Rats the size of dogs

And now, the end is near, and so real estate lawyers face their final cocktail.

Mipim is winding down, alas. While we in the UK have had to sit through the most boring Budget ever (click here for readers’ comments on non-doms), property lawyers have been whooping it up down the Croisette.

High point? Apart from Addleshaw Goddard’s speakeasy, it had to be the number of Russian, Ukrainian and Middle East businesspeople to schmooze. See story.

Lowest points of the week had to be the fire that smoked out Nabarro and the windowless cell that was Maples Teesdale’s accommodation.

Oh, and the rat in Martineau Johnson’s apartment.

Size of a corgi, apparently.

Schmoozing and boozing in Cannes

Cannes is hosting 25,000 delegates from the real estate industry and our man Luke McLeod-Roberts has been networking with the best of them.

In between breakfast under the orange tree and champagne at the Martinez, Luke’s found time to write the MIPIM Blog – a sterling effort, which has documented the shenanigans of our lawyers as they schmooze and booze.

So far, we’ve had Freshfields partner Jeffrey Rubinoff claiming its not about the size, but knowing where best to put it, his London managing partner Tim Jones is suffering from ID theft and Field Fisher Waterhouse partner John Nelmes has been caught courting great Danes.

The credit crunch has not hit the Riviera. Don’t forget to log in tomorrow. Tonight’s party night in Cannes. There will be a tale or two to tell.

Fireworks at W&C, briefcases at Downing Street and champagne in Cannes
It’s all kicking off on TheLawyer.com today.

The Lawyer exclusively revealed the discontent in the London office of White & Case on Monday and last night partners Maurice Allen and Mike Goetz handed in their resignations. See story.

London’s finance partners were called in to an emergency meeting last night as global managing partner Hugh Verrier flew in with Allen’s global co-head of banking Eric Berg to try and calm an explosive situation. Berg is temporarily relocating to steady the ship. That’s sure to go down well with a team seeking more independence. See the original story.

But it’s not all bad news for White & Case. Litigation partner Alistair Graham teamed up with Brick Court to score a stunning House of Lords victory for Ian Norris. The former chief executive of Morgan Crucible will not be frogmarched to Heathrow and the UK’s extradition treaty with the US looks to be on shaky ground.See story.

But that’s not all. Yes, it’s budget day today. And we’ll bring you the legal market’s reaction later today to crucial issues such as what to do about non-doms? What’s Darling done about Islamic finance? And what’s the latest on corporate tax?

Away from London, MIPIM starts today and our real estate reporter Luke McLeod-Roberts is on the ground in Cannes bringing you regular news and gossip updates from the champagne-fuelled conference that has attracted about 25,000 delegates. See the MIPIM Blog 2008.

And if you want more… Bird & Bird is merging with a Finnish firm, Pfizer’s general counsel has quit and A&O has emerged as the most attractive employer among law students – unless they’re from Oxbridge. Phew.

Fight for your right
Everyone seems to be spoiling for a fight this week. First of all, there’s the White & Case saga, which as The Lawyer revealed yesterday pits the London office’s two biggest stars against the New York management. See story.

And then there’s Withers v Forsters, which sees the two firms at loggerheads over Forsters’ hire of four partners. See story.

In fact, Withers is involved in the other big story of the week – former F&C legal head Gillian Switalski’s employment claim against her former company.

Withers partner Elaine Aarons is advising Switalski, with McDermott Will & Emery partner David Dalgarno acting for F&C.

Switalski was one of the best-known legal heads in the business even before the Daily Mail’s splash this morning. A high-profile female lawyer, alleged bullying and victimisation, and a blue-blood City institution – expect the rest of Fleet Street to take up this story with gusto.

Get a life – join Linklaters
So, 11 lovely law firms have made it into the Sunday Times bestest places to work in the world ever list. See story.

This has become something of a badge of honour for law firms as they battle the public image that paints them as something of a bottom-of-the-City-pile sweatshop, where associates slave in data rooms ’til dawn and beyond. A place where untouchable partners rule with a cattle-whip and a casting couch imported direct from Hollywood.

The battle for talent has increased firms’ desires to feature in such surveys to such an extent that even Linklaters entered this year. And the magic circle firm managed to find a berth for itself at number 93. Despite the ravings of some departed German colleagues, Linklaters looks set to shed its reputation as a home for automatons and relaunch itself as a haven of all things soft and fluffy.

Here’s cuddly new managing partner Simon Davies celebrating the firm’s ranking: “The real value of the Best Companies data is that it comes from our people themselves, it is independently validated and it allows us to track progress in specific areas. The data is very easy to use and we can analyse our results to help us develop action plans for continuous improvement.”

Go Simon! You’ll have Generation Y queueing at your doorstep. Hell, even their logo’s pink!