Editor's Letter

November 2019 issue front cover

How time flies when you’re having fun. A year ago this month, fivehundred was born. Over the last 12 months
we have published more than 300 articles from over 200 law firms, barristers’ chambers, and consultants, while our in-house team of experienced editors and researchers have produced in excess of 100 in-depth reports and interviews with some of the world’s leading lawyers. The last ten issues of thought leadership and market insight have reached approximately 50,000 lawyers worldwide each month, providing each reader with the inside track on what makes the world’s elite law firms and chambers successful across numerous jurisdictions. And all of that for free.

With 2020 fast approaching, it’s time to look to the future of fivehundred. Earlier this month we launched our first regional supplement, which focuses on the offshore legal world, and more focuses are being developed – stay tuned for more news soon! We will also soon be moving to a new web platform making it even easier for you to read and share your favourite articles on the go. And while feedback on the last ten issues has been extremely positive, we are not resting on our laurels. We want to know more about what you think about fivehundred. If you have comments about anything we’ve published or believe there is a topic we should be covering, then please get in touch so you can help shape the future direction of this magazine.

But what about this November issue? Well, this month we are focusing on leadership – both current and future. First, we consider what actually makes a good leader, with Patrick J. McKenna sharing eight ‘truths’ to those currently occupying law firm c-suites and those that aspire to lead them. Next, how do you foster a culture of empowerment within your firm? Greenberg Traurig’s Ted Blum has the answers. Also looking to the future, Philippa Ward, founding member of Pinsent Masons’ Spark Board, explains how her firm’s latest initiative will bring a new perspective to strategic decision-making. And, from the Latin America perspective, Demarest Advogados’ Andoni Hernandez Bengoa talks generational transition and the real value of cultural diversity.

We also look at Street Law’s Legal Diversity Pipeline Programs, which aim to promote the law as a career among US high school students from diverse backgrounds, creating future leaders in the US, while, in the UK, Essex Court Chambers’ Richard Hoyle explains how the millennial mindset is changing commercial sets, and a selection of leading chambers reveal how they are making a difference with various CSR initiatives.

Elsewhere in this issue, HFW’s Helen Verrier reflects on her career as one of the few female Australian lawyers qualified to practice in Papua New Guinea; Helen Donegan speaks to DreamHost’s Chris Ghazarian about his transition to GC, taking on the DoJ, and why lawyers are ‘blockers’; and Deborah B. Farone highlights the importance of partner collaboration in business development and marketing initiatives.

That’s just a little to whet your appetite in the latest fivehundred. We’ll be back next month for our double December/January issue. See you then!

John van der Luit-Drummond

Chambers’ social responsibility

The Bar

UK Bar editor John van der Luit-Drummond talks to five sets about their various CSR initiatives – what works, why they do it, and the challenges they face

Chambers’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives cover a number of different areas, including access to the profession and equality and diversity, as well as initiatives focusing on staff health, environmental sustainability, ethical business practices, and charitable causes. A successful CSR programme can have far-reaching effects, not only for the reputation of a chambers, but also …

Entrepreneurial marketing

The Bar

Georgina MacLellan, business development manager at 4 New Square, discusses her chambers’ recently launched podcast and looking beyond the traditional marketing tool-box

Chambers has recently launched the ‘Analysis: Commercial Dispute Resolution and life at the Bar’ podcast. How did the idea of this podcast come about? There are two arms to our podcast – recent developments in commercial law and life at the Bar. The idea was initially born out of a desire to reach our international …

Building diversity into the legal talent pipeline

Diversity and inclusion

In a series of forthcoming articles, fivehundred will feature a selection of legal diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives from the US, highlighting the efforts of the law firms and GCs we work with in an effort to draw attention to the work being done in this area and hopefully inspire others to get involved. This inaugural article in the series focuses on promoting the law as a career amongst high school students from diverse backgrounds

Street Law’s Legal Diversity Pipeline Programs The legal teams seeking to make the most progress in terms of diversifying their talent pool are taking a multi-pronged approach in targeting diversity initiatives to recruit, retain, and promote individuals from different diversity backgrounds, while complementing this by addressing diversity at different career stages – or pre-career stage …

Collaboration: An essential key to successful business development


Deborah Brightman Farone, founder of Farone Advisors LLC and former Cravath, Swaine & Moore CMO, highlights the importance of partner collaboration in law firm business development and marketing initiatives

A law firm leader recently asked me what it is that separates successful firms from the uber-successful, superstar firms – those that seem to grow exponentially, retain greater profits, and solidify decades-long large-scale client engagements. She asked what I see when I contrast the behaviour of those two types of firms. The challenge is that …

Women in The Legal 500 – A step in the right direction but we need your help

Editor's views

Georgina Stanley reveals the diversity statistics from the latest UK Solicitors guide

When I joined The Legal 500 a year ago, one of the main ambitions I set out was to improve diversity in our rankings and, in particular, the proportion of cited women in the UK Solicitors guide. The reason was obvious – women are under-represented at senior levels in law firms and this has also …

All go in Monaco

Editor's views

EMEA editor Ella Marshall drives full throttle into the history of The Legal 500’s Monaco chapter

The Principality of Monaco is well known for the extravagant lifestyle of its high rollers; for the super-yachts that line the marina; the low tax rates; the Grand Prix (the street race, arguably, the most glamorous on the circuit); as the home of numerous high-flying residents; and, more recently, for The Legal 500’s coverage of …

Indonesia’s fintech revolution

Practice spotlight

Fresh from completing his research into Indonesia’s legal market, David Keenan reports on the fintech trend sweeping the world’s largest island nation

‘Indonesia needs a financial revolution, which will ultimately democratise access to the best financial products.’ These are the words of Claudia Kolonas, founder of fintech start-up Pluang, which recently received $3m in funding from Indonesia tech giant Go-Jek and is one of 167 fintech start-ups now operating in Indonesia. The demand for fintech is quite …

Lawyers are blockers; leaders are closers

The client side

In a series of interviews with some of the top GCs across the US, fivehundred provides insights into the priorities and motivations of the influential in-house lawyers who are included in The Legal 500’s 2019 United States GC Powerlist

For this month’s interview, Helen Donegan, US Editor (Content), speaks to DreamHost’s Chris Ghazarian about his transition to the position of GC, the evolution of the in-house role, what he wants from outside counsel, and taking on the Department of Justice Helen Donegan: To start off, can you tell me about your current role and …

Per M. Ristvedt: The benefits of being ‘first’

Interview with...

The Oslo-based partner and head of dispute resolution talks about the recent Schjødt-Hamilton merger that is set to create a one-stop for clients in Scandinavia

As a business, how has Schjødt evolved since you have been at the firm? What has changed most over the years in Schjødt is that there is a need for the firm to be organised and run in an optimised manner, since the response time in regards to many of the assignments are often quite …

How to empower and encourage your employees

The Big Issue: Leadership

Ted Blum, managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Atlanta office and chair of the firm’s Atlanta Corporate Practice, outlines five ways to foster a culture of empowerment within your organisation

Most companies recognise that employee empowerment is a critical component of an organisation’s long-term success. Giving employees a certain degree of autonomy often leads to new ideas and innovation and, simply put, trying out new things is always a worthwhile experiment. Yet, developing a culture that supports empowerment is often easier said than done. This …