22 November 1999

The Lawyer

  • A breakdown in communications

    22-Nov-1999

    Stephen Byers, Trade and Industry Secretary, has put the brakes on a merger between NTL and Cable & Wireless after the Office of Fair Trading okayed the deal. So what prompted the change of heart?Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers has stoked the fires of controversy by overturning the findings of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on the merger between cable company NTL and Cable & Wireless.Byers has decided to refer the merger, announced in June, to the ...

  • A&O takes global title for finance

    22-Nov-1999

    Allen & Overy is the world's biggest adviser on large-scale project finance deals, according to a survey. However, other British firms did not perform as well.The survey, by Project Finance International magazine, ranks firms worldwide by number of deals worth over $500m (£316m) completed since January 1998.Its top 10 are Allen & Overy,

  • Advice for those wanting to move

    22-Nov-1999

    Like football management, running a City firm is increasingly a young man's game.In the same week that Allen & Overy shocked the profession by electing 44-year-old Guy Beringer as senior partner, Berwin Leighton announced that Neville Eisenberg, a mere 37, was taking over as managing partner at the firm.When we meet for lunch, Eisenberg's youthful features are ...

  • Advice for those wanting to move

    22-Nov-1999

    The legal press is full of internationalisation, firms opening and acquiring new overseas offices, recruiting lateral hires and creating new alliances.Much advice is given to managers on how to pursue an international strategy, but little advice is given to individual partners tempted to change firms or merge their practice with one of the "internationals".Having been a lateral hire 10 years ago, I am sometimes asked what is involved ...

  • Allen & Overy advises on landmark merger

    24-Nov-1999

    Allen & Overy has been selected by the Department of Justice to advise the Government of Hong Kong (special administrative region) on the landmark merger of the stock exchange, the futures exchange and the three clearing houses.Corporate partner, Michael Liu leads a team of eight lawyers from A&O's Hong Kong office on the deal which sees the exchanges and clearing house consolidated ...

  • Allen & Overy and Baker & McKenzie win new work at Legal Monte Carlo '99

    22-Nov-1999

    Banking giant ING Barings is on the verge of instructing Allen & Overy's Frankfurt office for the first time ever after meeting a representative of the firm at Legal Monte Carlo '99.Sarah Whitehead, director and assistant general counsel at ING Barings says: "We are seeking advice on listing debts in Frankfurt from Allen & Overy."A&O's London office has had ...

  • Allen & Overy appoints new head of corporate

    22-Nov-1999

    Allen & Overy has selected Richard Cranfield to head up its corporate department when Guy Beringer moves up to become the firm's senior partner. Cranfield joined A&O as a trainee in 1980 and was made up to partner in 1985. He was recently elected to the firm's Partnership Board. He takes up his new position from 1 January 2000. He has advised on several high profile mergers and acquisitions ...

  • Andersen merger to form German giant

    22-Nov-1999

    THE GERMAN arm of Andersen Legal is set to merge with a corporate firm to create a top 10 law firm in the country.The merger between Andersen Legal firm Andersen Freihalter and Hamburg-based practice Luther & Partner will come into operation on 1 January. The 50-partner firm will be called Andersen Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft.Stefan Kraus, currently managing partner of Andersen Freihalter, will become the senior partner of the merged firm, which will have ...

  • Are UK firms ready for global banking?

    22-Nov-1999

    Business is booming in banking as companies strive to provide a one-stop shop for their clients' global ambitions. But are the UK's law firms up to the task or will they lose out to the worldwide might of the US? asks Chris Dignan.Across the world, the banking business is undergoing fundamental change as banks fuel their appetite for mergers to adapt to the global demands of their clients.The UK has seen several mergers: Lloyds/TSB; a string of link-ups ...

  • Armstrong reviews its legal panel

    22-Nov-1999

    Armstrong World Industries is understood to be reviewing its law firm panel following the announced merger of Clifford Chance and Rogers & Wells.The US-based multinational manufacturer instructs Rogers & Wells. But an inside source says that the company is unhappy about the firm's link-up with Clifford Chance.The news comes a week after The Lawyer revealed that British ...

  • Ashursts faces deficit in property department

    22-Nov-1999

    Ashurst Morris Crisp's property department is struggling to overcome a deficit in its budget as an exodus of its assistants continues.According to an internal memo leaked to The Lawyer, the property department is attempting to recover from a deficit in its yearly budget.The memo, sent internally to lawyers by Simon Cookson, head of property at Ashursts, says that during October ...

