8 November 1999

The Lawyer

  • A&O tipped to take United Biscuit deal

    10-Nov-1999

    Allen & Overy is in line to advise on a potentially massive acquisition as its client United Biscuits (UB) is embroiled in negotiations for a billion-pound takeover.Interested parties will expect to pay out £1.2bn for the food company, which produces McVitie's Jaffa Cakes and Hula Hoops.UB has experienced a steady decline in share value over four years. Although ...

  • A&O, Linklaters cut back in CIS

    10-Nov-1999

    Allen & Overy and Linklaters are making redundancies in their Moscow offices, The Lawyer can reveal.Allen & Overy has made three local lawyers and three support staff redundant in a move which should save the firm an estimated £150,000.Linklaters has also laid off three Moscow-based ...

  • Addleshaws banking bid forces shake-up at top

    10-Nov-1999

    Addleshaw Booth & Co is shaking up its senior management in a drive to strengthen its banking and finance practice.As part of an internal re-jig, John Priestley is standing down as head of banking and finance to allow him to join the firm's board.The new banking and finance head will be corporate banking partner Mark Chidley, the former head of the Manchester-based firm's London office now headed by Simon Twigden.Chidley has been forced ...

  • Baker & McKenzie appoints female chief

    10-Nov-1999

    Baker & McKenzie has elected Christine Lagarde as its first female global chief executive. Lagarde's position as chairman of the executive committee of the world's largest law firm will make her one of the most powerful people in the legal profession.Her appointment, officially announced today, makes her the first European partner to serve as chairman since the post became ...

  • Baker & McKenzie's new grandmaster

    10-Nov-1999

    Christine Lagarde

  • Beachcroft Wansbroughs rocked by Buchanans raid

    10-Nov-1999

    US firm Buchanan Ingersoll has launched in London after luring key players from Beachcroft Wansbroughs' highly-rated projects team.Head of projects Barry Francis is understood to be leaving to join the Pittsburgh-based firm along with six other partners and 10 assistants.Francis' private finance initiative (PFI) practice is particularly strong in healthcare and is one of Beachcrofts' core practices. Francis joined Beachcroft Hyman Isaacs as a trainee ...

  • Biddle appoints former lawyer as business chief

    10-Nov-1999

    City firm Biddle has appointed a former Gouldens partner as its first-ever business development director.Diana Spoudeas worked in corporate finance until earlier this year. Biddle has now snapped her up. The 32-partner firm was keen to appoint a lawyer, rather than a marketing expert, to the role.Managing partner Martin Lane says of her appointment: "She is not a traditional marketing person who has done a marketing degree."Instead she knows what ...

  • Bolt Court and 7 Stone Buildings merge

    10-Nov-1999

    The chambers of 11 Bolt Court and 7 Stone Buildings have merged to create a 45-tenant set.The set does not yet have a new name or premises - although both are under urgent review.After a number of failed investigations into other sets, 11 Bolt Court entered negotiations with 7 Stone Buildings in April.The new set will be run by a management committee consisting of three senior tenants from each set and chaired by 11 Bolt Court's current chairman ...

  • Boston firm teams up with asset manager

    10-Nov-1999

    A US law firm has merged its money-management practice with an investment firm to form what it believes is the first partnership of its kind.Bingham Dana - a Boston-based 400-lawyer firm with offices in London, New York, Washington, Hartford, Los Angeles and Singapore - has joined forces with Legg Mason to form Bingham Legg Advisors (BLA).Legg Mason handles more than $93bn for institutions, wealthy individuals and mutual funds and the new joint venture will start ...

  • C&I group relaunches as limited company

    10-Nov-1999

    The Law Society's Commerce & Industry group (C&I) plans to abolish its traditional committee system and relaunch itself as a limited company run by an executive.The move is aimed at giving the C&I group's in-house lawyers greater independence from Law Society control.C&I chairman Edward Smethurst says: "Our members pay £400-plus for their practising certificates and get very little back for that. Our aim is to give them something back for their ...

  • Camerons and Dibbs act in air carrier's break-up

    10-Nov-1999

    The collapse of airline Debonair is providing a wealth of work for high-flying law firms.The budget airline went into administration on 1 October after failing to make a profit in its three-year history.Stephen Foster, banking partner at CMS Cameron McKenna, is representing the administrator Deloitte & Touche, while the airline's bank, Barclays, has instructed Dibb Lupton Alsop.

