For the first time this year we list 164 patent agents from 72 firms across 16 countries. Patent agents assist in the preparation and filing of new patent applications, as well as prosecuting patents with the relevant patent offices. Marks & Clerk, Gowling Lafleur Henderson, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and Carpmaels & Ransford are some of the best-known firms in the field.
Patent practitioners around the world have had another busy year, with patent trolls in the US and the proposed Unified Patent Court in Europe two of the biggest topics over the past 12 months. With the aforementioned court expected to begin in 2017, practitioners across Europe are preparing themselves and clients for the new system, although uncertainty as to how the courts will work remains. Patent trolls continue to be big news politically in the US, where Congress is introducing new legislation to help curb their grip on the market and try to ensure only valid cases are brought before courts. Telecoms and technology cases continue to be a hugely active field, while the continuing trend of mergers within the pharmaceutical sector has meant that levels of competition, and therefore patent disputes, have dropped.
The 9th edition of Construction is a truly global analysis of the market, featuring 552 leading practitioners from 314 firms across 59 jurisdictions. The outstanding law firms in this guide are mostly domestically focused, but there are a number of strong international offerings. Pinsent Masons leads our research overall, boasting strength and depth in the UK and Asia. Leading lawyers from King & Spalding and Jones Day stretch across Asia, Europe and the US. Meanwhile, Clyde & Co, Herbert Smith Freehills, White & Case and Hogan Lovells also feature prominently across the global market. The highly competitive US market is home to some impressive outfits, including Peckar & Abramson, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and Smith Currie & Hancock. Borden Ladner Gervais earns special recognition for its stand out position in the Canadian market, while Clayton Utz leads the way in Australia. Given the demand for leading barristers in high-stakes construction litigation and arbitration, it is not surprising to see Keating Chambers and Atkin Chambers feature at the top of our research. We have also identified the most highly regarded individuals in this area. This year, we recognise 10 lawyers in the US market and five stand outs each in Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.
In this year’s research we introduce a section focusing on the world’s leading construction experts, namely those who provide expert analysis and testimony and litigation and arbitration pertaining to high-profile and complex construction disputes.
After the global construction industry experienced a moderate upward trend in 2014, contributors in several jurisdictions have indicated a continued improvement in the construction market in recent months as improved economic conditions have led to increased investor confidence and bank lending, with reports of greater funding availability for new construction projects, in terms of both traditional and creative financing. The US acts as a particular example of this trend, with many optimistic about the sector’s continued expansion over the course of 2015. As one respondent noted, “We hope to see a broader range of industry participants in the market in the next couple of years and have seen more work in terms of commercial building, particularly for clients in the technology sector.”
The 12th edition of Insurance & Reinsurance is a comprehensive analysis of the market, featuring 559 leading practitioners from 280 firms across 58 jurisdictions. Only a relatively small number of law firms can boast a global network of leading insurance lawyers. Clyde & Co has a truly international insurance practice that has stand-out lawyers in 10 major financial centres. Hogan Lovells also impresses with its expansive offering, taking a leading position in both the EU and US markets. Sidley Austin maintains a noteworthy position in our research with outstanding offices in Chicago, New York and London. Norton Rose Fulbright is similarly well established with a strong array of lawyers in Europe, South Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Stand-out offerings in the highly competitive US market include the newly merged Locke Lord and Covington & Burling; meanwhile, Conyers Dill & Pearman is recognised for its dominant position in the offshore insurance sector. We have also identified the most highly regarded individuals in this area. This year, we recognise seven lawyers both in the US and in Europe, and four from elsewhere.
Practitioners saw another busy year in 2014, with high levels of activity across both transactional and regulatory sectors. With preparations for the implementation of Solvency II in Europe at the start of 2016 a major consideration for insurers with European arms, practitioners in Europe and further afield have seen an increase in regulatory work to make sure that clients are compliant. Insurance-linked securities (ILS) have been a huge source of work over the past 12 months, with large numbers of private investors clamouring to get a place in the market. ILS investments are seen as fairly secure and offering very impressive returns. In the US there has been an increase in pensions de-risking work as the economy continues to recover, while in Latin America and Asia increases in insurance markets have bought new players onto the international stage.
For the first time this year we also recognise the top insurance and reinsurance expert witnesses, with 15 featured from across the US and England. These experts provide evidence on insurance coverage and claims, risk transfer, valuations and damages, and are highlighted for their “unbeatable expertise”.
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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.