Comment: We come not to bury the Magic Circle but to save it

Comment: We come not to bury the Magic Circle but to save it

A number of contacts have been telling me of late that Legal Business is gaining a reputation for being ultra-bearish on the Magic Circle. So entrenched is this view becoming that one Freshfields partner has apparently taken to claiming to colleagues that LB is talking down the Magic Circle in favour of US players because recruiters tell us to.

For the record, we have a church-and-state divide here and if any commercial partner wants to try to dictate our editorial line, I’d say: ‘Give it a try… and see what happens.’ But, more to the point, such comments misconstrue the basis on which we critique top City firms. London leaders have been a huge success story for corporate Britain – one that has failed to get the credit it was due in business circles. And, as a born Londoner, in as much as I get attached to law firms, there is an instinctive leaning towards wanting the local boys to do good. In short, we are not pointing out City leaders have faltered to revel in that failure. It is to make constructive arguments about what must be addressed if they are to renew themselves. We come not to bury the Magic Circle but to save it. Continue reading “Comment: We come not to bury the Magic Circle but to save it”

Comment: A new Global 100 elite emerges as the old ones decline

Comment: A new Global 100 elite emerges as the old ones decline

In the summer of 2017 the world’s top law firms were looking at their next financial year with scant optimism given a turbulent geopolitical backdrop and uncertain economic headwinds. As it turned out, driven by a robust global economy, bullish investors and a re-born enthusiasm for cross-border transactions, the 2017/18 season proved kinder than forecast, equating to one of the stronger years seen by the Global 100 since the banking crisis recast the industry.

Assisted by consolidation, the 100 drove their collective top line up $6bn to reach $104.4bn. US-centric firms heavy on marquee transactions and private capital made the best showing – it was a relatively subdued 12 months in the vast US disputes market, hitting firms overly exposed to it. Continue reading “Comment: A new Global 100 elite emerges as the old ones decline”

A new Global 100 elite emerges as the old ones decline

A new Global 100 elite emerges as the old ones decline

In the summer of 2017 the world’s top law firms were looking at their next financial year with scant optimism given a turbulent geopolitical backdrop and uncertain economic headwinds. As it turned out, driven by a robust global economy, bullish investors and a re-born enthusiasm for cross-border transactions, the 2017/18 season proved kinder than forecast, equating to one of the stronger years seen by the Global 100 since the banking crisis recast the industry.

Assisted by consolidation, the 100 drove their collective top line up $6bn to reach $104.4bn. US-centric firms heavy on marquee transactions and private capital made the best showing – it was a relatively subdued 12 months in the vast US disputes market, hitting firms overly exposed to it. Continue reading “A new Global 100 elite emerges as the old ones decline”

The Last Word: The Big Long

The Last Word: The Big Long

From Trump and Brexit to debt and tech, we ask Global 100 leaders for their assessment of a turbulent 12 months

Trouble ahead

‘Confidence is pretty high, but there are some significant challenges ahead. The growth of tech is going to have a transformational impact, which is going to increase in velocity over the next year or two. At some point we are due for a recession. It is going to happen soon and Trump’s trade war could provoke it.’
Peter Martyr, global chief executive, Norton Rose Fulbright Continue reading “The Last Word: The Big Long”

Carillion collapse: Global 100 firms take centre stage as construction giant enters liquidation

Carillion collapse: Global 100 firms take centre stage as construction giant enters liquidation

Freshfields is acting for the official receiver

One of the largest UK insolvencies for years, the collapse of construction giant Carillion is poised to have a wide-ranging impact on a number of industries, not least among the most prominent restructuring and insolvency advisers in the City. Continue reading “Carillion collapse: Global 100 firms take centre stage as construction giant enters liquidation”

Comment: Magic Circle playbooks in Europe are full of contradictions’

Comment: Magic Circle playbooks in Europe are full of contradictions’

To recap as the UK tiptoes towards banana republic territory in the wake of last month’s inconclusive, prediction-defying general election: City professionals face the prospect of an unsteady government negotiating a logistically-epic exit from the EU with an uncertain agenda against a much larger and better prepared counter-party. That is until the next general election in perhaps the autumn. Continue reading “Comment: Magic Circle playbooks in Europe are full of contradictions’”

Superstar clients and super-threats to global law

Superstar clients and super-threats to global law

As Legal Business gathered a group of the legal elite at the top of Tower 42 to debate the issues facing the world’s top law firms – the question arose as to whether anything truly threatens law’s premier league.

Certainly the going has been more challenging since the banking crisis for all sections of the legal industry, whether you are betting on ‘flight-to-quality’ or ‘more-for-less’, but overall the Global 100 looks no nearer to an existential threat or much meaningful consolidation. AI? The accountants? New Law providers? The former reflects a genuine force set to substantially change the industry, though it is not apparent whether that will come at the expense of high-end law firms. The latter two players have yet to come near to living up to the fanfare made for them.

Continue reading “Superstar clients and super-threats to global law”

Freshfields leads the pack as London’s big four continue flat financial trajectory

Freshfields leads the pack as London’s big four continue flat financial trajectory

Firm posts impressive 8% PEP hike and 7% revenue increase despite headcount drop

With the unaudited results of firms in, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has produced the standout 2015/16 financial performance in what was another muted year for the City’s most powerful law firms.

Continue reading “Freshfields leads the pack as London’s big four continue flat financial trajectory”

Global 100 – Market Comment 2015: Word from the World

Global 100 – Market Comment 2015: Word from the World

From an intensely competitive market in Asia to renewed fears of states breaking from the EU, law firm leaders give us the global perspective.

Done deals

‘It is encouraging that the factors contributing to a high level of dealmaking over the past year remain in place, and we are optimistic that these conditions will sustain robust M&A activity, particularly in the telecoms/media and energy sectors, and consolidating industries, such as pharma and healthcare. We may see increased interest in inbound M&A into Europe as its economic recovery continues.’

Eric Friedman, executive partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Asia struggle

‘Most people underestimate how competitive it is in Asia to win work against UK and US firms. Clients are very selective and it’s very price competitive, even for the complex cross-border work. Everyone is competing hard to get to know the client.’

Stuart Fuller, global managing partner, King & Wood Mallesons

Continue reading “Global 100 – Market Comment 2015: Word from the World”