  • Camerons unveils office of the future

    10-Nov-1999

    Cameron McKenna announced it as a legal landmark - the first law firm to open a satellite office within the client's own company.The new office was a step ahead of traditional secondments drawing lawyer and client closer together than ever before. The reality is somewhat different.The office, The Lawyer can reveal, is a leaky hut on a building site in Portsmouth.Property assistants Adrian Leavey and Julie Simpson have been relocated to the site ...

  • Case of the week

    10-Nov-1999

    Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson (pictured) was cleared of a driving offence at Bury Magistrates Court after offering the lamest excuse ever - he needed the toilet. Sir Alex told the court: "I had to go somewhere quickly." Sir Alex, represented by Manchester-based sole practitioner Nicholas Freeman, justified driving his BMW up the hard shoulder of the M602 by the fact that he was suffering from diarrhoea and wanted to avoid a messy situation.

  • City firms cast a net in Spain

    10-Nov-1999

    After several firms announced they are merging with Spanish firms at the International Bar Association conference, Elizabeth Davidson looks at the booming Spanish market and discovers which firms have their eye on it.Last week Spain played host to thousands of the world's top lawyers. The International Bar Association conference, Business Law International, featured 600 speakers discussing the future of the legal business.Dibb Lupton Alsop used ...

  • Clarke Willmott & Clarke poaching kills off Alsters

    10-Nov-1999

    Clarke Willmott & Clarke has poached two partners from south-west sports law practice Alsters, forcing the closure of the six-partner firm.Clarke Willmott & Clarke plans to go head-to-head against Bristol rival Osborne Clarke in the battle for high-profile sports law work.Alsters, regarded ...

  • Council fears explosion risk

    10-Nov-1999

    Bromsgrove District Council is heading for a High Court showdown in London with a man it accuses of creating the possibility of an explosion by work he has carried out on an old tip in Bromsgrove. The council is to seek court orders banning the man, identified as T O'Neill in the claim, from interfering with a clay cap, gas vent trench and gas venting pipes on the former landfill site. It alleges that the site went into Crown ownership after the liquidation of the ...

  • Developer in High Court claim

    10-Nov-1999

    Property developer Wessex and City (Dover) is taking Dover Harbour Board to the High Court over cancellation of a joint venture. Wessex is suing the board for fees of £20,000 it claims the board agreed to pay if it pulled out of the deal. Wessex says it lodged a planning application for land at Marine Court, Dover, which is owned by the board, and in doing so incurred costs of more than £47,000. The High Court claim alleges that the board agreed ...

  • Digests

    10-Nov-1999

    Slaughter and May has agreed to a "best friends" relationship with Madrid-based firm Uria & Menendez, adding to its existing agreements with German firm Hengeler Mueller Weitzel Wirtz, Mannheimer Swartling of Sweden and Nauta Dutilh and Stibbe Simont Monahan Duhot of The Netherlands.Latham ...

  • Doughty Street wins Bar Pro Bono Award

    10-Nov-1999

    Doughty Street Chambers has been awarded the 1999 Pro Bono Award at the Bar Council's annual conference.Doughty Street has a track record of working on Privy Council death row cases. It has acted for families at inquests such as that into the death of Joy Gardner, advised the defendants in the McDonald's libel case, and trained lawyers in Tanzania.The 1999 award was presented to head of chambers Geoffrey Robertson QC at the Bar Annual Conference reception ...

  • Essential credentials for securing a contract

    10-Nov-1999

    Claire Smith reports on what recruiting law firms are really looking for when they go about selecting their trainees.Educational excellence, good interpersonal skills, a list of positions of responsibility, work experience in City law firms and FTSE 100 companies, the ability to speak another language, a good sense of humour - the recruiter's list goes on and on.Securing that training contract in a top City law firm may seem like it borders on the impossible, ...

  • Expert advice upheld in rent ruling

    10-Nov-1999

    The failure of a negligence claim against an independent surveyor has cheered the property world, writes Roger Pearson.A recent High Court decision by Deputy Judge Michael Harvey QC has brought sighs of relief from certain sectors of the property world.His decision in the case of Currys Group plc v Martin is one which appears to have dammed a potential flood of litigation against independent valuation experts.The judge dismissed a ...

