Grapevine

DLA finds Gay pride

The Lawyer loves nothing more than merger talks, so just imagine our delight upon learning that, not content with its impending status as top 10 global monolith, DLA is now turning its attentions to the Antipodes.

Amid all the excitement, some DLA partners have been fascinated to learn that their “focus firm” Down Under is also known in the Sydney marketplace as “Frilly Frocks”, apparently owing to its progressive image as a tolerant, gay-friendly workplace. One unreconstructed DLA partner was aghast at the idea, but another more enthusiastic soul mooted a DLA float at Sydney’s iconic Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras with senior management at the helm. Somehow we can’t see that happening any time soon.

Corporate head role up for grabs at Herbies

So, Herbert Smith’s corporate head Caroline Goodall has decided not to stand for re-election as the end of her five-year term approaches. Goodall, who took over from Richard Bond in July 2000 when he became senior partner, has told all her colleagues that she will hand over the reins to a fellow partner.

News of Goodall’s decision not to stand for re-election has come as a surprise in some corners of Herbert Smith. Under her leadership, the firm has made huge strides up the corporate food chain. She was instrumental in securing the mandate to advise the Government on the £48bn nuclear clean-up programme last year – a massive coup for the Broadgate firm.

The process to find her successor is already underway, although only covertly. New senior partner David Gold will be hoping for a decision by Christmas. In the meantime, Tim Bellis, Henry Raine, Michael Walter and Stephen Wilkinson are all tipped by insiders to stand. Watch this space.

North West property reaches for the sky

Property is big news in the North West at the moment. A mass of building work is going on in Liverpool thanks to the city being named European Capital of Culture for 2008, and the boom is stretching out across the region.

It’s good news for the regional firms based in Manchester and Liverpool. Hill Dickinson is capitalising by sponsoring the Capital of Culture initiative. Halliwells last week announced its push into Liverpool as it plans to merge with commercial property stalwart Cuff Roberts.

And Davies Wallis Foyster is moving too. Earlier this month, along with DLA, the firm won a place on Manchester Airport Group’s tiny property panel. Now it’s boosting the size of its Manchester property team by hiring Claire Chapman, a senior associate from Eversheds. Chapman’s appointment comes just months after two property partners joined Davies Wallis Foyster from Weightmans.
Hill Dickinson, Halliwells, Davies Wallis Foyster – which North West firm will be next to join the property bandwagon?