The market is still on fire and has no signs of slowing down, with an abundance of moves and strategic office openings being announced, all while the NQ salaries rocket upwards.
The Irish market is the next frontier for law firms, with both Bird & Bird and Addleshaw Goddard announcing their office openings and mergers, respectively.
NQ salaries are surging forward in both London and the Regions, and there is a great debate emerging on this front. The consensus is that this accelerated rate of growth cannot be sustainable, and that it is creating a bubble that is doomed to pop.
Richard Goold, formerly Head of Tech Law at EY, has joined tech and life sciences firm Wilson Sonsini.
Maegan Morrison, corporate finance partner, joins Shearman & Sterling from Hogan Lovells.
Manchester-based Simon Prendergast, a banking and finance partner, will join Denton’s London office.
Baker McKenzie has hired Sarah Smith, restructuring and insolvency partner, from Dechert. She is tasked with expanding Baker’s restructuring and insolvency internationally.
Matthew Sillet, commercial partner, joins Irwin Mitchell from Cannings Connolly, where he was the managing partner.
Charlotte Garnitsch, IP partner, returns to Taylor Wessing’s Eindhoven office, after leaving the legal profession for one year.
Dominic Fleeton returns to K&L Gates’ Melbourne office after three years at Kingstone Reid.
Michael W. Ward joins the litigation department in Palo Alto, moving from Vinson Elkins.
Rebecca Jones McKnight, formerly with DLA Piper, joins the life sciences health and industry group in Austin.
Paul Moak, a leading restructuring an bankruptcy lawyer, joins Reed Smith’s Houston office from Gray Reed.
Promotions and Appointments:
Simon Nicholls and Richard Smith have been elected the next heads of corporate and M&A, replacing Andy Ryde and Roland Turnill.
Janet McCarthy has joined Micro Focus as the new chief legal officer after 4 years at Bupa.
Allison Page, a partner who specializes in infrastructure projects and energy, has stepped down as DWF’s managing partner in Leeds after one year in the role.
Stephenson Harwood has hired Rania Tadros, marine law specialist, to take over as Dubai managing partner from Sharon White.
Mergers and Alliances:
Addleshaw Goddard has merged with Eugene F Collins. All partners and staff will join Addleshaws, this plans to double the firm’s presence in the region by 2025.
Office Openings and Closings:
Bird & Bird’s new office is set to open this summer, and will initially focus on privacy, data protection, tech, life sciences, IP and corporate law.
Insurance law firm Kennedy’s is doubling its office space in Madrid for it’s 15-person strong team, as part of the WorkWise global workspace transformation programme.
Ogier, a Jersey-based firm has launched in Beijing through a representative office, just months after having launched in Singapore.
PwC Legal Middle East has launched an office in Doha, adding to their presence in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
A growing number of clients believe that the scale of salary increases for NQ’s masks underlying problems in the way top tier legal services are delivered.
Partner have begun to ask for a cap on NQ salaries, with 95% of respondents to the survey answered that they did not believe the continued annual growth of NQ salaries could continue, and 67% also said they expected the bubble to burst within two years.
BCLP saw revenues increase by 2.1% and PEP increase by 29%, but this comes with headcount dropping. Overall headcount fell by 3.6% and the number of equity partners decreased by 14.7%, which is in line with the goals of their Project Advance.
Clifford chance has posted the lowest retention rate for 2022 at 70% – 14 of their total 46 trainees are deciding to leave – the equivalent to a minimum £1.5m million investment leaving the business.
DLA Piper has increased it’s London NQ Salary by 8% to £95,000 and it’s regional pay by 35% to £65,000.
Technology and Innovation:
Artificial intelligence initiatives have been a way for firms to draw in prospective clients by setting themselves apart from the rest, but is it becoming as “innovation theatre”?
Eversheds has unanimously voted through the changed in December, for a minimum of 1% of the business’ net operating profit to be donated to environmental, social, and corporate governance initiatives, which include reducing internal carbon emissions and charitable trust donations.
The establishment of the European Unified Patent Court is being finalized, and is set to be operational in about one years’ time.
Diversity and Inclusion:
Freshfields has become the newest firm to roll out a UK menopause policy for its colleagues, including paid time off, effective from February.
The discrepancy between white candidates who passed the SQE (65%) and those from minority ethnic groups (44%) poses concerns to the future of diversity within the legal profession.
Michelle Silverthorn, attorney, founder, and CEO of Inclusion Nation, spells out five reasons why many law firms are failing to make progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The SRA has issued new guidance for law firms looking to promote positive working environments.