News in brief

A round up of stories from the UK and around the world

Litigation head quits Finers for Goodman Derrick
Finers Stephens Innocent has lost its head of litigation and client Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts to City firm Goodman Derrick. Former Finers managing partner Richard Gerstein (left) had been with Finers since it was founded and was also head of the hotel group. Finers merged with Stephens Innocent in 1999. Gerstein said his move to Goodman Derrick was prompted by the need for a new challenge and was unrelated to the merger. Radisson is the biggest client Gerstein worked for at Finers and has instructed him since 1994. Gerstein acts as the company's main external adviser in the UK and all work is moving with him to Goodman Derrick. Finers' litigation practice will now be headed by partner Howard Zetter, assisted by partner Daniel Marks, who heads the sports law group. Julia Cahill
Ashursts partner seconded to Takeover Panel
Ashursts corporate partner Robert Ogilvy Watson is to be seconded to the Takeover Panel as a joint secretary for two years starting today (14 January). Ogilvy Watson specialises in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions, both public and private (including takeovers), public to privates, initial public offerings, secondary equity fund raisings, acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures. Julia Cahill
A&L Goodbody axes Northern Irish alliance
Irish firm A&L Goodbody has officially scrapped its five-year cross-border alliance with Northern Irish firm Elliot Duffy Garrett. Goodbodys has been targeting Northern Irish work on its own account for some time and will rely on its in-house Dublin-based Northern Irish law team in the future. Helen Power
One Essex Court's Field joins Queen's Bench
One Essex Court's senior commercial silk Richard Field QC is to be sworn in as a High Court judge on 15 January. He was poached by the leading commercial set from the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine's former set 11 King's Bench Walk. Field will join the Queen's Bench Division. Brendan Malkin
Ashursts loses projects partner to Lovells
Lovells has taken on projects partner Melanie Willems (right) from Ashursts Morris Crisp, increasing the number of partners in its projects practice to 17 internationally. Willems is a mediator and arbitrator, and will join the London office. Naomi Rovnick
Société Générale legal chief held for questioning
Société Générale's chief of legal affairs was held for 48 hours last week by police for questioning about a multi-million dollar fraud. The director, who was unnamed by the Financial Times in an article last week, was among around 80 people being investigated by a judge concerned with fraudulent cheque transactions between France and Israel. French banks are calling for an urgent clarification of the country's money laundering laws following the arrests.
Bevan Ashford hires Shoosmiths chief
Shoosmiths has lost its head of employment to Bevan Ashford. Sarah Woffenden has joined the Birmingham office of the South West firm. Prior to working at Shoosmiths, she was at Wragge & Co and Pinsent Curtis Biddle. Her appointment brings the number of partners in Bevan Ashford's Birmingham office to five.
Mace & Jones wins company secretary
Mace & Jones has appointed the company secretary of Hull-based Seven Seas and former general counsel of Littlewoods Mark Hogarth to its Liverpool commercial department. Hogarth is also a legal consultant to the Mail Order Traders association. He brings the number of members of the Liverpool commercial team to seven.