Kilpatrick PFI healthcare team jumps before the push

The downscaling of Kilpatrick Stockton’s London office continues, with further partners opting to jump ship before the official cull begins.

The latest exodus from the firm’s struggling London presence is the PFI healthcare team, which believes the future looks far brighter at Shadbolt & Co. Partners Edward Marston and Andrew Walsh will move across to the projects and construction group in the commercial firm’s London office next Monday (21 November), taking several support staff with them (as first revealed on, 21 September).

The team’s move pre-empts a campaign of compulsory redundancies, which Kilpatrick’s executive committee is expected to begin implementing any day now. The committee aims to slash most of the London office, including its sizable projects, commercial property and international business teams.

Preliminary voluntary redundancy negotiations have failed to reduce the office’s size significantly, with only five associates deciding to leave. Partners Vishas Kanji, Per Runeland and Mark Johnstone have also since opted for sunnier climes.

Reed Smith Rambaud Charot finds its feet in Paris

It has taken four months, but Reed Smith Paris is finally open for business. The US firm’s French office opens with four partners from Rambaud Martel, and will operate under the grand title of Reed Smith Rambaud Charot. The firm’s press release says the name emphasises “the desire to combine traditional values of a French business law firm with the significant benefits of integrated international reach”.

The ‘Rambaud’ in Reed Smith is not the same as the ‘Rambaud’ in Rambaud Martel. Reed Smith has hired Mathieu Rambaud, whose father Jean-François Rambaud founded Rambaud Martel together with Jean-Pierre Martel. Martel is, of course, now off to Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, along with most of his partners, where his name will no longer appear on the letterhead.

In a nice twist of irony, Orrick’s new Chinese office cannot be plain Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, thanks to regulatory rules. It will carry the name of its predecessor firm, Coudert, as Orrick Coudert – even though Coudert, like Rambaud Martel, is soon to be no more.

Herbies’ litigation crown teeters

Is Herbert Smith losing its touch as the pre-eminent litigation outfit in the City? First there was Equitable Life and the settlement of the lengthy and expensive case against Ernst & Young (E&Y), widely hailed as a victory for E&Y and an embarrassment for Herbert Smith. Next came the news that litigation associates were walking out of the firm in droves. And now Herbert Smith has suffered another defeat, in the complicated case of SEB Trygg Holding v Manches & ors. Acting for defendant AMB Generali Holding, Herbert Smith was trying to get a declaration that its client was not party to an arbitration that could cost it £40m. It lost in January in the High Court, and last Thursday (10 November) it lost again in the Court of Appeal.

There are plenty of other firms snapping at Herbert Smith’s heels – and plenty sniggering at its current predicament. The firm had better get some victories under its belt soon, and the more high-profile the better.