  • Athlete Wins Undisclosed Libel Damages From BBC

    24-Nov-1999

    Javelin star, Fatima Whitbread has won undisclosed damages from the BBC over defamatory comments made about her on comedy show, They Think It's All Over.Whitbread's lawyer, Graham Atkins, an associate with Campbell Hooper, secured damages and an apology from the BBC in an out of court settlement. The action arose after two of the panellists on They Think It's All Over falsely suggested that Whitbread had unnaturally high levels of testosterone in her blood ...

  • Baker & Botts takes Lovells energy chief

    22-Nov-1999

    US firm Baker & Botts has lured Lovell White Durrant's head of energy as it expands its London office.Tony Higginson joins the Houston-based firm's London operation to lead its UK energy practice. He joins fellow energy partner Samantha Hampshire, who has defected from Arnheim Tite & Lewis (The Lawyer, 4 October).Higginson has specialised in energy for more than 20 years. He worked in-house with Phillips Petroleum and Sun Oil and joined Lovells in 1992, ...

  • Baker & McKenzie partner joins Goldman Sachs

    25-Nov-1999

    A Baker & McKenzie banking and finance partner is joining Goldman Sachs International as senior derivatives counsel. David Green, who joins the investment bank in January, is the second partner Baker & McKenzie has lost to a client this year . The firm's London office lost partner Graham Allan to client Cisco earlier this year.Green, who has been at Baker & McKenzie for 12 ...

  • Berrymans Lace Mawer suffers blow as equity partner leaves

    22-Nov-1999

    BERRYMANS Lace Mawer has lost its head of construction, equity partner Diana Holtham.Holtham resigned last month after 20 years at Berrymans, which ranks in the top 20 London construction firms. She formally leaves on 1 April. She is quitting the firm for personal reasons.Berrymans' national senior partner Paul Taylor will take over Holtham's role temporarily, but will also retain his existing role.Holtham who has been a partner at Berrymans ...

  • Berwins partners defect to Olswang

    22-Nov-1999

    Olswang has lured two key partners from Berwin Leighton's highly-respected private equity team.Fabrizio Carpanini and Chris Mackie will join Olswang as soon as they have negotiated their exit from Berwin Leighton.Jonathan Goldstein, chief executive at Olswang, says their arrival will prove a big step in building a full-service practice for new media clients. "They are two of ...

  • Biddle outsources marketing

    22-Nov-1999

    Biddle is outsourcing the bulk of its marketing work in a bid to increase cross-selling across practice areas.Former Ladbrokes in-house lawyer Marie Stevens and her specialist business services group company Corporate Mosaic will begin working for the 35-partner practice in the new year.Stevens says that Corporate Mosaic was appointed"to extend clients in one department across to another and to help Biddle approach new clients".Biddle ...

  • CC announces new look board for global merger

    22-Nov-1999

    Clifford Chance has announced the makeup of its plc-style governing board in the run up to the merger with Rogers & Wells and Punder Volhard Weber & Axster on 1 January.Rogers & Wells' head of antitrust Kevin Arquit and Punders' joint managing partner Thomas Gasteyer are the new deputy chairmen.Arquit is Rogers & Wells' highest earner and a powerful figure ...

  • Chambers merger to create 73-strong set

    22-Nov-1999

    Two of London's leading chambers, 1 Paper Buildings and 2 Crown Office Row, are to merge at Easter.The newly created set, to be called Crown Office Chambers, will be nearly 73-strong and boast 15 silks dwarfing its closest rivals. Legal commentators predict that the merger will signal similar moves across the bar.A continual downward pressure on fees, conditional fee agreements, block contracting and franchising increasingly require chambers to reach critical ...

  • Cleary Gottlieb poaches tax ace from Oppenhoffs

    22-Nov-1999

    US firm Cleary, Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has boosted its German office by luring a leading tax partner from Linklaters' German alliance partner Oppenhoff & Radler.The loss of Dr Gottfried Breuninger, one of the leading corporate tax lawyers in Germany, will be a blow to Oppenhoffs, which has been rated as Germany's leading tax practice.Breuninger is the second partner ...

  • Clifford Chance faces £54m suit over China deal

    23-Nov-1999

    Clifford Chance is being sued for £54 million - one of the highest claims ever faced by a UK practice - in a row over a Chinese power plant deal. The £54 million writ, which will be heard in London's High Court, claims Clifford Chance acted negligently when it drafted a contract for the consortium involved in building and upkeeping the Shajiao C power station in Guangdong province.