  • Financings

    10-Nov-1999

    Herbert Smith assisted Eurotunnel on both a proposal to purchase its own debts and a £165m rights issue. The company will buy its own debt

  • Financings

    10-Nov-1999

    Lawrence Graham has completed a £292.4m refinance and restructure deal for the Flagship Housing Group. A syndicate of banks

  • Financings

    10-Nov-1999

    CMS Cameron McKenna acted for South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP) on the refinancing of its senior and mezzanine debt. The refinancing was carried out through a £55m bond issue

  • Financings

    10-Nov-1999

    Norton Rose represented an international bank syndicate

  • Firm assessments

    10-Nov-1999

    Law firms think they know what trainees want, but few are pushing the right buttons when it comes to graduate recruitment. Vivienne Wilson finds out what law students really really want from their prospective employers. Vivienne Wilson is senior reporter at Lex magazine.Legal graduate recruitment is becoming more competitive. Brochures are getting glossier, advertising more widespread and law fairs are turning into Cecil B De Mille-like productions, all in the ...

  • Fujitsu chief quits

    11-Nov-1999

    David Hyams, the head of legal at Fujitsu Computers (Europe) has resigned after Fujitsu and fellow computer giant, Siemens AG joined forces to form a new joint venture company.The new entity - Fujitsu Siemens Computers BV - was launched on 1 October.Hyams, vice president of legal and commercial affairs at the European arm of the Japanese computer conglomerate, left the same day.It is understood Hyams, who joined Fujitsu three years ago as its first ...

  • Gaymer calls on firms to deal with discrimination in-house

    10-Nov-1999

    leading employment lawyer Janet Gaymer has called on law firms to use arbitration to settle in-house sexual harassment and discrimination claims.Gaymer, head of employment at Simmons & Simmons, says law firms should deal with disputes as soon as possible instead of letting situations get out of hand.Her comments implicitly criticise the way Cameron McKenna and Edward Lewis have handled recent allegations of misconduct made by female employees. She says: "Problems ...

  • Getting on course to the right destination

    10-Nov-1999

    Mapping out a career in the law can be both confusing and expensive. Alison Laferla investigates the routes available and how much they are likely to set you back.Most people tend to think of lawyers as one of two things - rich, successful Ally McBeal types or pompous old duffers in wigs and gowns.The reality is quite different. Jobs in the legal profession vary tremendously and so do the opportunities for training.The key to finding a ...

  • Give conditional fees a chance

    10-Nov-1999

    This Government's thinking on legal aid started with the premise that we must develop modern ways of paying for legal services.One of the aims set out in our white paper, Modernising Justice, in December 1998, was to promote the availability of affordable legal services of an appropriate quality.Conditional fee arrangements are a vital part of meeting this aim.They enable those on middle incomes, who do not qualify for legal ...

  • Hammonds nets barrister for new advocacy unit

    10-Nov-1999

    Hammond Suddards is poaching a barrister to head a nationwide advocacy unit that the firm is launching.Patrick Walker is leaving Leeds commercial chambers Chancery House Chambers in November to become director for advocacy at Hammonds.He will initially be overseeing the advocacy training of between 10 and 12 lawyers.But Peter Crossley, head of commercial dispute resolution at Hammonds, says the number of lawyers in the unit is set to increase.

  • Howard Kennedy offers internet investment opportunity to firms

    10-Nov-1999

    Howard Kennedy is claiming to be the first law firm to set up an investment fund for internet companies.The London firm will establish and manage the fund with a group of companies, including accountancy firms and IT consultants.The fund will finance a portfolio of e-commerce companies.The scheme's intention is to spread the risk of investments in a volatile market and reduce the risk to clients of losing large amounts of money.Keith ...

  • It's been a bad week for...

    10-Nov-1999

    Lord Irvine, whose advisers are set on making the Lord Chancellor more cuddly and will not rest until he becomes the "People's Derry". The Lord Chancellor has to defend his position because Jack Straw wants to set up a justice ministry with himself as head. Lord Irvine's downsizing will involve a visit to the set of Brookside and meetings with agony aunts to see if they can offer legal advice.Gazumping. Conveyancing is to be radically ...

  • It's been a good week for...

    10-Nov-1999

    The Community Legal Service. That's Life presenter and champion of the aggrieved public, Esther Rantzen, is to help promote the Community Legal Service. Expect troupes of singing dogs in wigs, gavel-shaped vegetables and endless vox pops in the law centres."Love law". Expert in thoroughness, Eversheds, leaves no stone unturned in its quest ...

