18 August 2003

The Lawyer

  • A&O meets Sharia law half way

    19-Aug-2003

    Allen & Overy (A&O) has acted for two Western banks in the first non-government financing of a power project in Saudi Arabia.The unique financing, which has laid a precedent for Western parties navigating Saudi law, is expected to spark more financings in the region.Traditionally, financing has come from Saudi government banks. The use of Western money and English law raised a conflict with the Sharia law that governed the arrangement side. A main source of conflict ...

  • A&O ignites associate row

    19-Aug-2003

    Magic circle firm faces stiff opposition as associates round on plans to increase recordable hours

  • Altheimer flogs its chattels to help pay off $30m debt

    19-Aug-2003

    Roll up! Roll up! The great Altheimer & Gray sale has begun and there are bargains galore for everyone.The sale of the century kicked off last week, when the contents of the collapsed Chicago firm at 10 South Wacker Drive were posted on liquidator and auctioneer Hilco Industrial's website.Up for grabs is a vast array of office furniture and equipment, from huge conference tables to beautiful leather seats to massive plasma screens - just the thing for those lawyers for ...

  • Beyond the rail

    19-Aug-2003

    The liberalisation of rail freight networks across Europe could be here sooner than anticipated. Raymond Beven tracks its progress

  • Birchams appoints new head of employment

    19-Aug-2003

    Westminster's Bircham Dyson Bell has promoted partner Jesper Christensen as the head of the employment law group. Christensen, who joined Birchams in 1996 as a trainee, said: "I'm very pleased with my new role as head of the employment law group. It fulfills my ambition to play a leading role in promoting the firm's employment expertise."

  • Bird & Bird employment heavyweights create boutique

    19-Aug-2003

    Bird & Bird employment partners Corinne Aldridge and Helen Parker and a team of three associates have quit the firm to form their own niche employment practice.The team joined from Denton Wilde Sapte in 2001 and is departing after just two years, taking the client base that it brought to the firm.Aldridge was joint head of employment with Ian Hunter. She focuses on contentious issues and is known for advising high-profile banking and broking teams on moving companies. ...

  • CC's Canary Wharf move begins in earnest

    19-Aug-2003

    Clifford Chance is embarking on the biggest logistical exercise in its history with its move of 2,570 staff from Aldersgate Street to Canary Wharf.Last weekend 650 staff - mostly non-fee-earners, plus the real estate and tax group - moved over to the Docklands. They will be followed this weekend by the finance and capital markets teams ...

  • Clifford Chance fights fraudulent billing claim by former US client

    19-Aug-2003

    Clifford Chance has become embroiled in a bizarre case with a former client that is accusing the magic circle firm of fraudulent billing and malpractice.The lawsuit, filed by Mylan Pharmaceuticals on 8 August, arose as a result of an antitrust case that Clifford Chance's US office had acted on since 1999 and which settled last year.Mylan is claiming that the firm acted wrongly on the ...

  • De Brauw suffers after Linklaters split

    19-Aug-2003

    De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek has emerged from its first year of independence from Linklaters with the lowest turnover growth among its competitors in the Dutch elite.De Brauw billed e126m (£88.5m) in 2002, up just 1.26 per cent on the previous year's e124m (£87m). De Brauw voted almost unanimously against merging with Linklaters in April last year.The Netherlands' highest grossing ...

  • Deals round-up

    19-Aug-2003

    Shoosmiths (Oliver Brookshaw) advised Radstone Technology on its acquisition of Canadian computer products firm Interactive Circuits & Systems. Interactive advised in-house.

  • Dechert boosts City with first US partner

    19-Aug-2003

    Dechert is ramping up its financial services offering in the UK by moving its first US partner into the London unit.Karen Anderberg has relocated from Dechert's Washington DC office on a long-term basis to add to the group's US regulatory expertise. The London financial services team already has one senior and one junior US-qualified associate and plans further expansion.The move is part of ...

  • Denton Wilde Sapte mourns loss of partner

    19-Aug-2003

    Denton Wilde Sapte is mourning the loss of highly-rated real estate and PFI partner Stan Gniadkowski (right), who died on Friday 8 August. Gniadkowski had been a partner with the firm since 1997, prior to which he was a partner at DJ Freeman. He advised a number of project companies in the health, education, emergency services and accommodation sectors, ...

