5 January 1998

The Lawyer

  • Allen & Overy hires German partners

    9-Jan-1998

    Allen & Overy has more than doubled the number of German partners at its niche Frankfurt law practice by recruiting two partners from rival firms and appointing an associate to the partnership.Corporate partner Reinhard Hermes joins from the Frankfurt office of US firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius and asset finance partner Johannes Bruski will join from 290-lawyer German firm Bruckhaus Westrick ...

  • Ashursts partnership

    9-Jan-1998

    Ashurst Morris Crisp has appointed corporate lawyer Markus Strelow to partner, joining partner Graeme Ward in heading the firm's Frankfurt office. Strelow joined Ashurst Morris Crisp in January from Clifford Chance's Frankfurt office.

  • Ashursts shaken by Wippell's move to A&O

    9-Jan-1998

    Ashurst Morris Crisp has lost star corporate finance partner Mark Wippell to Allen & Overy.Wippell has advised on some of Ashursts' biggest corporate deals in recent years - and his departure is believed to have shaken the firm more than last month's departure of four banking partners, led by ...

  • Big divorce payout on cards

    9-Jan-1998

    A potentially record-breaking divorce settlement is pending in the High Court. Paloma Picasso, daughter and heiress of artist Pablo Picasso, has been battling with her husband, Rafael Lopez-Cambil, over the amount of money she should pay to him. Lopez-Cambil is looking for a major settlement from her assets, which include a near priceless collection of paintings and drawings by her father.

  • Book of the week

    9-Jan-1998

    Lord Hailsham, A Life by Geoffrey Lewis.This authorised biography gets its first outing in paperback this week and reveals how times have changed at the Lord Chancellor's Department since Lord Hailsham's day. The apartments, which have been lavishly redecorated by the current incumbent, are described as "austere" while the post of Lord Chancellor was deemed by Lord Hailsham as a political backwater.

  • CA: insurance transparency

    9-Jan-1998

    The article "Consumers' watchdog calls for control on insurers" (The Lawyer, 11 August) gave the impression that the Consumers' Association (CA) is calling for regulation of all legal expenses insurance companies. This is a misleading reflection of the conclusions that have been reached in our recent report, "Legal expenses insurance: realising its potential".The report highlights the need for greater transparency in policy wording ...

  • Carrington promoted to B&M committee

    9-Jan-1998

    Baker & McKenzie's London managing partner Nigel Carrington has been promoted to the global firm's eight-strong executive committee.The firm's executive committee has the role of managing the firm by setting policy and dealing with initiatives in the different regions. It has two partners from Europe, two from the Asia Pacific region, one from Latin America and three ...

  • Cyberset pioneers virtual home for tenants

    9-Jan-1998

    Matheu Swallow reportsThe newly established Lancaster Buildings in Manchester is the first intellectual property set to be based outside of London.However, its most striking feature is that it has been given the moniker of the first "virtual chambers". The IP specialists at the set collectively call themselves the Northern Intellectual Property Chambers (NIPC).Their strategy is to make themselves available to solicitors everywhere by ...

  • Dentons, Theodore Goddard and Richards Butler in merger talks

    9-Jan-1998

    Denton Hall, Richards Butler and Theodore Goddard are locked in tripartite merger talks in a bid to create the UK's fifth largest firm.Although the talks are only a month old, the firms' management boards are already actively assessing the viability of the ambitious project."We're not ready to go to the partners, but its looking pretty good," said a senior source at one of the firms.Another source added: "I am very encouraged, although ...

  • Dinsdale steers Transys PFI deal

    9-Jan-1998

    Dibb Lupton Alsop communications and technology partner Danelle Dinsdale (pictured right) led the team acting for the Transys consortium which, in a £1bn PFI contract, will update and operate London Transport's ticketing services.Under the deal, London Transport will pay Transys (a consortium comprising EDS, Cubic Corporation, ICL and WS Atkins) £1bn to run the operation over the next 17 years and in return Transys will invest £150m in new ticketing ...

  • Emergency powers: the last thing NI needs?

