Litigation Review 2003: Litigation lowdown

This year saw the largest cases of modern times – Equitable Life, Barings and BCCI – fought out in the courts. The question is what litigators such as Philip Rocher at Clifford Chance, who handled Barings for years, will do now. The same goes for the droves of City lawyers, particularly at Denton Wilde Sapte, who were getting used to lining their pockets on the mammoth film finance litigation (Hollywood 4 and 5) when it abruptly settled.

The rash of insolvency work stemming from the economic downturn and corporate scandals has resulted in Holman Fenwick & Willan, Richards Butler and Taylor Wessing turning their hands to this work with greater zeal. Meanwhile, Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith have been capitalising on the upturn in regulatory investigations in North America.

US litigation departments in London continue to grow in strength. Notably, White & Case has stepped up a gear, hiring John Higham QC from Stephenson Harwood, which in turn has seen a rash of litigation partner departures, mainly to Ince & Co.

One of the most surprising moves has been Barlow Lyde & Gilbert’s greater focus on the ailing litigation area of shipping by recruiting Tim Taylor and Patrick Foss from Hill Taylor Dickinson.