Commercial end of year review—life in 2015

Commercial end of year review—life in 2015

Back in the office? Struggling through e-mails? Waiting for your coffee to kick in?

'Yes', 'yes' and 'unfortunately so'?

Then why not take a few minutes out and check out our 'life-in-2015' interview with our panel of leading experts. They look at the most important developments and challenges that commercial lawyers faced last year.

There's plenty in it which will inform how things will pan out this year, which will doubtless be another challenging year for the profession.

The experts are:

A view from the market

What is your take on the industry in 2015?

Tony Williams: 2015 has generally been a good, if not particularly robust, year for law firms. I think they will be building on the progress made in 2014 and many firms are reporting a significant and sustained recovery from the downturn.

However, the picture is not universal and there are clearly some firms that are struggling. In addition, clients are continuing to be more demanding, both in terms of pricing and the quality and business mindedness of the advice that they are given. This is making it challenging for firms to achieve profitable growth.

There has been an improvement in big-ticket M&A in 2015, but this is increasingly dominated by the leading US and UK firms. Mid-market and smaller M&A has often been constrained.

Firms are certainly now better run than they were in the past, but various wobbles through 2015, including the weakness of commodity prices and concerns about China growth, have tended to dampen some investment sentiment.

Accordingly, while I expect some firms to continue to improve in both revenue and profitability in 2015, that rate of improvement is likely to be relatively low.

Viv Williams: The market conditions have remained buoyant with most firms seeing approximately 30% increase in new instructions.

This, however, only papers over the

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