Market forces: Paul Weiss, Kirkland and the war for London talent

Market forces: Paul Weiss, Kirkland and the war for London talent

In the contest for the biggest legal story of the moment, the A&O Shearman merger may be more transformational for the firms involved, but it is fair to say it has not quite captured the imagination like Paul Weiss’s dramatic and audacious hiring spree in London.

‘The question is whether a firm can genuinely build an elite PE practice by lifting out the top guys from different shops,’ muses one US firm partner, on Paul Weiss’s bid to crack London. Continue reading “Market forces: Paul Weiss, Kirkland and the war for London talent”

Revolving Doors: Travers and Shearman exodus continues as US firms pick up the talent

Revolving Doors: Travers and Shearman exodus continues as US firms pick up the talent

Once a rare phenomenon, exits from Travers Smith have picked up pace in recent weeks, with the latest departures announced this week being those of Ed Ford and Sacha Gofton-Salmond to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Partners at Travers since July 2021 and July 2022, respectively, Ford and Gofton-Salmond will bring to Simpson Thacher with capabilities in the private equity secondaries market.

Jason Glover, managing partner of Simpson Thacher’s London office and head of its European funds team commented: ‘Simpson Thacher has a multifaceted private funds practice in Europe and the addition of Ed and Sacha will further enhance our ability to provide clients with the flexibility needed to meet an evolving market.’

Continue reading “Revolving Doors: Travers and Shearman exodus continues as US firms pick up the talent”

Global London: Flying hiatus

Global London: Flying hiatus

While no two years are ever quite the same in the world of Legal Business’ Global London report, the story can usually be summed up as one of bifurcation. It tells of the dynamic high-flyers and those foreign firms whose London practices have yet to take off the ground.

For years there has also been a relative predictability in the worry lists of City leaders of non-UK law firms – concerns around London’s place on the world financial stage post-Brexit, an overdue downturn and the perennial challenge of keeping a grip on market share in an ever-more competitive arena. Continue reading “Global London: Flying hiatus”

The Legal 500 View: The rise of US firms from barbarians at the gate to London’s top tiers

The Legal 500 View: The rise of US firms from barbarians at the gate to London’s top tiers

A ten-year analysis of Legal 500 data highlights the ever-growing status of top Global London firms in London, as Georgina Stanley and Ben Wheway explain

The ten largest Global London firms have almost tripled their top-tier rankings in the UK Legal 500 over the last ten years, according to data analysis which highlights their increasing penetration at the top end of the City legal market.

The group (full list below*) have increased their combined number of tier one rankings by 186% from 21 to 60 over the last decade. This compares with a 32% increase in top-tier rankings for the ten largest UK firms by revenue, from 158 to 208. Continue reading “The Legal 500 View: The rise of US firms from barbarians at the gate to London’s top tiers”

The vision thing – Sizing up the big issues set to shape law through the 2020s

The vision thing – Sizing up the big issues set to shape law through the 2020s

The last decade emerged with the shockwaves of the banking crisis still making themselves felt on the profession. Having just made a series of job cuts in major markets the like of which had never been seen in the legal industry, the mood was infused by uncertainty, the brutal realities of austerity and the sudden emergence of more demanding clients.

There was little time for a serious debate about how the profession would evolve through the 2010s, a decade that went on to rob London’s legal elite of its reputation for causal dominance. It was also a period that attracted forecasts of dramatic change and modernisation in law that continually fell short of reality, despite the introduction of the Legal Services Act. Continue reading “The vision thing – Sizing up the big issues set to shape law through the 2020s”

MoFo ups City revenue an impressive 25% as US reporting season begins

MoFo ups City revenue an impressive 25% as US reporting season begins

Morrison & Foerster (MoFo)’s City revenue has lifted 25% for a third consecutive year, outpacing a strong global showing and kicking off US reporting season with a showing of expansive City growth.

The firm’s revenue increase to £38.6m comes amid a 10% global increase in the last fiscal year, from $1.04bn to $1.15bn. Meanwhile, revenue per lawyer grew 4% and profit per partner grew 5% to the highest levels in the firm’s history at just over $2m. Continue reading “MoFo ups City revenue an impressive 25% as US reporting season begins”

Double blow for Magic Circle as US leaders Weil and Skadden secure M&A veterans

Double blow for Magic Circle as US leaders Weil and Skadden secure M&A veterans

Leading US firms continue to dominate the London recruitment market with significant appointments from the Magic Circle, as Weil, Gotshal & Manges hired Linklaters’ highly-rated M&A partner David Avery-Gee (pictured) shortly after Allen & Overy (A&O) saw corporate pair Simon Toms and George Knighton jump ship to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

The hire of Avery-Gee is a coup for Weil, which has struggled against more potent US rivals in recent years in London. The office has had setbacks in corporate, including the loss of London managing partner Mike Francies’ protégé Samantha McGonigle, who left after 13 years to co-found a growth fund in February. Continue reading “Double blow for Magic Circle as US leaders Weil and Skadden secure M&A veterans”

Dentons rejigs US structure in bid to create first ‘truly national’ American dream team

Dentons rejigs US structure in bid to create first ‘truly national’ American dream team

He may have overseen more than 50 law firm combinations over the last decade – 12 since July alone – but Dentons chair Joe Andrew (pictured) is adamant that the double US tie-up his firm pulled off at the beginning of October is something completely different.

Pending approval by the partnerships, the 10,000-lawyer globetrotter will in January add another 300 bodies to its sprawling verein as it combines with 175-lawyer midwest firm Bingham Greenebaum Doll and 140-strong Pennsylvania-bred Cohen & Grigsby. Continue reading “Dentons rejigs US structure in bid to create first ‘truly national’ American dream team”

The end of A&O’s marathon O’Melveny merger bid reveals the stark choices facing the Magic Circle

The end of A&O’s marathon O’Melveny merger bid reveals the stark choices facing the Magic Circle

This article sits in the news leader slot of our latest issue, but when considering Allen & Overy (A&O) and its epic courtship of O’Melveny & Myers, the defining factor has been the absence of news. Since it emerged last spring that A&O was in merger talks with the Los Angeles-bred firm, there have been bare scraps of information, alongside alternating whispers the deal was/was not on. Finally the resolution came on 2 September, with the pair announcing the end of the talks with the traditional noises about mutual respect.

The reason for the long delay was as much the scale and ambition of the merger as the inevitable complications of bringing 700 partners on side. The looming spectre of a messy ‘no-deal’ Brexit and fresh falls in sterling further strained a delicate situation, probably tipping it over the edge. Not only were the firms aiming for full financial integration upfront – a move never attempted on the scale of a £2.4bn transatlantic union – the aim was to do an immediate merging of governance, leadership and remuneration. Forget vereins and grace periods kicking tricky issues down the road. That all-in approach raised the stakes and logistic issues enormously. Not least it would have involved substantive reform of A&O’s remuneration structure to make it more compatible with a US firm. Continue reading “The end of A&O’s marathon O’Melveny merger bid reveals the stark choices facing the Magic Circle”