  • Dorsey's Bos lands on his feet at Barents & Krans

    19-Aug-2003

    Former Dorsey & Whitney competition partner Pierre Bos has found a new home at Dutch firm Barents & Krans. Bos and fellow competition partner Maurice Byrne were the two partners who suffered when the US firm closed its Brussels office earlier this year. Prior to his time at Dorsey, Bos was head of the competition practice at Trenité Van Doorne. First revealed on www.thelawyer.com/lawyernews 13 August

  • Ex-PwC high-flyer hooks up with Simmons

    19-Aug-2003

    Former Coopers & Lybrand deputy chairman Richard Stone has joined Simmons & Simmons as a non-executive director on the board. He became deputy chairman of Coopers & Lybrand in 1995 and, after the 1998 merger with PriceWaterhouse, became a member of the global board of PricewaterhouseCoopers until December 2000. He is now a non-executive director of British Nuclear Fuels, Halma and others. First revealed on www.thelawyer.com/lawyernews 12 August

  • Fasken first Canadian in SA

    19-Aug-2003

    Fasken Martineau is set to become the first Canadian firm in South Africa, where it is hoping to cash in on recently-introduced black empowerment legislation.The firm is launching in Johannesburg with South African-born mining partner Peter Stafford and an assistant.In October last year, the Department of Minerals and Energy released a charter requiring 26 per cent ownership of the mining industry byhistorically disadvantaged South Africans by 2012, and Fasken is just ...

  • Female partners still battling the odds

    19-Aug-2003

    Research by The Lawyer on the gender divide at the UK's top 10 law firms reveals that the glass ceiling remains firmly in place, with female partners still a tiny minority even among salaried partners.Salaried status is often used as a second, less demanding tier of the partnership ladder, which could theoretically offer an alternative to women seeking a better work-life balance. But in some firms, including Allen & Overy,

  • Firm profile: Ricksons

    19-Aug-2003

    Despite being the county town of Lancashire and boasting its own bar, Preston's legal market has a reputation for being sleepy. It therefore came as a surprise to many when in February 2003 Preston-based Ricksons snapped up the three-partner personal injury (PI) team from Whittles.The team, led by partner Glyn Jones, who is currently advising on the Selby rail crash, ...

  • Flying high

    19-Aug-2003

    One of the youngest heads of a local authority legal service, Terry Osborne has transformed Brent Council's legal department in less than three years. Steve Hoare discovers how

  • Fourth Taylor Wessing IT partner flees

    19-Aug-2003

    Another IT partner has found an alternative home to Taylor Wessing, quitting the firm for Lewis Silkin.Sherree Westell is the fourth IT/IP partner to leave the Anglo-German firm this year and others are believed to be seeking an exit.Her move coincides with a strategy review at Taylor Wessing that ...

  • Graf lets Leipzig go its own way

    19-Aug-2003

    Wragge & Co's German best friend Graf von Westphalen has spun off its Leipzig office to concentrate its East German operations in Dresden and Berlin.The office has been under review since the 2002 merger between Graf and Bappert & Modest as there is not enough work in East Germany to sustain a larger operation.Graf brought the Leipzig office and Bappert the Dresden office, ...

  • Herbies gets £200m bridge over Mersey

    19-Aug-2003

    Herbert Smith has boosted its transport practice by winning work from the lead counsel in the £200m Mersey Crossing development and a first instruction from Serco/Ned railways. Finance partner David Moore has won both clients, Halton Borough Council on the Mersey Crossing, and Serco/Ned on its bid for the Northern Rail franchise, awarded by the Strategic Rail Authority.

  • Italian rainmaker quits Simmons

    22-Aug-2003

    Simmons & Simmons’ Italian rainmaker Bruno Gattai has resigned from the firm and is expected to launch a practice for US firm Dewey Ballantine.

  • Kelly inquest adjourned until Hutton inquiry over

    19-Aug-2003

    The coroner's inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly was adjourned last week (13 August) by Lord Falconer until the end of the Hutton inquiry. This is despite requests by Kelly's family that a burial order be made as soon as possible. Sir Louis Blom Cooper QC of Doughty Street Chambers, who has chaired over 12 inquiries in the last decade, said it was normal for a coroner's inquiry to be adjourned. First revealed on www.thelawyer.com/lawyernews 13 August

  • Key clients revealed in Deacons HK case

    19-Aug-2003

    Standard Chartered Bank and KPMG have emerged as the two major clients at the centre of the ongoing litigation between Deacons and White & Case.Deacons alleges that former insolvency partners Mark Fairbairn and Edward Cairns induced Standard Chartered, one of the firm's key clients, to transfer its work to White & Case. The Hong Kong firm also alleges that Fairbairn was "instrumental in persuading KPMG to approach White & Case" in connection with work in the People's ...

