24 April 2000

The Lawyer

  • A View From Australia

    24-Apr-2000

    In the Olympic year, the Australian economy is thriving and corporate activity is at an all time high. As a consequence, Australian lawyers are in great demand. However, not all Australian firms are riding this wave. Whereas in the past a large number of firms shared the legal work, a small number of firms have now emerged as the dominant players in the Australian legal market (the equivalent of London's magic circle) and the gap between these firms and the second-tier firms is ...

  • Akin Gump Korea dept recruits two partners

    24-Apr-2000

    Washington DC firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is poaching two top corporate partners from New York rival Brown & Wood.Jaemin Park and Jay Gordon Cohen specialise in representing Korean clients and will join Akin Gump's Korea practice group. The group already represents a number of large corporations in the country - including Samsung Electronics and Hyundai.Park and Gordon act for Korean governmental and financial institutions, real estate developers ...

  • Allen & Overy doubles its new partner intake

    24-Apr-2000

    Allen & Overy is promoting more than double the number of assistant solicitors to partners this year compared to 1999.Next month, 40 new partners will be created. In May last year, only 17 were made up.John Rink, managing partner at A&O, says the boost in numbers reflects the growth of the firm in the past year.A&O acquired the Amsterdam and Luxembourg offices ...

  • As smooth as silk

    24-Apr-2000

    Despite the glee with which many received the news of One Essex Court's failure to secure any new silks, there was a more significant omission from this year's list.No solicitor-advocates have been deemed to have the necessary experience and seniority to be worthy of those two little letters. This, after another year of Linklaters and friends banging the drum about in-house ...

  • Ashursts boosts pay for newly-qualifieds

    24-Apr-2000

    Ashurst Morris Crisp is hiking up salaries for newly-qualified lawyers as middle tier firms bow to pressure to pay the increasingly inflated market rate.From 1 May, newly-qualifieds will be paid £42,000 compared to the current rate of £35,000.The move follows Clifford Chance's ...

  • Barclaycard legal head quits

    24-Apr-2000

    Barclaycard is appointing a new director of legal and public affairs after the last one quit to join a leading rival.Rachel Harris replaces Donna Pumphrey, who is going to MBNA International Bank to head its legal department.Harris previously worked as an in-house counsel in the Barclays group general counsel's office, which she joined in 1995. Before that she was a trainee solicitor and then a banking assistant at

  • Bevan Ashford swoops on City for projects and healthcare

    24-Apr-2000

    Top South-West firm Bevan Ashford is raiding two City firms for partners to boost its projects and healthcare teams.Simmons & Simmons banking partner Helen Hancock is leaving for Bevan Ashford's Bristol office, where she will be part of the growing practice dealing with private finance initiatives (PFI).She has been a partner at the firm specialising in banking and capital markets since 1996, before which she was head of transaction management at NatWest ...

  • Born to be a barrister

    24-Apr-2000

    Lord Brennan talks to Matheu Swallow about being back in full-time practice and experiencing his reforms first hand.Lord Brennan is already halfway out of the door as he draws the interview abruptly to a close. "I've got to go, it's two o'clock. Otherwise I'll be shot," he says. Brennan is in a mad dash to return to court, where he is handling a case involving a road traffic accident and is having a tough time persuading ...

  • Case of the week

    24-Apr-2000

    Solicitor's wife and Welsh nursery owner Margaret Price is expected to face a four-week court trial in connection with child cruelty allegations. A former assistant at Price's Playtime Nursery in Brecon told Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court of how children under four years old, who were sent to the punishment playpen known as the lobster pot, became distressed and upset. The court heard that on one occasion, a two-year-old girl was put there for being sick on a slide. ...

  • Casualties of Law

    24-Apr-2000

    The abolition of legal aid and the incorporation of the Human Rights Act into English law have changed the way the legal profession deals with personal injury and clinical negligence cases, writes Fenella QuinnThe past couple of years have seen major changes in clinical negligence and personal injury. The largest, of course, is the well-charted abolition of legal aid, which is only now beginning to show its effects. And, as the the bar ...

