Partners Graham Huntley and Daniel Spendlove have been featured in Legal Business’s Disputes Yearbook 2020 articles “Still punching – Can boutiques keep moving up a weight class?” and “Perfect storms – Cases of the year”.
Still punching – Can boutiques keep moving up a weight class?
“‘Gone are the days where the client would just default to a certain adviser because that is who it has used all along,’ says Signature Litigation partner Daniel Spendlove. ‘Corporates, especially one-off distressed clients, are thinking about who they use carefully and that puts firms like ours in a strong position.’
Boutiques have been a striking feature of the disputes landscape for more than a decade. The rhetoric extols the virtues of the stripped back model, unconstrained by the extra overheads that come with having multiple practice areas, and the conflict-free feature allows full-service firms to feel confident in referring disputes work to non competitors. ‘What clients get is a focused offering. We’re not cross selling other departments. We are simply here to handle a case,’ adds Daniel Spendlove.
This apparent USP – the standard pitch given by boutiques to potential clients and recruits – is also the root of the genesis of many of these firms, formed by litigators from top firms across the City, frustrated at missing out on some of the most high-profile cases in the post-Lehman landscape.”
Perfect storms – Cases of the year
“Cash-rich funders; conflict-free boutiques; class actions aplenty. While some predict another economic downturn on the horizon, providing an uptick in conventional litigation work, these themes have defined the more eye-catching disputes of the past year. Add to the mix an increase in cyber-related litigation and accusations of fraud and regulatory missteps against some of the leading firms’ key institutional clients, and a kinetic disputes scene emerges.
More pressing in the short term will be data abuse and data security, which relates heavily to the emerging group actions in the City. Fountain Court Chambers senior clerk Alex Taylor anticipates that cyber incidents could make up the majority of fraud cases in five years, a point Graham Huntley, founding partner of Signature Litigation, echoes: ‘It is one theme that will undoubtedly develop. Soon, the majority of fraud will be cyber fraud.’”