Bank of Scotland has kept Herbert Smith permanently on its toes this year. The firm acted for the bank on its ultimately unsuccessful hostile battle against the Royal Bank of Scotland, which won control of National Westminster Bank in February. It is now acting for the bank on its merger talks with Abbey National, represented by Slaughter and May. Lloyds TSB also approached Abbey National, but its takeover offer has since been rejected, sparking speculation of a hostile bid for the bank.
At the same time, another team, led by David Paterson, rushed to finalise the Bank of Scotland's recommended offer for Irish-based ICC Bank. While A&L Goodbody acted on the deal from the outset, Herbert Smith was brought in for the final two weeks before the Irish parliament rises for Christmas. The bid must gain a motion of approval by the parliament because the Ministry of Finance holds an 85 per cent stake in ICC.