    9-Jan-1998

    There are fears that controversial plans to tighten anti-terrorist laws will hinder rather than help the peace process, reports Matheu Swallow.THE bombing of Omagh town centre has been met with universal horror and a heartfelt conviction that those responsible for the atrocity should be put behind bars.Nevertheless, the overwhelming response from solicitors in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK to the government's proposed anti-terrorist measures ...

  • Eversheds and Shoosmiths win conveyancing contract

    9-Jan-1998

    Arun Estate Agencies, the 10th largest estate agency in the UK, is starting a volume conveyancing scheme in October with Eversheds and Shoosmiths & Harrison.The referral scheme is modelled on Hambro Countrywide's 24-hour telephone conveyancing operation, which can process thousands of transactions every ...

  • Ex-assistant wins £11k from Dorset practice

    9-Jan-1998

    Bournemouth firm Fynn & Partners has been ordered to pay out £11,000 to a former assistant unfairly dismissed by the firm in 1995.Anita Dench worked as a property assistant in the Bournemouth office of Penningtons and was made redundant when the office opted to de-merge in 1995, forming Fynn & Partners.In 1996, an industrial tribunal in Croydon ruled she had been unfairly ...

  • Financing

    9-Jan-1998

    Sharon E Hartline of White & Case advised a group of investors on First Philippine Holdings Corporation's US$90m convertible note private placement. Debevoise & Plimpton acted as international counsel for the JP Morgan Group, Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz acted as Philippine counsel ...

  • Good sport for in-house lawyers. By Matheu Swallow.

    9-Jan-1998

    Working in-house enables lawyers to concentrate on all aspects of sports lawPerhaps the only lawyers who can claim to be purely sports lawyers are those practising in-house. There is a growing trend to carry out work in-house, particularly within sports governing bodies.The staple diet of an in-house sports lawyer can include sponsorship and licensing deals, negotiating selection agreements, contractual matters, employment law, corporate and regulatory matters ...

  • High Court backs multi-party actions

    9-Jan-1998

    Roger Pearson says a failed attempt to derail two class actions could have major implications for similar cases in the future.Moves which could have resulted either in the striking out of two major High Court damages actions over leaks from a chemical factory or in their being swept into the relative obscurity of a county court have failed.In a decision of considerable significance for all multi-plaintiff actions, Mr Justice Cox has rejected claims by multinational ...

  • High street defender beats a retreat

    9-Jan-1998

    John Lymbury

  • In brief: Ashurst Morris Crisp

    9-Jan-1998

    A headline in last week's issue of The Lawyer incorrectly stated that Ashurst Morris Crisp had hired its new commercial property head Simon Cookson. He was in fact an internal appointment.

  • In brief: Bird Semple recruits Brunton Miller partner

    9-Jan-1998

    Anne McGregor, vice-chair of Women in Property, has joined Bird Semple's commercial property team as a partner from Glasgow firm Brunton Miller.

  • In brief: Corporate partner takes top post at Speechlys

    9-Jan-1998

    City firm Speechly Bircham has elected corporate partner Michael Lingens as its new managing partner. The 40-partner firm has just posted record turnover and profits and will be moving to new purpose-built offices near Holborn Circus. Lingens said the firm had decided to concentrate on seven key areas, including corporate, tax and employment.

  • In brief: Denis Reed leaves Stephenson Harwood

    9-Jan-1998

    Stephenson Harwood's director of legal personnel has left the firm after 10 years. Denis Reed left the firm last Friday following a strategic review of its human resources function. Alison Warner joins from Moores Rowland as legal recruitment manager, replacing graduate recruitment manager Hina Malek, who has also left.

  • In brief: Lord Chancellor asked to review credit ban

    9-Jan-1998

    Liverpool firm Silverbeck Rymer has written to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, urging him to review the County Court Act 1984 because it prevents thousands of people from obtaining credit, even though they are not a bad risk. Senior partner Jim Rymer says that under the act an individual who has an insurance claim made against them is registered as having a debt judgment, which can deter credit agencies.

