Grapevine

Freshfields chooses ‘the one’ for litigation

Congratulations to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer‘s new global litigation head Ian Terry, who has been lured back to management by doting colleagues. And this time there’s only one of him; the magic circle firm has done away with the fudge that bedevilled the senior partner election and opted for one, not two, global heads.

Terry will need to deploy all his sensitivity. His appointment may be through acclamation, but the Germans will have to be ostentatiously included. What’s more, with BCCI over, the litigation group may be looking at a bit of a lull. Let’s not forget that the total bill for Freshfields plus counsel was £75m. That’s some hole.

The growth potential has to come from knitting together the international practices better. Perhaps the litigators ought to take a leaf out of Paul Bowden’s book: his public law and environmental unit has meshed nicely with the German side and is likely to be held up as a model of best practice internally.

Terry looks like having a busy 2006.

Who needs partners? Not Norton Rose

Former city heavyweights Norton Rose and Simmons & Simmons just can’t seem to find the staff these days.

With US firms making all the headlines with star partner hires, the two firms seem to have settled for hiring associates to grow their practices.

Most recently, Simmons poached four real estate associates from Richards Butler for its Paris office. The team is set to be led by Edouard Vitry, who remains an associate despite having 14 years’ experience in the field.

Norton Rose has been the market leader with this innovative strategy, hiring three international capital markets associates in a week.

In the firm’s defence, the associates, from Allen & Overy and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, have been made up to partners, which is more than can be said for the Simmons hires.

Clearly, though, Norton Rose values its associates: one needs look no further than its associate-led Brussels competition team for proof.

Five Nauta Dutilh partners disembark

More signs that Nauta Dutilh’s recent protestations over its loyalty to Rotterdam were a little too much came late last week when another five partners jumped ship.

This is actually one of those rare occasions when that tired old phrase is reasonably accurate: the work generated from the port of Rotterdam is the Dutch giant’s main reason for staying in the city.

Still, the argument clearly doesn’t hold enough water for arbitration head Bart van Tongeren, employment partners Jennifer Willemsen and Simon Tan and tax partner Roderick Bouwman, who have all bailed.

Even shipping partner Arnold van Steenderen has read his last bill of lading while at Nauta and is off to paddle his own canoe.

Is Nauta Rotterdam about to sink? Managing partner Marc Bloom says no, but then he’s hardly likely to say anything else and start a stampede for the lifeboats, is he?