A YEAR AGO THIS WEEK

Sinfield voted out by partners

THE LAWYER revealed that Nick Sinfield, managing director of Davies Arnold Cooper (now DAC), had been voted out in favour of head of construction Daniel Gowan.

Sinfield, who was managing director for one year and executive partner for two years, continued his role as head of insurance.

When Gowan took over the top position, his title changed from managing director to executive partner in what was described as a u-turn in management approach to a more collegiate style.

Sinfield claimed that he had encouraged Gowan to stand for the position because he was hoping that he would be challenged for it.

The move followed a year of disruption at DAC. In 1999 it axed 90 staff from its Manchester office, closed its Manchester property unit, its construction team quit for Hammond Suddards (now Hammond Suddards Edge) and its London-based IT team quit for Henry Hepworth. Then in January 2000, its banking team quit for Osborne Clarke.

Since Gowan took over from Sinfield, DAC has made fewer headlines. However, in May last year ,the firm lost its media and defamation department to Reynolds Porter Chamberlain. Then, in June last year, it lost client Norwich Union to Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.

Regus slashes property panel from fifty to two

Regus, the worldwide operator of business centres, cut its panel of property law firms from 50 to just two.

White & Case and Andersen Legal beat off competition to win the tender, valued at £1.26m a year, approximately half of Regus' annual legal spend.

Head of legal Tim Regan said that outsourcing to just two firms should save Regus £189,000 a year.

Regan added that if the firms did well on the property side, then work in other areas would migrate to them.

Today Regan says the move has been successful. It has cut property costs by 30 per cent. It has also made operational logistics more effective, cutting down contact to just one partner from each firm.

Most of White & Case's and Andersen's work is still property-related. However, Andersens was chosen for a small corporate deal in Scotland and Regan says he is looking for add-on business for both firms.

DJ Freeman and Pillsbury Madison & Sutro (now Pillsbury Winthrop), retained to handle a small portion of property work, continue to be used.