  • Leader

    19-Aug-2003

    Here's an original way to manage lawyer numbers: If you're too scared to fire people, maybe you could murder them instead.I don't know if this is what Allen & Overy is trying to do by bringing in increased targets of 2,200 hours for associates, but by the end of the year there's going to be some pretty knackered lawyers at the firm.It's not that the actual billable hours component is ...

  • Legal Widow

    19-Aug-2003

    The fact that Subjudice was systematically selling everything in the house on eBay only came to light when we ran out of pens. By then, most of the lamps had gone, together with things you never think about until you need them - the good dinner service, the bicycles, the dinner jacket and dress shirt - or actually notice them (rugs, ornaments, silver picture frames...). Apparently, she soon realised that old bric-a-brac was never going to make her much money, and was about ...

  • Louvre and leavre

    19-Aug-2003

    Unlike Messrs Blair and Bush, Tulkinghorn has always respected the charm, intelligence and grace of his French colleagues. But one French partner has shocked Tulkinghorn after displaying a little of the former quality, less of the middle and none of the latter.

  • Marks & Clerk in triple merger

    19-Aug-2003

    Patent and trademark attorneys Marks & Clerk has announced a triple merger with firms in London, Liverpool and St Albans. The UK's largest patent and trademark firm has added 12 partners and 52 other personnel from Edward Evans Barker in London, Roystons in Liverpool and Sommerville & Rushton in St Albans. This expansion brings the partnership to more than 70, with around 400 staff spread across 14 UK offices. The firm also has six overseas offices. First revealed on www.thelawyer.com/lawyernews

  • Marriage vows

    19-Aug-2003

    After being criticised by the CFI, the European Commission is reforming its merger regulations. By Samantha Mobley

  • Mittelstand: can regional firms keep the big boys at bay?

    19-Aug-2003

    The downturn is forcing larger firms to pay more attention to mid-sized companies. By Aled Griffiths

  • More Shaw Pittman losses add to woes

    19-Aug-2003

    Corporate partners Charles Severs and Robert Bishop are abandoning the London office of Shaw Pittman in favour of DLA after just two years with the US outsourcing specialist.The departures come hot on the heels of two partners and seven associates who left for Latham & Watkins and Pillsbury Winthrop just three months ago. The London office is now left with only two partners and nine associates. These include two corporate associates who are also considering their futures ...

  • Morgan Cole downsizes in London

    19-Aug-2003

    Morgan Cole is set to downsize its London presence. The firm is understood to be planning to leave its Fleet Street office, where its lease is close to expiry, and has been investigating taking a floor in a Clerkenwell development. The firm vowed to finally crack the London market in February this year, but has since lost three partners, leaving it with only eight London partners.

  • Ofcom overhaul cuts lawyer count to five

    19-Aug-2003

    Ofcom, the new super-regulator for the media and telecommunications industries, has stunned the legal profession by announcing a new structure, with just five jobs reserved for the central legal function.The general counsel's office, which will be responsible for all litigation, will have just five positions out of a total 880 staff. Currently, ...

  • Opinion

    19-Aug-2003

    The Government has generated a fair amount of publicity for its proposed legislation to convict those responsible for corporate killing. But is this all spin or can we expect more substance behind these latest moves? The rather watered-down proposals announced by David Blunkett a few weeks ago may have prompted a collective sigh of relief in boardrooms across the country, but perhaps directors would be better advised to take a closer look at them before becoming too complacent.It ...

  • Osborne Clarke loses Frankfurt partners to Taylor Wessing

    22-Aug-2003

    Osborne Clarke is losing its four Frankfurt partners to Taylor Wessing, forcing it to close the office after just two-and-a-half years.

  • Pinsents gifts Sutti plum client

    19-Aug-2003

    Independent Italian firm Studio Legale Sutti has gained a new client thanks to a referral from Pinsents.Sutti advised multinational HR specialist Fairplace Consulting on the e1m (£0.7m) acquisition of Italian outplacement specialist Eris OTP after UK adviser Pinsents passed on its name.Pinsents is one of a number of UK firms Sutti works with. As this deal was completed under Italian law, Sutti was Fairplace's sole adviser, with partner Stefano Brogelli leading ...

