The Legal 500

All countries

The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2013

Private Equity Roundtable

Private Equity Roundtable group shot

The Legal 500 and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP held a roundtable discussion in London with various figures from the private equity industry. The discussion centred on regulatory issues affecting the industry globally, including the SEC's examination process, the JOBS Act, the effect of the Alternative Investment Fund Management Directive on marketing across Europe, and asset stripping.

The full transcript is available HERE.

The Legal 500 United Kingdom Awards 2013
Now available: The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2013 in print and ebook formats (for iPad, iPhone and Kindle)

The full in-depth, comprehensive analysis of law firms across the United Kingdom is available to view here - no registration or fee is required. The research can also be downloaded as a region-specific .epub or .mobi-formatted eBooks – ideal for use on Kindle, iPad, iPhone and Android/Blackberry readers.


Historical Data


LONDON - Corporate and commercial

UK M&A continued to feel the effects of global volatility and the eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis, with reported deal values in 2012 down 66% on the heady days of 2007. Year on year, UK M&A activity saw a 5.1% increase compared to 2011, with the energy, mining and utilities sectors proving to be the most active. Inward foreign investment accounted for the lion’s share of UK M&A in 2012, and the BRIC nations are still outperforming the eurozone economies in terms of M&A activity, with law firms with strong global platforms continuing to leverage that capability to chase down deals. London remains strategically important to US law firms doing deals in Europe and beyond, as evidenced by the recent spate of lateral hires from the Magic Circle. The picture for 2013 remains uncertain; although the first quarter saw an increase in value compared to Q1 2012, deal count was down.


NEW Download The Legal 500 eBook: UK - London



While almost every legal market in the UK has experienced a degree of turbulence, Scotland saw an arguably unprecedented rate of change in 2012 and into 2013. The news in March 2013 that Semple Fraser LLP was calling in the administrators was indicative of the challenges faced by mid-tier firms in particular.


NEW Download The Legal 500 eBook: UK - Scotland


LONDON - Finance

Liquidity levels remained patchy for 2012, not least because of the increasing regulatory demands on banks to shore up their capital reserves to comply with heightened capital adequacy requirements. For the right assets, banks were very willing participants and provided debt on relatively favourable terms; however for most leveraged deals, borrowers had to rely on other methods to shore up the shortfall in financing. Alternative debt providers, such as hedge and mezzanine funds, are increasingly popular, but it was the high yield market which provided the biggest impetus and established itself as the most prevalent structure on European new-money leveraged finance deals and also on the refinancing of existing debt.


NEW Download The Legal 500 eBook: UK - London

West Midlands


2012 was another challenging year for law firms in the region; deal flow for larger and more complex transactions remained patchy, against the background of continuing low liquidity and confidence in the market. Firms with an international platform tended to fare better than firms which are reliant on regional or national work.


NEW Download The Legal 500 eBook: UK Regions

Dispute Resolution


London remains a strong international hub for dispute resolution, and has seen an overall increase in the number of large cases reaching court. The London courts are particularly popular with foreign parties, especially from Russia and the CIS region. The Middle East and Africa are also increasingly generating work for London’s dispute resolution lawyers.


NEW Download The Legal 500 eBook: London

South East


Law firms continue to face a multitude of challenges from alternative business structures (ABSs) and legislative reforms, as well as seeing a squeeze on fees from both commercial and private clients. The changes in the market are being felt particularly among the smaller regional firms and boutiques, some of which are not only reassessing the practice areas in which to specialise, but also considering the provision of non-traditional/non-legal services such as consultancy and project management.


NEW Download The Legal 500 eBook: UK Regions

The Legal 500 readership survey

The Legal 500 is conducting its first global survey of how corporate counsel and law firms use The Legal 500. We would be grateful if you could spend 10 minutes answering the survey questions to aid us in improving our research and how we deliver it. Click here to give us your feedback.

The Legal 500 Historical Data: historical rankings and analysis

Now available: The Legal 500 Historical Data – a new interactive service available exclusively to commercial partners. The site contains historical rankings from 2008-2013 from The Legal 500 United Kingdom, United States, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific. Users are able to manipulate the raw data to produce and download reports including comparing and contrasting your firm with your peers and competitors, and customising data which can be used in pitch documents and RFPs. Visit for more information.


Between June and September 2013, The Legal 500 research team contacted in-house counsel at the FTSE 100 and 250, and spoke to them about the firms they instructed. In the most comprehensive survey of the FTSE350 to date, we reveal which firms are instructed, in many cases breaking the results down into specific practice areas.


Legal Business Magazine

The latest blogs from the market-leading glossy monthly magazine for the UK and global legal market.

Legal Business

Senior Clyde & Co ship finance partner Matt Hannaford joins Curtis Davis Garrard with team of three

Senior maritime player Matt Hannaford is leaving Clyde & Co's transportation finance group with a team of three to join specialist shipping boutique Curtis Davis Garrard (CDG).

Legal Business

Partner promotions: Clifford Chance promotes seven in City as part of 21-strong round

Clifford Chance (CC) is the latest Magic Circle firm to unveil its partner promotion figures, making up seven associates in London out of a 21-strong round.

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Home Office announces extension of support service for SMEs

    An online support service for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) which need to recruit skilled overseas workers has been extended until 28 February 2014. The pilot was launched by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and provides a step by step guide to sponsoring an overseas worker. This service is available via the GLA website.
  • Penningtons Manches' immigration team considers new changes to the Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance

    The Home Office has recently published new Tier 4 Sponsor Guidance, version 12/13. This guidance is to be used by all prospective and existing Tier 4 sponsors from 11 December 2013.
  • Finding the 
right words

    In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was ‘in principle' only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be ‘recorded in a suitably worded agreement'. 

  • Behind the corporate veil: is that all there is?

    That companies have an existence entirely separate to that of their shareholders and directors is a foundational principle of English law and commerce.

  • Playing fair with penalty clauses

    It is often difficult to predict what will be recoverable as damages for breach of contract. To provide some certainty, parties will often seek to agree the sum that will be payable in the event of specified breaches. 

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

  • The role of arbitrators in EU antitrust law

    In May 2014, it will be ten years since Regulation No 1/2003 entered into force. When the legislator of the European Union adopted this Regulation on 16 December 2002, its main objective was to decentralise the enforcement of the two main provisions of EU antitrust law, Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)). Where do the arbitrators fit in this picture?

  • New Immigration Bill, October 2013: cause for concern or appeasing public sentiment?

    The year 2013 has seen a string of reforms to the immigration system by the current coalition government. On 10 October, the government published a Bill aimed at continuing its drive to reduce net migration figures. 

  • New Schengen EU Regulations: impact on short-stay visa visitors

    The publication on 26 June 2013 of the European Union Regulation EU 610/2013 modified the incumbent Regulation EU 562/2006 in relation to third country nationals (ie non-EU citizens) and those travelling on a short-stay visitor visa, as well as those who do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria. Exceptions include EU and EEA nationals travelling to other EU/EEA states within the Schengen area together with foreign nationals holding either long-stay or residence permits for their destination Schengen countries.

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

Press Releases in the UK

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to