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

100 years and counting

Diversity and inclusion

CEO Obelisk Support and former Linklaters lawyer, Dana Denis-Smith who founded the First 100 Years
project, explains what inspired her to celebrate the
journey of women in law and why law firms must do
better to right the scales of equality.

A wonderful group image captured my imagination in November 2013 – it was a photograph of the partners of City law firm Herbert Smith (now Herbert Smith Freehills), dating from 1982, marking the firm’s centenary at Grocer’s Hall in London. In the middle of the group of 50 or so men, there was a blue-clad …

Lawyers of the Caribbean: A rankings guide

Editors' views

Editor Amy Ulliott takes a closer look at the newly
published 2019 rankings to see how the region’s law firms have performed this past year.

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that The Legal 500’s latest Caribbean rankings have recently been published online. In addition to coverage of Bermuda, the Cayman Islands (Cayman), and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the 2019 rankings saw the introduction of the Bahamas into the guide. A new practice area was also added with a new …

Why Norway lacks a Big Law presence

Editors' views

Following her research trip to Oslo, Amy Ulliott investigates why international law firms have yet to invest in Norway’s legal market, leaving domestic firms to dominate the space.

In many ways, the Norwegian legal market looks like any other; a mixture of large full-service firms and smaller boutiques simultaneously jostling and working together to gain as much work as possible from the national industries they rely upon, while also feeling the impact when those same industries struggle. Upon closer look, however, you begin …

That was then, this is now

Hall of Fame

Deutschland editor Anna Bauböck talks to members of The Legal 500’s Hall of Fame on the past, present, and future of the legal profession

‘Associates today think one is talking about the Stone Age when describing how you spent nights at the fax machine because no evening support staff was available and email did not exist’, says Dr. Werner Meier, head of Simmons & Simmons German finance and restructuring practice, when asked about starting his legal career in 1992. …

The Secret Barrister

In conversation

Since 2015, a barrister practising criminal law in the UK started blogging and tweeting under the pseudonym ‘The Secret Barrister’. The aim was to shine a light on the inadequacies, and indeed failings, of the criminal justice system.

This culminated in 2018 with the publication of Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken, which became a surprisingly mainstream success, remaining in the Sunday Times Top 10 bestsellers list for twenty four weeks, selling over 165,000 copies across all formats. The content would surprise many readers outside of the UK, which is frequently …

Delivering value isn’t about ‘more for less’

Interview with: Andrew Leaitherland

DWF’s managing partner and CEO on rewarding lawyers based on merit, implementing the latest tech for the benefit of clients, and the power of partners’ buy-in

How would you define DWF’s culture and how important is that culture to you? Culture is incredibly important. It sets the expectation for how our people work together and, in turn, how we work with our clients. Our culture is underpinned by our values which prioritise innovation, collaboration and high performance, and which give us …

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 …