  • Coca-Cola legal takes back employment work

    22-Nov-1999

    Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages is appointing a legal manager to supervise employment issues and handle litigation.The move is part of a decision to take over control of employment work from its human resources (HR) group.The company says that the newly appointed lawyer will continue to liaise with HR.Paul Meadows, vice president, legal director and company secretary at Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages declines to comment on the reason for the sudden ...

  • Digests

    22-Nov-1999

    Theodore Goddard's head of its commercial law group has become a partner. Lesley Hall joined the firm from Berwin Leighton in January while associate Claire Shepherd, formally of Linklaters & Alliance and head of the environmental law group at Theodore Goddard, has also been promoted to partner level.McKee Nelson Ernst & Young, the new US associate law firm of accountants ...

  • Druces adds to insolvency and property

    22-Nov-1999

    City commercial firm Druces & Attlee has recruited two partners to boost its insolvency and commercial property departments.Insolvency partner Tim Bignell joins the practice from Kent-based Argles & Court, which completed a tripartite merger at the beginning of November to form one of the top five firms in the region.Bignell was head of commercial litigation at the firm, and specialises in retail work.Stephen Whittaker joins from City-based three-partner ...

  • Experts in search of authority

    22-Nov-1999

    Lord Woolf plans to merge expert's organising bodies, but try telling members it's a good idea. Elizabeth Davidson reports.Somewhere within the legal system there is an employment "expert" who has appeared in court more than 200 times, yet who has never employed anyone in his life and who has no qualifications or experience.That's according to Christopher Baber, operations director of national expert witness supplier Trevor Gilbert & Associates, ...

  • Experts' fees prove a lottery

    22-Nov-1999

    Elizabeth Davidson reports on arguments over legal privilege and the steady rise of witness fees for written reports.An important Court of Appeal case on the Master of the Rolls, Lord Woolf's new civil regime will push the importance of independence to the forefront of expert witnesses' agenda.Lord Woolf's recommendations that legal privilege be lifted from expert witnesses' reports are due to be challenged at the end of this month.

  • Financing

    22-Nov-1999

    Allen & Overy advised Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in relation to a £100m bond issue for London City Airport. Morgan Stanley acted as arranger and lead manager in structuring and documenting the deal. The bond is secured on all assets of London City Airport while debt will be repaid on the company's earnings. Paul Bedford acted on the team of four with fellow capital markets partner David ...

  • Financing

    22-Nov-1999

    Herbert Smith advised private equity company The Cypress Group on the English law aspects of its agreement to subscribe for $200m senior convertible participating preference shares in Danka Business Systems. Patrick Mitchell

  • Financing

    22-Nov-1999

    Travers Smith Braithwaite advised the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC) over the forward funding of a £9m leisure development by Citygrove in Bishops Stortford. Anthony Judge and Peter Hill

  • Finers family partners quit

    22-Nov-1999

    Finers has lost two family partners to London firm Dawson & Co, just a week after announcing the launch of its family law department.Christopher Butler and Mark Fenton are due to move at the start of the year, leaving Finers with one partner and two assistants in the new department.Butler was head of litigation at Finers from 1997 until last week, when it was announced he had been replaced by John Hewitt.Butler has acted for some high value clients, ...

  • Freehills partner quits

    26-Nov-1999

    A Freehill Hollingdale & Page partner - currently suing two French partners over allegations that he got up close and personal with one of their associates - is leaving the Australian firm.Stephen Stern has left Freehills Melbourne office to set up his own niche trade practices law and intellectual property firm following a disagreement with management over how the IP section was run. Stern is currently suing Nicole and Andre Coutrelis of French firm Coutrelis & Associe ...

  • Hammond Suddards launches Hammonds Business Support

    26-Nov-1999

    Hammond Suddards has amassed a team of senior bankers, accountants, lawyers and other professionals to form Hammonds Business Support, a new service for small and medium-sized enterprises.The new service is an independent arm of the national firm and aims to help troubled companies develop and implement turnaround strategies and encourage lenders and creditors to be more co-operative. It can also recommend re-financing options or advise on substantial organisational change. ...

  • Herbert Smith helps Pearson in online deal

    22-Nov-1999

    Herbert Smith is joining US firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius to advise Pearson on its deal with the Data Broadcasting Corporation (DBC).The UK media group has merged its Financial Times (FT) asset management division with the Nasdaq-listed company in a bid to strengthen its online presence.The reverse takeover will give Pearson a 60 per cent share valued at over £400m. It will also bring together the FT's site FT.com with CBS's Marketwatch.com.

