The Lawyer Africa Elite 2014 features an in-depth look at 46 leading independent firms’ strategies in 15 key sub-Saharan jurisdictions, as well as the views of in-house counsel from some of Africa’s largest companies... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Lawrence Graham and T&L" />Lawrence Graham is in advanced discussions with Tite & Lewis (T&L), the former law firm of accounting giant Ernst & Young (E&Y).
T&L was cut loose by E&Y last April, but secured extremely favourable terms in the separation agreement, including a write-off of an overdraft which, as revealed by The Lawyer (8 March 2003), stood at £22m last March.
When T&L split with E&Y, the firm haemorrhaged some of its best lawyers, including banking partner Charles Proctor and M&A specialist Andrea Cropley, who both moved to Nabarro Nathanson. However, it still has five partners: name partners Christopher Tite and Mark Lewis; e-commerce partner Jon Edgell; competition partner James Robertson and real estate partner Louise Gowman.
The e-commerce group is widely regarded as the jewel in the depleted firm’s crown and has retained some good clients, including Lloyds TSB. The firm has around 20 lawyers and a further 20 staff, all of whom are expected to move with the merger.
T&L occupies property leased by E&Y on Noble Street in the City, although it is unlikely that Lawrence Graham would be lumbered with property costs. As part of the separation agreement, E&Y agreed to take back the property if T&L sealed a merger within a year.
A source close to T&L added that under the separation agreement, E&Y would have been willing to wind up T&L as a solvent concern a year after separation if the firm had not found a suitable merger partner.
Negotiations are likely to centre on remuneration. When T&L was linked to E&Y, Tite and Lewis were paid £650,000 a year plus bonuses, but top of Lawrence Graham’s equity is £615,000. However, while linked to E&Y, Lewis and particularly Tite spent much of their time managing rather than practising.
Lawrence Graham senior partner Bill Richards said: “We’re in merger talks with Tite & Lewis. Nothing is finalised at this stage.”
An E&Y spokesperson said: “Neither E&Y nor T&L will comment on market rumour.”