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”

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

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 “A decade since Lehman the profession still mired in the New Normal”

Deal watch: Magic Circle scoops £300m Funding Circle IPO as Linklaters advises on £2bn wind farm financing

Deal watch: Magic Circle scoops £300m Funding Circle IPO as Linklaters advises on £2bn wind farm financing

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters have scored lead mandates on the proposed initial public offering (IPO) of small business lender Funding Circle, while Linklaters advised on the £2bn financing of the Triton Knoll wind farm.

London-based start-up Funding Circle, which provides a loan platform for SMEs in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, announced today (3 September) its intention to issue at least 25% of its share capital to raise around £300m. Continue reading “Deal watch: Magic Circle scoops £300m Funding Circle IPO as Linklaters advises on £2bn wind farm financing”

‘Strong pipeline’: pay bump for A&O trainees and associates amid 80% retention rate

‘Strong pipeline’: pay bump for A&O trainees and associates amid 80% retention rate

Allen & Overy has become the latest Magic Circle firm to announce pay increases for its trainees and newly qualified associates (NQs), alongside a slightly reduced September 2018 retention rate.

The salary for NQs has risen to £83,000 from £81,000, while second year trainees can now expect to take home £50,000, up from £49,000. First year trainees will earn £45,000, compared with the previous £44,000 salary. Continue reading “‘Strong pipeline’: pay bump for A&O trainees and associates amid 80% retention rate”