  • CC and Mallesons enter merger talks once more

    24-Apr-2000

    The saga of Clifford Chance's on-off affair with leading Australian practice Mallesons Stephen Jaques is underway once more.Merger talks between the firms are to resume later this year but the practices have yet to name a date.As revealed in The Lawyer last year, Clifford Chance shelved the merger talks, which would have added presence in Australian and strengthened ...

  • Chambers closures show a healthy bar

    24-Apr-2000

    Jonathan Hirst QC analyses the reasons behind the recent spate of chambers dissolutions. Jonathan Hirst QC is chairman of the Bar Council.Recent months have seen a steady flow of public announcements reporting chambers' mergers, dissolutions and new start-ups.Comparisons are made with a supposedly golden age when barristers joined their chambers after pupillage and only left on appointment to the bench or retirement.That stability ...

  • Commercial and regional bar miss out in silks list 2000

    24-Apr-2000

    The commercial bar and the regions have been dealt the poorest hand by this year's silks list.Most noticeably, magic circle sets One Essex Court and Fountain Court failed to secure a single new QC between them, although they are both understood to have made several applications.However, this can simply be seen as redressing the balance for the past few years.The public law sector has been most successful, with the Lord Chancellor seemingly anticipating ...

  • Conditions of justice

    24-Apr-2000

    The increase in the use of conditional fee agreements could create a two-tier profession, warns Steven Langton. Steven Langton is a barrister at Old Square Chambers.Before 1 April this year, more than 50 per cent of personal injury (PI) claims were funded by legal aid. Conditional fee agreements (CFAs) made up a further 5 to 10 per cent of funding with the remainder being financed through legal expenses insurers, unions and private funding.

  • Deacons breaks link with US firm Graham & James

    24-Apr-2000

    Australian firm Deacons Graham & James is splitting from its long-standing alli-ance partner, US practice Graham & James.The announcement comes just months after Graham & James ended its UK alliance with Taylor Joynson Garrett.As of 1 July the leading Australian firm will be known as Deacons, signalling the end of the 10-year association.It will also be without a European or US arm. Instead, the firm will focus on its Asian and Australian ...

  • Denton Wilde Sapte follows Cameron McKenna to Africa

    24-Apr-2000

    Denton Wilde Sapte has made its first foray into East Africa by setting up an association with leading Tanzania firm Mkono & Company.The deal has been brokered by trade finance partner and East Africa expert Charles Morrison and head of trade finance Geoffrey Wynne.Mkono & Company consists of nine lawyers and two consultants. It specialises in a range of practice areas including projects, foreign investments and mining, oil and gas.One leading Africa ...

  • Digests

    24-Apr-2000

    Simmons & Simmons has appointed seven new partners, three to its international offices. In London the promotions are Mark Norris in banking, David Roylance in capital markets, Adrian Kent in commercial and Monica Ma in employee benefits. Internationally the appointments are Sean Bulmer in capital markets in Hong Kong, Andrea Gianelli in banking and capital markets in Milan, and Conor Maguire in EC/competition law in Brussels.

  • Dirty business

    24-Apr-2000

    A year after the National Criminal Intelligence Service criticised law firms for their lack of awareness over money laundering, David Wigan reports on what the profession is doing about its poor record for detecting dirty moneyWhen it comes to money laundering the problem is that few lawyers are 100 per cent sure what it is. Even the term "money laundering" is a touch intangible. You understand it in theory, but are not convinced you would know if it happened ...

  • Financings

    24-Apr-2000

    Lovells in Hong Kong represented a syndicate of four banks which underwrote a $12bn (£7.6bn) acquisition financing loan for Pacific Century Cyberworks to take over Cable & Wireless HKT. The syndicate was made up of HSBC Investment Bank Asia

  • Financings

    24-Apr-2000

    Olswang represented Gendaq on a £5.75m financing by a group of venture capitalists. The group included UK Medical Ventures

  • Financings

    24-Apr-2000

    Barlow Lyde & Gilbert acted for Barclays Acquisition Finance on a £25m funding to property investment and estate management company Peverel. Barlows corporate and finance partner Neil James acted on the deal. Nabarro Nathanson advised Peverel.

