Who’s Who Legal is pleased to present the first edition of The International Who’s Who of Private Client Lawyers, which features the 318 most highly regarded practitioners in the world from 170 firms and 39 different countries. Withers is the best represented firm in our research, fielding a total of 17 lawyers from its “market-leading” private client practice. Next is Baker & McKenzie, which fields 10 individuals from seven of its offices and following closely behind is Macfarlanes, which has nine of its practitioners singled out. Holland & Knight, Ogier and Appleby all boast eight inclusions. We also highlight the 10 leading private client lawyers in the world.
Private client work is a time-honoured practice with some of today’s leading firms dating back to the 18th century. However, what was once seen as a sideline business for corporate firms has become a lucrative practice largely dominated by medium-sized firms and boutiques. While other practice areas have been negatively impacted by the worldwide recession, the two certainties of life – death and taxes – have ensured that private client lawyers have not only maintained an active practice, but have seen considerable growth too.
This year, we identify 360 practitioners from 233 firms and 68 countries who are the leading lawyers in the field. Seven firms stood out in our research due to the number of practitioners they field to this edition. DLA Piper once again leads our research with an extremely impressive 16 lawyers recognised from seven different jurisdictions. Following closely behind is Gray Plant Mooty, which boasts one of the "world's leading franchise practices", and has 13 practitioners selected. We also single out the 10 most highly regarded franchise lawyers in the world.
Franchising remains a strong model of expansion and the franchise legal market is robust. Following the financial crisis systems are looking to international expansion, both in traditional and new markets such as Africa. Levels of litigation remain strong and class actions could provide yet more work for lawyers, notably in Canada. The key concern for clients and many lawyers is the idea of the franchisor being reclassified as an “employer”, as this would have a profound impact on the nature of franchising and the role of franchise lawyers.
An increasing number of clients are turning to arbitration as the benefits of confidential proceedings which are tailored to suit the parties outweigh other forms of dispute resolution. Providing expert witnesses is a critical stage of the process which can be the decisive factor in the outcome of the hearing. The growing popularity of the use of expert witnesses in arbitration hearings is reflected in our research. We have included 103 outstanding specialists in this edition, an increase of 14 from last year.
This edition identifies 624 arbitrators and counsel from 84 countries around the world, our broadest geographical spread to date. Each nominee stands out for the high number of recommendations they received from the clients, peers and expert witnesses we canvassed and are the outstanding practitioners in the field.
This year, we identify 681 practitioners from 398 firms who are considered leading lawyers in the field. Six firms stand out in our research for fielding the highest number of lawyers to this edition. Hogan Lovells emerges as the leading firm with 11 lawyers recognised from its international network of offices. It is followed closely by Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, with 10 inclusions apiece. Completing the list are Davis Polk & Wardwell and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, fielding seven practitioners each. We also single out the 10 most highly regarded commercial litigators in the world.
Following the global financial crisis of 2008, the wave of related litigation that many predicted failed to develop. In the last two to three years, however, there has been a sharp increase in contentious work for practitioners, most prevalently in relation to financial, securities and insolvency litigation, according to our research.
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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.