  • In brief: Paisners and Charles Russell 'bubbling under'

    9-Jan-1998

    Paisner & Co and Charles Russell have issued performance figures for last year which show they are among those firms "bubbling under" The Lawyer's Top 50 fees table, published last week. Both Paisners, which has 36 equity partners, and 37-equity partner Charles Russell enjoyed a good year. Paisners reported gross fees of £18.8m, average profits per partner of £201,000, with the ...

  • In brief: Property deals christening for Forsters

    9-Jan-1998

    Forsters, the firm made up of the former 40-strong property and private client departments of Frere Cholmeley Bischoff, has concluded its first major property deals since opening for business on 3 August. Partner Tony Patterson acted for Guardian Assurance in its purchase of Charter Court, Slough, for £13.3m, and also advised the company in its purchase of Phase 111, Riverside Park, Poyle, for £7.93m.

  • In brief: Survey spotlights top 1,000 firms in the US

    9-Jan-1998

    Jones Day Reavis & Pogue remains the biggest firm in the US, according to Corporate Legal Times' annual top 1,000 survey. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is second with Morgan Lewis & Bockius third. Meanwhile, Morgan Lewis is moving its London offices from Pall Mall to 2 Gresham Street ...

  • Investment regulatory regime stalled until 2000, says financial watchdog

    9-Jan-1998

    The new regulatory regime for law firms conducting investment business will not be in place until at least 2000, it emerged last week.The government had intended to bring the regulation of all financial services activity under the auspices of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) next year.But last month, FSA chairman Howard Davies admitted in a circular to financial services organisations that the new regime would not be in place until "some time in the year ...

  • It has been a bad week for

    9-Jan-1998

    The News of the World, which was forced to apologise to actress Emma Thompson after it wrongly claimed she had made love to a woman known as Michaela de la Cour after the premiere of her film The Winter Guest in Stockholm. The paper admitted the mistake after Field Fisher Waterhouse complained to the Press Complaints Commission on her behalf.The Government's ...

  • It has been a good week forS

    9-Jan-1998

    Sharon Mead, a legal executive at Cambridge firm Taylor Vinters, who won a Southampton football club shirt and football signed by all the players in a competition run by IT suppliers Sanderson, which sponsors the club. The only downside is that she supports Chelsea.Nabarro Nathanson, which got a piece of the high octane Formula One action when it issued a writ ...

  • Italy faces court action by EC over lawyers' aptitude tests. By Keith Nuthall

    9-Jan-1998

    THE EUROPEAN Commission is threatening to take Italy to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for making it too difficult for foreign lawyers to practise Italian law there.The commission has written to the Italian government accusing it of breaching a longstanding EU directive, requiring member states to allow foreign lawyers to practise the states' domestic law once they have passed an aptitude test.The commission says a provisional test introduced by the ...

  • Javaid to be quizzed over link with extreme Islamic group

    9-Jan-1998

    Dibb Lupton Alsop partners were hoping to quiz associate Makbool Javaid about his alleged membership of an extreme Islamic group as The Lawyer went to press.Javaid joined the firm in January from the Commission for Racial Equality and has been advising Dibbs' clients on how to avoid unfair dismissal and racial discrimination actions.Last week it was alleged that Javaid, who was appointed to a new race relations forum by Home Secretary Jack Straw in June, ...

  • Keeping sex equality on the agenda for the new millennium

    9-Jan-1998

    The emphasis in the 21st century must shift from fighting discrimination to promoting equality between the sexes, says Kamlesh Bahl.More than 20 years after the creation of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) many changes have been made to reduce inequalities between women and men.I am proud of the many accomplishments during my five years as chairwoman of the EOC: better rights for part-time workers; the first code of practice on equal pay; highlighting ...

  • Keeping up with tax changes

    9-Jan-1998

    In an article concerning an alleged revolt by junior partners of Dibb Lupton Alsop (The Lawyer, 4 August), it is claimed that the change from the old "previous year" basis of partnership taxation has resulted in a bigger than normal drain on the firm's tax reserves.First, can we say that any firm in this position is a victim of its own success - firms with level profits will have suffered no acceleration of tax charges, while the new system ...

