The Lawyer produces essential guide to the year’s top mergers. Since 1 January this year there have been at least 12 mergers or bolt-ons announced or completed featuring firms with 20 lawyers or more in the UK alone.
Majority of top firms eyeing growth through merger as ABSs appear on the radar. Nearly 60% of top 100 law firms view mergers and acquisitions as a leading growth opportunity in a challenging legal services market – with the prospect of alternative business structures (ABSs) starting to snap at their heels, according to a prestigious benchmarking survey.
American firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is launching a training contract programme and vacation scheme in its London office. The firm is currently accepting training contract applications, with the first cohort due to start in 2015. The first vacation scheme participants will begin their stints in summer 2013 and will be able to apply from 1 November this year.
London corporate partner Jeff Roberts will be the training partner for the London office while former Gibson Dunn associate Barbara Davidson will be graduate recruitment and development manager.
Read more: http://www.thelawyer.com/1015292.article
Online pay-as-you-go legal advice service bids to crowd-source £1.5m funding. An attempt to ‘crowd fund’ £1.5m for the launch of what is claimed to be the world’s first live online pay-as-you-go legal advice service will begin this week.
Quegal (Question of Legal) will charge users 60p a minute to receive advice from junior solicitors and paralegals.
The legal market in the UK has been in a state of radical evolution for some time. In these uncertain times, solicitors, particularly those in established local law firms, have the opportunity to compete with the large new entrants and other competitors around them on the level playing field of the web – provided they take the correct steps to optimise their websites and online presence.
There is a dramatic shift in the way people are buying legal services. The internet plays a key role in this, allowing people to find, review and discuss the best legal service providers for them, both in terms of quality and cost. The conversion rate from users to customers of a legal website is on average 30%, compared to an average of 2% conversion rate for e-commerce websites. This is largely due to the level of trust associated with law firms.
From school-leavers to lawyers – CILEx and College of Law strike ‘one-stop shop’ training deal. The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) has formed a strategic collaboration with the College of Law to offer legal employers training options for all staff, from school leavers to fully qualified lawyers.
The ‘one-stop shop’ is being cast as a “pragmatic response” to one of the key issues in the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) – the need to have more flexible routes of entry into, and progression through, the legal profession, with recognised qualifications for both graduates and non-graduates.
They said it is the only training service in the legal market to offer recognised qualifications at every level and provides different points of entry and exit dependent on employees’ previous experience and educational background and their career goals.
New-look Dentons to be ‘most multi-cultural’ law firm. SNR Denton global chair Joe Andrew has pledged to make post-merger Dentons the “most multi-cultural” firm when Salans, SNR Denton and Canada’s Fraser Milner Casgrain (FMC) combine early next year.
Read more: http://www.thelawyer.com/1015449.article
Salary ranking shows some good news for lawyers. Lawyers’ average salaries have risen more slowly than the national average since 2006 – but still outflank most other professions, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Norton Rose announces transatlantic merger. International firm Norton Rose has announced a merger deal with a US practice that will cement its place in the top 10 global firms. The firm will combine with Fulbright & Jaworski on 1 June, 2013 to form Norton Rose Fulbright.
Gap between number of Bar students and pupillages grows wider. The number of students seeking to become barristers is rising sharply but pupillages are falling, with an Oxbridge education appearing to be of growing importance, according to Bar figures.
The second edition of the Bar Barometer report on statistical trends – published jointly by the Bar Council and the Bar Standards Board – showed that 3,099 would-be barristers applied to begin the Bar professional training course (BPTC) in 2010-11. This was 16% up on the previous year, yet at the same time first six pupillages – the first chance for BPTC graduates to work in chambers – fell by 3.1% to just 446. Second six pupillages fell by 3.6%
Regulatory pressures push in-housers closer to management, says KPMG. The growing tide of regulation has pushed in-house counsel ever closer to management boards and pushed up demand for commercial nous, research from KPMG suggests. The accountancy giant commissioned global research agency Meridien West to survey 320 in-house counsel from 32 countries for its global report.
KPMG said the research showed that many in-house legal advisers were moving away from their traditional roles to become business advisers as demand for regulatory advice increased.
One of the key findings was that, although just over one third (38 per cent) of in-housers sit on the main board of their organisations, 70 per cent agreed that giving commercial advice to the board is now just as important as giving legal advice.
Read more: http://www.thelawyer.com/1015572.article
Unsustainable pricing means most conveyancing firms are “bust”, says leading entrepreneur. Fewer than half of the current number of residential conveyancing specialist firms will be in business within three years and probably just one in ten, according to the entrepreneur who founded the UK’s most successful property website.
Clarke Willmott no longer accepts trainee applications. Clarke Willmott has confirmed that it will no longer be accepting training contract applications from students.
The firm will however continue to take on trainees from its stock of paralegals. At first sight, this might seem a great scheme: CW can try before it buys, as it will be able to thoroughly test its candidates’ pagination skills before offering a training contract. And the firm won’t have to foot any students’ LPC fees.