17 April 2000

The Lawyer

  • A letter from Manchester

    17-Apr-2000

    If the television companies are making programmes here, it must be buzzing. Cold Feet, The Royle Family and Queer as Folk - all highly successful TV series set in the North West - show that the region is vigorous and culturally diverse enough to have attracted and sparked media imagination. Meanwhile, Brookside and Coronation Street go marching on. These three series help make the point that the North West and its economy are vibrant and growing fast.There are still problem ...

  • A View lfrom Brussels

    17-Apr-2000

    They say that when it rains in Paris, it drizzles in Brussels. The impact that international legal firms (in particular Anglo-Saxon firms) has had on the Parisian legal market may well be spreading to Brussels. Over the past two to three years there have been radical changes in the profile of many of Paris' long-established domestic names.The recent merger of US firm Coudert Brothers with Belgian firm Coppens van Ommeslaghe & Faures and the prospective merger of

  • Ashursts loses five from property dept

    17-Apr-2000

    The exodus from Ashurst Morris Crisp's property department is continuing as five lawyers prepare to leave the firm.Senior lawyer Stephen Law is leaving Ashursts to join his former colleague Peter Lloyd, head of property at US firm Squire Sanders & Dempsey, as a real estate attorney.Helen ...

  • BBLP steps up alliance plans after partner loss

    17-Apr-2000

    BBLP is rushing through its plans to complete a full merger of its continental European alliance this year in the face of aggressive expansion from rival firms.The alliance, including Beiten Burkhardt Mittl & Wegener, Moquet Borde & Associes, Pavia e Ansaldo and Meyer Lustenberger & Partner, originally planned to consolidate the partnership in 2001.Jack Schiffer, managing ...

  • Brobeck Hale and Dorr sparks US assault on regional law firms

    17-Apr-2000

    US firm Brobeck Hale and Dorr is taking three top partners from Morgan Cole to set up its office in Oxford.The technology giant is the first US firm in the UK to venture outside London, and has taken most of Morgan Cole's Thames Valley corporate practice for the launch.Corporate partners Joe Pillman, Jonathan Loake and Kate Eavis are joining the firm. Pillman and Loake ...

  • Cable & Wireless

    17-Apr-2000

    Cable & Wireless' head of legal Dan Fitz is most definitely still a hands-on lawyer.

  • Case of the week

    17-Apr-2000

    Historian and author David Irving (right) will himself become the subject of history books after losing his High Court libel action this week over claims that he was a holocaust denier. Mr Justice Gray ruled that Irving was anti-Semitic and racist. Irving, who wrote Hitler's War, could now face defence costs of £2m. Professor Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory - a book which Irving said had destroyed his ...

  • Crescendo appoints Nabarros

    17-Apr-2000

    Nabarro Nathanson has won a client in leading global US venture capitalist Cres-cendo Ventures on its investments in UK start-up comp- anies.Nabarros advised Cres-cendo, which was in a consortium with venture capitalist 3i Group, on a £5.5m injection of capital into BreakerTech, an IT company which develops and sells e-commerce management software.Nabarros corporate finance ...

  • DAC common law trio quits for Barlow Lyde

    17-Apr-2000

    Davies Arnold Cooper is facing another spate of departures - this time from its common law department.Head of common law Malcolm Henke, motor unit head Simon Curtis and the department's senior team leader David Pipkin are all leaving the firm to join Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.Henke, who is not a qualified lawyer but is classed as a managing clerk, has been with the firm for over 10 years, specialising in personal injury, including motor insurance and employer ...

  • Digests

    17-Apr-2000

    Norton Rose has announced the promotion of 14 new partners in a move designed to meet the increasing demands of international clients and support the firm's strategic growth plans. The main expansion areas are banking and corporate finance, each with four new partners, and litigation with three new partners. In the international offices, Chris Viner will strengthen the corporate finance team in ...

  • End of the affair

    17-Apr-2000

    When German banking giants Deutsche and Dresdner shook hands on a $30bn merger it should have been the wedding to mark the new millennium - but it was all to end in tears. Dearbail Jordan reports on the deceit of a modern day tragedyAt the beginning of the merger talks between Deutsche and Dresdner banks, the former code-named itself Daphnis and its intended partner Chloe, after a pair of lovers from classical mythology.But the outcome of what should ...

  • Eurotunnel to boost in-house to take on extra workload

    17-Apr-2000

    Eurotunnel is looking for an extra three in-house lawyers to cope with a "substantial increase" in its workload, which has resulted from new investment to boost freight services.Head of legal Philip Dewast, based at Eurotunnel's headquarters in France, says that he will be looking for new recruits to deal mainly with commercial and contract work.Of the seven existing in-house lawyers working for Dewast, five are based in Folkestone and three in Calais. Dewast ...

