Day three of the Wall Street crisis, and the major legal players are emerging. As my colleague Julia Berris in New York noted yesterday, Wachtell and Weil Gotshal have snagged some of the biggest roles on the US end.
A&O – veteran of Marconi, TXU and monster workouts too numerous to mention – was strangely absent from the fray this week, which puzzled many. Most banking and restructuring lawyers I’ve been talking to imagined A&O was near the top of the queue to get the administration job, especially since CC was conflicted out because of Barclays.
When news of those talks broke earlier today, we were agog at the hilarious prospect of Linklaters having to choose between the two banks. Links has acted for both institutions for years, after all, and won the pole position over Herbert Smith when Halifax merged with Bank of Scotland in May 2001. If there was a choice to be made, Linklaters chose Lloyds – the bank in the stronger position.
I say ‘if’ with good reason, because A&O was already the frontrunner. The market got a glimpse earlier this year of how A&O had managed to work HBOS, when it got the nod for the bank’s not-entirely-successful £4bn rights issue (TheLawyer.com, 29 April).
Linklaters' continued involvement with HBOS couldn't have continued much longer, given that its client roster also include RBS and LLoyds. But for A&O it's been welcome news - though Herbies must be green with envy.
So we’ve found out what A&O are doing in all this. Now all we have to do is work out why another magic circle firm is invisible.
- 16-Sep-2008: Weil at heart In a week of uncertainty, the only sure thing was that Weil Gotshal & Manges bankruptcy star Harvey Miller would get a call from longstanding client Lehman Brothers...
- 15-Sep-2008: The Lehman fallout Oh, the ups and downs of finance lawyers. Three months ago Linklaters’ banking group was filled with gloom after JPMorgan dumped it from every mandate you’ve ever heard of...