Former alliance partner Elliot Duffy gets cold shoulder as L'Estrange is chosen to advise the banks
A&L Goodbody has put its relationship with former Northern Irish alliance member Elliot Duffy Garrett firmly behind it by bringing in rival firm L'Estrange & Brett to advise the banks on Musgrave Investment's high-profile bid for UK supermarket chain Budgens. Goodbodys terminated the Elliot Duffy alliance this January claiming that it no longer needed a cross-border partner because it had built up its own Northern Irish expertise in-house. However, the two firms said that they would continue to work closely together on an informal basis. Musgrave instructed Linklaters as UK counsel and the magic circle firm brought in Goodbodys, with which it has a close relationship. It is understood that Goodbodys preferred L'Estrange & Brett to former cross-border partner Elliot Duffy Garret. A source close to Goodbodys said that Kevin Pheney, a Goodbodys partner with a Northern Irish background, recommended a senior associate in L'Estrange & Brett for the deal. L'Estrange & Brett, like most of the top Northern Irish firms, has a referral relationship with a firm from the Republic of Ireland. The firm has been best friends with McCann FitzGerald since the late 1990s, but the tie-up does not preclude L'Estrange & Brett from working with other firms from the Republic. Best friends arrangements between Northern and Southern Irish firms were set up to target cross-border work, which was expected to boom as a result of the peace process. However, as the peace process stalled, government appointments and public private partnerships were put on hold. Although there are new instructions in the pipeline, it may be some time before the cross-border partners reap the benefits of their alliances. Three other alliances have survived - Mason Hayes & Curran's alliance with Carson McDowell; William Fry and Tughan & Co; and the most recent alliance Matheson Ormsby Prentice and Cleaver Fulton Rankin. Arthur Cox, which also acted for Musgrave has its own Northern Irish office.