Asia Pacific offices handling more deals for large UK law firms

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Asia Pacific offices handling more deals for large UK law firms
The share of deals handled by Asia Pacific offices of large UK City law firms has increased.

The Law Society of England & Wales has been tracking publicly recorded deals from the country’s largest law firms since 2009 along with Law Monitor; and says there has been a decline in the share that are handled by firms’ UK offices.

The share of deals handled by UK offices of the top 50 UK firms has fallen from 68% in 2009 to 46% in 2016; the share handled by non-UK offices has increased in that time from 32% to 54%; and the share handled by their Asia Pacific offices has more than doubled from 7% to 19%.

The trend was highlighted in the second quarter of 2017 with the volume of deals declining from a spike in the second half of 2016.

“The reduced volumes for deals seen in Q2 2017 would seem to reflect the uncertainty created through the Brexit decision,” commented Law Monitor’s David Kekwick.

“On a more positive note, the decline in the proportion of deals conducted by UK offices is offset by significant growth in the Asia-Pacific region and increasing growth in the Eurozone,” he added.

Global M&A remains highly resilient says Allen & Overy
Despite lower deal values, 2017 has shown resilience in 2017 with the volume of deal increasing.

A new report from global law firm Allen & Overy highlights the proliferation of deals in the U$1-5 billion range, a rise of 19% for deals of this size compared to 2016.

There were fewer mega-deals though, valued at more than $5 billion. These were down 13% this year.

“M&A markets remain remarkably robust in the face of a range of political uncertainties,” commented Richard Browne, global co-head of corporate at A&O. “We are experiencing the second longest bull market on record as investors take heart from a number of powerful fundamentals –strong corporate cash balances, buoyant equity markets and continued ready availability of debt financing despite gradually increasing interest rate rises in key markets. Many companies have emerged from post-crisis doldrums in better health, often more efficient and with a new strategic purpose.”

The US accounted for 38% of global deal volume followed by Europe (23%), China (18%) and Asia Pacific excluding China (11%).

For Australia, the volume of deals is rising sharply but the values are down as mid-market deals grow strongly while the largest deals subside. Mid-market PE deals and those in the resources space are both gaining ground.

Dentons appoints first global innovation leader
Dentons has appointed its first global chief innovation officer to drive the global firm’s innovation initiatives.

John Fernandez is a key legal profession innovator, appointed to the American Bar Association’s Center for Innovation in August. He has been guiding Dentons’ innovation in the US as CIO and will now do so across the firm’s global footprint.

Fernandez is also the global CEO of Dentons’ wholly-owned NextLaw Labs and its affiliates.

"Even before this appointment, in his role as chairman of Nextlaw Labs, John has helped Dentons become world-renowned as an innovator in the legal profession," said Elliot Portnoy, Global CEO of Dentons. "Now we will unleash him to help us drive innovation in the Firm across the entire globe."