11 August 2003

The Lawyer

  • A&O rejigs Asian US law group as partner quits

    11-Aug-2003

    Allen & Overy (A&O) is shoring up its US law group in Asia, which has lost initial public offering and securities partner Peter Curley, who is joining the Listing Unit of the Hong Kong Stock Exchanges and Clearing Limited as senior vice-president. London-based US law partner Thomas Jones will relocate to the Hong Kong office to strengthen the practice. Curley established A&O's US securities practice in Asia in 1998.

  • Altheimer Frisco partners scatter

    11-Aug-2003

    Altheimer & Gray's San Francisco branch has splintered after four firms made a play for its remaining lawyers.It was hoped that the office, which opened last September, would move as a whole, but Bingham McCutchen, Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, Perkins Coie and Seyfarth Shaw have all recruited former partners and associates let go after the Chicago firm announced plans to dissolve in July.

  • Amazonian rumble

    11-Aug-2003

    Controversy surrounded the third annual The Lawyer Cup, part of The London Triathlon. At first it looked like a surprise victory for the in-house legal team from Amazon, until it transpired that the same team was also entered in the IT Cup and the team members were probably not even lawyers.Team Amazon's consequent disqualification allowed last year's winner, Linklaters, to sneak into a podium ...

  • Aussies look elsewhere as London pay dries up

    11-Aug-2003

    The exodus of Australian lawyers to the UK and Asia is drying up as a result of a tightening of the job market and a drop in rates of pay.A survey by Australian legal recruiter Mahlab has found that Australian lawyers are now turning to less conventional jurisdictions such as Dubai for overseas work."Due to tighter local markets there are enough high-quality candidates in local jurisdictions and not such a need to get candidates from Australia," the survey said.Average ...

  • Beachcrofts takes on former FSA 'grey panther'

    11-Aug-2003

    Beachcroft Wansbroughs has hired former Financial Services Authority (FSA) 'grey panther' (former senior industry executive) Ian Reynolds as a full-time senior consultant. Reynolds, who left the FSA in July, is also the former general manager of Commercial Union Life. He chairs the Institute of Actuaries' professional standards communication committee and has just completed a five-year term as an institute council member.

  • Birchams joins Hutton inquiry for Kelly family

    11-Aug-2003

    Westminster firm Bircham Dyson Bell has been brought in to advise the family of Dr David Kelly (left) in the Hutton inquiry. Senior partner Ian McCulloch and head of litigation Peter Jacobson will lead the case. Jeremy Gompertz QC and Jason Beer of 5 Essex Court are acting as counsel for the family. As revealed on www.thelawyer.com/lawyer news (30 July),

  • Bond Pearce pilots energy office for Edinburgh launch

    11-Aug-2003

    South of England firm Bond Pearce has made its first foray into the Scottish market, launching a serviced office in Edinburgh on the back of its energy practice.The pilot, led by head of energy Marcus Trinick, is expected to be followed by a permanent office within one to two years. Existing clients include Scottish Power and Renewable Energy Systems.Bond Pearce has also been involved in ...

  • Bristows welcomes back partner from IBM

    11-Aug-2003

    Mark Watts has rejoined Bristows as a partner after six years in-house at IBM. He specialises in non-contentious IT work, particularly in data protection. In January 2000 he was appointed as IBM's lead data privacy lawyer with global responsibility.

  • Cloaks and daggers

    11-Aug-2003

    Given the intense rivalry among barristers from different chambers and lawyers' propensity for drunkenness, a party gift of a highly lethal penknife with 15 or so sharp items to choose from could have been a recipe for disaster. But that did not deter those swashbuckling boys at Fountain Court, who offered such an item as a parting gift for attendees at its recent summer party.What with the cocktails and several glasses of red wine mixed with champagne, the corridors ...

  • Cloaks and daggers

    11-Aug-2003

    Given the intense rivalry among barristers from different chambers and lawyers' propensity for drunkenness, a party gift of a highly lethal penknife with 15 or so sharp items to choose from could have been a recipe for disaster. But that did not deter those swashbuckling boys at Fountain Court, who offered such an item as a parting gift for attendees at its recent summer party.What with the cocktails and several glasses of red wine mixed with champagne, the corridors ...

  • Clydes instructs special forces as cargo heads for black market

    11-Aug-2003

    Insurers stand to lose out as £2.4m rice cargo is delivered to wrong destination; Clydes had 'few alternative options'

  • Commercial Bar Assoc elects William Blair QC as chairman

    11-Aug-2003

    The Commercial Bar Association (Combar) has elected William Blair QC, a tenant of 3 Verulam Buildings, as its new chairman.Blair, a part-time judge and visiting professor of law at the London School of Economics, as well as being the prime minister's brother, replaces Fountain Court's Michael Brindle QC.Blair is regarded as a forward-thinking barrister who is expected to build the UK bar's reputation overseas.During his tenure, Brindle made headway in attracting in-house ...

