Editor's Letter

February Issue Cover

‘Everyone has a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay’, or so the famous saying goes. Fortunately for lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic, two of this month’s contributors have paid that quip no mind.

You’d have to be an ardent anti-social media type not to be aware of The Secret Barrister. In conversation with The Legal 500’s David Burgess, the acclaimed author of bestselling non-fiction book Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken shines a light on the grubby underbelly of England and Wales’ justice system (page 47).

But SB is not the only author featured in this February issue.  Deborah B. Farone, former CMO of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, talks about writing her debut book – Best Practices in Law Firm Business Development and Marketing – which reveals the secrets to operating a successful marketing department.

Speaking of marketing, we also hear from Linsay Leslie on how your directory submissions and its ‘killer’ content are a gold mine and shouldn’t go to waste once the directory process is over for another year. Your bid team will thank you later.

Turning to law firm leadership, Richard Crump sits down with us to discuss HFW’s recent international expansion and how he has an eye on the US market . We also hear from the leadership of Hodge Jones & Allen, DWF, Suciu Popa, NautaDutil, and Bougartchev and Moyne on what makes their firms tick (page 6 onwards).
In Germany, we ask a section of legal luminaries what makes a great partner to work with, while Craig Hoyland mentions the ‘M’ word and warns firms that they must look after their talent if succession plans are to be realised.

Continuing our conversation about diversity, Dana Denis Smith explains why we still have a ways to go a century after women legally began practising law, and former solicitor Carolyn McCombe describes her journey to becoming one of the leading CEOs in chambers.

And if all that wasn’t enough for you to devour, our team of editors dissect the latest UK Bar, Australia, and Caribbean rankings to showcase the best firms and chambers of 2019. We also consider the growing specialisation of US fintech lawyers  and investigate why international law firms have yet to invest in Norway’s legal market.

Find all this and more in February’s fivehundred. Don’t forget to email me with your suggestions for future content at john.vdld@legal500.com and download the new The Legal 500 app – featuring all past issues of the magazine – from iTunes.

John van der Luit-Drummond

Independence, liberty, flexibility, and creativity

Interview with: Bougartchev and Moyne

The co-founders of Bougartchev Moyne Associés explain why they left ‘Big Law’ to launch their own Paris-based litigation boutique

Kiril, Emmanuel, how would you define your firm’s culture? Firm culture is essential to us. After 30 and 20 years, respectively, of professional practice at international law firms, we chose to create in January 2017 an ambitious business litigation boutique with a strong white-collar crime focus where lawyers – 15 as of today – combine …

Misconceptions don’t hold us back

Interview with: NautaDutilh

Jaap Jan Trommel, Chris Warner, and Petra Zijp detail the challenges facing firms in the Netherlands and why future competition won’t revolve around price, but client experience

How would you define your firm’s culture and how important is that culture to you? Our culture is deeply rooted in the power of the collective and in these days that togetherness – within the partnership, among the fee earners and the staff – is what`s needed to help our clients be successful. Clients are …

Funding can create value

Interview with: Paul Martenstyn

From clerking to funding, Paul Martenstyn explains how his time in chambers prepared him for a new challenge in litigation funding and what the future holds for the market

Paul, you spent ten years as a clerk and deputy senior clerk at Fountain Court. Tell us why you decided to leave chambers for Vannin Capital and what your responsibilities will be as the litigation funder’s new UK managing director. I had a tremendous time as a clerk, especially at Fountain Court, where I was …

A bad reputation is a killer

Interview with: Suciu Popa

Miruna Suciu and Luminita Popa discuss the importance of maintaining standards and why neither ethnicity nor gender should impact a lawyer’s advancement

How would you define your firm’s culture? How important is firm culture to you? Our culture is based on several main values: contribute effortlessly to create long-lasting effects, make a difference by a positive approach, take the lead and engage to create solid results that will stand the test of time. The driving force of …

I’m a good example of how you can progress

Interview with: Vidisha Joshi

Hodge Jones & Allen’s managing partner recounts her journey to the top of law firm management, underscores the importance of developing careers, and explains her firm’s innovative new ownership structure

Explain the culture at HJA. How important is that culture to you? There’s a very collegiate culture at HJA. We are all working for one common purpose – social justice. It is that commonality which binds people in all our departments together. There’s also a great deal of shared pride about the results we achieve. …

When growing, it’s essential your partners are on board

Leadership: Richard Crump

Richard Crump talks exclusively to UK Solicitors editor Georgina Stanley on HFW’s international expansion,
targeting US growth, and the prospects of a future mergers

When Richard Crump took up his current role of senior partner role in 2007, Holman Fenwick & Willan, as it then was, had roughly 240 lawyers working across eight offices and revenue of just over £67m. Today, newly reappointed for a fifth three-year term, the rebranded HFW has more than doubled its office and head …

Leveraging value from the directories process


Your submissions and content can support wider business development activities, explains Linsay Leslie head of
directories and tenders at MD Communications.

Legal directory submissions have been a regular business development fixture across global legal markets for years – starting with the UK market more than 25 years ago. Participants have undoubtedly become savvier about what it takes to produce compelling submissions. Yet, every year we hear about the significant time and cost involved in completing a …

A different skillset

The Bar: Carolyn McCombe

4 Pump Court’s Carolyn McCombe considers the evolution of the chambers CEO role and tells John van der Luit-Drummond why she has recently returned to her clerking roots.

Described in the latest edition of The Legal 500’s UK Bar guide as ‘a major force’ who has ‘built up an excellent set’, Carolyn McCombe’s career in chambers – like many other standout leaders in law – took a more circuitous route. When studying law at Cambridge, McCombe recalls how ‘all of the most intelligent …

The secrets of law firm marketing


Deborah B. Farone, former Cravath, Swaine & Moore
CMO, talks to fivehundred about her highly anticipated new book, the US rainmakers she admires, and why
managing partners cannot totally delegate their
marketing responsibilities.

In your new book, Best Practices in Law Firm Business Development and Marketing, you write that you’ve seen a number of large-scale changes in the legal ecosystem that law firm leaders and marketers need to address. What are the most pressing changes you’ve seen that will impact legal marketers? I think the most significant changes …

Chambers by numbers

The Bar

Ahead of the 2020 research, UK Bar editor John van der Luit-Drummond examines the current
rankings to see which sets came out ahead in 2019.

It’s been just over a couple of months since we launched the 2019 UK Bar guide, and in only a couple of months’ time our research team will begin work on the 2020 edition (I know, I know, no rest for the wicked!). Ahead of our March submissions deadline, I wanted to take another look …