Diageo has filled the position of senior general counsel, which has been vacant for six months, with a US lawyer from Glaxo Wellcome. Tim Proctor will join the company in January from the pharmaceuticals giant where he is director of worldwide human resources.

DJ Freeman has taken on four Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal partners from the firm's London office, which closed earlier this month. Antoinette Jucker, corporate partner at the US firm, joins DJ Freeman's media department in January. Jucker was a partner at DJ Freeman two years ago before joining Sonnenscheins.

Allen & Overy's new Dutch merger partner Loeff Claeys Verbeke has dissolved its partnership in preparation for its alliance. Partners met on 7 December to formalise the decision.

Nabarro Nathanson faces losing work from Sun Microsystems after Mark Curtis, the new head of legal at the company, announced an overhaul of its external law firms. Nabarros is the company's main legal adviser. Its work may be shared out to firms including Field Fisher Waterhouse.

Freshfields has appointed structured finance partner Jonathan Shann one of three Wilde Sapte equity partners who are leaving when the firm merges with Denton Hall in February 2000.

Exports of British legal services exceeded £1bn a year for the first time, says a report by British Invisibles. The total was £1.092bn in 1998 compared to £893m in 1997. The figures take into account all legal services, including in-house billings to foreign subsidiaries.

Titmuss Sainer Dechert has won a landmark £125,000 settlement and legal costs of £24,440 in connection with the arms to Iraq probe. The firm acted for Reginald Dunk, Alexander Schlesinger and Atlantic Com-mercial, which claimed abuse of public office by the British Foreign Office.

The Bar Council is claiming that assistant solicitors in London cost up to double the price of junior barristers. According to a report published by the Bar Council, solicitors have higher overheads than barristers, forcing them to raise fees. The report also finds that senior barristers and partners charge similar rates. See leader page 17.

Gateley Wareing has set up a commercial dispute resolution unit to head a fixed fee litigation service for clients with smaller disputes. The service will enable the firm to evaluate the likelihood of a claim succeeding at the beginning of proceedings and to set fees at each stage.

USlaw.com is to launch 24-hour free on-line legal advice from New Year's Day. The site, funded by Grand Central Holdings, will have 14 lawyers providing one-on-one information at no charge. The website currently offers advice 13 hours a day but claims there is huge unmet demand for the service.

Weil Gotshal & Manges has made up five new partners, bringing the number of partners in the firm's London office to 23 in the new year. The partners are corporate lawyers Charles Alexander, James Gubbins and Andrew Harting, US solicitor Corey Chivers, and banking lawyer Kate Allchurch.