  • Flying away from the City

    17-Apr-2000

    Despite being a global player, Airtours is keen to put its trust in North West firms. Dearbail Jordan reports.Airtours is a perfect example of why corporate and commercial lawyers in the North West deserve to be taken as seriously as those in London.This year alone, the travel giant has undertaken no less than five acquisitions and is still grappling with the European Union over competition issues surrounding its £852m hostile takeover bid for ...

  • Forward looking firms will welcome flexibility

    17-Apr-2000

    The Government has been consulting on regulations to implement the EC directive on part-time workers.These will ensure that part-timers have the same pro-rata rights to pay and benefits as full-timers.The aim is to raise the status of part-time emp-loyment and create conditions where more people are willing to vary their hours of work.But what about the legal profession?Part-time working has long been an issue particularly for women at ...

  • Four more firms set to join Ecomlex group

    17-Apr-2000

    German, Dutch, Italian and Irish law firms are the latest to join a European e-commerce association.Ecomlex is being set up to advise international clients on new economy issues, such as cross-border internet start-ups and initial public offerings.The Lawyer previously revealed that Field Fisher Waterhouse, Swedish practice Advokatfirman Fylgia, and Scottish member ...

  • Freehill Hollingdale comes top in Australian M&A table

    17-Apr-2000

    Freehill Hollingdale & Page has emerged as the leading firm for Australian merger and acquisitions work, according to Thomson Financial Securities Data tables.The firm has beaten leading practices Allens Arthur Robinson Group and Mallesons Stephen Jaques to the top spot, working on deals worth over AU$32.7bn (£13bn) during 1999.UK firms are also included in the tables, in particular City giant

  • Fried Frank cuts tie with Simmons to set up alone

    17-Apr-2000

    US firm Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson is setting up a UK law practice in London after backing out of its capital markets joint venture with Simmons & Simmons.The two firms set up a joint international securities practice in 1997 working out of Simmons' offices in London and using a combination of English and US lawyers, but now Fried Frank has decided to go it alone.Fried Frank partner Timothy Peterson and two associates were seconded to Simmons, ...

  • Fried Frank forms link-up with Canadian practice

    17-Apr-2000

    New York firm Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson is forming an alliance with Canada's biggest law firm McCarthy Tetrault.The cross-border link-up is the first between two top-tier North American practices, according to the firms, and will concentrate on capital markets, corporate finance and M&A transactions.The alliance is not a first step towards a merger, say the firms, but a means to offering a seamless service to the increasing number of clients ...

  • Groupama Insurances plans legal panel cull

    17-Apr-2000

    Insurance giant Groupama Insurances is the latest company to cull its number of outside legal advisers.Groupama, which has an annual revenue of about £8bn and is the tenth largest insurer in the UK, says that it is time to rationalise its external law firms.It currently has two panels, but head of claims management Bryan Stewart says that they will be cut and joined together into a smaller panel.Each panel advises the UK companies that the French-based ...

  • Healthcare giant Setons shakes up legal provision

    17-Apr-2000

    Healthcare giant Seton Scholl International (SSL) is set to radically shake up its legal provision.Jonathan Jowett, company secretary and legal director, says that in the next 18 months the company will create an international panel as well as boosting its in-house provision.Beauty parades and pitches will be ditched in favour of meeting firms and forming one-to-one relationships.Jowett says: "My starting point is always 'how is the relationship ...

  • Heather Baucher reports on the Court of Appeal's decision to review non-pecuniary damages in personal injury cases. Heather Baucher is a partner at Hill Dickinson.

    17-Apr-2000

    In a unanimous judgment the Court of Appeal has reviewed general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.Included in the Law Commission report number 257 was a recommendation that the level of damages for non-pecuniary loss in personal injury cases should be increased. The commission had recommended that there be an increase of a factor of at least 1.5 but no more than 2 for damages over £3,000 and a sliding scale from £2,001 to £3,000.

  • Holman Fenwick announces Wilson as new senior partner

    17-Apr-2000

    Robert Wilson is to become senior partner at maritime firm Holman Fenwick & Willan, taking over from Archie Bishop, the firm's senior partner for the past 12 years.Wilson, who is currently finance partner, has been with the firm for 25 years and will formally take over the post on 1 November. He says that his aim is to continue expanding the firm, which has 200 lawyers and offices in China, Singapore and France.He rules out any immediate move to merge but ...

