Amy Hambleton, RedLaw Director, takes a look back at the changing legal landscape over the last quarter.
The unexpected calling of a General Election caused some initial consternation amongst law firms, still bracing themselves for the impact of triggering Brexit. In recruitment terms, this simply added to another level of uncertainty but a common theme emerging from firms is that it is – with a little added cautiousness – business as usual.
Merger activity amongst law firms has remained strong, with consolidation continuing, notably the larger insurance dominated firms Kennedys and Clyde &Co ramping up internationally and Bond Dickinson announcing a tie up with US firm Womble Carlyle giving the firm the memorable moniker of Womble Bond Dickinson.
Firms have in the main continued to post good financials, increasing their profits and revenue, with some elite US firms pulling away significantly and some firms’ results slightly down due to currency fluctuations. Merger and acquisitions activity is interesting as the question of globalisation and the US position on this arises, alongside the start of Brexit negotiations – but what we know for sure is that there will always be opportunities in a changing market place. The increase in regulatory controls on organisations has also led to firms continuing to shore up and build their offerings further with areas such as financial services regulatory and data protection clearly benefitting from a growing market need for more lawyers and the property market has not experienced the dip that many were predicting.
Overall, recruitment activity across practice areas has been steady and consistent. Lateral partner hiring has continued unabated and the associate market has also continued to maintain some momentum. Living with uncertainty has become the new norm with law firms determined to thrive from the inevitable opportunities that come their way.