Ashurst, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Weil Gotshal & Manges will no doubt be delighted that Apax has decided (at least for the time being) against putting its three legal advisers through their paces once again.
However, the firm that must be most relieved is Weil. The US outfit only won its place on the Apax panel in February after the buyout house decided to include a third firm on its legal roster (The Lawyer, 14 February). Since securing its role on the coveted panel, Weil is understood to have won at least nine mandates from Apax, but unfortunately none of the deals have made it through to the finish line.
In contrast, Ashurst‘s and Freshfields’ relationships with Apax are proving to be more fruitful. Since the launch of the panel, each firm has advised Apax on one successful deal apiece: Freshfields advised on the successful £1bn acquisition of Travelex, while Ashurst handled the acquisition of HIT Entertainment.
Bow Street bows out
The end of an era for the celebrity courthouse. Last week, the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) announced that, along with the Metropolitan Police Authority, it was selling Bow Street Magistrates’ Court. The site is being taken over next summer by Irish developers Edward Holdings. The DCA plans to redevelop an “existing court building” in Westminster to replace Bow Street.
But the new court will lack the vast history of the old one. Bow Street first gained a magistrates’ court in 1739, when Thomas de Veil sat as a magistrate at Number 4 Bow Street. Novelist Henry Fielding sat there as a Justice of the Peace in the mid-18th century and the first Metropolitan Police were also based in Bow Street.
Among those to pass through Bow Street have been Oscar Wilde, accused of practising homosexuality, and East End gangster twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray. More recently, Chilean dictator General Pinochet appeared before the magistrates, and the court has been the scene for several controversial extradition hearings.
The new, modernised building just won’t be the same.
Women briefs down due to failure of fees to rise
The criminal bar is continuing its fight against the pay freeze for short cases as practitioners prepare themselves for September’s ‘strike’.
Last week the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) warned that female barristers are being hit the hardest by the lack of increase in fees, due to the large number of short sex offence cases prosecuted or defended by women.
The Government is desperate to increase diversity in the legal profession at the moment, with consultation papers and recruitment drives for the judiciary and new silks being among the attempts to attract more women and ethnic minority candidates.
Maybe the Lord Chancellor will heed this latest warning, having apparently disregarded all previous pleas from the bar to raise fees in publicly-funded cases.
Meanwhile, the move to refuse new instructions from September appears to have substantial support from within the profession. Expect some very quiet criminal courts this autumn.