  • Herbert Smith woos Jeantet partner to boost Paris office

    22-Nov-1999

    Herbert Smith has lured top French competition partner Claude Lazarus from Paris firm Jeantet & Associes.Lazarus is bringing his team of three assistant avocats with him to Herbert Smith's Paris office when he joins the firm early next year.Neil Brimson, managing partner of Herbert Smith's Paris office, says: "Our office in Paris has been growing immensely over the last two or three years, particularly in the areas of corporate finance, projects and ...

  • Immigration win for Camerons

    22-Nov-1999

    CMS Cameron McKenna has poached a top immigration lawyer from SJ Berwin, and it is understood some sports clients will follow her to the firm.Lorraine Forrest, an assistant at SJ Berwin, will join Camerons in the same role. She specialises in business immigration work for sports clients, including the Football Association ...

  • Irvine to ban witness payments

    26-Nov-1999

    The Lord Chancellor is to crack down on newspaper payments made to witnesses in criminal cases, he announced yesterday.Lord Irvine has pledged to introduce legislation to prohibit such chequebook journalism as soon as parliamentary time can be found for it. He cited the case of pop star Gary Glitter who was found not guilty of sexual abuse charges after it emerged that the main prosecution witness, Allison Brown stood to be paid £25,000 by the News of the World if ...

  • It's been a bad week for...

    22-Nov-1999

    Marital relations. It is now even easier to get divorced, following the example of Mike Carson of Manchester - the first person to complete his divorce over the internet. Carson and his wife Brenda were embroiled in divorce proceedings for nine years before he discovered Desktop Lawyer, run by Epoch Software. Carson downloaded the relevant documents to finalise his divorce for just £60.The cost of justice. The Home Office has published figures ...

  • It's been a good week for...

    22-Nov-1999

    The daughters of Sark. An ancient law banning daughters from inheriting property on the Channel Island has been overturned. The decision follows a challenge in the European Court of Human Rights brought by Sark residents the mysterious multi-millionaire Barclay Brothers, who own the Ritz.Women. The Appeal Court has ruled that East Kent Health Authority was negligent when three women were wrongly given the all-clear for their smear tests. The decision will ...

  • Kemp gains 60 IT clients this year

    22-Nov-1999

    IT law firm Kemp & Co claims it has gained 60 major new clients and is competing for work with large practices .The firm, which will have five partners when Lucy Vernall is promoted on 1 December, has gained clients such as mobile telephone company One2One, and internet service provider Demon Internet over the last 12 months.Existing clients include Microsoft Europe.Managing partner Richard Kemp, who founded the firm in 1997, says his practice is ...

  • Law lords consider appeal

    22-Nov-1999

    The question of whether bankruptcy can be grounds for possession may be considered by the House of Lords. The law lords are considering whether to give leave for an appeal in the case of Cadogan Estates Ltd v McMahon. Judgment in the case was given in the Court of Appeal on 25 May this year. The Court of Appeal upheld a High Court decision that the tenant's bankruptcy constituted a breach of a statutory tenancy obligation. The law lords are now considering whether to grant leave ...

  • Law lords listen to noisy neighbours

    22-Nov-1999

    Roger Pearson reports on the House of Lord's ruling that landlords and councils are not responsible for their tenants' noise.The tabloid press nicknamed the case "Nookie Towers". But there has been a far more serious side to the action of London Borough of Southwark v Mills. The case has run its course through the High Court and Appeal Court and ended with a ground-breaking judgment in the House of Lords last month.In their decision, ...

  • Leading personal injury lawyer joins Nelsons

    25-Nov-1999

    Browne Jacobson's former senior partner, Neville Radcliffe, has joined 36-partner Nottingham firm, Nelsons as a partner. A personal injury specialist, Radcliffe spent nearly 40 years with Browne Jacobson and became senior partner in 1990. He resigned and joined

  • Legal aid fees frozen

    24-Nov-1999

    The Lord Chancellor has frozen lawyers' fees for criminal legal aid work in the magistrates' court for the fourth year in a row.Lord Irvine also warned yesterday that payments made to barristers may be slashed, claiming they are "excessive" compared with those made to other publicly-funded professionals.He says: "I am considering whether fees claimed by counsel in cases outside the graduated fee scheme may be excessive and whether the graduated fee ...

  • Legal Widow

    22-Nov-1999

    The Lawyer is on a month-long secondment down south with one of his company's biggest clients. It has allowed the girls and me to move the TV into mummy and daddy's bedroom and stay up watching Friends on satellite with a big tub of Ben and Jerry's, which is about the closest you can get to heaven on this earth, except when Liability drops a handful of Chunky Monkey between the sheets. And I've got to sit through three hours of the Disney Channel to get there.