  • Quick off the mark

    19-Aug-2003

    The EC has proposed a directive to harmonise the law on unfair commercial practices, but Germany already has plans of its own. Kai Westerwelle and Timothy Pinto report

  • Robert Muckle's commercial nous gives St Chads a boost

    19-Aug-2003

    Community action and pro bono

  • Separated at birth

    19-Aug-2003

    Hands up who knows the name of the new Law Society president. Yes, that's right, there is one. And he does have a name. He doesn't come from a legal background, but he does have years of experience quivering in the shadow of a powerful and strident friend, which should be good practice for when he has to stand behind the society's chief executive Janet Paraskeva. Ta daa. From a red postbox just off of Baker Street we bring you Penfold, the titchy brown hamster who was once the timid, ...

  • Sidley raids Hogan & Hartson for Brussels launch

    22-Aug-2003

    Sidley Austin Brown & Wood has raided Hogan & Hartson’s Brussel’s office to launch a practice of its own.

  • Simmons litigator heads for Reynolds Porter

    22-Aug-2003

    Simmons & Simmons litigation partner Jane Howard is leaving the firm to join Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.Howard has specialised in professional liability at Simmons. She will pursue this further at Reynolds Porter, which is highly ranked for this type of work. Simmons senior partner Janet Gaymer said Howard’s decision was an understandable career move.

  • SJ Berwin takes on Laurel for pub fight

    19-Aug-2003

    SJ Berwin has pulled in its biggest deal for years with an instruction from pub company Laurel on the fight for Scottish & Newcastle's (S&N) pubs.The win came courtesy of a conflict at Freshfields Bruck-haus Deringer, which muscled in on longstanding Linklaters client S&N earlier this ...

  • Southampton, Isle of Wight in new legal initiative

    19-Aug-2003

    The 15 local authorities in Southampton and the Isle of Wight have entered into a unique agreement to share legal staff. The scheme allows lawyers to be seconded to other authorities with a gap in expertise or to provide extra resource. The current head of the scheme is Grainne O'Rourke, the head of legal at New Forest District Council.

  • Standard Chartered sets sights on UK panel

    19-Aug-2003

    Standard Chartered Bank has undertaken a rigorous review of its global panel and is now turning its attention to the local UK firms.The global review began this summer and was more extensive than those previously undertaken, with the bank employing an external consulting firm to help with the process.The bank ultimately retained its existing panel, which includes Allen & Overy (A&O), 

  • Stormin' Normans

    19-Aug-2003

    When lawyers bleat on about 'cultural differences' with their foreign kin, it is usually code for whatever failed merger, office opening or laterals they have made a mess of.

  • The smarter barter

    19-Aug-2003

    If you thought alternative fee arrangements were a thing of the past, think again. Jon Robins reports on a number of innovative schemes that challenge the concept of the hourly rate

  • This country doesn't need you

    19-Aug-2003

    Following on from the efforts down under to ban the use of the word 'solicitor' in legal circles (see The Lawyer, 28 July), a new transatlantic slant on the perils of being a 'solicitor' emerges this week courtesy of Peter Felton Gerber of Canary Wharf's Feltons Solicitors.

  • Tyco lawyer denies fraud charges in NY

    19-Aug-2003

    Tyco International's former general counsel is to face trial for grand larceny after a New York Supreme Court judge refused to throw out a series of charges against the lawyer.Mark Belnick, previously a partner at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison before joining Tyco in 1998, had been hoping the court would drop the charge of grand larceny, which carries a maximum 25-year prison sentence.Belnick, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, has also been charged with ...

  • UN lends weight to Nepalese court reforms

    19-Aug-2003

    The first steps in reforming Nepal's judicial system have been taken in a move regarded as an important part of attempts to end the low-level civil war in the Himalayan country between its royal government and Maoist guerrillas.Nepal's courts have traditionally handled both criminal and civil cases, resulting in management problems and legal complexities that have, in turn, generated large backlogs. The consequent frustrations with the judicial process have been blamed for undermining ...

  • Welcome abroad

    19-Aug-2003

    Next year's European expansion will throw up many challenges for the new member states, not least in relation to EU competition policy. Ulrike Muller reports

  • Wise guys

    19-Aug-2003

    With the imminent reform of Italian corporate law, Andrea Arosio and Mario Lisanti report on a step towards a more flexible and market-friendly legal framework

  • Works like a charm

    19-Aug-2003

    Doyen of the criminal bar Robert Rhodes QC has had a miserable year, but he still manages to charm the socks off Brendan Malkin