Clifford Chance excels itself…
This week on LinkedIn, Clifford Chance posted what may be the best recruitment ad I’ve ever come across. It’s an incredibly powerful video with real emotional impact – I don’t mind admitting that it made me tear up a little. In the four-minute clip, several of the firm’s lawyers are invited to sit in front of a mirror and are then asked “Who do you see?”. The lawyers – who are of different ethnicities, sexes and social backgrounds, and include an openly transgender associate – answer this question with disarming candour, letting the viewer see the human being behind the professional title.
But the real magic happens when the participants are shown messages from their colleagues, stating what they see when they look at them. There is genuine warmth and empathy here, and it has a visible impact on the lawyers in front of the camera. They speak with great affection of the friendships they have formed at the firm, the respect they have for their colleagues, and the value they see in the firm’s diversity schemes, which they are passionately dedicated to.
It all adds up to create a very positive impression of Clifford Chance as a firm without being in any way cheesy or over the top – you can tell that the participants are speaking from the heart when they say that they truly appreciate the career and the life they have built with the firm, and the opportunities it brings the both professionally and personally. I defy you to watch it and not feel moist of eye by the end.
… in more ways than one
Despite all the trials and tribulations that the global economy has faced of late, Clifford Chance put in its best ever performance last year. The Magic Circle firm posted its biggest turnover to date in 2022, recording £1.969m in revenue in the year to April. This marked a rise of 7.7% on the previous year. And the firm wasn’t tardy in rewarding its people for this outstanding result – it paid its top earner a whopping £4.94m last year, which represents a 53% earnings rise for whoever this fortunate individual may be. Overall, the firm’s 14-strong leadership team were paid £34m in the 12 months to the end of April 2022, up from £28m the previous year. Wowzers!
Perfectionism and the pottery parable
I came across an inspiring and thought-provoking post by Sam Burrett on LinkedIn this week. In it, Sam talks about the pottery parable: two groups of potters spend 30 days making pots – however, the first group makes a new pot each day, whereas the second group focuses on making just one pot during that time. At the end, the groups come together to judge the best ten pots made by everyone during the 30 days. You guessed it: each pot chosen was made by the first group.
The lesson? To bastardise a quote by Voltaire, “The perfect is the enemy of the good”. As Sam writes, too many of us are perfectionists who want to get everything right the first time, every time. But it’s only through practice that we gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to excel. And we can only get it right by first getting it wrong, many times over.
US law firms are stealing the limelight this week
A calendar year end for US law firms means that the news cycle tends to be dominated by them, even in the UK legal press, for the next few weeks as they announce new lateral hires (many of whom have been waiting for year end to quit).
Here’s a selection of stories from the UK legal press around big moves this week:
The Top 20 litigation cases of 2023
On Monday, The Lawyer posted its Top 20 cases for 2023. Selected from submissions provided by nearly every major firm, these are the year’s most dramatic and significant courtroom battles that should be on every litigator’s radar.
Take a look at the article and you’ll see a detailed summary of each of the Top 20 cases; the date, duration and location of each trial; and the full list of barristers and lawyers instructed for each dispute.
Shepherd & Wedderburn is the only top 100 firm named as a party to proceedings, in its defence of a professional negligence claim brought by Sheffield United and others. ShepWedd is represented by DACB’s Ross Risby.
The full top 20 cases of 2023:
- The Federal Republic of Nigeria v Process & Industrial Development
- Sheffield United and others v Shepherd & Wedderburn
- R (Annington Property & others) v Secretary of State for Defence
- R (SFO) v Cook, Mason (formerly R v GPT (& others))
- Loreley Financing No 30 v Credit Suisse Securities (Europe), Credit Suisse International, Credit Suisse Securities (USA), and Credit Suisse
- The London International Exhibition Centre v Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance
- Qatar Airways Group v Airbus
- Stichting Vestia v BNP Paribas
- Arma Partners v Wejo
- Asturion Foundation v Aljawharah Bint Ibrahim Abdulaziz Alibrahim
- Euronet 360 Finance and others v Mastercard and Visa
- Hulley Enterprises, Yukos Universal and Veteran Petroleum v the Russian Federation
- Republic of Mozambique v Credit Suisse, Privinvest, VTB Capital and others
- HMRC v Bernie Ecclestone
- Tata Consultancy Services v Disclosure and Barring Services
- Epic Games and others v Alphabet, Google and others
- The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy v Richard John Adam, Richard John Howson, Zafar Iqbal Khan, Keith Robertson Cochrane CBE, Andrew James Harrower Dougal, Philip Nevill Green CBE, Alison Jane Horner and Ceri Michele Powell
- Anthony John Wright and Geoffrey Paul Rowley as joint liquidators of BHS Group Limited v Dominic Chappell, Mark Chandler and Keith Smith
- Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and the NHS in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland v Warner-Lambert Company
- R (Elliott Associates, Elliott International and Jane Street Global Trading) v The London Metal Exchange and LME Clear
Dates for your diary
- 23 January – Public Law Pupillage Application Event at the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, London
- 23-24 January – 17. International Conference on Technology and Internet Law, to be held virtually. This event aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Technology and Internet Law. It also provides a premier interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the fields of Technology and Internet Law.
- 24 January – Annual Conference of the Agricultural Law Association at the Copthorne Tara Hotel, London. The event will include sessions covering Conservation Covenants, Planning & Infrastructure and a ‘view from the field’ from those managing farming operations and their objectives to achieve net zero and natural capital objectives.
- 8 February – Final deadline for Chambers UK 2024 guide
- 10 February – Legal 500 2024 deadline for regional submissions
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this week’s edition!