Highs and lows for lawyers if the UK votes for Brexit

by Steve Randall24 Jun 2016
Highs and lows for lawyers if the UK votes for Brexit
Lawyers will be kept very busy in the event of Brexit but the long term outlook for the legal profession could be painful, according to an American academic.
With the result of the UK’s leave/remain referendum on EU membership due early Friday morning (UK time) the impact if voters opt to leave is likely to mean months or years of renegotiations of contracts and changes to legislation.
According to Anu Bradford, law and international organization professor at Columbia University, there could be two years of work in readiness for the UK to leave.
"A lot of the contracts that would no longer happen under UK law — that would be a big part of what needs to be renegotiated," Bradford told CNBC.com "Lawyers would be very involved in the transition stage."
Following the good times though, Bradford sees pain for the legal profession. Her outlook is that tighter trade deals with the EU could mean that businesses choose to relocate to countries still in the bloc, with law firms suffering as a result.
Her colleague, Professor John Coffee says that cross-border deals and IPOs are also likely to be impacted, further reducing revenue for law firms in the UK.
Meanwhile, a letter from some senior law firm partners, published in The Times, says that the British public should vote to remain in the EU or risk damage to business and jobs.
The ten law firm leaders behind the letter include Linklaters’ senior partner Robert Elliot and John Davies, partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
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Teams including deals and infrastructure will work from the new high-rise building, strengthening the firm’s presence in Western Sydney. The new location will also allow more flexible working for PwC staff who are currently based at Barangaroo.
There will also be a stronger partnership with the university, especially the School of Business, with the two signing a Memorandum of Understanding which will see students working alongside PwC staff and undertaking research projects.