Top 10 stories, 15 August – 21 August 2014

The last week’s biggest stories have seen plenty of litigation and news of firm restructures – have a look and share your views.

The doings of the magic circle always hold fascination for the legal market, and many are watching closely as Clifford Chance’s new managing partner Matthew Layton, backed up by his replacement as corporate head Guy Norman, takes control of the firm.

Among their challenges are steadying the Clifford Chance private equity ship, which has seen the loss of a number of high-profile partners in the past few years. The firm is now hiring to replace associates who have followed the departing partners to US firms including Latham & Watkins and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

In better news for Clifford Chance, the firm secured a £224m payout by the Government this week in a row between client Raytheon and the UK Border Agency. And although the courts are shut for the summer, settlements keep on coming in – with Clyde & Co bringing an end to the whistleblowing dispute with former partner Krista Bates van Winkelhof after several years and hearings up to Supreme Court level.

Also in litigation news, the week saw confirmation that Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and litigation boutique Leon Kaye have joined Bird & Bird and Stewarts Law in representing claimants suing RBS in a £4bn battle over a 2008 £12bn rights issue. The next hearing will be in November.

Meanwhile Nabarro’s decision to offer fixed fees for all litigation clients was met with a mixture of cynicism and applause, with commentators divided over whether Nabarro is late to the party or pursuing a positive new course.

In law firm news, readers flocked to our stories about two of the giants of the personal injury market. Despite a three-year lock-in, legacy Pannone partners are prepared to give up equity to leave Australian listed firm Slater & Gordon. Rival Irwin Mitchell has recorded a drop in profit after a similar raft of acquisitions and growth in recent years.

And finally, comments are still coming in on the 30 July story over the highest salary pocketed by a law firm marketing chief. It seems that lawyers and support staff are unable to find a middle ground over the value of firms’ marketing staff. Let the debate continue.

1. Clifford Chance’s Layton and Norman: We needed leaner leadership

2. Clifford Chance builds up private equity team as associates leave

3. Pannone partners break three-year lock-in to leave Slater & Gordon

4. Home Office ordered to pay Clifford Chance client Raytheon £224m

5. Irwin Mitchell’s profit drops 8.5 per cent to £17.1m as revenue inches up

6. Clydes settles whistleblowing claim with former partner Bates van Winkelhof

7. Quinn Emanuel, Stewarts and Bird & Bird gear up for RBS rights battle

8. Marketing chiefs at City law firms pocket salaries of up to £477,000

9. Linklaters, Travers Smith, Weil in £184m PwC Lehman pensions settlement

10. Nabarro to offer fixed fees for all litigation clients