Grapevine

First DLA, now Salans: for the second time in seven days, a law firm is making a massive move into Central Europe through merger.

Last week https://www.thelawyer.com/lawyernews revealed DLA’s deal with Austrian firm Weiss Tessbach, which delivered a substantial Central and Eastern European presence.

This week we can report that Salans is set to be the winner in the bidding war for Altheimer & Gray’s Central and Eastern European offices. Salans’ partners are understood to be voting next week on the deal, which will augment Salans’ existing business in the region – just in time for EU accession. Altheimer’s Warsaw, Paris and Kiev offices are not part of the package; it’s understood that the Warsaw partners are currently choosing between Coudert, Squire Sanders and Chadbourne & Parke. For more, see https://www.thelawyer.com/item/106918.

Back in the West, here’s the biggest news you’ll get all year. Clifford Chance‘s London managing partner Peter Charlton is an aesthete. Truly. Check out the firm’s new HQ in Canary Wharf and you’ll see. We had a nose around earlier this week and we can reveal that the new building’s even nicer than Lovells’. (Sorry, Lesley.)

Here’s what we saw: beautiful stone, tons of light, lifts that make your ears pop, aromatherapy rooms, ergonomic chairs everywhere, magic self-locking doors in the dealrooms, curvy coffee stations, padded circular phone booths, a prayer room, smells of fresh food wafting down wide corridors, juice bars groaning with fruit, free Clifford Chance T-shirts in the gym and the most extraordinary views from the client dining rooms on the 30th floor.

Presumably all this will help to make up for the fact that there are no greasy spoons on the Canary Wharf estate, and frankly, no decent pubs either. Oh, and not all the signage is up yet – we saw one slightly flustered partner getting lost trying to find the reception.

Amazingly, there haven’t been any grumbles from anyone at CC; morale seems to have lifted. And what is nothing short of miraculous, moving thousands of staff to the new building has gone without a hitch.

The only question is what to do with all that space in the gigantic New York-style lobby on the ground floor, which is looking a bit cavernous. So to help CC out, we’re inviting suggestions from you. A prize for the most creative email…