2011- The Year gone by in the Legal Industry

LegalThe year 2011, in the legal industry turned out once again to be a rollercoaster ride; mergers, acquisitions and internal changes were all part of it. Here’s look at the major news that made us sit up and take notice in 2011.

January- In a major shakeup, CMS Cameron McKenna made public the details of its outsourcing agreement with Integreon. Almost one-third of the firm’s support staff was either let go or relocated.

February- After months of speculation about their entry into Australia, Clifford Chance (CC) announced their launch after partnering with local firms Cochrane Lishman Carson Luscombe and Chang Pistilli & Simmons.

March – In a landmark venture, Clifford Chance (CC) announced their entry into South Korea anticipating market liberalization in the summer.

April – SNR Denton took stock of their business model UK after the predicted profits-per-equity-partner in the country was set to crash by more than 30%.

May – Jonathan Sumption QC grabbed the headlines becoming the first barrister in over 60 years to be appointed directly to the Supreme Court from the Bar in the UK.

June – News reports suggested that Clyde & Co and Barlow Lyde & Gilbert were in advanced stages of a possible merger that could possibly see the biggest tie-up between two UK law firms in over a decade.

July – Clifford Chance (CC) topped the list of UK top 50 law firm rankings for 2011, for the second year in a row. Firms across the board achieved largest gains in growth since 2008.

August – Ashurst confirmed its partnership with Australian law firm Blake Dawson leading to a merger of their Asian units and saw Blakes’ domestic Australian operation be rebranded as Ashurst in March 2012 merging their businesses under a single brand entity.

September – A bold and ground breaking move saw Twenty-three UK and Irish law firms come together under the banner ‘PRIME’ to improve social mobility and efficiency in the profession.

October – Internal restructuring saw DLA Piper hire former Linklaters managing partner Tony Angel co-global chairman and senior partner of its business outside of the US. It also announced its intention to bring in an all-equity partnership between all its offices outside the US by May, 2012.

November - Herbert Smith withdrew its partnership with European partners Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe after their foiled attempt to merge the two firms.

December – King & Wood and Australian leader Mallesons Stephen Jaques made an unanimous decision to merge under a Swiss verein structure in the first quarter of 2012; renaming themselves King & Wood Mallesons.

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