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London: a balanced diet

Mixed practices that have kept private client work, once seen as unfashionable, at the core of their strategy, have proved that this can be a wise long-term investment and a resilient model. Jean-Yves Gilg reports

15 December 2009

Private client work, once perceived as a solid but slightly lacklustre practice area, is experiencing a renaissance. For many firms around the country, it has provided much-needed revenue as they battle through the recession. A spate of high-profile cases has also pushed it up the legal fashion rankings and a new breed of clients is giving it a more attractive shine. Nowhere does this seem truer than in the capital.

Where corporate firms have been going through successive rounds of redundancies, those with a more balanced diet involving a healthy dose of private client work have managed to weather the storm.

One of the drivers behind the growth of private client work has been the steep increase in wealth in the past two decades. The rise in property prices has meant that anybody owning their home is now much wealthier than the previous generation – even taking into account the current state of the market.

“For example, council tenants who bought their local a...

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