Jean-Yves Gilg

Editor, Solicitors Journal

The legal week in 60 seconds

The legal week in 60 seconds


Legal Aid

The lawyers who represented families at the Hillsborough inquest have been awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards (pictured).

The law firms and chambers recognised included: Bindmans, Broudie Jackson Canter, Birnberg Peirce, Doughty Street Chambers, EAD Solicitors, Garden Court Law, Garden Court North Chambers, 1 Grays Inn Square, Harrison Bundey, Mansfield Chambers, and 4 Paper Buildings.

Annual growth

As the new financial year begins, law firms nationwide have released their latest financial figures. Top of the profit-per-equity-partner (PEP) charts among Magic Circle firms is Freshfields, which revealed that the average PEP climbed more than 7.6 per cent to £1.47m. Linklaters trailed just behind at £1.45m - a rise of 2.8 per cent on last year. Further down the money mountain, Fieldfisher's PEP rose nearly 9 per cent to £550,000, while DAC Beachcroft saw its PEP soar 21 per cent to £358,000. Berwin Leighton Paisner recorded its second highest PEP at £683,000, while Taylor Wessing saw theirs slightly increased to £770,000 after it posted a 4.4 per cent increase in UK revenue of £126.6m. However, PEP at Ashurst fell 19 per cent from £747,000 to £603,000, and at Simmons & Simmons by 10 per cent to £585,000. Elsewhere, national law firm Shoosmiths recorded a 4 per cent increase in revenue to £107m, while south east law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore celebrated its third year of growth with annual revenue increasing 12 per cent to £18.9m and net profits climbing 20 per cent to £5.54m.


MasterCard is facing a claim of up to £19bn over anticompetitive card charges.

The claim, touted as the biggest in UK legal history, will be one of the first to be filed under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which allows a collective damages claim to be brought on behalf of a class of people who have suffered loss. Following a long-running battle with the European Commission that ended in 2014, MasterCard was found to have infringed EU law by imposing interchange fees on its debit and credit cards.

The action will be brought by litigation law firm Quinn Emanuel on behalf of Walter Merricks CBE, who is representing the class of UK consumers. To succeed, only the damage suffered as a result of MasterCard's anticompetitive behaviour must be proved.


Four former Barclays traders have been convicted of rigging the Libor rate and will each serve jail terms. Sitting in Southwark Crown Court, Judge Anthony Leonard sentenced Jay Merchant to six-and-a-half years, Peter Johnson and Jonathan Mathew to four years, and Alex Pabon for two years and nine months in prison. The quartet join Tom Hayes, who was also convicted last year and sentenced to 14 years in prison for rigging Libor, a benchmark interest rate used for inter-bank lending.

Pro bono

Aylesbury firm Parrott and Coales has overturned a punitive fine imposed on their client by a private parking firm.

Sitting in Oxford County Court, Judge Charles Harris QC, found that Home Guard Services had acted unreasonably when issuing a penalty charge notice to Miss Jopson, a resident of a block of flats who parked in front of the communal entrance to unload furniture, rather than use her own parking space.

After an initial appeal to the Independent Parking Committee was rejected, Home Guard Services sued Miss Jopson in the small claims court and won. Miss Jopson instructed Parrott and Coales, which successfully appealed the case pro bono. Judge Harris ordered Home Guard Services to drop the fine and pay £2,000 towards the defendant's costs.

Artificial Intelligence

Clifford Chance has become the latest law firm to partner with an artificial intelligence provider. The Magic Circle firm has signed a deal with Kira Systems in a bid to deliver a better service to its clients. The Kira software searches and analyses text in contracts and will aim to reduce the time spent on traditional due diligence methods.


Scottish law firm Thorntons has appointed four newly qualified solicitors to its ranks after they successfully completed their two-year traineeships with the firm. Craig Edward will join the corporate team and Vincent Chung will work with the immigration team, while Megan Sweeney will join the private client team in Dundee, and Chris Gardiner will join the private client group in Aberdeen.


Magic Circle firm Linklaters has appointed Matthew Middleditch as global chairman of its corporate division and Aedamar Comiskey as global head of the corporate division. Comiskey, who will take over Middleditch's current role, is based in the London office, and is currently the lead relationship partner for a number of the firm's FTSE100 and FTSE250 clients. Middleditch is based in the firm's Hong Kong office and has been a partner at the firm since 1990.

Flexible working

Addleshaw Goddard has given the go-ahead for most of its employees to work from home. The new policy will apply to fee earners and business service employees across all three of its offices in Leeds, London, and Manchester. The top-25 firm believes the added flexibility will improve employee efficiency and boost the service it offers to clients.

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Photo credit: Richard Gray