  • Irwin Mitchell launches in-house fund

    17-Apr-2000

    National firm Irwin Mitchell has launched a fund management unit that it says will become the largest in the country.With the new unit the firm will rival London firm Lawrence Graham as the biggest practice in the country to manage clients' finances in-house. There are 55 firms in England and ...

  • It's been a bad week for...

    17-Apr-2000

    Mark Brown, a member of one of the UK's richest families, walked free from court this week after being found not guilty of organising an anti-capitalist demonstration which led to a riot. Brown, a former public schoolboy and grandson of Sir Derek Vestey, was alleged to have been one of the organisers of the Carnival Against Capitalism which took place in the City of London on 18 June last year. Brown's alleged involvement was revealed when police claimed ...

  • It's been a good week for...

    17-Apr-2000

    The nation's drinkers, after the Government announced that it intends to reform outdated licensing laws - some of which are nearly 40 years old - in favour of new legislation which would allow pubs and shops to sell alcohol around the clock. The Home Office's white paper on licensing laws has also recommended the abolition of Sunday restrictions and changes allowing children increased access to pubs and bars. The traditional closing time of 11pm has been said by some ...

  • LawSoc fills void left by Bahl

    17-Apr-2000

    Davies Arnold Cooper's senior partner David McIntosh is to fill the void at the Law Society left by the resignation of vice-president Kamlesh Bahl.McIntosh has been elected by the Council of the Law Society as deputy vice-president and will hold the post until July 2000.He takes the post previously held by Michael Napier, senior partner at Irwin Mitchell, who has been elevated to fill Bahl's position of vice-president.After working with ...

  • Legal Widow

    17-Apr-2000

    The Lawyer was preening himself all last week in preparation for an interview with some how-to-make-a-killing-in-industry business programme on Radio Four. He was invited to speak on project management. "Ta ta tee ta ta tee ta," you could hear him singing to the mirror in the mornings and "lo la lee la lo lee la", an affectation he has picked up from rehearsals with the local Gilbert and Sullivan society. (For in his youth the Lawyer had been a fetching Nanki-Poo and adores wearing the ...

  • Linklaters to spin off Blue Flag web service

    17-Apr-2000

    Linklaters is spending £5m in a bid to spin off its internet service Blue Flag.Clients have been able to subscribe to the initiative since its launch in 1996. Services include advice, documentation drafting and transaction management.But the firm has now decided to set up a separate company in a bid to widen the scope of the service.Linklaters will fund the ...

  • Masons appoints top Morgan Cole lawyer

    17-Apr-2000

    Morgan Cole has lost one of its leading lawyers to construction specialist Masons.David Isaacs, who has been with the firm for more than 10 years, will join the construction specialist as an equity partner.Company and business lawyer Isaacs is currently based at Morgan Cole's Thames Valley office. He looks after the firm's charity practice as well as heading the education ...

  • Menolds merges with duo

    17-Apr-2000

    Stuttgart-based Menold Herrlinger Reinking & Partner is doubling in size by merging with two other German practices.Dirtmund and Bochum firm Aulinger & Spieker and Essen based Krameyer von Falkenhausen Hanke & Partner will join up with Menold Herrlinger in June.Menold Herrlinger currently has less than 65 lawyers. A spokesman says: "The firms will give us 60 more lawyers. We merged to get important cases and we need manpower. These two firms do similar work to ...

  • No 1 Serjeants' Inn takes on six as Barnard's Inn dissolves

    17-Apr-2000

    The chambers of Edward Faulks QC, No 1 Serjeants' Inn, is expanding by 20 per cent after the dissolution of yet another set.Barnard's Inn Chambers, a 17-strong civil set, will close its doors on 30 June.Alan Saggerson, head of chambers and one of the six tenants to be joining No 1 Serjeants' Inn, says: "We came to the conclusion that we're just too small in the current market."The other barristers include John Bryant, Dr David ...

  • North West bar work boom

    17-Apr-2000

    Despite the difficulties faced by the bar, sets in the North West have no shortage of work. Fennella Quinn reports.As Maundy Thursday comes round again, all eyes are focused on the Lord Chancellor's list of new silks.Last year, 10 new QCs were made up for the North West bar. But it is not only the addition of silks that is changing the complexion of the most prominent provincial circuit.The Treasury has recently "refreshed" its list ...

  • Only the top few can fight in salaries war

    17-Apr-2000

    Clients warned this week that they do not want to fund pay increases for assistant solicitor salary rises at magic circle firms. Bonuses and increases should be paid by partners, they say. Or if not, then by higher leveraging.But the magic circle partners know that loss of business because of pay hikes is unlikely. Relationships with good clients can be managed and pay awards funded through a combination of higher hourly rates, harder work and fixed fees. ...

