Continental Breakfast: your daily update on what’s happening in Europe.
Allen & Overy, DLA Piper, Norton Rose Fulbright and Reed Smith are among a group of 20 law firms rated by clients as providing the best level of overall service.
The American Lawyer’s U.K. sister title Legal Week surveyed more than 750 in-house lawyers and senior executives at large corporations and asked them to score firms against a range of criteria including commercial acumen, fee arrangements, innovation, relationships and teamwork.
Clients identified quality of legal advice and quality of service as the two most important factors when selecting external law firms, with communication and responsiveness, value for money, and commercial expertise also valued highly. Surprisingly, direct partner-level contact was only deemed to be important by 74 percent of clients.
While some law firms scored highly, the report shows that the industry isn’t always meeting client expectations. Just 86 percent of clients said they were satisfied with the quality of advice and service they are receiving from outside counsel, and less than 80 percent felt that external law firms are delivering value for money, although the latter is a significant improvement from the 63 percent in last year’s survey.
Here’s the full list of the 20 top-performing firms: Allen & Overy; Berwin Leighton Paisner; Bond Dickinson; CMS Cameron McKenna; DAC Beachcroft; DLA Piper; DWF; Eversheds; Gowling WLG; Herbert Smith Freehills; Keystone Law; Mishcon De Reya; Norton Rose Fulbright; RPC; Reed Smith; Shepherd & Wedderburn; Shoosmiths; TLT; Travers Smith; Weightmans.
Historic Brexit Legal Battle Enters Final Stage
A historic lawsuit that will help set the course of Britain’s Brexit future is entering its final stage, with arguments beginning today in the Supreme Court over whether the U.K. prime minister has the power to start the country’s withdrawal from the European Union.
The U.K. government is appealing a landmark High Court ruling that parliament must be allowed to vote on the triggering of Article 50, which starts a two-year deadline for an EU member to complete its exit from the political bloc.
The Scottish and Welsh governments were recently given permission to join the appeal, which will be heard over four days by all 11 Supreme Court judges—the largest panel in the court’s 140-year history. The decision is expected in early January.
Prime minister Theresa May has repeatedly reiterated her intention to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, meaning the U.K. would have to leave the EU by early 2019.
But if the government’s appeal fails, U.K. politicians, the majority of which wanted the country to remain within the EU, could delay or even block the process.
Euro Plummets, Italy Fears Rise After Crushing Referendum Defeat
The eurozone’s third-largest economy has been plunged into turmoil after the Italian government was dealt a crushing defeat in a referendum over constitutional reform.
Almost 60 percent of Italian voters rejected the changes, which were designed to streamline a political system often plagued by bureaucracy and delays.
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has already vowed to resign, while the euro has plummeted to a 20-month low against the dollar.
There are particular concerns that the instability could further damage Italy’s already fragile banking sector. The result could have immediate implications for Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy’s third-largest bank. A 5 billion euro ($5.3 billion) recapitalization had been scheduled to take place after the referendum, but politicians and advisers at JPMorgan will now decide whether to scrap the plans, according to the Financial Times.