Buy one, get one free

It was two for the price of one last night (Wednesday 15 May) as Ashurst New York heads past and present descended on the Meatpacking District’s version of Soho House.

Current head Duncan Stiles was joined by the man he succeeded earlier this year, Giles Boothman.

In between bouts of The Lawyer versus Ashurst, Table Football Tournament 2008, I asked corporate partner Boothman what was keeping him busy these days?

“Restructuring,” came the reply. “We’re really seeing work levels start to kick in now.”

The key difference with this downturn and the last, Boothman revealed, is that he and his team are a lot tougher when it comes to billing.

“We tend to bill on a weekly basis, with something on account up front,” he said. “Frankly, in this market I think you have to take that approach. If the client doesn’t like it then they’re going to have to go elsewhere.”

It might seem a terribly hard-nosed style, especially from those genteel folks at Ashurst, but it’s what the banks have been doing for years. Tough times, tougher measures.

Naturally, I also asked the duo whether this doubled barrelled assault on the US market was in any way significant? Was Boothman planning a return?

“Not at all,” he confirmed. “I try to get over here around once a year to maintain my contacts.”
And to practise his dribbling skills.

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