  • Over here and over paid

    17-Apr-2000

    It has been interesting to follow reports on the escalation of solicitors' salaries which, except for the US dimension, is reminiscent of the mid-1980s when Gouldens determined to pay in excess of all City firms for newly qualifieds. Back then Gouldens decided on a heady £15,000 against a benchmark of around £12,500.What was less edifying in the present game of leapfrog is the blatant disregard of the most important component in the whole ...

  • Paradise regained

    17-Apr-2000

    The North West has traditionally been seen as a centre for litigation work, but with a boom in property development and the new economy, it is fast becoming a desirable area for law firms to pick up work. Dearbail Jordan reportsAsking lawyers why it is important to have an office in the North West is like questioning them about why they became a lawyer in the first place - it seemed a good idea at the time but they just cannot recall exactly why.Responses ...

  • Perrin's View

    17-Apr-2000

    Leslie Perrin is managing partner of Osborne Clarke. He can be contacted at leslie.perrin@osborneclarke.comLet me take you to a far-off land and time - a land and time where law firms and clients have discovered a new kind of relationship. I want you to imagine that you are a business in this far-off land and time and you need to retain the services of a law firm.

  • Placements

    17-Apr-2000

    Baker & McKenzie advised Europejski Fundusz Leasingowy on its $82m (£51.9m) international and domestic share and global depository receipt offering and listing on the London and Warsaw stock exchanges. Credit Suisse First Boston acted as lead manager on the deal. Baker & McKenzie securities partner Peter Magyar led a team of two in the London office and four lawyers at the Warsaw branch.

  • Placements

    17-Apr-2000

    Eversheds acted for Jarvis on its $75m (£47.5m) and £63.5m debt private finance placements in the US. The firm also advised the company on its bilateral banking arrangements with Barclays Bank

  • Projects

    17-Apr-2000

    Davis Polk & Wardwell represented Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Capital Partners in relation to a £20m equity investment in Riversoft Technologies. Davis Polk's team of eight in New York and London included corporate partners John Bick and John McCarthy. Slaughter and May provided UK advice ...

  • Projects

    17-Apr-2000

    Berwin Leighton represented four investors on a £200m alliance with BAA's property arm, BAA Lynton, known as the Airport Hotels Partnership. Berwin Leighton's clients include Scottish Widows, the Coal Schemes, the Shell Pension Fund and an overseas investor. Corporate finance partner Frances McLeman acted with a team of four on the deal. Field Fisher Waterhouse ...

  • Property

    17-Apr-2000

    Coudert Brothers represented MCI WorldCom on a lease for the entire Reading International Business Park, where the company will establish its European headquarters. The site is being constructed by Akeler International. Coudert Brothers managing partner Philip Burroughs acted with a team of two on the deal while Akeler was advised by Berwin Leighton.

  • Quote of the week

    17-Apr-2000

    "What's the point of a couple more hundred grand when you really never have a life?"- A City lawyer claims money isn't everything, especially when it's only small change.Francis Laird: CorrectionIn last week's "Scuffle of the week" it was inferred that Francis Laird had resorted to violence when subjected to a physical assault at Croydon Crown Court, and that he faced disciplinary action ...

  • Russell Jones opens office in Edinburgh

    17-Apr-2000

    UK firm Russell Jones & Walker has announced that it is to open an office in Edinburgh.The firm plans to offer a full range of legal services, including personal injury, clinical negligence and employment advice.Derek Reekie, partner at Drummond Miller, plans to join Russell Jones & Walker to head the new venture which will increase the firm's total number of offices to 10. One litigation executive and two support staff will work with him at the office, ...

  • Scuffle of the week

    17-Apr-2000

    Lewis v Lewis. Lennox Lewis (left) was effectively stripped of his World Boxing Association title this week after Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled in a New York court that the UK boxer must give up the belt if he goes ahead with a fight against Michael Grant. The judge found himself embroiled in a battle over a deal which Lewis had signed with promoter Don King to secure a return match against Evander Holyfield, who Lewis beat last November. In doing this he had to agree to fight the World ...

  • Shaw Pittman poaches IP team from rival firm

    17-Apr-2000

    Washington DC firm Shaw Pittman has wooed an IP team from Crowell & Moring just a month after announcing a major expansion plan.The rapidly growing high-tech firm is taking three partners and seven other lawyers from its 250-lawyer strong rival.Crowell & Moring's chair of litigation and head of IP Lawrence Gotts and his colleagues Michael Bednarak and Aslan Baghdadi are joining Shaw Pittman as partners. The team concentrates on patent protection, prosecution ...

