Editor's Comment: A kind of magic
With Allen & Overy (A&O) becoming the latest of the big four to announce a restructuring, it is becoming increasingly clear that the magic circle is again evolving. Essentially, the group is moving further away from the 2000-era scale that was the result of a series of international mergers towards a leaner, though no less international incarnation. This process was already in train long before the words 'credit' and 'crunch' became depressingly common. Linklaters took its first steps down this path way back in the post-dotcom gloom. Clifford Chance (CC) began moving in earnest in this direction, with the dismantling of the firm's ill-fated Californian venture. And Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer went through a comprehensive partnership restructuring in 2006, wisely while the market was still booming.Consider how far we have come already since 2003 when CC's partnership appeared to be heading inexorably towards the 700 mark. Even by the most conservative estimates, the magic circle as a whole will exit at least 100 partners from its equity ranks by the start of the new financial year. But that will not end the process. The recession has strengthened a view already gaining currency that these firms were too big and needed to focus on quality over quantity and core clients - a trend a colleague of mine recently dubbed the Skaddenisation of the magic circle.
This premium content is reserved for
Legal Week Subscribers.
A PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION PROVIDES:
- Trusted insight, news and analysis from the UK and across the globe
- Connections to senior business lawyers within the leading law firms and legal departments
- Optimized access on all of your devices: desktop, tablet and mobile
- Complete access to the site's full archive of more than 56,000 articles
Already have an account? Sign In Now