Comment: The Global 100 – so much for the City comeback as US leaders land the big blows

Comment: The Global 100 – so much for the City comeback as US leaders land the big blows

Having spent a reasonable chunk of my pundit duties over the last three years noting significant shifts against London’s elite on the global stage, I confess I had expected financial results this year to break that pattern with City leaders managing a more confident showing. Particularly as the Global 100 firms collectively grew revenues by 5% to $92.7bn, while profits increased 7% to $36.43bn.

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Momentum – the little-discussed magic that can lead to legal success

Momentum – the little-discussed magic that can lead to legal success

Momentum versus quality. That’s the question for the upper reaches of the legal industry that is never on the lips of managing partners but probably should be. The industry likes to focus on partnership models, strategies, practices, geographic spread and culture. These are all fine up to a point but as major determinants of success, they get too much air time. But momentum – well, the impact of that is dramatically, empirically startling in law. When firms have it they are capable of achieving staggering levels of growth and market repositioning.

Momentum can come as focused application of a counter-intuitive playbook – Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Latham & Watkins, Clyde & Co or Mishcon de Reya. It can come in the form of aggressive expansion via mergers and lateral recruitment, as seen in the emergence of DLA Piper. But look at what firms can achieve if they have it. Quinn Emanuel, for example, was the fastest-growing firm in the Global 100, with revenues growing by 163% in just five years. Continue reading “Momentum – the little-discussed magic that can lead to legal success”

Global 100 Overview – Heavyweights

Global 100 Overview – Heavyweights

A busy US deal market saw rainmakers pack a bigger punch than ever at the world’s largest law firms but the contest remains tough for aspiring firms. Legal Business separates the champs from the contenders.

Linklaters managing partner Simon Davies chooses his words carefully when describing his partnership’s feelings on the City giant’s performance in 2014/15: ‘they appear content’. The Magic Circle collectively went into the financial year with considerable hopes of rekindling their momentum after a long grind through the post-banking crisis wilderness.

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Global 100: New York report – City heat

Global 100: New York report – City heat

Legal Business took a tour of New York for our Global 100 special and found Wall Street’s elite in a confident mood amid robust deal markets and the ongoing regulatory push.

New York, June 2015. Once the summer arrives in Manhattan, everyone wants to leave – to head upstate or to the Atlantic Coast. Anything to escape the oppressive heat. But among the city’s top-performing law firms, the mood is hot but not bothered. The nine months since Legal Business last visited the Big Apple have brought favourable conditions.

In 2014, the 20 firms in the LB100 that are predominately New York-based amassed $17.03bn at an average revenue per lawyer of $1.2m – well ahead of the Global 100 average and those of the first and second quartiles.

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Global 100: Clifford Chance – The shoulders of giants

Global 100: Clifford Chance – The shoulders of giants

The trailblazing global law firm has had more than its share of knocks since the banking crisis. Will a popular new leader and strategic shake-up help Clifford Chance regain the magic?

‘There seems to be a point at every lunch and every cocktail party where the conversation turns to Clifford Chance. It always happens with conspiratorial whispers and knowing laughter, lawyers in City firms recount the latest tittle-tattle about the second largest firm in the world…

‘Why are people so obsessed with Clifford Chance? Because it is big? Because the lawyers are aggressive? Because the firm challenges City convention? Or it is because they are pioneers? Whether competitors know it or not, Clifford Chance has become a marker by which they measure themselves.’

Legal Business, June 1993

Continue reading “Global 100: Clifford Chance – The shoulders of giants”

Global 100: Clifford Chance – The shoulders of giants

Global 100: Clifford Chance – The shoulders of giants

The trailblazing global law firm has had more than its share of knocks since the banking crisis. Will a popular new leader and strategic shake-up help Clifford Chance regain the magic?

‘There seems to be a point at every lunch and every cocktail party where the conversation turns to Clifford Chance. It always happens with conspiratorial whispers and knowing laughter, lawyers in City firms recount the latest tittle-tattle about the second largest firm in the world…

‘Why are people so obsessed with Clifford Chance? Because it is big? Because the lawyers are aggressive? Because the firm challenges City convention? Or it is because they are pioneers? Whether competitors know it or not, Clifford Chance has become a marker by which they measure themselves.’

Legal Business, June 1993

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Global 100: The regional view – Stick and move

Global 100: The regional view – Stick and move

2014 saw US firms continue to build on a solid home base but extend their reach in Europe, Asia and Africa. As clients seek to consolidate their law firm panels internationally, the Global 100 continue to slug it out.

‘The last 18 months have seen clients increasingly want to internationalise panels – not just country panels, but want to review which firms they are using in each country and assess whether this can be streamlined to use [fewer] firms that can cover more jurisdictions,’ says Hogan Lovells chief executive Stephen Immelt. ‘Rather than have ten different firms, they want five, so they can have greater consistency and more leverage in terms of pricing.’

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The Global 100: so much for the City comeback as US leaders land the big blows

The Global 100: so much for the City comeback as US leaders land the big blows

Having spent a reasonable chunk of my pundit duties over the last three years noting significant shifts against London’s elite on the global stage, I confess I had expected financial results this year to break that pattern with City leaders managing a more confident showing.

Unfortunately for London’s finest and my own credibility, that expectation has proved plain wrong because the City’s big four have just posted their most indifferent collective performance since the wipe-out of 2008/09.

True, a weakening euro made the performance look a little softer than it actually was (though a rebound in sterling flattered their results in our Global 100 ranking) but it has still been a very subdued result given a firmer UK economy, masses of cheap debt sloshing around and robust levels of cross-border activity. Continue reading “The Global 100: so much for the City comeback as US leaders land the big blows”