Associate pay war, anyone? Freshfields sets new Magic Circle standard by raising NQ pay to £100k

Associate pay war, anyone? Freshfields sets new Magic Circle standard by raising NQ pay to £100k

Marco Cillario assesses the City-wide implications of Freshfields’ decision to dramatically hike associate salaries

A decade after leading the way in resetting downwards the going rate for City associates, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in May set a new standard for Magic Circle firms, raising its newly-qualified (NQ) salaries from £85,000 including bonuses to a symbolic £100,000, with bonuses on top. Continue reading “Associate pay war, anyone? Freshfields sets new Magic Circle standard by raising NQ pay to £100k”

City elite sees sharp increase in partner promotions and improved female promotion prospects

City elite sees sharp increase in partner promotions and improved female promotion prospects

Magic Circle takes a leaf from US playbook after a parsimonious 2018

This time last year, Legal Business was still lamenting that the post-banking crisis clampdown on promoting partners at City firms had showed little sign of lifting, with the Magic Circle in particular promoting at levels insufficient to sustain partnership sizes. Continue reading “City elite sees sharp increase in partner promotions and improved female promotion prospects”

Bench strengths – Sizing up the City’s top dispute teams

Bench strengths – Sizing up the City’s top dispute teams

The best dispute lawyers often have something of the diva or rockstar about them – argumentative, uncompromising and brash. Michael Davison, head of Hogan Lovells’ litigation, arbitration and employment group, describes Neal Katyal, who runs the firm’s Washington DC disputes team, as such a figure. It is easy to see why: at the age of 48, Katyal had argued more Supreme Court cases than anyone else in US history and appeared as himself in Netflix’s political drama House of Cards.

London, of course, has no shortage of big characters in litigation, even if the clubby world of hard-living, hard-working boys is giving way to a more diverse crowd. To assess the prospects for the disputes market, Legal Business decided to focus on a dozen of the largest players in the City, spanning traditional leaders, the largest specialist firms and a handful of the most expansive US outfits. Continue reading “Bench strengths – Sizing up the City’s top dispute teams”

Slaughters becomes latest to reveal underwhelming gender and ethnicity pay gap

Slaughters becomes latest to reveal underwhelming gender and ethnicity pay gap

Slaughter and May has published its first partner-level pay gap report, revealing that male partners earn on average 8.9% more than their female counterparts.

Including all employees, the figures remained flat from 2017, with the mean pay gap between men and women standing at 14.4% and the median gap steady at 38.7%. Continue reading “Slaughters becomes latest to reveal underwhelming gender and ethnicity pay gap”

Looking back on 2018 – The year in law through ten on-point pieces

Looking back on 2018 – The year in law through ten on-point pieces

As 2018 draws to a close, an editor’s thoughts naturally turn to digging out stuff we’ve already done when they should be focusing on stuff we haven’t yet done for 2019. So with that proud tradition in mind, dear reader, below are ten defining pieces from the last 12 months that shone some light on this funny old game we call law.

We’ll now be taking a break from live blogging over the Christmas period but we’ll be returning early in 2019 for what promises to be another… eventful year in the legal profession. Nearly mentioned Brexit just then but I got away with it… Continue reading “Looking back on 2018 – The year in law through ten on-point pieces”

Our latest event: 80 top partners and general counsel (plus a few token men)

Our latest event: 80 top partners and general counsel (plus a few token men)

One of our favourite pieces of the year was our first cover feature of 2018, Alphas, which thanks to the tireless efforts of senior reporters Nathalie Tidman and Marco Cillario, aimed to provide a credible selection of the top female talent in City law.

It was always the plan, if the piece was well received, to build on it with an event exploring the trials, realities and rewards for women making it to the top of transactional law, not to mention providing a forum for polished operators to swap notes. Continue reading “Our latest event: 80 top partners and general counsel (plus a few token men)”

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”

The Global 100 debate – Will stars or institutions define the law’s elite?

The Global 100 debate – Will stars or institutions define the law’s elite?

Alex Novarese, Legal Business: Ten years ahead, what will a global elite firm look like?

Charlie Jacobs, Linklaters: I don’t think it’s going to go the accountancy way, where you just go bigger and the Big Four dominate. A lot of focus seems to be around profitability and if you are driven by that metric, you get a certain type of firm. When I started, it was the Magic Circle in London and a certain category of US firms. We have seen lots of change. But I don’t see just one model prevailing. Continue reading “The Global 100 debate – Will stars or institutions define the law’s elite?”

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

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.

Continue reading “We come not to bury the Magic Circle but to save it”

Comment: A decade since Lehman the profession still mired in the New Normal

Comment: A decade since Lehman the profession still mired in the New Normal

Within days of this issue hitting desks, it will be ten years since Lehman Brothers’ collapse marked what swiftly became the great financial crisis. That event was only the clearest symptom of a disease that had been infecting the banking system for more than a year before Lehman filed for bankruptcy on 15 September 2008.

Yet the process unquestionably signalled changes that have reverberated through economies, politics, business and, yes, the legal profession ever since. By the summer of 2009 the UK profession had for the first time engaged in industrial-scale job cuts, axing more than 5,000 roles at top 100 UK firms alone. Through the lens of the LB100, the profession starkly divides into performance patterns pre and post-Lehman. During the long boom, London’s elite was utterly untouchable. Within the Circle they could falter and scrap for fleeting inter-club advantage. But as far as the rest of the industry was concerned, they were in a world of their own. The initial advances of major US law firms had by the mid-2000s been comprehensively repelled – what chance did mid-tier rivals have? Continue reading “Comment: A decade since Lehman the profession still mired in the New Normal”