  • Community action and pro bono LawWorks for Community Groups gets funding boost

    11-Aug-2003

    One of the Solicitors Pro Bono Group's four main projects has just received significant funding to enable its unique work for charities to continue for another two years.LawWorks for Community Groups, which has been running for two years helping organisations unable to afford legal advice, has been given funding by Vodafone and several law firms.The funds will enable it to keep paying the project's two managers, Heidi Newbigging and Mercedes Mendez Ribas, for a further two ...

  • Coudert rushes to insert Paris team as three jump to Herbies

    11-Aug-2003

    Coudert Brothers has moved swiftly to reinforce its Paris office with a six-lawyer M&A team from E&Y Law after a team of three assistants quit to join former partner Jacques Buhart at Herbert Smith.E&Y Law corporate partner Alain Decombe will join Coudert as a partner together with a team of six assistants on 1 September.The Lawyer can also reveal that Coudert severed its relations with Buhart two months before he joined Herbert Smith last month."I can ...

  • Deacons-White & Case showdown kicks off

    11-Aug-2003

    The controversial action by Deacons against White & Case and two of its former partners finally started in the Hong Kong High Court last Wednesday (6 August).As revealed by The Lawyer (8 July 2002), White & Case became embroiled in the battle after it poached a highly-rated insolvency team from Deacons' Hong Kong office. Deacons alleges that the US firm's approach to the four partners breached a confidentiality and non-solicitation clause from a 1999 merger agreement between ...

  • Dickson Minto to open books with shock LLP

    11-Aug-2003

    Highly secretive private equity boutique Dickson Minto is set to become a limited-liability partnership (LLP) in a move that will surprise many City lawyers because of the financial transparency required for the conversion.In order to satisfy regulatory requirements, the firm will first be split into two parallel partnerships in England and Scotland.The details have yet to be ironed out, ...

  • Ex-partner accuses Tarlo Lyons of sex discrimination

    11-Aug-2003

    Tarlo Lyons is facing a sexual discrimination claim from former corporate partner Sarah Collins, who left the firm earlier this year.Collins, who gave birth to a daughter last month, was made redundant at the start of 2003 after five years as a salaried partner at the firm. She was notified of the redundancy at the end of January and, after working her notice, left in May. Collins lodged a claim with the Employment Tribunal on 10 July, claiming her dismissal was directly linked ...

  • FIRM PROFILE: Lee & Thompson

    11-Aug-2003

    There’s a line at the beginning of Roxy Music’s first ever single Virginia Plain, where Bryan Ferry sings, “show me a deal… I’ll take it to Robert Lee”.And Bryan Ferry still does take his deals to Robert Lee, senior partner of media and entertainment firm Lee & Thompson. So do Queen, Simply Red, the Spice Girls, the Beckhams and several of the UK’s leading independent television and film production companies.When the Roxy Music line ...

  • Fly drive

    11-Aug-2003

    Is European airline consolidation really ready for takeoff? Stephen Dolan sets the scene

  • Forget court, we like sport

    11-Aug-2003

    Staying with sport, Taylor Wessing appears to be building a veritable Olympic Games squad all of its own.Larger-than-life US specialist David Kent has just won a gold medal for England in a recent target-shooting competition, while private client partner Michael Stanford-Tuck is a past winner of the individual London Solicitors Inter-Firm Clay Pigeon Shooting Competition. A team from the firm ...

  • Freehills pushes for takeover shake-up

    11-Aug-2003

    Australian firm Freehills is lobbying the federal government to change company law in relation to corporate takeovers.On 5 August, Freehills M&A partner Justin Mann-olini sent a submission to Senator Ian Campbell, Parl-iamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, outlining 10 areas of reform relating to takeover laws. Campbell is in charge of the government's rolling review of audit regulation and corporate disclosure.Mannolini has called for the abolishment of court involvement ...

  • Freshfields sidelined as Herbies catches the Tube

    11-Aug-2003

    Magic circle firm loses third top client this year after billing LUL an estimated £30m

  • Government panel set up to rotate insolvency work

    11-Aug-2003

    The Government Insol-vency Service (IS) is setting up a civil recovery panel to give more law firms a chance to gain a slice of the work, which until now has been the preserve of Davies Arnold Cooper (DAC) and Moon Beever.DAC and Moon Beever, alongside accountants Kingston Smith, have for two years been running a pilot scheme called the Forensic Insolvency Recovery Service (Firs).The scheme aims to recover money from fraudulent and negligent directors of failed companies ...