  • Linklaters in Euro expansion

    22-Nov-1999

    Linklaters & Alliance has beaten Clifford Chance to set up a Romanian office and is opening a further two offices in central and eastern Europe.The firm will open offices in Bucharest, Bratislava and Budapest with the Linklaters & Alliance brand on 1 January. The offices will initially open with one ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 22/11/99

    22-Nov-1999

    Cases from Lawtel's PI QUANTUM Database. Contact Deborah Talbot on 0171 970 4823.Andrew Clayton (Administrator of the Estate of Annette Susan Hester deceased) v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust (1999) QBD (Kennedy J) 11 October 1999Claimant: Male, long-term partner of the deceased ('D')Incident: D had been admitted to the defendant hospital in November 1994 for the birth of her child. There had been complications in D's pregnancy ...

  • Litigation Writs 22/11/99

    22-Nov-1999

    A property company is taking the Department of Environment Transport and the Regions (DETR) to the High Court in a claim worth more than £500,000 for alleged damage to an office block. The claim has been issued by JLG Investments, landlords of Kingston House in West Bromwich, who claim that when the DETR moved out of the property it was in such a state that they were unable to let it for 36 weeks until repair work could be completed. JLG claim suspended ceilings ...

  • Mad dogs and English lawyers

    22-Nov-1999

    Lawyers abroad take their lives in their hands, and a foot out of place in an Islamic country can cost you a deal. Chris Dignan walks lightly through the manners' minefield facing those who ply their trade in dangerous climes.The end of Soviet communism, thawing relations with Arab states and increasing globalisation mean Western lawyers now work in areas that would not be their first choice to visit for a holiday.There is a rich seam of business ...

  • McGuinness Finch loses founder to DJ Freeman

    22-Nov-1999

    DJ Freeman has recruited one of the founding partners of niche London planning firm McGuinness Finch to join its property services department.Keir McGuinness set up his own firm with Stephen Finch in 1988 after the pair left Oppenheimers a year before it merged with Denton Hall. McGuinness Finch is understood to have rejected merger proposals from Nabarro Nathanson and Scottish firm McGrigor ...

  • Michael Chissick writes on Y2K and employers' duty of care. Michael Chissick is head of the IT & online law group at Field Fisher Waterhouse.

    22-Nov-1999

    It is unlikely that there will be any significant Y2K problems in the UK.But the same cannot be said for many other countries. Widespread problems are expected in, for example, Russia and China.The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 provides that employers must use reasonable skill and care to provide a proper system of work with well-maintained and proper plant, premises and machinery. The duty is limited to matters "in the course of employment" ...

  • More chaos for Scottish courts

    22-Nov-1999

    The Scottish courts have been thrown into even deeper crisis by the Lord Advocate's decision to suspend huge numbers of Justices of the Peace from hearing trials.About 80 JPs - around 10 per cent of the total in Scotland - will not be allowed to hear cases from today due to fears that their status may be vulnerable to challenge under the European Convention on Human Rights. Only JPs who are also councillors or who are directly appointed by the councils will be affected.

  • New Board and Management for Euro-Link

    23-Nov-1999

    Euro-Link for Lawyers, the international association of law firms, with 44 practices in 24 countries, has made a number of changes to its management structure.Steuart Howie of Russel & Aitken, Edinburgh, becomes President; Philippe Bedard of Juris Audit International, Paris, Vice President; Chris Mitchell of Cartwrights, Bristol, Secretary and Paul Sillis of Collyer-Bristow, London, as Treasurer. They will form the executive of the association, whose board includes representation ...

  • New Jersey merger announced

    24-Nov-1999

    New Jersey's third largest law firm, Pitney Hardin Kipp & Szuch has taken over the niche intellectual property firm in Manhattan, Kane Dalsimer Sullivan & Levy.Pitney Hardin's management committee chairman says the 160-lawyer firm's acquisition of the eight-lawyer practice is the first of a series of expansion plans being considered.The merger comes just months after reported merger discussions between Pitney Hardin and New York's Satterlee ...

  • New Labour babe of the week

    22-Nov-1999

    Well done barrister and PM's wife, Cherie Booth QC of 4-5 Gray's Inn Square, the woman who launched a thousand cooing baby articles, bets on names, working mother stories and "the price of bootees today" reports. Cherie, 45, is having her fourth baby next May. The Blairs' news that they are having another sprog also means that the Government will now be able to get away with anything as the rest of the UK will be too busy making ...

