PARTNERSHIP 2008: Lovells turns its nose up at its own

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008, 16.45
Lovells turns its nose up at its own

Lovells’ 2008 promotions round has been significant for a number of reasons: IP was the most heavily promoted practice area, just three females were made up and the total number of promotions dropped significantly on last year’s figure.

But most significant of all is the fact that of 18 new partners, just five actually trained and qualified with the firm.

Of those, four join the partnership at Lovells’ London HQ, with the fifth in Moscow.

Matthew Andrews, who qualified with the firm in 2000, becomes a partner in the firm’s banking practice while Dominic Hill, who qualified in 1997, joins the partnership in the financial institutions group.

Daniel Norris becomes a real estate partner and Mark Taylor joins the IP partnership, and qualified with Lovells in 2000 and 1999 respectively, and Michael Pugh becomes a capital markets partner in Moscow.

That leaves a whopping 13 new partners who did not grow up with the firm or its culture.

Of these, new Madrid real estate partner Emilio Gomez qualified with Gomez-Acebo & Pombo while Paris employment partner Jean-Marc Albiol qualified with Coopers & Lybrand and had spells with both Ernst & Young and Fidal before joining Lovells in 2004.

Similarly, Hong Kong corporate promotee Terence Lau qualified in 1996 and worked at Stephenson Harwood & Lo, Herbert Smith and Mallesons Stephens Jacques before joining Lovells in 2006.

In New York, new restructuring partner Matthew Morris was an associate with Cravath Swaine & Moore, a director of business affairs at HBO, general counsel at Vencast and senior associate at Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy before finally joining Lovells in 2006.

And so the list goes on. Okay, so not every Lovells office actually runs a training programme, but what this provides is an interesting snapshot of a firm struggling to find its feet several years after a restructure that was designed to streamline its practices.

It’s all very well getting rid of a bunch of underperforming partners (see story) then replacing them with a raft of lateral hires (see story), but what’s really important to a firm, and crucially to a firm’s future, is organic growth.

We’ve heard it from managing partners a million times before: it’s the people that make the firm. Trainees at Lovells will not take heart from the distinct lack of opportunities this year¹s round suggests are open to them.

Partnership prospects
Lovells trainee: outlook cloudy
If you work somewhere else: sunny
IP: definitely hotting up

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008, 10.45
Hammonds: Brum, building, a baby and a barrister

Baltis and the Bullring are arguably the things most closely associated with Birmingham – lawyering comes in third at best.

So why on earth has Hammonds made seven of its 19 partner promotions there?

Looking at the breakdown is a clue. Three of the seven new partners are in the urban regeneration field: property and construction.

The other four are all in arenas that are needed once regeneration has taken place: commercial, employment, pensions and tax strategies.

In short, Hammonds is tooling itself with a one-stop shop for regeneration and beyond in Brum. Doesn’t exactly fit with the firm’s vision to become more European, but then a good gig is a good gig, right?

Melanie Williams, one of the new property partners, claims that the Birmingham lawyers don’t work separately from their European counter-parts. “We have dealings with them such as going to Mipim,” she says.

Hmmm, quite.

Williams says that she was inspired to become a lawyer as a child.

“My parents divorced when I was very young and came under the care of a female barrister. When I saw how she had managed to make a great career for herself I knew I could too,” she explains.

A stalwart Brummie, she confirms Birmingham is a growth office due to that city’s regeneration boom, but denies that work hailing from outside the region is only from businesses keen to cut cost on low-priority projects by sending them outside London.

“If the talent is in Birmingham then that’s where the work will go – it’s not just about saving money,” she concludes.

Partnership forecast:

Brum: Sunny
Regeneration: Heatwave
Women: Cloudy with breaks of sunshine
Europe: Patchy showers

Previous Partnership 2008 blogs.

Hammonds: Brum, building, a baby and a barrister – Tuesday, April 14th, 2008
Bird & Bird promotions: only two birds – Monday, April 14th, 2008
Eversheds Paris: female partners multiplying – Monday, April 14th, 2008
Eversheds female promotions dwindle – Friday, April 11th, 2008
Slaughter and May: ladies, long hours and longevity – Thursday, April 10th
Russell Jones & Walker: More to the core – Tuesday, April 8th
A&O in the Middle East: one new partner, back-up on the way – Monday, April 7th
Clifford Chance: Popham puts his money where his mouth isMonday, April 7th
Nabarro, Hunton & HosseiniFriday, April 4th
Addleshaws: managing associatesFriday, April 4th
Nabarro promotions down (under) Thursday, April 3rd
Hunton & Williams: The London eye Thursday, April 3rd
The corporate partnership: Superwomen only?Wednesday, April 2nd
Ashurst promotions: expectation management Wednesday, April 2nd
Pinsents’ Leeds’ ladies take the lead Monday, March 31st
Herbies…continued… Thursday, March 27th
Herbies shakes things upThursday, March 27th
Macfarlanes predicts a good yearThursday, March 26th
Burges Salmon talks the talkWednesday, March 26th
Trowers promotions dwindleTuesday, March 25th
Wragges’ ups the firm’s real estate profileThursday, March 20th
Olswang‘s year of change Thursday, March 20th
Camerons goes East Wednesday, March 19th
Ince & Co: happy days for men in boats Tuesday, March 18th
Freshfields refills partnershipMonday, March 17th