  • Keeping up with US office politics

    9-Jan-1998

    Richard Tyler talks to a leading US employment lawyer who warns that UK firms must toe the American legal lineIf the philandering US president, Bill clinton, had been running a company rather than a country, he would have been thrown out long ago, according to Philip Berkowitz, employment litigation partner at US firm Epstein Becker & Green.For had Paula Jones been on the payroll instead of in the Oval office, Clinton could have faced a watertight case of sexual ...

  • Lawyers at play

    9-Jan-1998

    A game team of solicitors from West End firm Finers took to the waves last month to compete in the annual Dragon Boat race, organised by the charity Cottage Homes, which helps the needy within the fashion and retail trade. A spokeswoman said the Finers team "firmly believe in taking part as opposed to winning".

  • Leader with a mission to improve

    9-Jan-1998

    Michael Mathews says he aims to build a Law Society which responds more effectively to the needs of the profession and raises the reputation of solicitors. Michael Mathews is president of the Law Society.They say there is a Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times". Well, my year as president of the Law Society is certainly going to be an interesting one.As the leader of the profession I will have to tackle the challenges of the year head ...

  • Legal aid cuts are unnecessary, says Scots LAB

    9-Jan-1998

    The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) has cocked a snook at the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, by asserting that his headline grabbing proposal to withdraw legal aid from personal injury cases "would not appear necessary".In its response to Scottish Office proposals to reform civil justice in Scotland, the board claims that since legal aid is largely self-financing in personal injury cases it should not be withdrawn. It also suggests that the contributions which many applicants ...

  • LPC student physically sick after results computer error

    9-Jan-1998

    An angry student has slammed the College of Law for leaving her name out of the official list of successful Legal Practice Course (LPC) candidates by mistake.Paula Lennon, a part-time student on last year's course at the college's London premises, had rushed out with her friends at 3am in the morning to buy a copy of The Times on the day the list was published.She discovered the mistake, due to a computer error, when she rang the college to find out ...

  • McGrigors plans Belfast office to compete for PFI

    9-Jan-1998

    Glasgow firm McGrigor Donald is planning to open an office in Belfast to compete for PFI work in the province.McGrigor Donald managing partner Kirk Murdoch said his firm was already involved in a number of important PFI projects in the province, including Belfast's port redevelopment and various road and land registry projects.Although plans to open in the city are yet to be finalised, Murdoch said: "During the course of this year we would have to take that ...

  • New software head

    9-Jan-1998

    John Burrill, MD of the legal software suppliers Linetime, has been appointed chairman of the Legal Software Suppliers Association, which has 17 members. He takes over from Tony Landes, managing director of Quill Systems.

  • Old troubles haunt the new South Africa

    9-Jan-1998

    In post apartheid South Africa, the man hired to kill you yesterday could be your client today.Senior advocate Eberhard Bergelsmann stood on the pavement outside the Pretoria Supreme Court buildings with a group of jubilant clients - former members of the apartheid government's military intelligence group.Bergelsmann had just won the shadowy operatives a favourable ruling in their severance pay dispute with the then FW de Klerk government. There was a pause ...

  • Omagh:draconian laws are not the answer

    9-Jan-1998

    The latest atrocity in Northern Ireland - the Omagh bombing - has justifiably led the Government to recall Parliament to ascertain the appropriate legislative response.Catching the perpetrators of such an outrage and deterring others from committing similar acts is very important at such a delicate stage in Northern Ireland. The government's reaction is further validated by the degree of public disgust that such an act could have been carried out when Ireland - north ...

  • Palache quits CC's finance practice to take Nomura post

    9-Jan-1998

    Robert Palache, managing partner of Clifford Chance's burgeoning 60-partner finance practice, is leaving to become a director and joint head of securitisations at Japanese investment bank Nomura's Principal Finance Group.Palache, who has been with Clifford Chance since 1980, and managing partner of its finance practice since 1996, will give up legal practice when he joins ...

  • Pregnant student slams ICSL for refusing to defer course

    9-Jan-1998

    The Inns of Court School of Law (ICSL) refused to allow a pregnant woman to defer her place on the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) for a year and is refusing to refund her deposit.The student, who has asked not to be named, accepted a conditional offer from ICSL, dependent on her passing her CPE at Westminster University, in March, but discovered she was pregnant in May.She sat four out of seven CPE papers, but Westminster University agreed to defer the remaining ...