  • John Wood

    8-Nov-1999

    For a man who has spent his life dealing with indecency and fraud John Wood is remarkably coy. Sean Farrell meets the very lucky lawyer

  • Keep local firms local

    10-Nov-1999

    It was refreshing to receive my copy of The Lawyer and discover that the front page led with a story about Birmingham, albeit about competition moving on to my turf.Birmingham is thriving and we are ready for the challenge that US firms are going to pose. It was only a matter of time before they began spreading up from London to Birmingham, which many consider to be the second legal city of the UK, and we are prepared to take them on.The professionalism, ...

  • Leading NY firm Cahills to open London office

    10-Nov-1999

    Top tier New York firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel is planning to open an office in London.The decision to launch in the City marks a major shift in policy for the firm. Cahills opened a Paris office in 1935 but has since refused to join the growing tide of international expansion.Cahills is the fourth most profitable firm in New York with reported average profits per partner of $1.6 (£1m). It has maintained this partly by keeping its partnership small at about ...

  • Legal Widow

    10-Nov-1999

    There's been a problem with bullying at Subjudice's school. Unfortunately, it appears that Subjudice is the one doing the bullying.

  • Litigation Litigator's View 11/10/99

    10-Nov-1999

    Edward Mackereth on the new Civil Procedure Rules for costs. Edward Mackereth is a solicitor in the litigation department at Nicholson Graham & Jones.The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) have introduced two new ways that successful litigants can recover some costs without waiting for a detailed assessment.The first procedure, Rule 44.3(8), can be employed when an order for costs is made. This procedure was used by Mr Justice Jacob in Mars (UK) ...

  • Litigation Personal Injury 11/10/99

    10-Nov-1999

    William Barker v Cape Plc (1999) Mayor's & City of London County Court (HH Judge Gibson) 24 September 1999Claimant: Male, 20-29 years old at date of asbestos exposure; 65 years old at date of trial.Incident: The claimant was employed by the defendant company as a lagger. He was exposed to asbestos between 1954 and 1963.Injuries: Due to exposure to asbestos, the claimant developed symptomless plural plaques. At the date of trial his ...

  • Litigation Writs 11/10/99

    10-Nov-1999

    Richard Branson's company V2 Music is being sued for $250,000 (£156,000) allegedly owed in respect of the fourth album of singer Heather Nova. The claim alleges that V2 Music entered into an agreement with Heather Nova and Butterfly Recordings in February 1997 under which it would pay the sum if it exercised an option for a fourth album. That agreement is said to have updated a 1993 agreement. It is alleged that V2 exercised its option for the fourth album this ...

  • Lord Chancellor pushes for more judges

    11-Nov-1999

    The Lord Chancellor is seeking Parliament's leave to bump up the maximum number of High Court judges allowed from 98 to 106.The Lord Chancellor's Department says the hike is required to help tackle the predicted workload increase caused by the implementation of the Human Rights Act and the Immigration and Asylum bill.Lord Irvine says: "It is essential our courts should be well prepared to meet additional challenges. I believe some increases to the High ...

  • Lord Irvine appoints to Law Commission

    10-Nov-1999

    The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine has appointed a judge and a university professor to the Law Commission.Judge Alan Wilkie QC, who is based at Luton Crown Court, and Professor Hugh Beale from the University of Warwick will join the body as of 1 January 2000.The Law Commission consists of a chairman and four commissioners who sit for five-year periods. It considers legislature reform and recommends changes.Beale, who was called to the bar in 1971, has ...

  • Lord Irvine slams LawSoc over QC stance

    10-Nov-1999

    The Lord Chancellor has attacked the Law Society following its call for QCs to be abolished and announcement that it is boycotting the soundings process.In a furious letter to Law Society president Robert Sayer, Lord Irvine declares himself "deeply disappointed" with the society's adoption of a public position before Sir Leonard Peach's scrutiny of judicial appointments and silks is concluded.He says: "It is difficult to see how the interests of solicitors ...

  • Lovells builds on its international profile

    10-Nov-1999

    Lovell White Durrant has snapped up one of the UK's leading construction lawyers, Masons partner Phillip Capper.Lovells, which recently voted to merge with German firm Boesebeck Droste, has poached Capper with a view to developing its international construction practice.The appointment is a major coup for Lovells. Although Lovells' 21-strong construction group is highly regarded, Masons is viewed as the UK's leading practice in the field.

