While law firms weren't openly stockpiling tinned beans and planning contingencies for a lorry park across Kent, there was a definite sense of wait-and-see in 2018.

But that doesn't mean nothing happened. Some firms were forced to make big decisions. After murmurs of trouble at Ince & Co, signalled externally by redundancies and the sudden shotputting of its senior partner from London to Hong Kong, it announced in November that it was merging with Gordon Dadds, with the latter firmly in the driving seat. 

Others firms merely sought to shore up their offerings. BLP entered a Cave and came out as Bryan, BDB and Pitmans merged, and Allen & Overy held secret tie-up talks with O'Melveny & Myers.

Blake Morgan hit the headlines for its impression of a Scooby Doo baddie. The firm assisted a property developer in its dastardly attempts to close down a community football club by secretly trademarking the club's name and then ordering the club to stop using it. The matter partner had to remove his name from Blake Morgan's website thanks to threats from furious fans. In other horrific football news, Bristol firm Cook & Co bragged about throwing the saddest Word Cup party.

Blackadders was just plain evil, releasing a Reservoir Dogs parody awful enough to drive viewers to cut off their own ears.


Elsewhere, Devonshires was accused of "mind-boggling sexism" after offering women a manicure at a conference, while Stewarts Law made the news after deciding to fine partners £100 each time they recorded fewer than six hours a day. 

Weil got in hot water when one of its secondees to JP Morgan sent a partner confidential documents, prompting the bank to expel them. Rat droppings at Mishcon de Reya made it this years' law firm with a 1/5 for canteen hygiene. And Latham & Watkins was compelled to raise pay after an associate revolt. Across the pond, some lawyers dressed up as pirates.

There was so much juicy legal news that even law firms which didn't exist made headlines: RollOnFriday won an award for a fake firm it set up. Of course the best legal news of the year was the revelation that Womble Bond Dickinson has a gift shop. Even if it did cancel RollOnFriday's order of 1,000 branded cookies which, thanks to a glitch, it was selling for 0p.

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