  • Property confusion

    9-Jan-1998

    The Law Commission has published a draft bill designed to settle confusion surrounding the law relating to the execution of company deeds in property transactions. "The current law is complex and, in certain respects, uncertain," said law commissioner Diana Faber.

  • Quote of the week

    9-Jan-1998

    "It's a bit overwhelming. It's all happened so quickly."- Denton Hall assistant solicitor Patrick Redmon, who is to give up his job after securing a £100,000 deal for his first novel, a thriller set in a boys' boarding school.

  • Rowe & Maw lawyers spurn CC and elect to stay put

    9-Jan-1998

    Rowe & Maw has won its battle for the hearts and minds of three corporate partners who were on the point of joining Clifford Chance.Last month, The Lawyer revealed that highly rated partners Paul Maher and Simon Baxter had resigned from the firm. Two other partners - Andrew Copley and Peter Dickinson - were considering following them.But Maher, Copley and Dickinson have ...

  • Rugby deal tries sponsor's patience. Roger Pearson reports.

    9-Jan-1998

    Scottish Life Assurance and the Welsh Rugby Union are in a ruck over a sponsorship deal gone sour.A major row over rugby sponsorship is heading for the High Court.The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is being sued for damages of more than £250,000 after allegedly pulling out of a sponsorship deal with Scottish Life Assurance.Scottish Life, represented by Speechly ...

  • SA legal fusion

    9-Jan-1998

    The newly formed Law Society of South Africa is pushing for the fusion of the country's attorneys and advocates into one professional body of legal practitioners. Under the plan students would choose a specialism only after they had completed a common training programme. The South African Bar, which represents 1,526 advocates, is "totally opposed" to the idea.

  • Scots advise Poles

    9-Jan-1998

    Scottish law firm Bishop and Robertson Chalmers has been appointed to advise the Polish government in its development of competition law and consumer protection regulations. Partner Iain Taylor will work on the competition advice and partner Tom Marshall will concentrate on the consumer protection side.

  • SJ Berwin forced to shut down its six lawyer PFI unit

    9-Jan-1998

    SJ Berwin & Co has closed its PFI projects team with the loss of at least five fee earners.The firm's "strategic decision" to close the unit, which was established three years ago, was revealed last week following the departure of associate Mark Johnson to City firm Devonshires along with assistant Paul Buckland and trainee solicitor Rose Murphy.Assistant Rebecca Ford moved ...

  • Slater goes to Eversheds

    9-Jan-1998

    Charles Russell's operations director Simon Slater has defected to Eversheds to become its director of business development.Slater's move comes just six months after he was promoted from marketing director to operations director at Charles Russell.He had been with Charles Russell ...

  • Snubbed LawSoc head quits for Ilex

    9-Jan-1998

    Diane Burleigh is to quit as head of court business at the Law Society to become secretary general of the Institute of Legal Executives (Ilex).Burleigh, who begins her new position at Ilex on 9 October after 10 years at the Law Society, replaces Pat Dilley, who has been acting secretary general since earlier this year.Burleigh is believed to have been deeply disappointed when the Law Society appointed Russell Wallman to the senior post of head of policy in November ...

  • Strategies for dealing with the Russian crisis

    9-Jan-1998

    Russia's debt problems and the general global financial crisis are set to tax the skills of firms specialising in providing restructuring advice, says Rita Lowe. Rita Lowe is a partner in Cameron McKenna's corporate recovery and restructuring department.The corporate recovery and restructuring groups in legal and accountancy practices throughout the City have spent the past 12 months supporting clients with exposure in the Far East.One of the major ...

  • Tackling sports law

    9-Jan-1998

    The area of sports law is becoming increasingly 'sexy' and looks about to boom. As Chris Fogarty reports, a wide range of firms and lawyers are set to benefit.Late last year about 30 lawyers got together at Coutts, one of the world's most prestigious banks, to talk sport.The Queen's banker was sponsoring a meeting of the newly formed Bar Sports Law Group, and while the lawyers attending were not there to discuss the merits of the 4-4-2 system, ...

