Legal Brief: Playing FTSE

One of the key methods of measuring the success of a law firm is to take a closer look at its client roster. That’s why the Hemscott adviser rankings are always eagerly awaited by lawyers. The data, which is published quarterly by the financial information provider, ranks law firms by the number of listed clients.

The latest league tables show that magic circle firm Linklaters has closed the gap on Slaughter and May in regard to the number of FTSE 100 clients each firm advises. Top-placed Slaughters has lost two top 100 companies from its roster of 27. Meanwhile, Linklaters saw its number of top 100 clients remain steady at 24 (see story).

Elsewhere, a raft of firms including Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith’s German alliance Gleiss Lutz and Shearman & Sterling have won roles advising on the restructuring of the European arm of car manufacturer GM, which filed for bankruptcy in the US on Monday (1 June).

The beleaguered business will hive off its European arm – GM Europe – with Austrian-Canadian car parts manufacturer Magna International seeking to buy it, backed by an estimated €1.5bn (£1.3bn) of bridge financing from the German federal government.

Similarly, the London 2012 Olympics have gifted a number of law firms with much-needed mandates in the midst of deals drought. Slaughters for instance is advising Lend Lease on the development of the Olympic village. Meanwhile, Herbert Smith is acting for London & Continental Railways on the £46bn development of Stratford City. Other firms that have secured roles on the games include Ashurst, Clifford Chance, DLA Piper, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Pinsent Masons (see story).

Another area that is also enjoying a boom is waste management, which recently landed national law firm Addleshaw Goddard with a major role on one of the largest current PFI deals in the country (read article).