  • Finers restructures boards as managing partner steps down

    24-Apr-2000

    West End property firm Finers Stephens Innocent is facing a massive restructure after its managing partner Richard Gerstein stepped down.The firm has brought in consultants who have recommended splitting its strategy and management boards before the practice continues with its growth.Senior partner Peter Jay will head the new strategy board, while new managing partner Anthony Barling - currently head of corporate and commercial - leads the management board.

  • Firms have to innovate in order to accumulate

    24-Apr-2000

    The true value of the dotcom economy may be coming under greater scrutiny, but this has not slated the thirsts of commercial law firms to jump on the bandwagon in a bid to gain advantage over their competitors.Law firms need to innovate for one important reason: the market is demanding it and if they do not do so, they will see their market share drop together with their profits.In the ever-changing world of the internet, there will be a large number of firms ...

  • Freshfields fails to win majority Bruckhaus vote

    24-Apr-2000

    Freshfields is blaming poor communication between partners at Bruckhaus Westrick Heller Laber for its failure to approve the merger of the firms, say insider sources.In a preliminary partnership vote on the weekend of 15 April, only two thirds of the largest domestic legal practice in Germany's partners elected for merger with Freshfields, as revealed on The Lawyer's website www.thelawyer.co.uk.This percentage fell short of the majority needed by the ...

  • Hays

    24-Apr-2000

    When company secretary and solicitor Stephen Charnock joined Hays in 1991, it was at just the right time.The distribution and support services group floated in 1989. But on the launch day of the initial public offering, the Chancellor of the Exchequer resigned, causing the markets to oscillate wildly.

  • Herbert Smith pushes for profits to fund pay hikes

    24-Apr-2000

    Herbert Smith's property department is under pressure to boost profits to help pay for a 30 per cent increase in assistants' salaries, to be announced next week.Alongside the salary increases, brought in to keep pace with those already announced by other top firms, Herbert Smith is considering replacing its retrospective firm-wide bonus system with a merit-based structure.Its property department generates substantially fewer profits per partner than ...

  • Hill Dickinson in merger talks with Weightmans

    24-Apr-2000

    Rival firms Weightmans and Hill Dickinson are in the process of merger talks in an attempt to create a north-west insurance giant.Negotiations are at a preliminary stage but a merger between the two firms would create a 396-strong fee earner practice.Weightmans partner and member of the policy ...

  • It's been a bad week for...

    24-Apr-2000

    Supergrasses, after a High Court judge ruled this week that they have no legal right to sue if they think that they have not been paid enough for supplying information. The judgment arose in a case brought by informant Keith Robinson who made a claim for £33,574 plus interest against the Commissioners of Customs and Excise for breach of alleged contract under which, according to Robinson, he had been promised reasonable remuneration and expenses. Mr Justice ...

  • It's been a good week for...

    24-Apr-2000

    Proud Liverpudlians, following Cherie Booth's ann-ouncement during a visit to Liverpool Football Club that she wanted to make sure her baby recognised its Scouse roots. When asked if she hoped the baby would please its Prime Minister father by becoming a Newcastle United fan, she replied: "Oh no, it will have to be Liverpool - there's no question about that."Lord Woolf, Master of the Rolls (above), who was told he ...

  • Kevin Bays reports on the implications of the Irving v Penguin Books decision on costs for future defamation cases

    24-Apr-2000

    Kevin Bays is a partner at Davenport Lyons, solicitors for Penguin Books.After the initial reporting of the Irving judgment, most press reports have been devoted to the issue of recovery of costs. Some commentators have asked whether Irving, if he could not afford to pay the defendant's costs if he lost, should have been allowed to bring, or ...

  • LeBoeuf Lamb's Russian chief relocates to London

    24-Apr-2000

    LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae's Russian managing partner is being relocated to London and the firm is now searching for a successor.Corporate specialist Brian Zimbler, who became Russian managing partner in 1995, will begin the transition by splitting his time between Moscow and London before taking up a post as partner in the UK towards the end of the year.Zimbler's relocation coincides with the appointment of Jonathan Hines - a partner specialising ...

  • Morgan Cole snaps up rival partner

    24-Apr-2000

    Morgan Cole in Cardiff is taking on a top healthcare partner from regional rival Bevan Ashford.Tessa Shellens is joining the firm's highly-regarded group in Wales, where she will work in all areas from PFI to property and clinical governance.She left Bevan Ashford at the beginning of this month, and says she is making the move because she wants to be part of the biggest ...