  • Mason Hayes sets EU precedent for Orange

    10-Nov-1999

    Dublin firm Mason Hayes & Curran has won a landmark victory on behalf of Orange that may lead to a raft of corporate cases against government regulators in the EU.UK telecoms giant Orange is thought to be the first company in the EU to take on a regulator for refusing it a licence of establishment.Ailbhe Gilvarry, who acted for Orange, says: "To my knowledge, it is the first time a regulator has been taken on in the EU in respect of a launching appeal.

  • Media

    10-Nov-1999

    Field Fisher Waterhouse advised Whitbread-owned Beefeater Restaurant & Pub on a television sponsorship deal with Channel 5. The agreement is part of a £1.5m media campaign which includes the sponsorship of Channel 5 show It's a Knockout. Hayley Stallard, head of the advertising and marketing law group at Field Fisher, acted on the deal, assisted by David Bond. ...

  • Mega-merger casts doubt on Camerons' Danish alliance

    10-Nov-1999

    Cameron McKenna's European alliance has been thrown into confusion after a massive shake-up in the Danish legal market.Dragsted Schluter Helmer Nielsen has merged with Aros Advokater to form Dragsted Schluter Aros. The merger creates the largest law firm in Denmark with more than 160 lawyers, including 55 partners.Cameron McKenna's al-liance was launched in the spring with tie-ups announced with Dutch, Danish, Austrian, German and Norwegian firms. But ...

  • Mice hopes to be big cheese in IT

    10-Nov-1999

    City practice Rosenblatt has launched a new specialist internet and media division under the leadership of a trainee solicitor.The Mice group, an acronym of media, information technology, communications and e-commerce, is being headed by Dr Peter Crowther.Crowther is a former lecturer in law, holds four law degrees and was a member of the

  • News in brief

    11-Nov-1999

    Ill-mannered barristers will have to fork out up to £2000 in fines to their offended clients if new proposals are given the go ahead. The Bar Council plan, to be discussed at a meeting later this month, aims to hit back at poor client service provided by badly behaved barristers outside the court room.The libel trial of former Tory MP, Neil Hamilton against Mohamed Al Fayed over the "cash for questions" allegations kicks off on Monday (15 November). It ...

  • Norton Rose re-elects Lewis

    11-Nov-1999

    Norton Rose has opted to maintain the status quo and have voted in senior partner, David Lewis for a second three-year term.Lewis's re-election, which was uncontested, follows the recent agreement within the firm to give managing partner, Roger Birkby a third crack of the whip.A mergers and acquisitions lawyer, Lewis will continue to combine that practice with the post ...

  • Online legal community goes live

    10-Nov-1999

    CENTAUR Communications, publisher of The Lawyer, has launched a legal "community" on the internet in a unique venture for the legal profession.Visitors to www.interactive-lawyer.com, can access news, case law and legislation, apply for jobs, order law books, and receive an up-to-the-minute index of nationwide legal events.A range of information centres for specialist lawyers and a discussion forum will be added at a later stage.Online legal information ...

  • Pinsents votes on national shake-up

    10-Nov-1999

    Pinsent Curtis partners are to vote this week on a new national management structure.The 134-partner firm, which has offices in London, Birmingham and Leeds, is looking to unify under a national system, instead of having three independently-run regional offices. It also wants to develop its reputation as a City firm.Birmingham's head of litigation Carl Garvie and head of tax David Ryan are both running for the newly-created role of national managing partner. ...

  • Property

    10-Nov-1999

    Rowe & Maw represented C&A Group's property holding company on the leasing of 376/384 Oxford Street to Gap (UK) Letting for an undisclosed sum. Jeremy Clay and Iain Thomas, both property partners at Rowe & Maw, acted on the lease which will become Gap's flagship store in the UK.

  • Quote of the week

    10-Nov-1999

    "I am in a portacabin. It's raining, and that is on the inside. We could put Cameron McKenna on the outside of it."- An excited Adrian Leavey, property assistant at Cameron McKenna, explaining the responsibilities attached to his new job as the firm's on-site team leader on a construction site.

