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Ashurst Morris Crisp has moved a group of assistants out of corporate to help cope with the slowdown in M&A.
The firm says that the move will also help with a steep rise in international finance and energy and projects work. Senior partner Geoffrey Green said: "We've redeployed some people from less busy parts of the office to the more busy parts, from corporate generally into finance and into energy and projects. "This is because the corporate business is actually holding up extremely well, but there aren't as many M&A deals as 12 months ago, whereas other areas are very busy." News of Ashursts' rejig follows Linklaters' decision to move a group of corporate assistants to its regulatory department to help cope with the M&A slowdown (The Lawyer, 10 September). Chris Ashworth, head of corporate and telecommunications at Ashursts, said that the temporary shift affects half a dozen assistants and has been carried out on a voluntary basis. Ashworth said: "What's happened is that there's been such huge demand in certain areas, we've had to think about moving people around to where demand is at its peak. "A lot of these arrangements are for three and six-month periods to either deal with immediate workload demand or to allow for recruitment in other departments." He added that the arrival of a securitisation team from Weil Gotshal & Manges earlier in the year (The Lawyer, 26 March) had led to an increase in deal-flow from investment bank clients. As well as the assistant level moves, three mainstream partners - Ashworth, David Kershaw and Michael Johns - are also taking a much greater involvement in the firm's insolvency work. Ashursts is involved in a number of Enron-related matters, and Johns has just acted for Centrica on its successful bid to acquire the assets of Enron Direct, which is now in administration, for £96.4m. Ashursts has also been closely involved with Atlantic Telecom, advising Pricewat-erhouseCoopers on the admi-nistration of the company.