  • Nursing union plans cut in legal advisers

    22-Nov-1999

    The Royal College of Nursing is embarking on its first panel review which will reduce the number of its legal advisers.At present the union, which represents 320,000 nurses, uses 12 firms for mainly personal injury, employment and professional advice.But it is understood that after the review this will be reduced to about seven or eight firms. The Royal College of Nursing's principle legal adviser is Thompsons, a firm that claims to be the largest personal ...

  • One in three firms seek LLP status

    22-Nov-1999

    A growing number of law firms are considering forming limited liability partnerships (LLPs), according to a survey carried out by legal accountants Smith & Williamson.The survey shows 37 per cent of firms across the country are considering ways of limiting partners' liability, of which almost 90 per cent say they will choose to form an LLP rather than incorporation or increasing professional indemnity. The figure represents a rise from two thirds of firms last year.

  • Osborne Clarke in record fees claim

    22-Nov-1999

    Osborne Clarke's fee income has hit a record high in the first six months of this business year by increasing 33 per cent on 1998's figures.Turnover from May to November this year is £16m, compared to £12m for the same period last year. And Chris Bull, chief executive, says he expects the next six months to see it rise to £19m.Leslie Perrin, managing ...

  • Pach complaints are wide of mark

    22-Nov-1999

    I write regarding your story on [the Pupillage Application Clearing House scheme] Pach (25 October 1999). As the creator of Pach, I am the last person to be "angered by it". On the contrary, I think that it is the only system which is fair to applicants to the profession and creates a level playing field between competing sets of chambers. Also, I could not in conscience complain that [my chambers] 4-5 Gray's Inn Square "is missing out on the best ...

  • Pennon Group (formally South West Water)

    22-Nov-1999

    In July this year, South West Water, the principal subsidiary of Pennon Group, came under fire for awarding huge pay rises after three of the top directors at South West Water's parent company cashed in share options.

  • Pinsent Curtis partner defects to Devon firm

    22-Nov-1999

    PINSENT Curtis has lost a litigation partner to Exeter firm Michelmores, which has also poached a partner from London practice Withers.Commercial litigation partner and qualified mediator Tim Richards joins the 14-partner firm as corporate partner in the new year."They have some high-calibre people doing surprisingly good work for Exeter. They have also given me carte blanche ...

  • Pinsent Curtis taken on as sole employment adviser to M&S

    22-Nov-1999

    Pinsent Curtis is understood to have won an exclusive place on troubled retail giant Marks & Spencer's panel to provide employment advice.The panel place is a coup for Pinsents, which has been developing its employment group under the leadership of national practice head John McMullen. Other clients of the firm include Argos and the Spring Group.The issue of employment was raised last week when Marks & Spencer announced that its senior staff would receive ...

  • Plowden Buildings hit by departures

    22-Nov-1999

    The London common law set Plowden Buildings has been hit by a tenant exodus.In June, the chambers was 50-strong but despite a continued policy of expansion it has now fallen to only 39 tenants.The latest to quit is senior insolvency and professional negligence practitioner Jonathan Holmes who has been poached by leading chancery commercial set Enterprise Chambers.Senior clerk Paul Hurst concedes that Holmes needed to go to a set with greater depth ...

  • Porky pies and other yarns

    22-Nov-1999

    Matt Barnard reports on some of the slips of the tongue and other lapses of judgment in expert witness cases.Asking any group of professionals to recall the most amusing incident that has happened to them during their work can be a very revealing process. Not only does it tell you something about the nature of the system in which they work, but it also says something about the group in question. For expert witnesses, this is particularly true, and the responses drawn in ...

  • Property

    22-Nov-1999

    Paisner & Co acted for BL Universal in the £33m sale of three portfolios of 34 retail investment properties to City & St James. The deal was funded by GE Capital Corporation (Funding) and Wurttembergische Hypo AG which were both advised by Allen & Overy. Paisner's team was led by commercial property partner Kate Fisher. No

  • Property

    22-Nov-1999

    Denton Hall acted for the Equitable Life Assurance Society on its £120m purchase of a property portfolio from Gartmore Investment Managers, which manages the National Westminster Bank Group pension funds. Peter Goddard, property partner at Denton Hall headed a team of three lawyers on the transaction, including commercial development partner Nichola West. Robert Harman, property partner at Trav

  • Quote of the week

    22-Nov-1999

    "It's not often that a leading judgment in the Court of Appeal turns on the meaning of an article in The Lawyer."- BBC legal correspondent Joshua Rozenberg on The Lawyer's role in the landmark case, Locabail (UK) v Bayfield Properties, heard by Lord Woolf, the Master of the Rolls; Lord Bingham, the Lord Chief Justice and Vice-Chancellor, Sir Richard Scott. They ruled that judges should not step down from a trial for reasons of ...

