News in brief

A round up of stories from the UK and around the world

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), provisional liquidator of the Independent Insurance Company, is set to announce its panel for the run-off work of the collapsed company. National firms Berrymans Lace Mawer, Davies Arnold Cooper and Maidstone-based Davies Lavery – Independent's claims handling panel prior to its difficulties – are leading the charge for instructions from PwC. Joining these are Barlow Lyde & Gilbert and Vizards Staples & Bannisters, which have both previously acted for Independent. Ince & Co has joined the list of firms gaining work following the provisional liquidation of Independent Insurance. The firm has acted for existing client Royal & SunAlliance, on its acquisition of a portfolio of 400,000 policyholders left without cover in the aftermath of Independent's disintegration.
Denton Wilde Sapte's chair of the litigation department Michael Steiner (right) is advising the Baker Tilly partner appointed as trustee to Neil Hamilton. Steiner will work with Louise Bittain, who was appointed trustee in bankruptcy by Hamilton's creditors, the largest of which is Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, who is understood to be seeking more than £1.3m.
Allen & Overy will get a step closer to choosing a site for its new London HQ this week. Presentations on up to five new office developments will be made at the annual meeting held on the firm's accounts, due to be held on 5 July. These could see the partnership make its choice between Canary Wharf and the City.
Stibbe is losing senior partner Hughes Calvet to French corporate boutique Bredin Prat & Associés. Stibbe managing partner Olivier Delattre has confirmed that competition specialist Calvet, who has been at Stibbe for seven years, is leaving because he wants to work in an independent French firm. Calvet's move follows merger talks between Stibbe's Paris practice and US firm Latham & Watkins, which started in April (The Lawyer, 16 April). Talks are still ongoing and nothing has yet been signed.
Allen & Overy's Belgian office has been raided by Belgian authorities investigating former client Lernout & Hauspie, a speech recognition company. The raid took place last week and was ordered by a Belgian judge following the arrest and extradition of Lernout's chief executive Gaston Bastiaens. The office was formerly a partner of Benelux firm Loeff Claeys Verbeke, which merged with Allen & Overy last year.
Kingsley Napley partner Michael Caplan (left) has been elected chairman of the Solicitors Association of Higher Court Advocates. Caplan has been a partner at Kingsley Napley for 20 years, moving up to the partnership only four years after he qualified. He has acted for Senator Augusto Pinochet and was the only solicitor advocate to appear in the recent Marchioness inquiry, where he represented the captain of the Bowbelle.
Andersen Legal is continuing its recruitment drive in Germany with the hire of the chief legal adviser of DaimlerChrysler Aerospace to its Munich office. Ulrich Goebel will be the ninth partner to join Andersen's German arm Andersen Luther in the past few weeks. His hire follows the recruitment of eight partners from troubled German firm Wessing to Andersen's Düsseldorf office.
Keeble Hawson has tempted employment partner Paul Grindley from regional firm Emsleys. Prior to joining Emsleys he worked in-house for Asda. Grindley will be based in Keeble Hawson's Leeds office. A further part of the firm's recruitment drive is the appointment of Anthony Kingston from Berrymans Lace Mawer. Kingston will become head of IT for the firm.
Simmons & Simmons has teamed up with the Austrian M&A boutique Wolf Theiss & Partners to advise UK cigarette manufacturer Gallaher Group on its £1.4m acquisition of Austria Tabak. Linklaters & Alliance advised Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, Goldman Sachs, Barclays and HSBC as
arranger. In October The Lawyer revealed that Wolf Theiss was in merger talks with Clifford Chance.