Editor's Letter

May / June issue front cover image

fivehundred, the magazine from The Legal 500, combines the knowledge of our experienced editors and researchers with expert contributors to give you an insight into the global themes affecting the legal profession.

Over May and June 2020, we look at the impact the Cover-19 pandemic is having on the legal sector. The crisis is an opportunity for law firms to examine ways of being more inclusive, say Linklaters’ David Martin, Daniel Danso, and Neha Rao; in the US, Nelson Mullins’ Bart Daniel and Elle Klein warn coronavirus labs to beware potential fraud prosecutions under new federal laws; from Singapore, Allen & Gledhill’s Jerry Koh talks about the lessons learnt from the pandemic in Asia; and in the UK, Jeremy Callman, of Ten Old Square, considers the challenges facing law firm management amid a financially-damaged world, plus much, much more, including our cover feature with Cleary Gottlieb’s managing partner, Michael Gerstenzang.

Some clients don’t like negotiating with women

Legal 500 researcher William Farrington speaks to senior female lawyers about partnership, diversity, and recruitment in India’s legal market

A hot-button topic across the legal profession globally, diversity is one one of the key talking points for researchers at The Legal 500 when conducting interviews. During my recent stint as a researcher into the Indian legal scene, I raised the issue in a (virtual) all-female roundtable discussion with several senior lawyers at Samvad Partners, …

Covid-19 and exam chaos: How chambers can help the next generation

With the pandemic, A-level results, and BPTC exam nightmares impacting aspiring barristers, just how are chambers adapting their pupillage assessment and recruitment policies to obtain the best talent in the years ahead?

To say that aspiring barristers have had a hard time of it in 2020 would be something of an understatement. The Covid-19 virus has led to some financially hit chambers – some struggling even before to the pandemic hit – pausing their pupillage intakes for this year and, potentially, even next year, too. The government’s …

Milestones in criminal law

As Corker Binning approaches its 20-year anniversary, founding partner David Corker looks back at the evolution of the criminal law over the past two decades and predicts what the future may hold for criminal trials

How has the criminal law of England and Wales evolved during the last 20 years? It is an especially pertinent question for me as the firm that I helped to found, Corker Binning, opened for business in October 2000. Coincidentally the same day as the Human Rights Act 1998 was implemented. This event was considered …

An unexpected opportunity to increase diversity

A virtual work experience programme levels the playing field and is an opportunity to reach talented individuals who you may never have had a chance to help and nurture, explains Caroline Wilson, HR director at Kennedys

The global pandemic has undoubtedly restricted our movement and reduced the freedom that we are all used to. But in an unusual and unexpected twist, it has actually helped create some positive opportunities.  When coronavirus started to spread, it became clear to us at Kennedys, like every other business, that we would have to do …

Zooming in on a new Nirvana

Were legal sector innovations during lockdown a stop-gap to keep the body of justice breathing or will the use of remote technology now become the default setting, wonders Paul Kirtley of Exchange Chambers

Since the implementation of the UK lockdown in March, the justice system has relied upon the use of remote technology to keep its heart beating.  Remote video conferences and hearings have ensured the continued administration of justice and, more generally, communication between professional and lay clients. The UK and the rest of the world are …

Covid-19 and the mental health crisis at sea

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The ongoing crew change crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic raises humanitarian concerns as well as a disruption to global trade, warn HFW’s Jean Koh and Emilie Brammer

Covid-19 has triggered many governments to prevent the transfer of seafarers through their territories to and from their home countries and vessels. This has left some seafarers stranded and others unable to join vessels to earn income. Governments attending the International Maritime Summit on Crew Changes noted deep concerns regarding this ‘global crew change crisis’, summarising …

Inside the UK’s longest remote hearing

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3 Hare Court’s Simon Davenport QC and Tom Poole along with Humphries Kerstetter’s Toby Starr and James Russell give their thoughts on working inside one of the largest virtual trials under the new Covid-19 court regime

After 25-days the trial of One Blackfriars Limited (in liquidation) concluded in July 2020. The Applicants were represented by Simon Davenport QC and Tom Poole of 3 Hare Court and instructed by Humphries Kerstetter. The five-week liability and quantum trial (professional negligence claim against administrators worth £250m) was the subject of two PTR orders, providing …

Tested by Covid

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Specialist law firms that are adaptable, innovative, and have strong cultures will be well placed to take advantage of the post-pandemic marketplace, says Robert Coffey, managing partner of Cooke, Young & Keidan 

The disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about the acceleration of several significant pre-existing trends, which are changing how law firms do business. For those involved in advising on dispute resolution, in particular, the pace of change in the use of technology and funding has been intensified. It is my view that many …

Covid-19 and the tough questions law firms are now asking

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Jeremy Callman, a barrister at Ten Old Square, considers the legal challenges facing law firm management amid the coronavirus pandemic and a financially-damaged world

The financial scars of the Covid-19 pandemic run deep. The new harsh financial reality means those who manage law firms face some tough legal questions. In my partnership practice, I have already seen the following questions arising as part of the ‘fallout’ from the coronavirus pandemic: Profit share: can we cut partner share and adjust …

Taking care of business

Exchange Chambers’ John Jones QC and Ian Whitehurst, along with CCL Group’s Adam Irwin, consider private prosecutions in a digital age

Corporate crime in the United Kingdom takes many forms and the increasing dominance of the digital economy has only sought to heighten the problem. Sadly, this is happening against a backdrop of increasing neglect by law enforcement, owing to insufficient economic resources; a lack of suitably qualified individuals with the appropriate skills; and an apparent …