First Glasto, now Corbyn is a hit with legal establishment

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Jun 29, 2017
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Jeremy Corbyn has not only broken the political mould by having a rock and roll outing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury; the Labour leader with nine lives is winning over the legal profession establishment too.

Joe Egan, who will be installed as Law Society president next week, is a big fan of the man who may be the party’s most socialist-leaning leader since Keir Hardie himself.

In an exclusive interview with The Times on the eve of taking office, Egan said that not only were his idealistic children keen Corbynistas, but so was he. The lifelong Labour supporter did, however, let slip that he initially backed Yvette Cooper (or Mrs Ed Balls, as she may be better known to fans of Strictly Come Dancing) in the party leadership election in 2015.

What this means for the society – the normally staid body that represents 130,000 solicitors in England and Wales – is anyone’s guess. But just to be safe, those working in the vicinity of its Chancery Lane headquarters in London should probably brace themselves for morning renditions of The Red Flag from the staff choir.

See I'll keep the ship steady, says next Law Society president

Ashurst, Kennedys and Linklaters open their books to figures junkies

For those who just cannot start their day without assessing the financial health of City of London law firms, two sets of results were released on successive days this week by Ashurst and Kennedys.

And as you read this, Linklaters, the “magic circle” firm, was understood to have locked trade journalists in a hermetically sealed room for a briefing on what one source described as “very good figures”. If that hasn’t caused you to drop your bacon buttie then you’re just not a law firm figures junkie.

Ashurst said that it had boosted its revenue by 7 per cent to £541 million after what Legal Business magazine described as “disappointing” results in 2015, when the firm suffered a 10 per cent fall in turnover. Ashurst equity partners celebrated by chucking themselves an average 11 per cent rise in drawings. The profit per equity partner figure rose to £672,000.

Yesterday, Kennedys reported an 8 per cent increase in revenue to nearly £150m. Most of the growth came in Europe, the firm said, although it would not release profit figures.

In Scotland, Gillespie Macandrew, a top-20 firm in the jurisdiction, announced that its profits fell by more than 3 per cent in spite of growing turnover for the fifth year on the trot. The 8.4 per cent hike in revenue to £11.36 million was said to be the largest annual increase in the firm’s history. However, pre-tax profit dropped to £2.77 million in the 12 months to February 28 this year, compared with £2.86 million.

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