  • Rozenberg

    10-Nov-1999

    As General Pinochet looks back at a year under house arrest in London, the last thing on his mind will be the remarkable contribution he has made towards the cause of televising the courts. The various rulings by the Law Lords in his case were the first judgments by an English court to be delivered live on television. The Bow Street court went one further and allowed television cameras into the committal hearing before the Deputy Chief Magistrate, Ronald Bartle (his superior, ...

  • Satanic killing case heads for Law Lords

    10-Nov-1999

    Roger Pearson reports on defendants' rights to a claim of diminished responsibility once they have been ruled unfit to plead.The right of defendants in criminal proceedings to mount a defence of diminished responsibility after it has already been held that they are unfit to plead is to be probed by the House of Lords.The case is one which will call for examination of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964, the Homicide ...

  • Scottish firm on hiring spree from rivals

    10-Nov-1999

    Leading Scottish law firm Shepherd & Wedderburn is recruiting three partners from rival firms, including a second corporate partner from Edinburgh-based Fyfe Ireland.The move re-establishes the firm's position as one of the top five firms in Scotland. It was momentarily ousted in the aftermath of the merger between Bishop & Robertson Chalmers and Alex Morrison & Co to form ...

  • Scuffle of the week

    10-Nov-1999

    Jack Straw v the judiciary. Straw is ordering the UK's 3,000 judges back to school to learn about the European Convention on Human Rights - to the irritation of many senior members of the judiciary who resent government interference in their jobs. Straw is concerned about the increasing number of European Court decisions which are overturning judicial decisions made in the UK.

  • Setting too much store by the FSA?

    10-Nov-1999

    As the London Stock Exchange prepares to see the lion's share of its regulatory powers shifted to the Financial Services Authority, the forum asks how it will affect the legal profession.City lawyers are sceptical about the Chancellor of the Exchequer's decision to transfer the bulk of the Stock Exchange's regulatory powers to the Financial Services Authority (FSA).Although the Stock Exchange will retain its control over the regulatory news service ...

  • Shearmans loses lawyer to Lovells

    10-Nov-1999

    Lovell White Durrant is bolstering its international tax practice by taking on a senior lawyer from Shearman & Sterling's New York office.Joseph Gruber joins Lovells' New York office, specialising in M&A and capital markets. After five years at Shearmans he joins Lovells to head up its tax department.Gruber is the first lawyer in the firm's New York ...

  • SJ Berwin seeks French merger partner in Paris

    10-Nov-1999

    SJ Berwin is in preliminary merger talks with two-partner Paris firm Cabinet Bersay.If the deal goes ahead it will mirror the firm's expansion policy in Spain, where it merged with highly-rated Madrid practice Pazos Gallardo y Associados, and built up the business organically.SJ Berwin stresses the talks are at an early stage. It has also opened a line of communication with ...

  • Stephenson Harwood shipping partner exits

    10-Nov-1999

    Stephenson Harwood is losing key shipping finance partner Helen Boyle to Addleshaw Booth & Co's banking department - a move which is generating huge interest among shipping specialists.Boyle's move coincides with the resignation of two shipping assistants, John Sandhu and another, whom the firm is yet to confirm. Sandhu is heading for an investment bank.Their ...

  • Taking control of the world's biggest firm

    10-Nov-1999

    Christine Lagarde is taking over one of the biggest jobs in the profession at an interesting time.She is taking control of Baker & McKenzie at a time when its position as global number one is set to face its biggest ever challenge from the merged superfirms.Having a network of offices is one thing but having a network of firms with local knowledge and influence is quite ...

  • The inside dope on learning the ropes

    10-Nov-1999

    You could be the on-call duty solicitor, in at the IT deep end or arguing a case before the magistrates court. Matheu Swallow goes trainee-spotting, and hears from a recently-qualified solicitor enjoying a different sort of deep end in Bermuda.The mature traineeMark Simons is 38, married, with two children aged 10 and 11 years old.Last week he commenced his training contract with Tarlo Lyons in the firm's IT department.In ...

  • The Lawyer Inquiry: Mark Blyth was born in Woking in 1965. He is head of the pensions litigation group at Linklaters & Alliance.

    10-Nov-1999

    What subject(s) did you fail at school?Latin.What was your first job?Milkman's "runner".What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?£11,750.What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?Geologist.What was your most satisfying professional moment?Setting up the pensions litigation group at

  • This week

    10-Nov-1999

    A conference on sports broadcasting rights & EC competition law is being held at London's Marriott Hotel on Tuesday 12 October. Professor of Law Richard Whish of King's College, London, is chairing the conference. Speakers include ITV's head of European affairs Ross Bigham, and Football Association company secretary Nicholas Coward.

