The Legal 500, which is an authoritative ‘Who’s Who’ of legal firms in Britain, reports in its latest edition that it has been all change for local law firms, with mergers and staff movement typifying the year.
here has also been some league table migration, with more firms being promoted to the ‘premiership’ in various industry sectors.
ow in its 16th edition, the Legal 500 offers both subjective analysis, through client interviews, and factual information, through visits and questionnaires, and ranks firms based on such factors as size, expertise and reputation.
lthough words such as ‘booming’ and ‘thriving’ – which were used to describe the sector in last year’s edition – are absent this year, the directory still paints Jersey in a positive light, particularly in the quality of its lawyers.
The clients we have spoken to all speak very highly of Jersey’s law firms, especially the top-flight individuals who are world leaders in their particular areas of practice,’ said the Legal 500’s editor, Martha Klein.
The market is certainly a lot more competitive this year, and having a distinct edge is increasingly important.
Olsens, for instance, felt it was necessary to merge with Carey Langlois and there has been a flood of talent moving to the bigger firms.
But I think the future is still sound.
”Booming” might have been replaced by ”steady as she goes”, but I think that is more reflective of global trends rather than any factor specific to the Island.
The directory notes that Jersey’s legal profession has become more cosmopolitan.
‘There is lateral movement of senior assistants between Jersey firms and into Jersey by English solicitors and Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans,’ said Ms Klein.
Recruitment has allowed larger firms to alter their gearing, with more assistants per partner helping to maintain profitability.
However, some firms, notably Bedell Cristin, deliberately aim for a lower gearing on the grounds that clients prefer to work with partners.
The Legal 500 breaks up Jersey’s law firms into seven areas of activity.
Although the ranking is broadly the same as last year, there have been some changes.
Banking has its own category this year and the four biggest law firms in Jersey are in the top division: Mourant, du Feu & Jeune, Ogier & Le Masurier, Carey Olsen and Bedell Cristin.
rill Canavan is promoted to the top tier in commercial litigation, while Ogier & Le Masurier join Bailhache Labesse in the commercial property premier league.
he three divisions in the corporate and commercial league have been split in to five, with the big four staying at the top, followed by Bailhache Labesse in the second division, Crill Canavan in the third, Voisin & Co in the fourth and Crills and Viberts in the fifth.