Guest comment: The new differentiator for law firms?

Guest comment: The new differentiator for law firms?

A quiet revolution is happening, and I am here to champion it. For many years, the role of a professional support lawyer (PSL) or knowledge lawyer has been viewed as an optional extra, a ‘nice to have’, something that only a magic circle law firm could possibly justify. If this is what you think, then it’s time to update your precedent. PSLs have become a key differentiator as firms look to benefit not only from their legal experience but also their business acumen.

The PSL role was created back in the 1990s to support a firm’s practice by drafting and maintaining standard form precedents. At the time there was little in the way of legal databases or online research tools and PSLs became the focal point for this activity as well. However, while this remains a central part of the role, the functions of a PSL have evolved. Continue reading “Guest comment: The new differentiator for law firms?”

Guest post: COP26 heats up and global temperature pledges spur optimism

Guest post: COP26 heats up and global temperature pledges spur optimism

As the 2021 United Nations Climate Change conference gathers momentum, Tim Baines, counsel in Mayer Brown’s environmental team, finds optimism beyond the platitudes.

Now that heads of state have left the building, the COP gets into full business mode with delegates moving between meeting rooms and many having to juggle competing demands on their time. We are only nearing the mid-point of an exhausting couple of weeks. Continue reading “Guest post: COP26 heats up and global temperature pledges spur optimism”

Guest post: Any COP? – mixed messages at UN climate summit as usual platitudes belie call for action

Guest post: Any COP? – mixed messages at UN climate summit as usual platitudes belie call for action

As the 2021 United Nations Climate Change conference enters full swing in Glasgow, Tim Baines, counsel in Mayer Brown’s environmental team, assesses the mood on the ground.

Monday (1 November) marked the first day of COP26, also known as the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference. As usual, the conference started with the ritual display of private jets congesting the airport.  For the non-VIPs, travel delays and the chilly (these are the northern latitudes, after all) wait to register, kicked off the proceedings as tradition dictates. Continue reading “Guest post: Any COP? – mixed messages at UN climate summit as usual platitudes belie call for action”

Guest comment: time for law firms to play catch-up on parental leave

Guest comment: time for law firms to play catch-up on parental leave

Nathan Peart, managing director at Major, Lindsey & Africa, says firms must move with the times when it comes to arrangements for prospective parents

Parental leave continues to be a conversation at the forefront of law firm policy development, but it still has a long way to go to reflect the modern norm. As firms examine the changes in the way we work and develop policy that reflects local customs but still aligns with a firm’s ethos, it is also important to remember the people at the centre of this policy – prospective parents. Continue reading “Guest comment: time for law firms to play catch-up on parental leave”

Guest comment: LB’s New Law critique flawed as alt players build a ‘new order of client value’

Guest comment: LB’s New Law critique flawed as alt players build a ‘new order of client value’

LB editor-in-chief Alex Novarese recently posted a piece entitled ‘Innovation needs law firm champions’, which hooked on to the story of Axiom’s much-awaited flotation and made some excellent points on the limitations (versus the hype) of New Law. However, in discussing Axiom’s decision to split up its business pre-float, the claim was made that it is easier to see progress in the industry coming from conventional law firms, than New Law equivalents.

This argument just doesn’t hold water. Yes, conventional law firms might have the heft behind them to implement progress, but the hard truth is that they are hampered by their traditional structure. This is what has made the pace of change within the sector slow – the structure lacks transparency and responsiveness, promotes inefficiency and simply costs too much. Continue reading “Guest comment: LB’s New Law critique flawed as alt players build a ‘new order of client value’”

Guest post: The Legal 500 United Kingdom is changing – and it starts with the submissions

Guest post: The Legal 500 United Kingdom is changing – and it starts with the submissions

Those of you in the UK with fond memories of the hefty The Legal 500 books dropping onto your desks are in for a change. The publication later this year of the latest research will be environmentally-friendly and move to a wholly digital platform via legal500.com. Our ambition is to create the best possible exposure for law firms’ practices via our online rankings. We want to ensure the most relevant information on law firms and sets is readily available to clients, creating the most comprehensive and user-friendly research service available anywhere online.

Moving The Legal 500 to a digital platform gives legal500.com the flexibility to offer that expanded service. As we seek to improve and expand our published information on the market, we want to work in partnership with law firms and sets, so that our evolving research reflects what you need to convey to clients seeking your firm’s help. Continue reading “Guest post: The Legal 500 United Kingdom is changing – and it starts with the submissions”

Guest post: What happens to Anna when companies merge?

Guest post: What happens to Anna when companies merge?

This is not a piece written from the perspective of a project manager or a strategist. Neither am I writing a worthy best practice guide. What I would like to do is to take you into a small world occupied by one person. She is an in-house lawyer. Let’s call her Anna.

Anna has worked for the Medium-Sized-But-Mighty-Fine (MSBMF) pharmaceutical business for the last five years. It was only very small when she started, but MSBMF has grown quickly after two of its products became market-leading. Continue reading “Guest post: What happens to Anna when companies merge?”

Guest Post: Martyn’s Day – I’m relieved with the result but we’ll need reflection to learn anything useful

Guest Post: Martyn’s Day – I’m relieved with the result but we’ll need reflection to learn anything useful

For some time, I have known how I would start my inevitable blogpost about Leigh Day’s disciplinary hearing. Win or lose, I would want to state unequivocally my prior belief, my starting point. That starting point is best indicated by what I told a legal magazine when asked three years ago which lawyer I most admired and why? I thought for a bit and then told them Martyn Day. There were, from memory, two reasons.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Martyn’s Day – I’m relieved with the result but we’ll need reflection to learn anything useful”

Guest post: Being within the law does not put judiciary beyond criticism – The bread knife of legal reasoning

Guest post: Being within the law does not put judiciary beyond criticism – The bread knife of legal reasoning

A casual tweet of mine about the Oxford stabbing story gained unusual prominence (for a tweet of mine) and most of the people I have bumped into have wanted to talk about it. Continue reading “Guest post: Being within the law does not put judiciary beyond criticism – The bread knife of legal reasoning”