Ex-Linklaters chief Angel to join DLA Piper as senior partner

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  • DLA's partners must be quaking in their boots. Angel restructured Linklaters long before the recession hit so imagine how his axe will swing in the current economic environment.

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  • Sideways? Oh dear. Take that! DLA have gone all Robbie Williams on Janet.
    I sit and wait.
    Does an Angel contemplate my fate?
    And do they know
    the places where we go
    when we´re grey and old?
    Cos I´ve been told
    That salvation lets their wings unfold.
    So when I’m lying in my bed
    thoughts running through my head
    and I feel that love is dead

    They’re loving Angel instead

    (All together now)
    And through it aaaaaaaaaaaall

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  • So why did they vote to bring him on then? A non fee earning 2 million pound partner is hardly something to take on without considering the consequences, which has to be less money for everyone else, and they already have knowles, Darwin, da costa etc not fee earning and pocketing similar sums. And DLA isnt a comparable business to Linklaters. It is mid market with a lean to commoditised business, something it cant shake off easily or without firing a very large percentage of its existing partners and replacing them with ones that cost more.......

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  • They are such different firms, with very different attitudes to legal risk. Also, Angel hasn't exactly been a rip-roaring success since Links decided they didn't need him anymore. He is known to still be very money-motivated - I foresee a high-profile pay off within 18 months or less.

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  • Top of Angel's action list will be:
    - to merge DLA Piper's profit pools (just as Linklaters & Alliance became one profit pot after the mergers).
    - to squeeze out dead wood at top (as Links did in Germany and elsewhere).
    - to create a single profit system that will permit a few outliers but with a high barrier to entry, it will see the demise of large swathes of pseudo partners in US, UK and around the world.
    - the end result will be a far more homogeneous, higher quality firm.
    Angel's biggest problem will be engineering a new culture in the firm that eschews volume work and instead seeks to drive up into higher margin work. This will be tough, but essential if DLA is to come at the big boys with credibility.
    Of course, it could all just be a costly failure with no real change in work or brand perception....we'll see.....

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  • In my view, one of DLA’s biggest problems in the UK is the reputation it has as a result of the way it treated its associates during the downturn.
    Why would top associates join or stay with such a firm?
    And how can the firm clamber out of the lower mid market without them?

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  • He's backing a winning a horse, DLA is on course to be the PwC of the legal world.

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  • Yea a £2 mill package full of porkies. 2 mill my foot!

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  • What better person to take the difficult decisions which most insiders would prefer to avoid, especially with the downturn in UK? Others will have to follow suit.

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  • DLA's success has been built upon making dynamic management decisions and changing their business model to meet changes in the market.

    I agree with the comment above that DLA's horrendous treatment of its associates will come back and haunt them. On a much smaller scale a local firm, Dickinson Dees, acted in a similarly brutal way towards their assistants during the recession and now has serious difficulties in retaining its best trainees or attracting promising junior staff. It'll be interesting to see if DLA is similarly blocked in the associate market.

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