  • Hammonds

    11-Aug-2003

    In the lead article of The Lawyer dated 4 August 2003 we stated that Hammonds was suffering from a "debt crisis" and that it was, as a result, having to ask its equity partners to put up £18m in additional capital. We now understand that the firm is not subject to any such "crisis". Its debt position is well within its agreed credit facilities and the firm is fully supported by its banks with which we are told it enjoys an excellent relationship. Although Hammonds is considering ...

  • High blood pressure

    11-Aug-2003

    Deep vein thrombosis may have sent a shiver of fear down the spine of the airline industry, but as Nicholas Hughes reports, it seems the Appeal Court has put paid to any future claims

  • ICC rallies against EU cross-border reforms

    11-Aug-2003

    The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is resisting proposed reforms to EU business law on cross-border non-contractual civil disputes, which would insist that the country of a complainant provides the courts charged with making a judgment.The ICC fears that such a law - designed to breed consumer confidence in cross-border retail sales - would scare businesses from selling into foreign markets.The ICC's main concern is the draft clause in the Euro-pean Commission's ...

  • LEADER

    11-Aug-2003

    Freshfields is starting to look careless. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and British Telecom (BT), and now London Underground (LUL) - that's a triple whammy of key client defections.Just a coincidence? Or is Freshfields losing the plot?With RBS, the problem, apparently, was that chief executive officer Fred Goodwin didn't like Freshfields' style; and if the man at the top really doesn't like the cut of your jib, there isn't much you can do until he goes.A common ...

  • L'Estrange & Brett first firm in NI to win UK Govt project

    11-Aug-2003

    In a victory for Northern Irish law firms, L'Estrange & Brett has won a major piece of project work from the UK Government, which until now has bypassed Belfast and sent this type of work to the City.L'Estrange & Brett has won a tender by the newly-established Strategic Investment Board (SIB), which has been given £2bn by Downing Street to pump into Northern Ireland's infrastructure, to advise on a public-private partnership (PPP) building new office accommodation ...

  • Lovells senior partner race opens up as MacDonagh rules out bid

    11-Aug-2003

    Lovells managing partner Lesley MacDonagh has rejected an approach by a group of partners to stand for senior partner in this year's elections.MacDonagh, who still has two years of her managing partner term to run, told the partnership last Friday (8 August) that she did not want to switch to the senior partner role.Two new candidates have emerged for the post: property head Robert Kidby and Brussels competition partner Philip Collins have both put their names forward. Incumbent ...

  • Lovells snatches retailer

    11-Aug-2003

    Retailer Littlewoods has ditched Herbert Smith, its long-standing corporate adviser, in favour of Lovells.The move follows the takeover of Littlewoods by billionaires the Barclay brothers last November, resulting in the end of the Moores family's 80-year ownership of the company.Herbert Smith was Littlewoods' principal corporate adviser from 1996 and has advised the company on £2bn-worth of deals, including the sale of the company to the Barclay brothers for £750m.

  • Masons gains National Smartcard Project work

    11-Aug-2003

    Masons has fought off opposition from Bird & Bird, Field Fisher Waterhouse and Nabarro Nathanson to win a beauty parade for the National Smartcard Project.Masons e-commerce partner Jon Fell will lead the team, providing all advice on legal and data privacy issues."Masons won on price ...

  • Matrix barrister takes up DPP position

    11-Aug-2003

    Matrix Chambers barrister Ken Macdonald QC has replaced Sir David Calvert-Smith QC as Director of Public Prosecutions. Macdonald has defended alleged members of al-Qaeda and the Real IRA. He also specialises in the criminal aspects of competition, banking and excise frauds, espionage and the illegal sale of military parts.

  • Missing by inaction

    11-Aug-2003

    There appears to be some serious identity issues going on at Russell Jones & Walker. Take, for example, the firm's clinical negligence head Rosa-mund Rhodes-Kemp. According to the firm's website, she doesn't exist.Light was shed on the mystery by a call from one of Tulkinghorn's scribes to a helpful marketing team member, who explained that the firm (and presumably her team) was "gradually adding partners to the site as we get their biogs". But, she added, this was not a priority.

  • Mobile Alliance sees CC pick up telecoms work

    11-Aug-2003

    Clifford Chance has secured a valuable introduction to Orange and Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) by winning instructions from the Mobile Alliance.The alliance is a partnership between Orange, TIM and existing Clifford Chance clients T-Mobile and Telefonica, which aims to launch a seamless mobile service across Western Europe."It will consolidate our relationships with existing ...

