Wall St woes: A&O here at last

Wall St woes: A&O here at lastDay three of the Wall Street crisis, and the major legal players are emerging. As my colleague Julia Berris in New York noted yesterday, Wachtell and Weil Gotshal have snagged some of the biggest roles on the US end.

Over here in the City, Linklaters has been the central player, advising the administrators at PwC, while Clifford Chance is sticking like glue to Barclays. But where is Allen & Overy?

A&O – veteran of Marconi, TXU and monster workouts too numerous to mention – was strangely absent from the fray this week, which puzzled many. Most banking and restructuring lawyers I’ve been talking to imagined A&O was near the top of the queue to get the administration job, especially since CC was conflicted out because of Barclays.

So just as well for A&O that it’s in for HBOS on its merger talks with Lloyds.

When news of those talks broke earlier today, we were agog at the hilarious prospect of Linklaters having to choose between the two banks. Links has acted for both institutions for years, after all, and won the pole position over Herbert Smith when Halifax merged with Bank of Scotland in May 2001. If there was a choice to be made, Linklaters chose Lloyds – the bank in the stronger position.

I say ‘if’ with good reason, because A&O was already the frontrunner. The market got a glimpse earlier this year of how A&O had managed to work HBOS, when it got the nod for the bank’s not-entirely-successful £4bn rights issue (TheLawyer.com, 29 April).

Linklaters’ continued involvement with HBOS couldn’t have continued much longer, given that its client roster also include RBS and LLoyds. But for A&O it’s been welcome news – though Herbies must be green with envy.

So we’ve found out what A&O are doing in all this. Now all we have to do is work out why another magic circle firm is invisible.

Anyone seen Slaughter and May lately?

Latest Wall St news

17-Sep-2008 3-4 South Square bags role on Lehman
17-Sep-2008 Clifford Chance completes Barclays’ £1bn Lehman purchase
17-Sep-2008 Allen & Overy, Links in HBOS-Lloyds merger talks
17-Sep-2008 Lehman to ask lawyers to stay ‘for months,’ insiders say
17-Sep-2008 Lehman’s UK lawyers ‘may not be paid’
16-Sep-2008 Sullivan & Cromwell gets AIG rescue mandate
16-Sep-2008 Firms scour for conflicts ahead of Wall St fall-out work
16-Sep-2008 200+ legal jobs under threat at Lehman Bros
16-Sep-2008 Sullivan & Cromwell gets AIG rescue mandate
15-Sep-2008 Shearman, Wachtell in Merrill Lynch takeover
15-Sep-2008 Cravath acts on $70bn cash lifeline
15-Sep-2008 Links advises PwC in Lehman administration
15-Sep-2008 Wachtell guides US Treasury on Fannie/Freddie

Previous Wall St woes

16-Sep-2008: Weil at heart
In a week of uncertainty, the only sure thing was that Weil Gotshal & Manges bankruptcy star Harvey Miller would get a call from longstanding client Lehman Brothers…

15-Sep-2008: The Lehman fallout
Oh, the ups and downs of finance lawyers. Three months ago Linklaters’ banking group was filled with gloom after JPMorgan dumped it from every mandate you’ve ever heard of…