Waiting for Dubya

Hailing a taxi when the president is in town is not easy.

But while President Bush prepares to give a talk at the New York Economic Club this afternoon (Friday 14 March), I’m running across town to see a team of European Clifford Chance partners give a briefing on the cross-border regulatory environment.

After hearing the French, German, New York and UK perspectives on financial regulation, I caught up with London-based partner, Carlos Conceicao before he headed out the door to hear Bush speak.

Thanks to Carlos, I learned that Bush will be tackling hard issues relating to the US economy. No doubt the phrases ‘sub-prime’ and ‘credit crunch’ will come up.

I also learned just what it involves if you want to get an audience with the Pres. Number one on the list is a lot of time. Dubya’s talk started at 1pm. Carlos, and everybody else, had to be in the venue and through security by 10.30am.

So what does a Clifford Chance partner do for two-and-a-half hours while he waits for the President to show up?

Well, not only does Carlos get the chance to see Bush but he also gets an extra two-and-a-half hours with his clients. Bonus.

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Another day, another DLA Piper office
11-March-2008, Matt Byrne

Yes, it’s DLA Piper again, but when a firm is on a roll, it’s on a roll.

This time it’s Houston. For a certain kind of firm, particularly one as opportunistic as DLA Piper, an office in one of the world’s energy capitals clearly makes a lot of sense.

As one local recruiter puts it, “for years, Houston was the preserve of the regional firms but now you’re seeing the big money-centre firms, with their connections to finance and the M&A markets, coming in.”

Well, DLA Piper has never been accused of lacking energy, so it’s probably appropriate for it to join the likes of Shell, Chevron and BP down in Houston.

Would it be overstating it to say DLA Piper pops up everywhere? Probably not.

Ten minutes after the Houston release arrived in my inbox it was followed by an invite for a transatlantic event promoted by the British American Business Council. The host? DLA Piper. Come on. Are there no other firms out there?

The world’s most aggressively expansionist firm has persuaded a trio of local lawyers to join it and launch its latest outpost. They include two former heads of department, one each from Akin Gump and Howrey.

Off the back of these chaps, DLA Piper says it is hoping to grow the group tenfold (give or take) in a year.

Morgan Lewis had a similar idea last year. Although the Philadelphia firm’s raid on Fulbright & Jaworski was more about IP than energy, it was still indicative of Houston’s increasing prominence in the US legal market.

Houston is clearly a place law firms need to be. And as the firm’s US co-head Frank Burch says, it was only a matter of time before that included DLA Piper.