Editor's Letter


The month of March is all about women. In the US, Women’s History Month highlights the contributions made by women to the key events in history and society. Moreover, the 8th March is recognised as International Women’s Day, the organisers of which, under the banner #BalanceforBetter, call for a more gender-balanced world in 2019.

With gender diversity statistics in law firms remaining largely stagnant; the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales recently claiming chauvinist, bullying judges dissuade women from taking judicial posts; and Red Lion Chambers’ barrister Joanna Hardy making headlines for accusing male lawyers of behaving as if ‘on a stag do’, there is perhaps no better time to celebrate the achievements of women in law, encourage them in their careers, and call for greater balance and respect in the profession.

UK Solicitors editor Georgina Stanley profiles this year’s outstanding achievement winners – all seven of which are women – at The Legal 500 Awards 2019, and we hear from One Essex Court’s Jackie Ginty and Hardwicke’s Amanda Illing on what it means to win 2019’s clerk and CEO of the year awards.

Elsewhere, Greenberg Traurig partner Elizabeth Ross Hadley gives wannabe associates some advice on the best route to making it in Big Law, while Australia editor Andrea de Palatis speaks to a host of big name partners across Asia Pacific and Europe to consider whether women lawyers can ‘have it all’.

March is also that special time of year when the pomp and ceremony of the UK Bar is in full show. Of the 108 barristers and solicitors taking silk at Westminster Hall on 11th March, 30 are women. Among them is Outer Temple Chambers’ Fiona Horlick, who writes about what it means to become Queen’s Counsel a century after the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 granted women access to the Bar. Meanwhile, Michelle Heeley QC of No5 Barristers Chambers gives her top tips for those thinking of applying for silk this year.

This month’s issue also features a breakdown of our new China rankings from Bei Zhao; DLA Piper’s Roger Meltzer on why firms must drive social change; Kennedys’ Nick Thomas on why clients should see their lawyers as human beings; David Burgess on why law firms should treat their reception teams with more respect; and Baker McKenzie’s Esteban Raventós on the importance of adapting to the thinking of new lawyers; plus much, much more from Dechert, CMS, and LABLAW Studio Legale.

As always, please email me with your feedback on this issue and with your suggestions for articles in future issues (john.vdld@legal500.com).

John van der Luit-Drummond

2019: A year of fortune and luck for China firms?

Editors' views

China editor Bei Zhao reports on what has been keeping PRC and international firms busy and which practices have excelled in the latest rankings.

2019 marks the arrival of the Year of Pig, which is said to bring luck and prosperity to those born into it. Looking at The Legal 500’s latest China rankings, the previous 12 months have certain been good to many firms – 130, in fact – that made it into our expanded 2019 guide. The …

New government means new rules of business in Italy

Politics vs practice

Luca Failla, managing partner of LABLAW Studio Legale, provides an update on the latest labour and employment law issues facing corporates in Italy.

The Italian government’s recent declaration of support for the cause ‘gilets jaunes’ (yellow vest) protesters in France, even going so far as to proclaim ‘don’t give up’, has reinforced their support of the sovereignty of the people of the Republic of France – and at the same time those of the Republic of Italy. Not …

Law firms and sets: your front of house teams deserve better

Editors' views

Remember that everyone who works with you is a
human being deserving of professional courtesy and respect, writes publishing director David Burgess.

Recently, I have been helping out with the recruitment of staff for the International Arbitration Centre. Making sure that the front of house staff meet up to the highest expectations of client service and discretion are very much the principles on which the interviews were based. So we looked at a range of candidates, from …

Collaboration and curiosity are key

Practice area spotlight: Fintech

To be a good fintech lawyer you need not only comprehensive legal skills, but also an understanding on what fintech – and the particular business – is all about, writes Hanna-Mari Manninen of Dittmar & Indrenius

Please give us an overview of the current legal market in Finland and how any recent developments have impacted your practice? Legal services are offered in Finland by variety of different type of actors, mostly by attorneys-at-law offices but also by other law firms and by consulting and accounting firms. The competition has been increasing, …

Moving faster in the right direction

Events and awards

Fresh from their successes at Awards 2019, Hardwicke’s Amanda Illing (Chief Executive of the Year) and One Essex Court’s Jackie Ginty (Clerk of the Year) reflect on the progress of women at the Bar.

In 2019 we are celebrating the 100th anniversary both of women obtaining the right to vote and women being admitted to the Bar. A great deal has happened in those 100 years for women involved in Bar activities. While there is undoubtedly still much to be done, equally there is a great deal of which …

Can Paris take advantage of the fintech boom?

Practice area spotlight: Fintech

Hubert de Vauplane, Gilles Saint Marc, Tristan Bonneau, and Wilfried Robin of Kramer Levin Naftalis et Frankel consider the future of French fintech

Please provide an overview of the current legal market in France and recent developments? French authorities and regulators have exhibited constant interest for fintechs, which are driving technological innovation and providing additional financing sources. Regulations implemented in the last few years demonstrate French regulators’ commitment to establish appropriate frameworks that foster the development of fintechs …

Women lawyers making a difference

Events and awards

UK Solicitors editor Georgina Stanley praises 2019’s outstanding achievement winners who have acted as positive role models to inspire future generations of women in law.

What makes an outstanding achievement winner in The Legal 500’s eyes? Broadly speaking, the answer is going to differ markedly depending on the individual. This year however, our seven outstanding achievement winners were united by one very obvious factor – their gender. To mark 100 years since women were given the right to practise law …

Malta’s ‘bull-like’ market

Practice area spotlight: Fintech

The fintech space is a fast-changing environment, which is constantly
presenting unprecedented and often mind-boggling dilemmas, explains Leonard Bonello of GANADO Advocates

Please give us an overview of the current legal market in Malta and how any recent developments have impacted your practice? The Maltese legal market is currently thrusting rather vibrantly, particularly in the blockchain and crypto sphere, following the christening by parliament of a unique, non-intrusive and principles-based regulatory framework specifically regulating DLT platforms and …

Clive Howard

Hall of fame: Clive Howard

Senior principal lawyer Clive Howard talks about his successful work and predicts the biggest challenge for clients over the next year.

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capability? Professionally – I think helping grow an employment team which has been top ranked for many years. It’s a great team which helps explain why I have been here for more than 25 years. Personally – has to be having 2 daughters who …

Fintech to mature in Mexico

Practice area spotlight: Fintech

As regulation evolves, only those able to understand the market will be able to advise both public and private clients in complex transactions, say Ramón Bravo H. and Héctor Cuevas-González of Deloitte Legal Mexico

Please give us an overview of the current legal market in Mexico and how any recent developments have impacted your practice? The Mexican legal market has rapidly evolved during the last 10 years, mainly attributable to: the rapid expansion and establishment of Mexican offices of several international law firms, as well as the ‘re-integration’ of …