Global 100 debate: the view from the top

To mark this year’s Global 100 report, we gathered a group of senior figures at the top of Tower 42 to debate the big issues facing Big Law

Alex Novarese, Legal Business: How are market conditions looking now?

David Bickerton, Clifford Chance: Too early to tell. Clearly there was a pent-up demand leading up to the referendum in June. What is interesting is whether all the optimism that partners are feeling will manifest itself in transactions come the fourth quarter.

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Global 100: Branded – Inside the troubled takeover of SJ Berwin

Since merging with King & Wood Mallesons, legacy SJ Berwin has lurched from one disaster to the next. Can the firm recover?

A dire 2015 brought matters to a head at the firm now known as King & Wood Mallesons (KWM). On a wet and windy evening on 22 March, 24 partners from legacy SJ Berwin were hauled in front of global managing partner Stuart Fuller and European and Middle East senior partner Stephen Kon to be told that they were to depart.

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Global 100: Hitting the wall

While 2015’s Global 100 showed signs of regained momentum, the intervening year saw some contenders come to a shuddering halt. Legal Business looks at the few setting the pace and those faltering in the global race.

In the early hours of 24 June, the unthinkable happened. The UK had voted to leave the European Union by the narrowest of margins, sending stocks plummeting when the London Stock Exchange began trading. Sterling fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985. And while the panic had dissipated after several chaotic days, around the world shockwaves were being keenly felt.

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Global 100: Word from the world

‘The UK has embraced technology and alternative legal services faster than the US with some innovative and imaginative thinking.’

Kim Koopersmith, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

From downturn fears to investing for the future, law firm leaders give their perspective on the challenges facing elite global firms.

Big issue

‘How the global market evolves is the million-dollar question because we have got some key things lurking in the background and also in the foreground at the minute which would change things dramatically. There is very little organic growth, so you have this continuous battle for both clients and a share of the purse with clients.’
Bryan Hughes, chief executive, Eversheds

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Global 100: The stories of the year

Merger talks, management reshuffles and structural changes – here is our recap of the stories that defined the global legal market during the past 12 months.



  • Global 100 firms continued to pile into South Korea as White & Case launched in Seoul in August, a move quickly followed by Allen & Overy a month later. In January 2016 Ashurst said its plans to launch had been put on ice following the departure of Tokyo head John McClenahan to King & Spalding. In February, Latham & Watkins revealed it had signed a lease on a property in Seoul and submitted an application for a foreign legal consultant office.

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Global 100: Kick for the finish in Asia

Despite slowdown in China’s economy, Global 100 firms’ interest in Asia shows no sign of winding down with significant moves following another active year.

China’s slowdown has been a focal point of international headlines across the past 12 months as its tumultuous 2015 spilled into 2016. For Dentons, which took on 4,000 China lawyers at the start of 2015 through its landmark combination with Dacheng Law Offices, China’s faltering couldn’t have been more ill-timed. However, Dentons’ exposure in Asia is shared by many Global 100 firms and the attitude is certainly that it is a marathon not a sprint – growth for many firms in the world’s second-largest economy and across Asia shows no signs of abating. Anyway, a slowdown in China is a relative term, with many law firms still expanding.

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