What Makes A Big Law Firm Successful . . And Why Is THIS Firm A Standout?

What Makes A Big Law Firm Successful . . And Why Is THIS Firm A Standout?

Measuring success with big law firms usually comes down to running the rule over their profits per equity partner (PEP) and other such calculations. But success today is more than just great PEP.

The Financial Times have done the sums on Big Law success factors which largely involves the culture and values of the law firms, which many large law firms are busy transforming to align with what their clients – and employees – are seeking.

Just how far law firms will go to transform their way of operating remains to be seen, given that the biggest and most profitable law firms in the world, the US Big Law firms, operate the same way they always have.

The FT Innovative Lawyer report has been published for 17 years and is intended to showcase those firms that have changed progressively and (hopefully) for the better.

But there remains pressure from many to ensure that change occurs, even if it comes via competition from boutique and other specialist law firms who embrace hybrid working, flexible working conditions and green and sustainable business practices.

And in the FT ranking of successful law firms has changed to reflect new ways that law firms manage their rankings, reflecting an equally changed and challenging legal environment.

While innovation remains the cornerstone of their rankings they have added factors like client mentions, \’digital maturity\’ and financial growth into their matrix.

But they also note that firms have been laggards on issues like social and governance and environment questions.

The European Law Leader

The firm that has come out on top for their European rankings is Ashurst, which the FT note is \’an exemplar of the changing legal market\’.

The firm, which is 200 years old, has 27 offices across 15 countries and employs 2800 people, has reinvented itself following its merger with Australian Big Law firm Blake Dawson.

Revenues for Ashursts have grown by a quarter over the pat three years and its Ashurst Advance has delivered growth on the back of digital innovation that perhaps belies the two centuries of existence for the legal giant.

The firm has related consulting services and has also worked hard to develop its work culture, providing a more supportive environment

Christopher Georgiou set up Ashurst Advance in 2013 with a handful of professionals, who now number over 170 and with a powerful role in the firm\’s executive management team.

But more than just the digital delivery aspects of the division and a more agile way of delivering servicers but it has been the cultural and delivery of client services generally that has lifted Ashursts\’ game overall.

The firm recently decided to build upon its success in Australia with consultancy services by developing a new consulting business will be led by a group comprising current Ashurst partner Matt Worsfold – who is relocating from Ashurst’s Australian business – alongside two new hires.

The new professionals to join the London-based consultancy include Matthew Russell, a partner in PwC’s financial crime segment, and Nisha Sanghani, a partner at boutique consulting firm Rosediem.

The firm is seeking to capitalise on growing demand for advice as businesses face a “perfect storm of rising inflation and interest rates, accelerating post-Brexit regulatory reform and increasing risks of cyber threats,” the Jamie Ng, head of the law firm’s risk advisory business, said.

 The firm is also to launch a digital strategy in order to facilitate firmwide cultural change around digital capability and delivery.

The Top 10 FT Law Firm Winners

The top 10 law firms on the FT index include –

  1. Ashursts – 86.7
  2. Hogan Lovells – 83.7
  3. DWF – 81.4
  4. Addleshaw Goddard – 81
  5. DLA Piper – 80.6
  6. Simmons & Simmons – 79.3
  7. Herbert Smith Freehills – 79.2
  8. Dentons – 78.7
  9. Ecija – 78.5
  10. Freshfields Bruckhause Deringer – 78.3

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