‘It’s a marriage of convenience’: Gordon Dadds to make its big splash as Ince merger talks intensify

‘It’s a marriage of convenience’: Gordon Dadds to make its big splash as Ince merger talks intensify

Gordon Dadds has emerged as the unlikely rescuer to ailing Ince & Co, with the two outfits in merger discussions to create the UK’s largest listed law firm.

The seismic move will create a £114m turnover firm called Ince Gordon Dadds. Gordon Dadds is currently in the due diligence stage, but a partnership vote is yet to take place. Continue reading “‘It’s a marriage of convenience’: Gordon Dadds to make its big splash as Ince merger talks intensify”

Comment: Law firm IPOs still don’t make much sense (but soon could)

Comment: Law firm IPOs still don’t make much sense (but soon could)

‘Who would possibly invest in a law firm?’ asks one leader this month, reflecting a common view. Yet the current vogue for floating law firms suggests momentum is indeed building, more than a decade after the introduction of the Legal Services Act.

In recent weeks, DWF has turned heads with talk of a £1bn float this year. While the price – not officially attributed to the firm – looks fanciful, even a standard £400m-£600m valuation would be by some way the largest legal float yet seen. The last 12 months have seen a series of offerings, with Knights in June raising £50m and others recently braving the market, including Rosenblatt, Gordon Dadds and Keystone Law. And while larger commercial law firms publicly play down the prospects of raising outside capital, there is no doubt it is now getting more active consideration. Continue reading “Comment: Law firm IPOs still don’t make much sense (but soon could)”

To list, or not to list? More, and much bigger, firms are asking that question

To list, or not to list? More, and much bigger, firms are asking that question

As DWF positions to float, Hamish McNicol asks if the legal IPO is going mainstream

Eversheds Sutherland co-chief executives Lee Ranson and Mark Wasserman recently hosted more than 700 partners at the firm’s partner conference in New York. Continue reading “To list, or not to list? More, and much bigger, firms are asking that question”

Rosenblatt unveils third-party funding ambitions following £43m float

Rosenblatt unveils third-party funding ambitions following £43m float

London litigation specialist Rosenblatt became the fourth UK firm to list in May, simultaneously revealing plans to establish a third-party disputes funding division.

Rosenblatt raised £43m in its AIM flotation, giving the 21-partner outfit a £76m market capitalisation in what it described as a ‘significantly oversubscribed’ listing. In terms of value, it was the largest law firm initial public offering (IPO) in the UK to date. This could change with Knights’ listing slated to take place this summer. Continue reading “Rosenblatt unveils third-party funding ambitions following £43m float”

Guest post: Is law a franchise or a business? Lessons from Warren Buffett

Guest post: Is law a franchise or a business? Lessons from Warren Buffett

I often look for knowledge outside of the legal profession to help me develop strategy for our [Microsoft’] legal business. I recently came across Warren Buffett’s 1992 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter, and this passage on franchises vs. businesses caught my attention:

An economic franchise arises from a product or service that: (1) is needed or desired; (2) is thought by its customers to have no close substitute and; (3) is not subject to price regulation. The existence of all three conditions will be demonstrated by a company’s ability to regularly price its product or service aggressively and thereby to earn high rates of return on capital. Moreover, franchises can tolerate mis-management. Inept managers may diminish a franchise’s profitability, but they cannot inflict mortal damage. Continue reading “Guest post: Is law a franchise or a business? Lessons from Warren Buffett”

Virtual Fear and Loathing – Can GCs get law firms to collaborate on tech?

Virtual Fear and Loathing – Can GCs get law firms to collaborate on tech?

Clichés abound over the stereotypical contrast between stuffy lawyers and progressive tech start-up gurus. Clearly law firms – whose liberal and often misplaced use of the term ‘innovation’ often adds fuel to the fire – have plenty of work to do. At the same time, some clients are far more insistent on innovation from their external advisers than others.

To what extent is this true? Are clients really driving a technological shake-out in the procurement of legal services? As Stuart Whittle, business services director at Weightmans, says: ‘The appetite varies massively among clients. Some want a solution on a stick while others are willing to invest time in tech and work with start-ups. They are all doing their own things and they are subjected to all kinds of pressures.’ Continue reading “Virtual Fear and Loathing – Can GCs get law firms to collaborate on tech?”

Gamification – the thoroughly modern way to redesign legal services

Gamification – the thoroughly modern way to redesign legal services

You may not have heard the term ‘gamification’, but the chances are you have experienced a form of it.

Perhaps you’re an executive in a FTSE 500 company with a generous bonus triggered when your performance meets certain conditions. You could be a corporate client, flicking through the ranked lawyers in The Legal 500, preparing to draw up a shortlist for your next deal. In each case, you would be responding to an element of gameplay dynamics, subtly influencing your judgement, or motivating particular choices. Continue reading “Gamification – the thoroughly modern way to redesign legal services”

Disputes round-up: Rosenblatt listing eyes third-party funding expansion as trio of firms collaborate on new litigation tech

Disputes round-up: Rosenblatt listing eyes third-party funding expansion as trio of firms collaborate on new litigation tech

London disputes specialist Rosenblatt is trying something new with its planned launch of a litigation funder, while three law firms have also highlighted their innovation wares by collaborating with a litigation start-up.

Rosenblatt this week (8 May) raised £43m in its listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), giving the 21-partner firm a market capitalisation of £76m in what it described as a ‘significantly oversubscribed’ float. It was the fourth and biggest law firm initial public offering (IPO) to date. Continue reading “Disputes round-up: Rosenblatt listing eyes third-party funding expansion as trio of firms collaborate on new litigation tech”

On borrowed time – the GCs looking for answers in a post-LPO age

On borrowed time – the GCs looking for answers in a post-LPO age

The collapse of film giant Kodak in 2012 is already established to many as the definitive case study of the failure of a business convinced its model would last forever. At its peak, Kodak’s share of the photographic film market was more than 80% in the US and 50% globally. So, when a Kodak employee invented the first digital camera in the 1970s, he was told by the board to keep quiet about it. Denial took hold right up until January 2017 when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Reborn as a tiny, niche player with a few lucrative patents these days, annual profits for Kodak now are around $12m.

The lesson? Adapt or die. If innovators stop innovating, problems follow. Just ask Nokia and BlackBerry. This, on a much smaller scale, could be an existential crisis that the legal process outsourcing (LPO) industry may have to face. Continue reading “On borrowed time – the GCs looking for answers in a post-LPO age”