Europe’s Leading Patent Law Firms 2023

  • November 12, 2023

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The Financial Times is looking to identify the top European patent law firms for securing patents and protecting European innovation. For the fifth year running, we will rank the firms in six broad sectors:

The FT’s partner, Statista, the market research provider, will compile the list based on a survey enlisting the help of our readers. A special report featuring the final list, plus articles exploring the work and role of European patent attorneys, will appear in the FT in print and online this summer.

The survey will collect peer recommendations from patent attorneys registered with the European Patent Office (EPO) as well as nominations from clients who have used a patent law firm in one of the 39 member states of the Munich-based EPO*.

The deadline for submissions is March 17, 2023. Separately, Statista will invite selected patent attorneys and clients to participate via email. If you have not received your invitation yet, you can also take part in our survey via this link.

Participation is free and the survey takes just a few minutes to complete. All responses will be anonymised for publication. No self-recommendations are allowed. The survey is available in English, German, French and Italian.

The FT will publish the list online as an interactive table with firms grouped in one of three categories.

  1. 🥇 Gold for “very frequently recommended”

  2. 🥈 Silver for frequently recommended

  3. 🥉 Bronze for “recommended”

*Firms from EPO member states are eligible: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta,

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As Law Firms Strive to Grow, Is All the World a Stage?

  • November 10, 2023

Global law firms are racing to find new ways to build revenue. This isn’t really surprising. They know times have changed. The hot deal market that drove last year’s record revenue and profits has cooled. Crippling inflation, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, continued uncertainty about China and fears of a recession have all hampered global business. 

This explains why law firms have been launching new offices all over: In the past week alone, U.K.-based Watson Farley & Williams opened in Seoul—its fifth office in Asia; Nagashima Ohno also established its fifth office in Asia, launching in Indonesia, where Japanese clients have pledged to invest billions over the next few years; DAC Beachcroft opened offices in Milan and Rome, hoping to expand its insurance offering and provide regulatory advice to clients in Europe; and Clyde & Co merged with a U.S. boutique, gaining a stronghold in Boston.

We don’t know if all these offices will gain traction in the pursuit of profit. But we do know that the Clyde & Co merger was one of several that took place last week in the U.S. And it was especially important to the U.K.-based firm, which believes the merger will enable it to expand its offering across the Northeastern United States—a region that is home to insurance, biotech, healthcare and professional services companies. 

Clyde & Co may be taking a page from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s playbook. In its last financial year, Freshfields’ U.S. revenue grew 29%—outstripping its growth in all of the other regions in which it operates around the world. Freshfields has made a substantial investment in the U.S. over the past few years, launching an office in Silicon Valley, poaching top talent from elite law firms, and paying competitive associate salaries. But those moves demonstrate the importance of the U.S. market to

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Law Firms Warn Universities About Antisemitism on Campus

  • November 6, 2023

With universities across the United States grappling with a rise in antisemitism since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, elite law firms are putting schools on notice. In a letter to some of the nation’s top law schools obtained by DealBook, about two dozen major Wall Street firms warned that what happens on campus could have corporate consequences.

“We look to you to ensure your students who hope to join our firms after graduation are prepared to be an active part of workplace communities that have zero tolerance policies for any form of discrimination or harassment, much less the kind that has been taking place on some law school campuses,” the firms wrote.

Among the firms that signed the letter are:

  • Cravath, Swaine & Moore

  • Debevoise & Plimpton

  • Kirkland & Ellis

  • Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

  • Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

  • Skadden

  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Another signatory, Davis Polk & Wardwell, last month rescinded job offers over letters blaming Israel for the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

The letter follows a series of recent antisemitic episodes at universities. Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York sought this week to reassure Jewish students at Cornell after online posts threatening violence against them. Students at other schools have said they feel increasingly unsafe amid rallies and other acts that, in some instances, have become violent.

And school leaders have been criticized for equivocating in their responses to both the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and to antisemitism more broadly. (The University of Pennsylvania, which has faced a donor revolt, on Wednesday announced measures that include a task force on antisemitism.)

Big Law carries huge clout. Students at the schools that received the letter — 14 top institutions, along with others that have strong ties with

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Top law firms invest in content marketing “which does not work”

  • February 21, 2023

Emails: Only some firms send regular updates

A “significant proportion” of large law firms are investing in content or ‘inbound’ marketing schemes that “simply do not work as they should” and could even be damaging their reputation, a report has found.

Researchers said a “staggering” 19% of top 100 law firms let people sign up for legal updates – often with quite complex preference forms – only to never actually send any.

Marketing consultancy ThoughtSpark said it was essential for law firms to develop inbound strategies to “engage and retain potential clients”, leveraging platforms and data to build a relationship in the digital world before any direct contact is made. Firms agreed with its importance.

“The essence of inbound marketing for legal professionals is to share a limited but engaging element of the law firm’s expertise with prospective customers.

“This could take the form of expert legal updates on core topics and sectors, where interested parties are invited to sign up directly and register on a firm’s website for the areas that are most interesting to them.

“The firm can then send each registrant relevant updates on a regular basis – personalised to their areas of interest.”

Researchers found that three quarters of the top 20 firms and 69% of the top 100 as a whole offered email sign-up for case/subject updates.

It was “not a problem” that the top 20 firms favoured weekly updates and the top 100 as a whole monthly, since larger firms had more to communicate.

However, only 38% of the top 100 firms sent updates at a consistent interval, rising to half among the top 20.

“The remaining businesses demonstrate an astonishing underlying level of poor practice. A staggering 19% of top 100 firms allow interested parties to sign up for legal updates

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Law Firm M&A Deals Should Consolidate Their Tech Solutions Early

  • February 18, 2023

Last year saw 46 completed law firm mergers, and according to Fairfax Associates, more are on the way.

For years, middle market pressures led large firms to expand and add new practice capabilities, while smaller specialist firms developed their own position in the marketplace.

We now face a second pressing, and smaller and mid-market firms are seeking new partners.

Such deals raise the issue of how firms consolidate and invest in their systems, particularly the marketing technology stack.

It is a misstep to address marketing systems—the customer relationship management system, deal and litigation trackers, and other marketing databases—at the end of merger discussions.

Deal Communication

How a merger is communicated—at what stage in the process and by whom—is vitally important to its success.

A well-run system that denotes key clients, responsible partners, billings, and nuanced notes about the relationships is critical.

I often suggest to clients pre-merger that they consider all their constituents, employees, lawyers, clients, recruiters, vendors, alumni, and referral sources and plan to communicate with each of them in a timely manner.

For example, there should be plans to communicate with clients in person or by phone. When that is not possible, there are other ways to reach out so clients hear the news directly rather than learn about the move in the media.

Once it’s time to make an announcement and plan who should be connecting with which groups, marketing technology is imperative to a successful communications strategy.

Marketing tech solutions streamline client information and contact mining, and link with finance. Without them, marketing efforts will be scattershot at best, and tactics can be far off base.

Ensuring a rollout of the right technology that facilitates each party’s strategy is important to get right. This should take place before planning communications and marketing tactics. Here are

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