Power struggle as clients bid to control terms of engagement
A new report shows that major corporate clients are increasingly bidding to control terms of engagement but law firms that push back are still winning the work. The Solicitors Regulation Authority in the UK commissioned the he University of Birmingham and Claire Legal Ltd to explore the lawyer-client relationship in larger law firms.
The report shows that there has been a shift in the balance of power with clients seeking to impose their own terms on law firms and three quarters of respondents note that they have been forced to accept terms which are challenging without much room for discussion. However some are pushing back on unacceptable terms and often still receive instructions. Concern is expressed though that clients are, in effect, regulating law firms through their imposed terms; and that some clients may view lawyers as “service providers” rather than professionals.
Herbert Smith Freehills expands global footprint
International law firm Herbert Smith Freehills is to open a new office in Johannesburg, South Africa and has hired two local partners. Africa is a key part of the firm’s global strategy and the two initial SA partners, Brigette Baillie and Peter Leon will be joined by further hires. No date has been given for the opening of the office but the firm says it expects to be open “shortly”.
M&A expansion for international firm in Shanghai
Jieni Lu has joined Ropes & Grey as a partner in its mergers and acquisitions practice in Shanghai. She joins from the local office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges and was previously with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York and Beijing.