  • Threatened Singaporean firms merge

    10-Nov-1999

    Three Singapore law firms have merged to form a Silicon Valley-style practice specialising in technology-related start-ups.The 20-lawyer firm Arthur Loke Bernard Rada & Lee will help IT entrepreneurs set up their own companies, and will assist in fundraising.Targeting niche areas in this way is partly an attempt to stave off the threat posed by foreign firms, such as Baker ...

  • Time to reassess the accountants

    10-Nov-1999

    I think the time has come when we should start to take the accountancy firms seriously.For too long we have treated their entry into the legal world as mere dabbling. We have seen their forays into our business as a distraction. "They aren't really law firms," we have assured ourselves.But we can't say that any more. They have grown up and now deserve our respect as real players.How do we know? Well, they've started ...

  • Top lawyer faces legal action from CPS union

    10-Nov-1999

    One of the country's leading civil liberties lawyers, Louise Christian, is being threatened with legal action by the CPS' main union.The First Division Association (FDA) plans to take advice over Christian's comments in a newspaper that prosecutors "tend to be people who failed to make it at the Bar or in solicitors' practices so they don't attract a high calibre of people".In letters leaked to The Lawyer, the FDA says it is also considering ...

  • UK and US firms among top fee earners in Paris

    10-Nov-1999

    US and UK law firms working in Paris account for 15 per cent of the total fees brought in by France's 125 biggest practices, according to a new survey.The highest grossing Anglo-Saxon firm is Clifford Chance whose Paris office last year brought in FF261m (£26.6m), ranking it seventh in the league table.Freshfields' office brought in FF201m (£20.5m), ...

  • Up productivity - or clients' fees

    10-Nov-1999

    This is a busy season for the publishers of directories and surveys. I have been particularly taken by some of the detail in the 1999 Survey of Financial Management in Law Firms published by PricewaterhouseCoopers in conjunction with The Lawyer.In particular, the fact that staff costs are rising faster than growth in turnover and that client fee pressure remains a significant factor. In my own firm our starting salary for new qualifiers has increased by an average of nearly ...

  • US firm acts in $115bn mega deal

    10-Nov-1999

    New York firm Cravath Swaine & Moore has advised on the biggest deal in history - a telecommunications merg-er worth $115bn.The 442-lawyer firm, which has offices in London, represented MCI WorldCom on its merger with Sprint Corp. Cravaths partners made over $2m last year - the second biggest average profits per partner in New York.The 500-lawyer Atlanta firm King & Spalding, which has offices in New York, Houston and Washington DC, advised Sprint Corp.

  • US gave Sonnenscheins vote of confidence

    10-Nov-1999

    US firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal gave its London practice a unanimous vote of confidence just seven months before axing it.Sonnenscheins is to close its eight-strong London office on 1 December (The Lawyer, 27 September).Sources say the closure of the office came as "a complete shock" to its lawyers because a full partners meeting in Chicago voted unanimously in February to back a business plan presented by the London office.It is understood ...

  • Was Sonnenscheins' a flawed strategy?

    10-Nov-1999

    Sean Farrell investigates whether the closure of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal's London office marks the start of a migration back to the US and assesses the impact on firms looking to recruit top-ranking partners in the UK.The news that US firm Sonnenscheins is pulling the plug on its London office on 1 December (The Lawyer, 27 September) will reawaken old fears about the wisdom of leaving a UK firm for the promise of life on the frontier.For ...

  • Welcoming the competition

    10-Nov-1999

    But I think the most positive thing to come out of Reed Smith Shaw & McClay's decision to set up shop here is that it will ensure home-grown Birmingham firms retain their standards.We are going to work harder than ever to hold on to our clients, and that means our expertise can only improve.So, welcome foreign invaders. We hope your stay will be pleasant, ...

  • White & Case enlists trade official for Prague office

    10-Nov-1999

    White & Case's Prague office has hired a senior public official for the newly-created role of director of government and corporate relations.If the post proves a success, the US firm may look to introduce the model into its other offices.Jan Havelka joins White & Case from CzechInvest, an agency of the Czech ministry of trade and industry.He was director ...