Legal Matters Q&A: Law is very local and you need good lawyers with local knowledge

What’s the biggest development you’ve seen in the legal world during your career?

Nicholas Emmerson: Talks legal matters.

It is something that has not happened. The long-predicted transformation of the legal profession into a dominant market of up to ten global firms has not and may never materialise.

From my eight years working as a lawyer in Asia, I came to realise that law is actually very local and requires good local lawyers who know their local market in an increasingly international business world.

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What law would you like to see changed?

The relaxation of the planning law so that we can build more homes.

People need somewhere to live and we have a desperate shortage of new homes.

What is the most exciting work you have ever done?

Acting on the $2bn sale of part of Japan Telecom to Vodafone, the then second largest deal in Japanese history.

The Japanese client could not speak English and so everything had to be in Japanese.

Who in the legal world do you most admire?

Alan Jenkins and John Heaps, the last two retired chairmen of my old firm, Eversheds.

Both demonstrated that you do not have to sacrifice your good character to be a leader of a law firm.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?

Work hard and never stop learning.

The rule of law is something we take for granted in this country but it has been built up over generations and we are all merely custodians of it for the next generation.