  • Norton Rose gets new heads for Paris and Moscow offices

    24-Apr-2000

    Norton Rose is shaking up its international offices by replacing the managing partners at its Moscow and Paris operations.Valentina Glukhovskaya, a corporate finance partner specialising in construction and real estate, will take over the Moscow post on 1 May from Simon Renton, who has led the office for the last four-and-a-half years.Corporate partner Alain Sanchez is taking ...

  • Project

    24-Apr-2000

    Ashurst Morris Crisp advised the Bank of Scotland on the £122m MBO of Collins Stewart from Singer Friedlander. Banking partner Mark Vickers led a team of three on the deal. Clifford Chance advised on equity issues while SJ Berwin ...

  • Project

    24-Apr-2000

    Rowe & Maw represented Road Management Services on the £200m 30-year contract for the A13 Design Build Finance and Operate (DBFO) project. The project is the first urban DBFO to be awarded by the Highways Agency. Rowe & Maw head of banking and projects Neil Morrison and projects partner designate Joanne Anderson led a five-strong team on the deal. Denton Wilde Sapte advised the Highways Agency.

  • Property

    24-Apr-2000

    SJ Berwin acted for Wellington Square Development Company following its successful bid for a £37.4m project to redevelop Stockton-on-Tees town centre. The firm advised on a tranche of financing, planning and lease agreements with retailers situated on the site. Property partner Tom O'Grady acted with a team of three. The Bank of Scotland, which documented the financing agreement, ...

  • Property

    24-Apr-2000

    Lee Crowder acted for Bombardier Transportation on its £30m acquisition and development of a 200,000sq ft depot at Barton Under Needwood, Staffordshire. The deal includes the storage and maintenance of Virgin Rail Group's new CrossCountry fleet which is being manufactured by Bombardier Transportation. Lee Crowder property partner Joel Kordan acted with a 16-lawyer team on the deal.

  • Property

    24-Apr-2000

    Norton Rose represented Helical Bar on the sale of 200 Hammersmith Road, London to Mercury Asset Management No 1 for £30m. The 66,000sq ft area is being utilised for the redevelopment of the West London Hospital site. Helical Bar will continue to develop the site while the buyer will fund construction. Property partner Jonathan Ody led a team of five on the deal. Berwin Leighton acted ...

  • Quote of the week

    24-Apr-2000

    "I was born to be a barrister."- Lord Brennan QC, last year's chairman of the Bar Council and a tenant of 39 Essex Street.

  • Robert Wilson

    24-Apr-2000

    Shipping firm Holman Fenwick & Willan's new senior partner Robert Wilson may have a hard task filling the shoes of his predecessor, but as Ryan Dunleavy discovers, there is a strong personality behind the professional.

  • Rollit Farrell appoints new senior partner

    24-Apr-2000

    Rollit Farrell & Bladon has appointed James Brennand as a new senior partner, replacing Michael Scanlan after his eight-year term in the role.Brennand, who joined the 33-partner Hull-based firm in September 1959 as an articled clerk and was admitted as a partner in 1967, takes up his new post on 1 May.For the past 30 years, Brennand has concentrated on company and commercial work.He will be retiring as head of the firm's company and commercial ...

  • Rozenberg

    24-Apr-2000

    This is positively the last time I shall make any jokes about the Lord Chancellor promoting any Tom Dick or Harry to the higher judiciary. But the appointments of Lord Bingham as the senior Law Lord, Sir Richard Scott as the junior Law Lord and Lord Woolf as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, were not made lightly. It was in my first column for The Lawyer (13 September 1999) that I alluded to the ill-health suffered by Lord Browne-Wilkinson, currently senior Law ...

  • Scuffle of the week

    24-Apr-2000

    Hadrian's Wall rose higher than ever in legal circles this week after it was revealed that the Scottish Law Society had complained at its recent conference in Inverness about the tendency of the UK press to refer to the Law Society of England and Wales as simply 'The Law Society'.This, it was claimed, caused the Scottish Law Society to suffer unwanted flack whenever accusations were flying at its southern counterpart.

