The Lawyer Africa Elite 2014 features an in-depth look at 46 leading independent firms’ strategies in 15 key sub-Saharan jurisdictions, as well as the views of in-house counsel from some of Africa’s largest companies... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Negotiating teams in profits stand-off; still no vote in sight
Merger talks between Ashurst Morris Crisp and Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson have descended into confusion as partner frustration grows at the increasingly hazy prospect of a conclusion. The two firms appear to be at cross-purposes on the tricky issue of remuneration. Sources say Fried Frank is working on the belief that a general concept of profit distribution has been agreed, with only the details to be ironed out. However, The Lawyer understands that Ashursts has drawn up an outline, showing a lockstep system with a small super-point layer an idea that has not yet been agreed with either the UK firms partners or Fried Frank itself. Fried Frank operates on a mixture of lockstep, with a large tranche of extra points for the firms most senior partners. There also appears to be a growing feeling of bewilderment within both partnerships about when a concrete merger plan will be put to a vote. A team headed up by Geoffrey Green and Justin Spendlove, senior and managing partners of Ashursts respectively, and Valerie Ford Jacob, Fried Franks highly-rated head of capital markets, has been spearheading the intense negotiations. But one source said lawyers were growing tired of waiting for a result from the talks, which began in earnest during the final quarter of last year. People are now thinking, Enough get it done, said the source. The whole process is just becoming protracted. He added, though, that the group of dissenters was shrinking and that the general feeling was positive with the majority of partners of the opinion that the merger would be of benefit to both firms. The general perception had been that talks would have reached some sort of conclusion by Christmas. The new hope is that a tentative agreement will be reached by both firms financial year end, February for Fried Frank and March for Ashursts. But it is known for sure that the discussions will not stretch beyond the summer, whether or not an agreement has been reached.