…while dispute teams prepare for bonanza

Dispute resolution practices across City law firms have been flooded by enquiries for legal advice since the credit crunch has taken hold.

Firms such as Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) and Herbert Smith are expected to be the winners in the sub-prime
fallout.

Clare Canning, head of commercial litigation at BLG, said that over the past couple of weeks the firm has definitely seen an increasing number of instructions arising directly out of the credit crunch.

“The banking and private equity communities have gone from a world in which deals could be done on the basis of commitment to one in which the players are needing to consider their strict legal rights,” said Canning.

Antony Dutton, head of dispute resolution at Norton Rose, said the effect of the credit crunch was instantaneous. “The opportunities for disputes have come from the corporate debt restructuring market, liquidity issues and hedge funds going under,” said Dutton.

The magic circle firms have said that, although corporate and leveraged finance are on a downturn, they expect to weather the storm through the strength of their restructuring and litigation practices.

One Travers Smith partner quipped: “Everyone prefers boom times – everyone other than BLG, who are probably loving this.”