  • Sector Insight:Heavy Industry

    24-Apr-2000

    The traditional heavy industry sector has been forced to move with the times in order to keep up with the e-commerce boom. Claire Smith and Tamzin Hindmarch report on what the sector now expects from its legal advisersThese are hard times for manufacturers in the UK. The traditional heavy industry sector is faced with the knock-on effects of utility restructuring, privatisation and the nation's obsession with new technology.As well as increased ...

  • Simmons nabs Linklaters Paris lawyer

    24-Apr-2000

    Simmons & Simmons is taking a corporate lawyer from Linklaters as a new partner to its Paris office.Christophe Asselineau is a senior lawyer at Linklaters in Paris and specialises in corporate finance and projects. He will be setting up a projects practice for Simmons in its Paris office, focusing on developing French-speaking countries.Asselineau is the seventh partner to join ...

  • Staying positive

    24-Apr-2000

    In your article "LawSoc fills void left by Bahl" (17 April) you report that David McIntosh was elected deputy vice president by the council. But instead of mentioning the very positive comment he made about working alongside "Robert Sayer and Michael Napier for the good of the profession", you referred to an election over two years ago and claim we "were known to dislike each other".David McIntosh and I have always had a good working relationship. ...

  • Stuck in the middle

    24-Apr-2000

    It is a sign of the times when deadly rivals Weightmans and Hill Dickinson enter merger talks. Could we see DLA entering negotiations with Hammond Suddards? Perish the thought.Following our story last week that Groupama Insurances was to cull its legal panel, it is clear for small to medium-sized ...

  • Test driving trainees

    24-Apr-2000

    It was refreshing to read Alan Burnhams' viewpoint "Time For a radical rethink on trainees" (10 April). I have worked as a paralegal and an assistant solicitor for a City firm and am now a legal recruitment manager. There is a lot to be said for taking on LPC graduates as paralegals and giving them hands-on experience. The thought that there might be a training contract at the end of their placement would give them something to strive for, probably result in an increase ...

  • The darling bloke of Mays

    24-Apr-2000

    Nigel Boardman

  • The Firm

    24-Apr-2000

    Pratchard: I'm rather optimistic today, Tom. We're on a winning streak after helping that nice Mr Irving win his libel case against that ghastly American woman.Henderson: Irving didn't win, Jack.Pratchard: Of course he did. He's even writing a book, What Really Happened At My Libel Trial But Wasn't Reported By The Zionist Press. Marvellous man, great mind. We don't often see you at the cricket, Tom.

  • Vizard Oldham woos leading niche firms

    24-Apr-2000

    London firm Vizard Oldham is merging with two leading niche firms to boost its professional indemnity and property practices.The firm, which was formed out of the split of Vizards in May last year, is swallowing top professional indemnity firm Hartfields and specialist property practice Derek Sendrove & Co.Vizard Oldham, which now has 25 partners, has a strong insurance and liability litigation practice and acts for insurers including Royal & SunAlliance, Chubb ...

  • Welsh giant snaps up insurance team

    24-Apr-2000

    Welsh giant Hugh James Ford Simey is expanding its office in Bristol by taking a team of insurance litigation partners from local firm Veale Wasbrough.The firm, which is the product of a merger last year between Wales' top litigation firm Hugh James and Exeter-based Ford Simey, is one of the leading insurance firms in the South West.It counts among its clients more than ...

  • Wessing pair establish own practice

    24-Apr-2000

    German firm Wessing & Berenberg-Gossler has seen the departure of two of its partners to set up their own firm Tischendorf Faust & Partner.Now open in Hamburger Allee in Frankfurt, Sven Tischendorf and Teresa Faust-Beyer's independent practice will deal mostly with M&A, restructuring and insolvency proceedings. The pair have been joined by two associates from their former firm and one external lawyer.Tischendorf and Faust-Beyer intend to maintain a good ...

  • White & Case hires World Bank lawyer

    24-Apr-2000

    US firm White & Case is taking on the former deputy general counsel of the World Bank as a member of its Middle East practice group.Daoud Khairallah is joining as of counsel in the firm's Washington DC office - advising clients that include financial institutions, governments and companies.Khairallah says: "When I left the World Bank I was thinking of focusing a bit ...