In what signals a marked return to favour for the City’s elite players, Magic Circle firm Linklaters has led the field in Legal Business’ third annual in-house survey as best overall adviser in 2014, pushing Eversheds, which emerged as the clear overall favourite in 2013, into second place.
In what signals a marked return to favour for the City’s elite players, Magic Circle firm Linklaters has led the field in Legal Business‘ third annual in-house survey as best overall adviser in 2014, pushing Eversheds, which emerged as the clear overall favourite in 2013, into second place.
Our 2014 survey, which drew responses from 436 individuals at major companies operating in the UK, reveals the top ten firms comprise largely the same names as last year, with the Magic Circle plus Eversheds, DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons and Baker & McKenzie all appearing. The only significant change was alternative legal services provider Axiom taking the tenth spot, pushing Herbert Smith Freehills into 11th place, demonstrating how non-law firm providers are winning over some bluechip clients.
For years clients have decried advisers’ poor attitude to flexibility and value. Our third in-house lawyer survey shows the message is getting through at last.
Deborah Prince, head of legal and company secretary at the British Heart Foundation, who is forthright in her views on questionable behaviour by external advisers, recalls a recent incident with a law firm that she swears she will never use again. Responding to a request to work on a high-value contract, the firm sent back an excessively long document, containing endless provisions on issues that were never going to be a concern.
As clients give advisers credit for improving value and service, our third annual in-house lawyer survey shows some of the City’s top firms making the most ground
‘When Magic Circle firms are appointed on appropriate matters, they offer real quality and value. The problem is, there is an ever-increasing type of work that is not appropriate to instruct them on as other firms offer significantly better quality and value. When the Magic Circle is retained on work that is not appropriate, my experiences are broadly negative.’
our second annual in-house survey, corporate legal teams are continuing to grow amid strong demand for their counsel. How high can general counsel build their empires?
And the growth story continues. Legal Business’s second annual in-house survey confirms again that, despite the prolonged economic headwinds afflicting the UK and Western economies, in a risky and turbulent commercial environment, corporate legal teams continue to expand.
Take one finding from our research: more than two thirds of in-house lawyers report that their teams have expanded over the last five years, with 43% seeing increases of over 10%. The remainder said their team has stayed static.
Increasingly assertive clients are making advisers jump through more hoops to secure lucrative work. Legal Business assesses if law firms are rising to the challenge.
While the prolonged struggle for understanding between in-house counsel and their external providers has seen general counsel (GCs) lose many small battles with law firms over the years, the signs are there that clients are increasingly winning the war. After pressing for years to get value for money through sensible service delivery and flexible pricing, in-house teams are reporting greater goodwill towards their external legal providers this year, perhaps because the threat of reduced panel slots has become a reality.
This year, we asked in-house counsel to name the best law firms across three core yardsticks. Amid pressure on budgets, we chart the advisers whose time is worth clients’ money
Asking law firms to rate their peers objectively is like nailing jelly to a wall — they are often either evasive or delusional. Researchers at The Legal 500 seek peer feedback as part of the process when ranking firms, but nothing beats considered feedback from the clients themselves, which is why we took the opportunity to ask a large in-house audience to single out individual firms for the quality of their service as part of our survey this year.
Canvassed for our annual in-house survey, general counsel at some of the UK’s leading companies give their perspective on risk, fees and the future of law
Keep it in the family
‘As part of our evolution over the past five years, we are also doing more internally, particularly focusing on transactions that do not proceed or do not come to fruition. When you look at the statistics, because we get involved at a very early stage only one in ten deals goes all the way. Of those nine out of ten that do not proceed, we try and identify them as early as possible and ensure that we are handling those matters internally as far as possible.’
Khasruz Zaman, head of M&A legal, Barclays