  • Rakisons joins Denton Hall for telecoms sale

    22-Nov-1999

    Denton Hall is acting for Energis on its £352m acquisition of Netherlands-based EnerTel in a move to create one of the largest telecoms groups in Europe.Niche City firm Rakisons is also working on the sale, advising its long-term US client WorldPort Communications on the deal.The US group is the holding company for Dutch subsidiary EnerTel, the country's largest alternative telecoms provider.The deal is the one of the largest ever completed ...

  • Reality bytes

    22-Nov-1999

    When a US court wrestled with the antitrust case against software giant Microsoft, it tackled the ultimate mismatch - hi-tech and quill pen. But that's good news for courtroom experts, discovers Matt Barnard. So long as they can drop the jargon.Sometimes the legal principles of a case aren't the most important part. This certainly seemed true when Judge Thomas Jackson announced his findings of fact in the recent Microsoft antitrust trial in the US.

  • Rozenberg

    22-Nov-1999

    It's not often that a leading judgment in the Court of Appeal turns on the meaning of an article in The Lawyer. The piece, which appeared on 21 June this year, was written by the personal injury specialist Bill Braithwaite QC. He looked at personal injury claims in the new post-Woolf era of court-managed litigation and concluded that fair compensation for victims was likely to remain a dream.Mr Braithwaite also sits part-time as a recorder. Earlier in June, ...

  • Russell Jones & Walker woos three partners from rivals

    22-Nov-1999

    Leading personal injury firm Russell Jones & Walker (RJW) is poaching three partners from rival firms as it aims to double its size in Manchester.Michael Conner, a personal injury partner with trade union practice Thompsons and Richard Crabtree brain injury specialist partner at Betesh Fox & Co, who is also the secretary of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers brain injury group, are due to join RJW next month.Thompsons Manchester managing partner Steve ...

  • Scottish courts crisis deepens

    25-Nov-1999

    The Scottish legal system is on the verge of total chaos today as a court appeal decides whether every decision made by temporary sheriffs in the last 22 years is invalid.The temporary sheriffs - recently made redundant following an appeal court ruling that they contravene the European Convention on Human Rights, introduced in Scotland in May - are now being challenged on different grounds. It is claimed the use of temporary sheriffs on a permanent, albeit part-time basis, ...

  • Scuffle of the week

    22-Nov-1999

    Mohamed Al Fayed v former Tory minister Neil Hamilton. Hamilton, represented by Desmond Browne QC of 5 Raymond Buildings, is suing Al Fayed, represented by George Carman QC of New Court Chambers, for defamation over comments he made during a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary about the alleged cash-for-questions affair that finished Hamilton's political career. The case is being heard in Court 13 of the Royal Courts of Justice, packed to the rafters with ...

  • Siemens lawyer powers up for Fujitsu

    22-Nov-1999

    Fujitsu Siemens Computers BV is making Siemens information and communications products division lawyer Dr Heinz Tietze its new general counsel.The newly-created role was turned down by David Hyams, vice-president of legal and commercial affairs at Fujitsu Computers (Europe), who recently left the company after Fujitsu and Siemens AG formed the joint venture, Fujitsu Siemens Computers BV in October.Tietze will report to Adrian Von Hammerstein, chief financial ...

  • Simmons & Simmons launches internet service provider

    22-Nov-1999

    City law firm Simmons & Simmons launched a free internet service aimed primarily at in-house lawyers and law student. Elexica.com provides free internet access, offers external links to legal research sites and a searchable database.Legal experts will host regular on-line discussions, legal developments in the UK and the EU will be summarised and legal/ commercial points, such as a checklist for employment contracts, will be highlighted.Senior partner, Bill ...

  • Sinclair Roche adds to presence in Bucharest

    22-Nov-1999

    Sinclair Roche & Temperley is expanding in Bucharest in spite of Romania's "uncertain" economic conditions.The City-based firm has taken on four Romanian lawyers to handle an increasing workload and is planning more hires before the end of the year. Banking concessions and property specialist Monica Bena is joining as a senior lawyer and the other three are junior lawyers.Sinclairs' expansion comes at the same time as

  • Solicitors may be sued again

    22-Nov-1999

    Leave has been given for an appeal and cross appeal in respect of decisions in a case in which company director William Johnson sued solicitors Gore Wood & Co. Johnson's company had already sued Gore Wood accusing the firm of negligence. That claim had been settled. Johnson sought to mount a further claim personally, alleging that the firm wrongly advised him of the time and ease of bringing a High Court claim in respect of purchase of a plot of land. He claimed that the litigation ...