  • Tennis star courts libel case

    9-Jan-1998

    Ivan Lendl, former world tennis champion, is heading for a High Court legal showdown in London with leading gossip columnist Nigel Dempster. Lendl has launched libel proceedings against Dempster and Associated Newspapers over an article in Dempster's Daily Mail column on 28 July, which was headed "Lendl sets off without his love". Lendl is represented by Nabarro Nathanson.

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Eduardo Ustaran

    9-Jan-1998

    Eduardo Ustaran was born in 1969 in Vitoria, Spain. He is a UK and Spanish-qualified lawyer and a solicitor with Paisner & Co.What was your first job?Basketball coach.What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£5,000 for a six-month contract.What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?Become a professional triathlete.What ...

  • Top aviation chambers disintegrates

    9-Jan-1998

    Premier aviation and commercial set 5 Bell Yard is to dissolve, following a nightmare six months during which 12 barristers, including two leading silks, have quit.Last week it emerged that banking and aviation specialists Michael Sullivan and Hannah Brown are leaving for 1 Essex Court, Robert Lawson and John Kimbell are joining 4 Essex Court, Andrew Hillier is joining 11 King's Bench Walk, Philip Shepherd 24 Old Buildings and Kate Vaughan-Neil 4 Pump Court.

  • Top league Townleys

    9-Jan-1998

    Townleys' offices in Islington feel more like a locker room than a law firm. Solicitors from the UK's top league sports law practice are visibly more relaxed and laid back than their City counterparts.But then, the very nature of their work means that Townleys solicitors do more of their networking over a few pints than a plate of pasta in an upmarket eatery. Although when it comes to performance they are, like their clients, deadly serious.Set up by ...

  • Top three Spanish firm turns its back on accountants

    9-Jan-1998

    Top three Spanish firm Gomez-Acebo & Pombo has firmly rebuffed merger app-roaches by the Big Five accountancy firms.The Madrid-based firm has been courted by several accountants, including, it is believed, KPMG, which wants to challenge the dominance of Arthur Andersen's 590-lawyer firm Garrigues & Andersen.But its senior partner, Ignacio Gomez-Acebo, told The Lawyer last week that a merger with an accountancy firm "had never even been contemplated".

  • Trusting in the referee

    9-Jan-1998

    The introduction of a new ombudsman system in South Africa promises to offer justice for all. Mary Ruck reports. Mary Ruck is a barrister at 10 King's Bench Walk, the chambers of Ronald Thwaites QC, and is on secondment to the Office of the Public Protector, supported by the Inns of Court Pegasus Scholarship Trust.Open government in South Africa was not a priority under the apartheid regime. Despite the existence of an independent ombudsman, the majority of the population ...

  • Valmai Adams on bullying at work and work-induced stress. Valmai Adams is head of Nabarro Nathanson's employment group.

    9-Jan-1998

    The problem for employers of protecting employees from workplace bullies has been highlighted by the recent action brought by Anthony Ratcliffe, the deputy head teacher who claimed he was bullied by colleagues to the point of a mental breakdown.Ratcliffe accepted £101,028 in an out-of-court settlement after instituting proceedings in the High Court. The principles involved in the case are similar to those of the "landmark" decision in Walker v Northumberland ...

  • Who is counting the costs?

    9-Jan-1998

    Lawyers cannot be masters of all areas, so when it comes to drafting legal bills, using a law costs draftsperson is the safest and most efficient course of action, says Linda Tsang. Linda Tsang is a freelance journalist.With all the recent publicity about costs and the continuing negative publicity surrounding legal fees and so-called "fat cat" lawyers, it is more important than ever that solicitors be transparent about their billing.It is also vital for anyone ...

  • Wilde Sapte's Paris knock

    9-Jan-1998

    The two remaining partners and six assistants in Wilde Sapte's Paris office are understood to be joining the 45-lawyer Paris office of US firm Wilkie Farr & Gallagher.Richard Macklin and Olivier Tordjman had spent several months deciding whether to stay at the firm or follow asset finance partner Thomas McDonald's lead and join up with a rival firm.McDonald will join the Paris office of US firm