Comrades! Witches! Wizards!

Comrades! Witches! Wizards!
31-October-2008
The forces of socialism and evil are uniting tonight to “dance on capitalism’s grave” outside the offices of A&O and Clifford Chance.


The forces of socialism and evil are uniting tonight to “dance on capitalism’s grave” outside the offices of A&O and Clifford Chance (see story).

The unlikely alliance of the red and the dead will see protesters in Halloween costume congregate on Bank Street by the old Lehman Brothers office “for a solemn mortuary ritual” in celebration of the financial crisis.

Though billed as “a family-friendly, anti-violent” event on websites, police and the Wharf’s own faintly sinister private security force are taking no chances, and will be out in number should the dancers of the dead threaten to liven-up the due diligence room.

The Clifford Chance intranet, meanwhile, warns staff leaving before the witching hour that they run the risk of being trick-or-treated and “may wish to use the shopping mall entrance to the tube this evening to avoid any harassment”.

As Mark Twain might have noted, reports of the death of capitalism have been greatly exaggerated, but then the finer points of current affairs have rarely troubled the anti-capitalist hardcore – least of all those in pursuit of a party. Don’t forget your magic wand.

Card work
30-October-2008

The referee at last night’s Spurs and Gunners match may have been handing out yellow cards like sweeties, but at Eversheds the entire equity partnership has been red-carded.

The partners have not been hitting their lockup targets, leading to Eversheds’ ref, chief executive David Gray, pulling out the red cards – an initiative he brought in last spring (see story).

No, Eversheds isn’t sending its entire partnership to sit on the sidelines. Rather partners will not receive their quarterly profit share in November – and possibly not in February – if the billing performance does not improve.

Eversheds decided to get out the red cards instead of borrowing to pay partners, as it felt the partnership should bear the cost of failing to improve lockup.

With redundancy talks with 33 Eversheds’ staff members ongoing, it was only a matter of time before the cost cutting moved up the food chain.

Third time lucky?
29-October-2008

They could be the unluckiest lawyers in London. Richard Eaton, Chris Grew and Struan Penwarden will hope that their latest career move is more successful than their last three.

Eaton, Grew and Penwarden were part of the European dream that was Brobeck Hale and Dorr – a joint venture between West Coast US law firm Brobeck Phlegher & Harrison and Boston’s Hale and Dorr.

The trio escaped to Hale and Dorr when Brobeck went bust and were soon ushered in to a marriage with Washington DC’s Wilmer Cutler & Pickering. But it was not a marriage made in heaven. Eaton and co. missed their West Coast bretheren so jumped at the opportunity to launch Heller Ehrman’s London office in February 2007.

Less than two years later and Heller goes to the dogs. Orrick, which has successfully plundered the remains of a series of deceased law firms, will hope that this unlucky trio are not jinxed.

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Au revoir mes amis
28-October-2008

However you define ‘amicable’, few situations involving clandestine talks with rivals, simultaneous law suits and a devastating blow to one’s local business are likely to be all that friendly.

Still, amicable is the word that Nixon Peabody and Taylor Wessing have chosen in a joint statement describing the end of a long-running row over the former firm having pinched some 13 of the latter’s 20 Paris partners, including its Paris chief (see story).

Under the terms of a settlement reached this week that ends New York court proceedings, a subsequent appeal and proceedings in France, neither firm is allowed to comment on the settlement’s other terms.

Still no wonder, they’re keen to move on. Law suits over and done with, six of the 13 former Taylor Wessing partners have joined the Nixon Peabody equity, and all the lawyers joining the American firm have been assured their earnings till 2010.

Taylor Wessing, by contrast, now shorn of its Paris chief, 65 per cent of its partners and a third of its associates, must re-build its shaken French operation.

Taylor Wessing HQ is being discrete. But it’s hard to believe that it isn’t experiencing what Harold Wilson once described as “the old feeling that the French always betray you in the end”.

World Cup Finale
27-October-2008

It was a moment that shocked a billion TV viewers. French football captain Zinedine Zidane, playing his last professional match, headbutted Italian defender Marco Materazzi and was sent off in the World Cup Final in 2006.

Everyone wondered just what Materazzi had said to provoke Zidane.
Zidane’s agent revealed only that the France captain headbutted Materazzi because the Italian made a “very serious” comment.

But apparently it wasn’t calling Zidane’s mother “a terrorist whore” as reported by The Daily Mail newspaper.

And the Mail, following in the path already taken by The Sun and Star, will now have to pay damages and publicly apologise to Materazzi, thanks to some sharp lawyering by Collyer Bristow (see story).

But it still begs the question: what exactly did Materazzi say on that fateful evening?

If Collyer Bristow media head Steven Heffer knows, he’s keeping it close to his chest.