Market monitor

Simpson Millar to cut 20% of staff in bid to recover from Fairpoint “under-investment”

Greg Cox

National law firm Simpson Millar is set to make at least 20% of its workforce redundant as part of a restructuring that follows its listed parent company going into administration earlier this year. The firm said the changes were designed “to put in place a sustainable cost base following substantial under-investment under the ownership of Fairpoint Group PLC”.

December 12th, 2017

Innovation by general counsel brings “massive savings in lawyer time”


Efficiency innovations implemented by in-house counsel at just five big companies – such as artificially intelligent (AI) contract review – have brought annual savings totalling more than half a million hours of lawyer time, according to new guide. Similar savings were being made by legal departments in thousands of other companies globally, it said, driving change in law firms that have traditionally relied on the work.

December 11th, 2017

Slater & Gordon to avoid insolvency after shareholders accept hedge fund takeover

Slater & Gordon sign

Slater & Gordon is set to avoid insolvency after nearly 70% of shareholders approved a recapitalisation plan which will see its senior lenders – led by American hedge fund Anchorage Capital – take control in a debt-for-equity deal.

December 6th, 2017

Specialisation the top opportunity for firms as full-service practices lose ground, survey finds

Giles Murphy chosen photo colour left

A greater focus on specialist sectors is seen by senior managers as the biggest opportunity for law firms over the next two to three years, a survey has found. It comes at a time when firms believe that competitive pressures have increased but almost all are confident about the future.

December 6th, 2017

Justice minister pours cold water on growing calls to fund early legal advice

Dominic Raab

The government yesterday damped down hopes that it would consider funding greater access to early legal advice. Support for a restore legal aid for early advice has been growing, with justice committee chairman Bob Neill MP and Supreme Court president Baroness Hale among those to talk up its benefits.

December 6th, 2017

BTE legal expenses insurance has “considerable role to play” in delivering access to justice

Rachael Mulheron

Before-the-event legal expenses insurance has “a considerable role in improving access to justice in the current legal landscape”, with the advice helplines that come with them of particular benefit, a major report has found.

December 5th, 2017

Gateley unveils good results as its non-legal acquisitions thrive

Michael Ward

Gateley, the UK’s first listed law firm, has announced strong first-half results, with revenue up 9.8% to £38.6m. A significant proportion of the growth (15%) came from the two non-legal businesses it bought last year, surveyors Hamer Associates and tax advisory business Capitus.

December 5th, 2017

Land Registry eyes use of AI and publishing conveyancer performance data


The Land Registry has unveiled plans to use artificial intelligence in conveyancing and also publish data on conveyancers’ performance. It comes as a Legal Futures report – published today – highlights how the use of data is set to change commercial conveyancing and the law firms which do it.

December 4th, 2017

Despite Brexit and Trump, law firms have “grounds for optimism” on cross-border trade

Brexit Direction Sign

Law firms advising on cross-border commerce should be “cautiously positive that Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US president will not damage future global trade or the legal work that flows from it, according to a report. It said the long-term trend in trade and its regulation is not protectionism but rather continuing globalisation.

December 4th, 2017

Regional firm forges alliance with US legal business in differentiation push

Andrew Clinton ASB

A south-east commercial firm has signed a memorandum of understanding with an American firm of legal consultants to meet the needs of in-house counsel without “bulking up” its own business. Its managing partner said there was a “massive gap in the market” for client-centred law firms as general counsel became increasingly frustrated with their panels.

December 1st, 2017