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.
In this section we single out the best represented firms in our research this year and the most highly regarded practitioners in different regions throughout the world. For the fourth consecutive year Loyens & Loeff leads our research in this field with 26 nominees from across its offices in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US. Following closely behind is Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which fields 22 lawyers to this edition, eight of whom hail from the firm's London office. Eighteen lawyers represent Baker & McKenzie from the firm’s offices in Europe, Asia, South America and the US and Linklaters earns 16 listings, with its German offices securing five nominees.
“Tax shaming”, the culture of naming companies seeking to avoid paying tax in the countries in which they are doing business, is on the rise; the past year alone has seen multinational corporations such as Starbucks, Google and Amazon criticised for their tax structures. While these companies - and many others - are not doing anything illegal, public opinion is clearly turning against them. The result is that companies are rethinking their tax strategies to avoid reputational damage, putting an end to the days of “aggressive tax planning” for good.
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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.