Grapevine

Cautious Ince takes bold Middle East step
The Middle East rush is far from over. Ince & Co has emerged as the latest firm to be seeking a foothold in the region, just a month after The Lawyer (8 August) reported that a fresh wave of UK and US firms were launching in Dubai.

Such a move would make sense for Ince on both the geographical and practice area fronts. An office in a country such as Dubai would fill the physical gap between Ince’s Europe and Far East branches; and with the firm’s roots in maritime law, there is plenty of scope for success in the trade and energy-driven Middle East market.

But Clyde & Co, a bigger but very similar firm, has been in Dubai for 20 years now and also has an office in Abu Dhabi. Can Ince, a quietly successful but admittedly cautious outfit, now catch up its competitor and make its mark in the region?

Coudert offices swallowed up by hungry rivals
Despite the upheaval in Beijing (see cover), the fate of Coudert Brothers’ various offices is becoming clearer by the day. The bulk of the firm’s French lawyers look set to join Dechert.

One partner declined to join Dechert. Paris competition head Philippe Rincazaux has joined former colleague George Yates at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. In fact, Orrick and DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary have fought tooth and nail for much of Coudert. DLA Piper announced earlier in the week that it had scooped the 11-lawyer German team, which will launch in Frankfurt.

There are eight partners and around 30 associates at Coudert Paris, which would be a significant coup for Dechert’s low-profile French office. Australian firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth has claimed three partners in Sydney, including the Aussie managing partner. With most of Washington DC going to Orrick, that just leaves New York’s partners dithering over offers from Baker & McKenzie. And with Belgium looking likely to split, once Singapore and Bangkok have made up their minds we can finally call time on this whole sorry mess.

Bird & Bird: leaving the fairground
Bird & Bird has got the hump since the German technology merry-go-round. And it’s all about its history with Taylor Wessing and Luther Menold.

Disgusted of Two Birds phoned in to say that one partner leaving does not a merry-go-round make. The partner in question, Reinhard Gaertner, joined Taylor Wessing from Bird & Bird in June.

Admittedly, this in itself is hardly of fairground proportions. But Gaertner had barely been at Bird & Bird for five minutes, and the context of the piece also included German firm Luther Menold, which itself had lost lawyers to Bird & Bird and Taylor Wessing. If that’s not a merry-go-round, it at least looks like a lucky dip.

Anyway, as we’re feeling generous, Bird & Bird has built a “substantial and thriving” German practice of around 70 lawyers in three years. In which case it can probably afford to lose one or two now and again.