Royal london/Scottish

This is the biggest corporate deal of the year so far for Speechly Bircham, acting for long-term client Scottish Life Assurance. The firm acted on the client's mutualisation in the 1960s, and this £1.1bn demutualisation is the biggest deal it has done since then.

Royal London Mutual bought Scottish Life Assurance Company after a competitive bidding process involving GE Capital, Liverpool Victoria and another European bidder. The firm drafted in three corporate partners – Nick Janmohamed, Paul Kay and Mervyn Couve – to face Herbert Smith on the deal.

There was no beauty parade for the work, even though Scottish Life uses other firms, including Shepherd & Wedderburn in Scotland. Speechly Bircham was called in about three months ago, and the complex demutualisation process should keep the team busy for another few months.

It may not be associated with big transactions – the corporate team boasts 10 partners and a total of 25 lawyers – but it occasionally gets its foot on the door on mega-deals. Last year, it represented Cable & Wireless on the £700m disposal of its interests in Bouygues Telecom, and acted on the management buyout of the UK's leading opinion pollster Mori (Market & Opinion Research International).