Lawyers are doing golden work thanks to Brexit

As the UK goes through one of the most complex divorces in its history as it exits Europe, the country’s top law firms are doing gold work.

Levin Desmet

It’s a joke: In divorce there are no winners, only alternate attorneys. Well, this cynicism appears to apply to Brexit. complex and permanent The series of divorces in the United Kingdom burdens the British and European economies with enormous problems. Here too, regardless of the outcome, there are no winners. Or at least, there appears to be one target group benefiting from this unsavory saga: law firms.

“We’ve grown about 10 percent over the last two years,” said David Patient, managing partner at Travers Smith. New York times. The international office, headquartered in London, has been working mainly for financial institutions since 1801. Last year alone, the 100 largest offices in the UK generated sales worth £24 billion, or approximately €28 billion. About 9.3 billion euros more than in 2007, just before the financial crisis. This is evidenced by the data collected before Lawyer, a British monthly magazine for commercial and corporate lawyers. In the same period, these major companies hired 21,000 lawyers.

“Brexit is big business”

Freshfields is one of the top offices out there in this line of work. “Of course, changes like those resulting from Brexit create a lot of work,” says a Belgian partner of Freshfields. “In particular planning restructuring activities, and reducing risks, across many sectors. In the financial sector, Brexit is leading to many shifts from London to Frankfurt and to a lesser extent to Paris. All of these organizations also have branches in Belgium that are involved in This is to some extent.

Freshfields may be the world’s oldest international law firm, but it has a dedicated Brexit email address. This is striking: the entry of social media into international business law. Companies now have Instagram and Twitter accounts highlighting their Brexit experience, with links to internal podcasts, white papers and occasional sales videos. Brexit is big business and has contributed to sophisticated self-promotion that has transcended the traditional conservative approach and low esteem inherent in such a sector.

Stefan Corbani of law firm Eversheds Sutherland.Photo by Tim Dervin

So-called webinars about Brexit have also grown significantly in the past two years. A few weeks ago, Eversheds Sutherland, a firm of more than 2,800 lawyers worldwide, installed a massive video screen in its lobby displaying the latest news and information. Things are a little quieter at Eversheds Sutherland’s headquarters in Brussels. Stefan Corbani, a partner at the British American firm, remains calm. “In the UK, Brexit has been a hot topic for our office for more than two years. Since the referendum, several working groups have been set up. Most of them are based in London, and I am in the British capital every month.”

The office works for major international companies as well as airline companies. They create models of those companies based on currently available information. “You have a working group that mainly focuses on trade relations and their consequences for business relations. The second group, in which I am mainly involved, studies the consequences for labor relations. What about the free movement of people, social security and tax authorities?

“golden time”

The big problem teams face is working in fog. “Because the final answer so far is: We do not know“Which scenario will be successful remains to be seen at the moment, although I am increasingly betting on a hard Brexit,” says Corbani. What is striking for Corbani is companies’ delay in realizing the enormous problem they face. “Life has really only begun in the last two weeks,” she faces. Even then, I think most assumed that a solution would emerge. But theater at Westminster is now causing despair among many.”

Andrew Hood, a partner at Fieldfisher, a London firm with more than 1,000 lawyers, agrees. New York times. “In the last six weeks, the number of clients waking up to what Brexit looks like without an appointment has doubled, or even tripled.”

According to the American newspaper, major multinational companies will spend more than 10 million euros on “measures” for matters related to Britain’s exit from the European Union, such as restructuring, intellectual property rights and labor law. So golden times for large offices? Stefan Corbani adds nuance. “Honestly, I don’t think this is a goldmine at the moment. The introduction of the GDPR Privacy Directive was much more interesting in that regard. Once the framework was established, it was very easy to move it around. The problem with Brexit is Not only is it more complicated, you don’t have any framework at all. Frankly, I think an economy that’s typically doing well is more important to our office than Brexit.

Furthermore, it remains to be seen how the influence of Anglo-Saxon law firms themselves will be affected by Brexit. says Jolyon Maugham, tax lawyer from Devereux Chambers New York times: “It’s like being an undertaker during the plague. You’re busy now, but a little scared about your business model.

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Megan Vasquez

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