And the winner is…

And the winner is…
04-July-2008
Drama in the magic circle today but no revolution: the last financial results are in and while Linklaters has closed the lead on Clifford Chance by a mere £36m, Clifford Chance remains king of the castle.


Drama in the magic circle today but no revolution: the last financial results are in and while Linklaters has closed the lead on Clifford Chance by a mere £36m, Clifford Chance remains king of the castle.

Actually the magic circle pecking order remains intact overall, with Clifford Chance top of the podium ahead of Linklaters then Freshfields then Allen & Overy, that last of which today became the fourth member of the happy billion club.

However the way A&O has nudged into the club remains a mystery.

Like Linklaters managing partner Simon Davies, A&O senior partner David Morley was on good form and in high spirits, chatting to The Lawyer about globalisation, global growth and global elites, with refreshingly few references to the credit crunch (see story).

Unfortunately, Morley’s attempt to communicate the A&O message was obscured by his PR bouncers who interjected whenever The Lawyer fielded ‘inappropriate’ questions.

Such as how the various practice areas were faring. Or, er, the contribution of individual overseas offices to the results. Or how much they had grown. Or the size of each. Or whether the Pope is a Catholic.

Which leaves one wondering if the firm doesn’t have something to hide overseas. And as branding messages go, that isn’t a great one.

With PR, unlike financials, sometimes less is more.

For comment on financials at A&O, Linklaters and other firms, see our Top of the PEPs 2008 blog.

Handbags and Gladrags
03-July-2008

The next time you’re searching for a Louis Vuitton handbag or Christian Dior perfume on eBay – if that’s what you’re into – take a close look at what you’re buying.

Because the brand owner, LVMH, found that 90 per cent of those oh-so must-have accessories on internet auction site eBay are fake.

Which was the reason that a French court this week awarded it €40m (£31m) in damages after finding eBay liable for the counterfeits.

To many, including partners at French firm Jeantet, that might sound an awful lot like “case closed – let’s go home and have a Pernod”. But not everyone agrees.

“It’s a French court so you know where their sympathies are,” wrote one poster on TheLawyer.com.

“I don’t think this will stand up in European court,” wrote another.

Mon Dieu! Quel dommage! Log on to have your say HERE.

Crunch, crunch, crunch…
02-July-2008

Everything seems to get blamed on the credit crunch at the moment.

Yesterday, we received a press release from a well-known hotel chain claiming that lawyers were among a whole list of professionals that don’t get enough sleep because of the credit crunch. Of course, they don’t get much sleep when there’s a bull running through the M&A market either. (We’re not quite sure how the hotel chain could help. Comfy beds, presumably.)

Apparently the credit crunch also gets the blame for the fact that nobody has signed up former world footballer of the year Ronaldinho from Barcelona yet. Billionaire football club owners are skint apparently.

Yesterday, the crunch got part of the blame for Hammonds return to pre-recovery form. So, hats off to Baker & McKenzie for not blaming the crunch for virtually freezing its associate salaries.

More bizarrely though, a Bakers spokesperson claimed: “We have repositioned our trainee and associate salaries competitively with other top law firms.”

Perhaps we missed something. Or maybe the quote should have read: “We have repositioned our trainee and associate salaries competitively with other top law firms, which have frozen their salaries due to the credit crunch.”

Which brings us full circle.

The dog ate it
01-July-2008

We all thought Hammonds’ dark days were over, but the firm’s magical disappearing profit per equity partner (PEP) performance shows an unwelcome return to old form.

But fear not, reasons there are many. This year, managing partner Peter Crossley blames:

1. the builders,
2. the expensive new IT systems,
3. the LLP conversion,
4. the stupid economy, stupid,
5. the Spanish (despite their achievements in futbol).

But thankfully so far, not the dog eating the homework, the wrong type of snow or the Northern line.

But hey, it’s early, right?

Lawyers on holiday
30-June-2008

On a sunny Monday at the end of June, associates could be forgiven if their attention drifted from due diligence to holidays.

Especially those at Addleshaw Goddard, whose retreat has been cancelled while partners enjoy la fête with their counterparts in Paris. See story

Managing partner Mark Jones told The Lawyer that the partners “had competing priorities about how to spend our discretionary spend” (sic).

But with the Paris Le Grand hotel where they stayed just a stone’s throw from the city’s Les Grands Magasins department store district, there may have been competing priorities about how to spend their extra 44 grand too.

Partners at DLA Piper and Hammonds, meanwhile, are slaving in the galleys at conferences on cruise liners.

Hammonds sources were vague on the details, though The Lawyer understands that partners will brave the stormy seas around Barcelona.

DLA Piper partners, meanwhile, are hard at work discussing strategy issues on the 138,000 tonne Navigator of the Seas’ rock-climbing wall, basketball court, ice-skating rink, in-line skating track, casino, five-story theatre and mini golf course. On their way to Cannes.

Meanwhile, Queen’s Bench judges could also do with a holiday, and much, much further north, lawyers from Denton Wilde Sapte were in the sauna beating those from CMS Cameron McKenna with birch branches after their 27-17 midnight rugby victory.