Grapevine

BLG enjoys a spot of name dropping

The kings of law firm advertising have to be the personal injury, ‘no win, no fee’ set that dominate daytime television schedules. But City firms are doing their best to close the gap.

Last week Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) took the bold step of taking out a full page ad in The Times. The firm listed the names of hundreds of in-house counsel with the tag line: “If you’d like your name kept out of the legal pages, take a note of ours.”

The ad listed Peter Bevan at BP, Catherine Johnson at the London Stock Exchange and Philip Bramwell at O2 among others.

Gerry Kennedy, in-house counsel at Lonza Biologics, also featured. He told The Lawyer he had received a card the day before from BLG advising him to check the paper for his name. But it will take more than an ad to sway Kennedy.

“We don’t do lots of litigation,” he said. “And we generally use Eversheds.”

Richards Butler HK keeps Reed Smith on tenterhooks

Richards Butler has stepped up its integration efforts with Reed Smith following the US firm’s first presentation to Richards Butler Hong Kong.

No negotiations have been entered into, but Reed Smith chairman Greg Jordan presented his vision to the Hong Kong team. The Hong Kong partners are still undecided.

A Richards Butler source said: “The Hong Kong partners are extremely strong-willed. The signs were as positive as could be expected.”

Meanwhile, a whole bunch of Richards Butler’s most senior partners (aside from Hong Kong) flew to Phoenix, Arizona last week to attend Reed Smith’s annual partner conference. Partners from all practices and offices (again, aside from Hong Kong) learnt about the Reed Smith way of doing things and still found time for a bit of springtime sunshine. That’s one benefit you can’t sell to Hong Kong.

A&O’s straight talking wins gay discrimination case

Whenever new employment legislation comes into force, everyone predicts a rush of litigation. But it has taken more than two years for the first sexual orientation discrimination claim to come to trial, and on 5 May the case was decided in favour of the defendant employer, HSBC.

The former banker who brought the case, Peter Lewis, was a senior employee who claimed he was dismissed from because he is gay. The bank countered by alleging that Lewis was sacked for gross misconduct, which was upheld.

It is a resounding success for Allen & Overy (A&O), which was defending HSBC. The message sent out for future sexual orientation cases is that they seem as unlikely to succeed as the majority of gender discrimination claims – good news for A&O and its City competitors, such as Lovells and Linklaters, but bad news for the high-earning bankers ousted from their jobs.

Accolade for The Lawyer

Last week www.thelawyer.com was highly commended in the Interactive Business and Professional Magazine of the Year category at the PPA Magazine Awards for editorial and publishing excellence.