package cobbled together by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the island of Ireland had proven itself robust.

By 2019 that recovery looked even more assured: GDP grew a strong 5.5%, making it six consecutive years as Europe’s fastest-growing economy. For comparison, Hungary was closest last year to matching its pace with a growth of 4.9%. Sure, the persistent gnaw of uncertainty could be felt as Brexit loomed ever larger, but the feeling was after years of forewarning, Irish business was as prepared as it could be in the face of a tumultuous but manageable 2020. Continue reading “Ireland: No luck required”

Sponsors, pharma and tech fire up deal activity despite a subdued year for marquee M&A in Europe

Sponsors, pharma and tech fire up deal activity despite a subdued year for marquee M&A in Europe

A dearth of megadeals in 2019 did little to dampen the spirits of dealmakers with buyout teams capitalising on the ongoing private equity boom while wider pharma and tech deals drove bid activity.

On the face of it, headline figures from Mergermarket speak of a subdued year, with global M&A activity declining 6.9% from 2018 to $3.33trn. The picture in Europe was considerably more gloomy, with the continent seeing a 21.9% dive in total deal value to $770.5bn. Continue reading “Sponsors, pharma and tech fire up deal activity despite a subdued year for marquee M&A in Europe”

Letter from… Warsaw: Weil’s withdrawal from CEE marks a new phase, not the end, of international firms’ regional domination

Letter from… Warsaw: Weil’s withdrawal from CEE marks a new phase, not the end, of international firms’ regional domination

Neglected by foreign advisers for years, the Central and Eastern European (CEE) legal markets enjoyed a few moments of popularity in the press as the decade turned. Most notably, the once-formidable force in the region’s transactional space, Weil, Gotshal & Manges closed its three local branches in Budapest (January 2018), Prague (November 2018) and Warsaw (November 2019).

As the only major Wall Street firm with sizeable CEE coverage (excepting obviously White & Case’s very different model), there were specific reasons behind Weil’s withdrawal. These included a strategic move to focus on the key money centres (the firm also left the Middle East in 2017), a huge amount of local government-related work exposing it to the political turmoil and a large domestic client base not inclined to pay the fee levels demanded by the US elite. Continue reading “Letter from… Warsaw: Weil’s withdrawal from CEE marks a new phase, not the end, of international firms’ regional domination”

The Italian report – Midway upon the journey of our life

The Italian report – Midway upon the journey of our life

Visiting Milan at the end of 2019, it was striking that a map of law firms’ office addresses drawn up just the year before was no longer reliable: too many had moved, taken up larger premises… or no longer existed.

Finding our way to meetings with 20 partners at domestic and international firms, an unusual buzzword was emerging: consolidation. ‘There are too many Italian firms and there is not space for everyone, so they need to consolidate,’ argues one Milan-based partner of a foreign firm. Continue reading “The Italian report – Midway upon the journey of our life”

‘We’re taking proximate steps’: DAC doubles up in Madrid with 20-lawyer hire

‘We’re taking proximate steps’: DAC doubles up in Madrid with 20-lawyer hire

DAC Beachcroft is looking for further opportunities in Europe and South America after doubling the size of its Madrid office by combining with a three-partner insurance boutique.

The firm today (21 January) took on 20-lawyer outfit Asjusa, which focuses on professional liability and insurance in the healthcare sector, led by partners Eduardo Asensi Pallarés and Iñigo Cid-Luna Clares. The third partner joining is Julio Albi. Continue reading “‘We’re taking proximate steps’: DAC doubles up in Madrid with 20-lawyer hire”

Late to the party: Reed Smith hires partners from five firms for Brussels launch

Late to the party: Reed Smith hires partners from five firms for Brussels launch

Reed Smith has opened its fifth European office in Brussels, following the hire of five partners to the firm’s corporate group.

The partners all come from different firms, and will be joined by two associates and one counsel. The partners focus on competition/antitrust, with Brussels long being a hub for international firms’ competition work. Continue reading “Late to the party: Reed Smith hires partners from five firms for Brussels launch”

Letter from… Amsterdam: Dutch lawyers find a deft balance amid testing times in cross-border trade

Letter from… Amsterdam: Dutch lawyers find a deft balance amid testing times in cross-border trade

The secret to making your country attractive to foreign investors at a time when populism is reshaping global politics and protectionism is on the march? A stable and business-friendly government, an open society, a well-trained and internationally-minded workforce, and reliable infrastructure are not bad places to start.

And, luckily for Amsterdam’s legal elite, the Netherlands has them all. ‘In these uncertain times, the country has been able to show some stability and that’s appealing,’ says Allen & Overy (A&O)’s local senior partner Brechje van der Velden. ‘Its attractiveness was and still is its reliability – multinationals having security for the future,’ notes Baker McKenzie’s Kim Tan. ‘We know what’s going to happen. The government is co-operative and transparent.’ Continue reading “Letter from… Amsterdam: Dutch lawyers find a deft balance amid testing times in cross-border trade”

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”

The Last Word: Elite forces

The Last Word: Elite forces

As part of our annual Euro Elite report, management at independent firms in Europe give their views on today’s market challenges

International focus

‘In 2017 we had a record performance. 2018 was a year of big investment to consolidate our development in Africa and the Middle East but we did it halfway through the year. We are going to continue and consolidate our strategy. A lot of attention and energy will be on the international development. Our strategy is still to become a leader in the Mediterranean area, Africa and the Middle East. For now we are optimistic but from the second half of 2018 we have seen a decrease of investment in M&A.’ Continue reading “The Last Word: Elite forces”