Four men went to sue

Four men went to sue
08-Feb-2008
When news filtered through that LG was taking a four-lawyer team from the London office of Dorsey & Whitney, the immediate reaction was “poor old Dorsey, not another raid”, but that’s not really the case this time.


When news filtered through that LG was taking a four-lawyer team from the London office of Dorsey & Whitney, the immediate reaction was “poor old Dorsey, not another raid”, but that’s not really the case this time. See story

The Minneapolis based firm is the king of the American Midwest but has suffered a few losses in its offices in New York and London, with departees complaining about a lack of internationalism.

But the opposite is true here.

The team’s lead partner Jean-Pierre Douglas Henry compared Dorsey and LG thus: “We’re going from a multi-office, US platform to a tried and tested single office. Which is better, a globalised law firm or a solid single office with best-friend law firms? For us it is a vote in favour of the latter.”

But the story gets better still. Douglas Henry and co are moving so they can sue banks and financial institutions.

As Dorsey’s London managing partner Paul Klaas says: “Their plan is simply incompatible with Dorsey’s focus.”

But not with brave LG, which is now looking to benefit from any post-credit crunch fallout. Let the battles commence.

It’s good to talk
07-Feb-2008
If you thought a caucus was a type of exotic parrot before the US primaries started then it is unlikely you would get very far in the legal team at BT at the moment.

The company is using its legal department to build up its public affairs function, as shown by the new lobbying role created for former company secretary Larry Stone. (see story

You need to shout hard to have your voice heard in these days of political transition, and BT is making public affairs a very real career option for its senior lawyers as a result. Stone’s appointment comes after BT Global Services shifted US general counsel Kristen Verderame into a Washington lobbying role.

Who better to talk round a government on new telecommunications laws than a lawyer, trained in the dark arts of persuasion?

So look carefully at the news reports these days. Behind all the smiley, hand-waving people with good teeth, you might just make out the figure of one of BT’s in-house lawyers.

Cadwalader disappoints
06-Feb-2008
Even though its results had been pretty comprehensively hinted at last month, when Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft laid off 35 lawyers, it still came as something of a surprise that the firm took such a bath on its average profits last year.

Even though its results had been pretty comprehensively hinted at last month, when Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft laid off 35 lawyers, it still came as something of a surprise that the firm took such a bath on its average profits last year. See story

Cadwalader bet big on capital markets and structured finance. Until August last year that bet looked a dead cert. Now it just looks dead.
Yesterday (5 Tuesday), Cadwalader posted average profits of $2.72m (£1.37m), a 6 per cent drop on 2006’s $2.9m (£1.48m). The level of underperformance in certain parts of the firm’s practice is evident in the 10 per cent collapse in the revenue per lawyer figure, down from $1m (£500,000) to $910,000 (£455,000).

But let’s not get carried away. Any firm in New York that is posting a PEP above $2m is going to be reasonably satisfied. For the majority that’s still a benchmark too high. Cadwalader remains far, far above that at $2.72m. It’s just not quite as far above it as it was this time last year.

It’s next year’s figures that will really count.

Battle of the Blairs
05-Feb-2008
Tony Blair’s big brother is now a judge.

For those working in human rights, this phrase may make you shudder. First we had the 1984-style Ministry of Justice, now we have Blair’s big brother…

But fear not, the news is merely that William Blair QC of 3 Verulam Buildings has been appointed a judge in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court. See story

So Blair’s brother has beaten Blair’s wife, Cherie Booth QC of Matrix Chambers, to a role on the bench. The pair have enjoyed similar career trajectories.

Blair became a barrister in 1972, Booth qualified in 1976. Blair took Silk in 1994, Booth followed suit in 1995. Blair was appointed a recorder in 1998, Booth in 1999. So with Blair making the judiciary this year, Booth may not be far behind.

At this rate, we’ll have more Blair allies on the bench than in the cabinet.

All the (r)age
04-Feb-2008
Monday’s news is all about age.
First up, the youngsters.
The College of Law’s chief exec, Nigel Savage, today slammed the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA) for new rules that he says will exclude certain young lawyers from English practice. See story.

A provision in the SRA-drafted rules on lawyer transfer dictates that lawyers have to do a year’s work supervised by an English-qualified lawyer.

This makes it easy for legal rookies from western Europe, Australasia and the US to join Brit firms, Savage says, but nigh-on impossible for those from, say, China, India or Nigeria.

So serious is Savage about the “disastrous” effect of the provisions on the UK legal market that he has put Matrix Chambers’ Rabinder Singh QC on the case, who warns that the new rules could breach both the Race Relations and Competition acts.

And then there are the seniors. Well, ‘senior’, actually.

SJ Berwin’s indefatigable mediation chief, David Shapiro, today announced today that he has quit the job to go freelance to avoid conflicts. At the age of 80. See story.

In loving memory, SJ Berwin will launch an annual lecture titled The David Shapiro Annual Outrage: “It seeks to convey his relish for killing sacred cows in inventing new solutions to take the rage out of disputes in court.”

It is hoped that such fiery rhetoric will inspire successive generations of new young lawyers. Which is where we came in.