Deals comment

A&O acts on first sexual orientation case to reach court

A&O acts on first sexual orientation case to reach court
Allen & Overy

(A&O) is the latest City firm to land work on a high-profile employment claim, joining Lovells and Linklaters in tribunals for large banks. A&O partner Mark Mansell (pictured) is representing HSBC as it fights the first-ever sexual orientation claim to come to trial, brought by former equity trading head Peter Lewis, who is claiming £5m. It is less than the £7.5m claim against Lovells client Merrill Lynch by Stephanie Villalba, or the £11m case against Linklaters client HBOS by Claire Bright, but Lewis’s claim is more significant than either. If he wins, it will set a precedent and could encourage many more such claims. The regulations are not only applicable for gay and bisexual employees; heterosexuals who believe they have been harrassed because fellow employees perceive them as gay will also be able to bring a case. The future of employment law has never been so diverse.

Energy clout sees Herbies land Sumitomo mandate
Herbert Smith it taking its projects practice international on the back of its highly successful international energy practice. The firm reached financial close on the $5.8bn (£3.34bn) project financing of one of the world’s largest refining and petrochemical projects, using its strong Japanese connections to secure Sumitomo Chemical, which acted as joint sponsor on the Rabigh Project. Herbert Smith’s energy practice is big in Japan, and this mandate is a feather in the cap for the projects team, which had struggled for work other than advising the public sector on domestic UK deals. White & Case advised Saudi Aramco, the joint venture partner of Sumitomo. Herbert Smith worked with the Law Office of Dr Mujahid M Al-Sawwaf, while White & Case worked alongside the Law Office of Mohammed Al-Sheikh. Clifford Chance advised the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.