  • Take a step in the rights direction

    22-Nov-1999

    Laura Cox QC hails the advent of the Human Rights Act but warns lawyers must be prepared for a re-evaluation of their legal practises. Laura Cox QC is head of Cloisters chambers.The full extent to which the Human Rights Act will affect all law firms, barristers and their clients is only now starting to hit home.It marks a sea-change away from the negative concept of liberty, always so strong in traditional English constitutional thinking, and towards ...

  • The full legal Monte Carlo

    22-Nov-1999

    It was a meeting of some of the biggest movers and shakers in the profession, a chance for leading in-house counsel and private practice lawyers to hammer out the issues that count and forge valuable business links. Anne Mizzi reports on the key debates heard at The Lawyer's Legal Monte Carlo '99 conference.Laurence Harris, partner at DJ Freeman, advocates polygamy in a relationship. The one between in-house counsel and its external advisers, ...

  • The Lawyer forces judge 'bias' retrial

    22-Nov-1999

    An article which appeared in The Lawyer has been instrumental in causing a retrial in a case of alleged judicial bias.One of the five cases of judges accused of bias that were heard in the Court of Appeal recently relied heavily on an article which appeared in the 21 June edition of The Lawyer.Bill Braithwaite QC, a part-time recorder, was accused of bias, primarily on the basis of his expressing "pronounced pro-claimant, anti-insurer views," in an article in ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Esther FitzGibbons

    22-Nov-1999

    Esther FitzGibbons was born in Salisbury in 1975. She is a trainee solicitor at Thomas Eggar Church Adams.What subjects did you fail at school?None I'm afraid.What was your first job?Working on the production line in an electronics factory.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£12,500 pa.What ...

  • The Lawyer/UNICEF honour

    22-Nov-1999

    A leading family law partner from London firm Dawson Cornwell has won the inaugural Child Rights Lawyer of the Year award, jointly sponsored by The Lawyer and UNICEF.Anne-Marie Hutchinson, an international custody dispute specialist, was given the award for work to secure rights since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was introduced 10 years ago.Hutchinson is chair of the worldwide child abduction charity Reunite, which campaigns on issues such as ...

  • This week

    22-Nov-1999

    The Law Society hosts a public debate on the "secret soundings" system of appointing QCs and judges. The debate will be held at the Society's Chancery Lane headquarters on 23 November. BBC legal correspondent Joshua Rozenberg chairs the debate and speakers include Michael Mansfield QC, Andrew Dismore MP, Laura Cox QC, Dominic Grieve MP and solicitor Sara Leslie. Admission is free. For details contact Deborah Pester on 0171 320 5717.

  • Time to pull together

    22-Nov-1999

    It is impossible to quantify the amount of work or potential work that was being signed up at Legal Monte Carlo '99, but it was clear from discussions at the bar as well as in the presentations that the relationship between in-house and private practice has reached a critical stage.DJ Freeman's Laurence Harris declared the unspeakable when he told his private practice colleagues that they might have to share clients and, even more radically, they ...

  • Trading standards' powers set for review

    22-Nov-1999

    Roger Pearson reports on the impact that a recent case involving babywalkers may have on consumer protection laws.High Court judgment is now pending in a case which could have a major impact in consumer protection circles. It should result in new guide-lines - vital for both local authorities and manufacturers - on the action trading standards officers can take to curb sale of products they believe to be unsafe.The legal battle between The Baby Products Association ...

  • Water group pulls plug on in-house

    22-Nov-1999

    The IN-HOUSE team of water utility giant Azurix International is being made redundant as a result of a company-wide downsizing.It is making 85 redundancies in corporate personnel in its London and Houston headquarters, including its seven-strong legal department which is split between the two offices.It is believed Sarah Gregory, senior legal counsel, and Sarah Vickers, senior counsel, who make up the London in-house team at Azurix, are also being made redundant.

  • Watson Farley head quits

    22-Nov-1999

    Watson Farley & Williams is losing its head of competition, leaving the department with no partners and only a handful of assistants.Frances Murphy is set to join Rowe & Maw's well-regarded competition practice. Murphy has been the sole competition partner at the firm since the departure of Richard Wish last year.A source says: "I am not surprised, she has ...