Editor's Letter

November Issue Cover

Welcome to the inaugural issue of fivehundred, the brand new and free monthly magazine from the bright minds behind The Legal 500.

Ten times a year our team of experienced editors and researchers, along with a host of well-known expert contributors, will tackle the global themes affecting the legal profession. But let’s be clear: this is not a pay-to-play title. This is a new concept in legal publishing, where the best practitioners and biggest names in the global legal market come together to offer best practice advice to each other on a host of issues such as management, marketing, business development, recruitment, and a whole lot more besides.

This first issue is jam-packed with exclusive content, so where to begin? Well, it should go without saying that understanding the needs of clients is imperative to all law firms, regardless of their size, location, or specialism. Still, we’re going to say it anyway, and to demonstrate the point further J. Stephen Poor, chairman of Seyfarth Shaw, argues in our first leadership focus that lawyers should think ‘outside-in’ to be truly client-centric. But why stop there? Yolanda Cartusciello highlights the advantages of client journey mapping, while a selection of general counsel share their thoughts on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Providing you with the inside track on what makes the world’s elite law firms successful, we also hear from the managing partners of Bowmans, Ferrere, Hogan Lovells, Holland & Knight, Luther, Paul, Weiss, Walker Morris, and Vinson & Elkins on what sets them apart, while leading practitioners from all corners of the globe brief you on the latest M&A trends.

Offering the latest in-depth analysis and commentary, our in-house team of editors bring you the latest news from Asia Pacific: The Legal 500 considers Malaysia’s recent change in government – and what the future holds for the country’s burgeoning legal market; Asia Pacific deputy editor Andrea de Palatis reports on how Australia’s infrastructure boom is stretching law firms to the limit; and yours truly highlights Singapore’s pro bono culture and why the liberalisation of India’s legal market is a matter of when not if.

Meanwhile, in our first longread, Latin America editor Tim Girven discusses one of the region’s biggest issues: succession planning for family run firms. And, with the help of leading partners, EMEA editor Ella Marshall looks back at The Legal 500’s historical rankings and uncovers the latest legal trends in Sweden.

Elsewhere in this first issue, we consider the importance of mentors in combatting poor mental health in the profession, advise on what to do if you are thinking of launching a new office in a new jurisdiction, and provide tips on how to befriend the press and raise your professional and public profile.

Finally, for those interested in the UK Bar (let’s face it, who isn’t?!), read our exclusive interview with Hardwicke chief executive Amanda Illing on the challenges facing a modern set of chambers and how best to inspire the next generation of leaders.

There is all that and more in this first issue of fivehundred. I hope you enjoy all our content and if you have any comments about November’s articles, or are interested in contributing to future issues, then please contact me at john.vdld@legal500.com.

John van der Luit-Drummond

Life sciences and tech lead the way in UK M&A

Practice area spotlight: M&A

Simon Briggs, Jonathan Angell, Sean Geraghty and Andrew Harrow expect a post-Brexit dip in M&A activity, only for the market to rise again once the landscape is less uncertain

Please give us an overview of the current legal market in the UK and how any recent developments have impacted your practice? Our London M&A practice is a combination of UK and cross-border transactions, so our deal flow remains robust both in the corporate and private equity sectors. Brexit has had some impact on transaction …

Sweden’s M&A boom

Practice area spotlight: M&A

Swedish cityscape image

Erik Fahlgren, Carl-Johan Pousette and Marcus Tipner predict further growth in a country that is already experiencing an increase in work, both domestically and internationally

Please give us an overview of the current legal market in Sweden and how any recent developments have impacted your practice? The Swedish M&A market (both private and public) is booming and we have noticed a dramatic increase in our M&A practice. The use of M&A/W&I insurance continue to increase in the Swedish market, which …

The US drive to consolidation

Practice area spotlight: M&A

Cravath’s Richard Hall highlights the US market’s pursuit of size as a strategic imperative, and the challenge posed by rising nationalism and protectionism

Please give us an overview of the current legal market in the United States and how any recent developments have impacted your practice? The M&A legal market in the United States remains generally quite strong. Although transaction volumes are down slightly from a peak in 2015, the level of activity is still quite robust. Overall …

Baker McKenzie: Speed and efficiency

Country spotlight: Sweden

Swedish cityscape image

Anders Fast, managing partner of Baker & McKenzie Advokatbyrå KB

How are you adapting to chaining client demands? We see increased demand for all kind of cross border-work but in particular within the transactional and compliance field. Sweden – and the Nordics – is a very attractive area for foreign investments and Nordic companies are also looking for opportunities abroad. Our clients want us not …

Vinge: Seamless service

Country spotlight: Sweden

Swedish cityscape image

Maria‑Pia Hope, CEO of Vinge

Can you explain how client demands are changing? We find our clients ask for more complex guidance and advice, and that they increasingly demand that we possess good industry knowledge. We have had a significant number of cross-border projects and this puts our well-developed network with the best firms and experts in other jurisdictions to …

Malaysia’s spiritual – and possibly legal – rejuvenation

Editors' views

Following a recent research trip to Malaysia, The Legal 500 reports on a country excited for political change and a legal market waiting to see what the new regime will bring

Since May 2018 much of Malaysia has been undergoing a spiritual rejuvenation brought about by its first genuine change of government in 60 years. From the Vertigo rooftop bar to the esteemed Malaysian Bar, via bus conductors and Grab drivers and bartenders, everyone you speak to lights up when asked about this year’s election. ‘It …

Where are all the construction lawyers?

Editors' views

Australia’s much-needed infrastructure boom is stretching legal teams to the limit, finds The Legal 500 deputy editor Andrea de Palatis

On 7 August 2018, Australia’s population surpassed the 25 million mark, but as the populace increases so does the need for modern infrastructure. Current traffic volumes exceed the capacity of outdated and decades old railways, bridges, tunnels, ports and metro systems. Australians in urban areas agree that on most days, provided everything goes well, ‘it …

Tech, that’s the name of the game

Country spotlight: Sweden

EMEA editor, Ella Marshall, looks back at The Legal 500’s recent rankings and talks to leading law firms to consider the changing nature of Sweden’s legal market

A lot can happen in a short space of time, and Sweden is certainly proof of that. In a country where Volvo, Ikea and H&M gave way to Abba and Zlatan (*not technically true, I grant you) as the country’s most successful exports, that crown looks likely to pass to any one of Sweden’s tech …

India liberalisation: a question of when, not if, for law firms

Editors' views

Like rush hour in Delhi the Supreme Court of India’s ‘fly-in, fly-out’ judgment leaves the move towards liberalisation at a crawling pace, writes Asia Pacific editor John van der Luit-Drummond

The highly anticipated decision on the ‘fly-in, fly-out’ rule certainly had lawyers’ chins wagging when I visited Mumbai and New Delhi in March. Upholding a decision by the Madras High Court, appeal judges ruled that foreign law firms still cannot set up permanent offices in India, but are allowed to fly in and out of …

Why the Bar needs to talk about its past, and its future

The Bar

Lady Justice graphic photo

The profession may not yet have had its ‘Weinstein moment’, says John van der Luit-Drummond, UK Bar editor, but would you lay a bet it isn’t just beyond the horizon?

From the famous advocates she worked alongside to the infamous clients she rubbed shoulders with, you cannot help but smile listening to Nemone Lethbridge, 85, recount tales of her life at the Bar. Yet smiles soon turn to incredulous laughter when she talks of chambers’ culture. At a time when a spotlight is intensely focused …