Norton Rose: not quite United

Sir Alex Ferguson has clearly timed his Manchester United exit to enable him to stand for global managing partner of Clifford Chance (all he needs now is a practising certificate) when nominations open later this year.

Sir Alex Ferguson has clearly timed his Manchester United exit to enable him to stand for global managing partner of Clifford Chance (all he needs now is a practising certificate) when nominations open later this year.

But maybe given his famous man management he’d be better off taking the helm at Norton Rose instead. For all Peter Martyr’s impressive leadership through a string of global mergers in Australia, South Africa, Canada and the US, he appears not to have managed the purely neat execution of the Fulbright & Jaworski tie-up that he will have hoped for.

After first considering offloading the Middle East on legacy Fulbright’s profit pool, a plan that has now been scrapped, the firm seems to have failed in its bid to bring all of Fulbright’s London team over the UK partnership.

As we report today, at least two Fulbright partners – a duo of litigation recruits from BLG in 2007 and 2008 – have negotiated an opt-out that allows them to work with Norton Rose but keep out of its UK LLP, ringfencing them against its performance. So for the first two years following the June merger, they’ll be on the Fulbright remuneration system, which is far more lucrative.

It’s no disaster for the Norton Rose group, which might otherwise have lost some of these partners to a rival, but would Sir Alex have settled for this?

Martyr had better get that hairdryer routine perfected before the next merger.

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Norton Rose: not quite United