  • New legal call centre promises fixed fees

    11-Aug-2003

    Pre-litigation fees set at £4,000; law firms dismiss Claims Direct comparisons

  • OFT faces fourth appeal in rum war

    11-Aug-2003

    The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has been hit with its fourth appeal over a dropped competition investigation, as the rum wars between Bacardi and Pernod Ricard take a further twist.Pernod Ricard subsidiary Campbell Distillers has filed an appeal challenging the regulator's decision to drop its investigation into rival drinks company Bacardi.The regulator has an ongoing problem with disgruntled complainants, and this latest appeal comes in the wake ...

  • OPINION

    11-Aug-2003

    The practice of having separate contracts for the sale of flights and accommodation, thereby avoiding the need to hold an Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (Atol) licence, will shortly be ending. But this still leaves many gaps in consumer protection.The ATOL Regulations were introduced in 1972 to protect the public if a travel company goes bust. Operated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), they cover all package holidays that include a flight, together with many flight-only ...

  • Penningtons awaits ruling over negligent liquidation

    11-Aug-2003

    Penningtons is em-broiled in a battle raging in a Manchester court, which could see the firm forced to pay millions of pounds in damages as a result of a company that was wrongly put into liquidation.The case, OBG v Allan & Stevenson, relates to utilities company OBG, which was put into receivership and then voluntary liquidation in 1992. The claimants, former directors of OBG and the liquidators, ...

  • Petty sue

    11-Aug-2003

    Common Good, a new body led by Covington vice-chairman Philip Howard, is aiming to kill off the claim culture in the US. Jon Robins asks: is this public spirit, or just self-interest?

  • Power in-house

    11-Aug-2003

    Oil and gas company Eni UK is lucky enough to have an in-house legal team capable of seeing it through some hairy times recently. Husnara Begum gives the lowdown

  • Real estate deals round-up

    11-Aug-2003

    Linklaters (Martin Elliott) is advising retail developer John Milligan on a joint venture with the Walton Group to develop the Met Quarter, a 150,000sq ft site in Liverpool. SJ Berwin advised the Walton Group.

  • Safety instructions

    11-Aug-2003

    A recent decision on compensation for airline crash victims offers a warning to tour operators and their lawyers when drafting booking conditions.

  • Service… in a while

    11-Aug-2003

    Sometimes, when dealing with the PR agencies used by law firms, a beacon of light shines through the fog generated by press releases on stamp duty and the never-ending requests for 'getting to know each other' meetings. Just the other day, one of Tulkinghorn's scribes was delighted to pick up the phone to a PR dolly, who immediately offered to go away. "Hi," she tinkled. "Is this a good time, because if not I'll call back another day." Tulkinghorn's scribe happily told her to call back ...

  • Spanking offence

    11-Aug-2003

    For people who are supposed to be highly educated, lawyers really can be incredibly dim.Take, for example, the head of a practice group at a top 10 firm who thought it would be a brilliant idea to send an extremely saucy and lurid email to a lady with whom he was having a fling.Tulkinghorn is told that not only did he tell his paramour exactly how he wanted to tie her up, but also what he wanted to do to her next and with what implements.Perhaps someone should have ...

  • Stokes of luck

    11-Aug-2003

    Congratulations to whisky-swilling Freshfields associate Don Stokes. The lucky finance group liquor lover is the winner of our Scotch Malt Whisky Society first (and only) prize. None of the deluge of entries we received managed to answer all six questions correctly, but Stokes managed an impressive five. All those who equalled the prize-winning score were placed carefully in Tulkinghorn's very own bowler, with Stokes emerging victorious. Those that made the cut fell at the final hurdle, ...

  • Tesco in, Sainsbury's out: is property hot - or not?

    11-Aug-2003

    SBHD: Sainsbury's advisers on tenterhooks while BLP rejoices in Tesco comeback.

  • Wan can

    11-Aug-2003

    While most would be thinking 'fringe benefits', Harvey Nichols CEO Joseph Wan only has one thought on his mind - 'arbitration'.

  • Watson Burton's high profits stun

    11-Aug-2003

    Newcastle-based Wat-son Burton has posted a staggering 27 per cent rise in turnover while its profits jumped by more than 30 per cent on last year.The 12-partner firm saw turnover increase from £8m to £11m this year. The profits leap equates to a net of £3.1m.Average profits per equity partner stood at £420,000, with partners at the top taking £470,000 and those at the bottom £396,000.In sharp contrast, average profits per equity partner ...