Grapevine

Another week and another partner quits Simmons & Simmons.

Christopher Lewis, Helen Newman, Christopher Woods, Clare
Potter, Steve Bryan and Jerry Walter have all left in the
last three months. And now head of banking Nicholas Fisher
is going.

So what is going on over at CityPoint?

Fisher, primarily a borrower acquisition finance lawyer, is
going to Addleshaw Goddard, a firm that has undergone
something of a renaissance since its merger.

So just how much of a loss is Fisher? He was the partner of
choice for corporate partners who needed finance support on
the firm’s biggest M&A transactions. For instance, he
advised on the firm’s talismanic Northumbrian Water deal
and on the Canary Wharf bid.

Sources say that he is good with corporate clients and his
departure will no doubt be a blow to that department.

Although he was head of banking, ironically the finance
department may suffer less. Simmons’ standalone bank-
focused finance practice is now far more important and
influential within the firm than its borrower-focused
corporate support practice.

Either way, Fisher is a good hire for Addleshaws, but there
may be a few political fireworks when he joins. The firm is
keen to stress that Fisher does have a lender side pedigree
(although market sources differ) and will be targeting the
banks when he joins.

But the firm already has someone in London doing that –
Karl Woolley. It is not quite clear who will be in charge.
All Addleshaws will say is that they are both very
important to the firm’s acquisition finance strategy.

Politics are also the order of the day at Lovells, where
the three-person shortlist for the managing partner job was
finalised earlier today (6 October).

The nominees are head of finance David Harris, EU and
competition head John Pheasant and the man who at one stage
appeared a rank outsider, head of commercial Andrew
Skipper.

Just think back to the senior partner elections – in the
run-up nobody thought John Young had a chance, but he beat
favourite Hugh Nineham to the job. Perhaps the firm is set
for another surprise.