  • Sidley & Austin Hong Kong founder joins Herbert Smith

    17-Apr-2000

    Sidley & Austin is losing one of the founding partners of its Hong Kong operation to Herbert Smith, just a year after the office was established.Simon Meng, who is qualified in New York and Paris, has joined Herbert Smith's reg-ional project group as a consultant due to the Hong Kong Law Society's restriction on foreign lawyers practising within the jurisdiction.But he will be classed as a partner at Herbert Smith's offices outide of Hong Kong.

  • Sidley & Austin Hong Kong founder joins Herbert Smith

    17-Apr-2000

    Sidley & Austin is losing one of the founding partners of its Hong Kong operation to Herbert Smith, just a year after the office was established.Simon Meng, who is qualified in New York and Paris, has joined Herbert Smith's reg-ional project group as a consultant due to the Hong Kong Law Society's restriction on foreign lawyers practising within the jurisdiction.But he will be classed as a partner at Herbert Smith's offices outide of Hong Kong.

  • SLS expands into eastern Europe

    17-Apr-2000

    Studio Legale Sutti (SLS) has announced major plans for expansion into eastern Europe.Talks have begun in the former eastern bloc countries and the firm expects to make an announcement at the end of the year. The Italian firm is considering establishing its own satellite offices in Sofia, Prague, Bucharest and possibly Tirana.Lawyers taken on from local firms and in-house teams will be used to advise on each country's law, though no major buyouts are anticipated.

  • Stanley Tee takes on Couderts partner

    17-Apr-2000

    International law firm Coudert Brothers is losing a partner to Hertfordshire legal practice Stanley Tee & Company.Jeremy Gillham is moving to set up and head a commercial property department at 12-partner Stanley Tee.He says: "This is a new challenge for a 47-year-old because it is a small firm with a big work ethos and I will have fun doing it. I met the partners and liked them."Gillham joined Coudert Brothers in 1997 when the firm acquired the practice ...

  • Stephen Ball

    17-Apr-2000

    After spending more than 10 years practising in-house, Nomura's chief general counsel has joined the UK law practice of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. Claire Smith talks to Stephen Ball about the career opportunity he just could not pass up.

  • Third-party insurance in cyberspace

    17-Apr-2000

    Internet service providers must perform a tricky balancing act to avoid falling foul of the law, writes Suzanne Garben. Suzanne Garben is a partner in the media litigation department at Denton Wilde Sapte.As the first libel case involving a UK-based internet service provider (ISP), Lawrence Godfrey's action against Demon Internet has sparked a wave of publicity. In March last year, an English court for the first time addressed the issue of ...

  • Transport/Travel

    17-Apr-2000

    The changing face of the transport and travel industry is opening up new avenues of business for external law firms with a wealth of expertise and the ability to keep pace. Tamzin Hindmarch reports.As the travel industry steps up a gear and starts moving into new world markets, the opportunities for law firms are growing. In the past year National Express, for example, has undergone massive expansion and is now just as familiar a sight on the highways of Australia ...

  • Wall Street cash

    17-Apr-2000

    Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has been on the hunt for a UK qualified partner for almost a year, but as Catrin Griffiths reports, the hiked-up salaries of US firms are not enough to recruit from the magic circle.On the face of it, it seems ludicrous. Here is a prestigious, fabulously profitable, classic Wall Street partnership in the old sense, with none of that ...

  • White & Case nabs partner for Tokyo

    17-Apr-2000

    White & Case in Tokyo has recruited a partner from Washington DC law firm Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn.Hendrik Gordenker specialises in corporate and commercial deals for Japanese companies doing transactions abroad and non-domestic businesses setting up deals in Japan.He also works on energy project development and financing. His clients include Japanese purchasers of ...

  • White & Case nabs partner for Tokyo

    17-Apr-2000

    White & Case in Tokyo has recruited a partner from Washington DC law firm Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn.Hendrik Gordenker specialises in corporate and commercial deals for Japanese companies doing transactions abroad and non-domestic businesses setting up deals in Japan.He also works on energy project development and financing. His clients include Japanese purchasers of ...

  • Wilson Sonsini offers dotcom equity to staff

    17-Apr-2000

    West Coast US firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is trying a new tactic to keep hold of its associates - offering them stakes in dotcom clients.The firm is one of many in the Silicon Valley facing a brain drain as lawyers are attracted to start-up companies and their share option schemes.Firms in the region have been putting up associate salaries and offering them bigger bonuses, but the move by Wilson Sonsini is a new step.The firm has roughly ...