A&O’s Indian tiger

A&O’s Indian tiger
“Very smart guys… know their market… at the top of their game…”

No, not The Lawyer editorial team, ho ho – Allen & Overy’s new India partner firm, Trilegal. See story

“Very smart guys… know their market… at the top of their game…”

No, not The Lawyer editorial team, ho ho – Allen & Overy‘s new India partner firm, Trilegal. See story

A&O’s India head, Alex Pease, is all aglow about this full-service Indian firm, with whom A&O has signed a non-binding referral arrangement.

Not only will Trilegal receive the lion’s share of work from A&O clients that do business in India, the deal also includes training for Trilegal’s partners and associates, plus the prestige of the A&O name in future joint-branding exercises.

And in return for the A&O workstream, experience, expertise and reputation, Trilegal has to give A&O, um, not very much actually.

Indeed, Pease says, he will be “delighted” to find Trilegal doing referral work for A&O’s rivals, as “the more experience of doing top deals gets, the better”.

Strikes us that they might have done one already.

The Silk factory

Barely is the ink dry on the names of the new QCs for this year, when the nine-strong selection panel launched its search for the next round of silks (see story). It’s a bit like the X-Factor really.

Scratch that – a lot like the X-Factor. You have thousands of desperate hopefuls, all ready to jump through some pretty high hoops to fulfil their ambitious dreams. On the other side you have the experienced panel, suspiciously eyeing up the contestants between coffee breaks and arguments over who should win.

Panel chair and former NHS chief executive Sir Duncan Nichol is the Simon Cowell figure, who can make and break careers with a nod or shake of his head.

But there are a few important differences. Unlike the X-Factor, you have to pay £6,000 plus VAT if you win. And the screaming fans are replaced by a pat on the back from the senior clerk.

Despite the dodgy prize at the end, the QC selection process could still make for a great TV show: Silk Idol.

It’s sweet 16 for DLA Piper
The firm has hired its 16th lawyer in Europe this year, bagging Grupo Ferrovial’s corporate head of legal María Segimón de Manzanos for its Madrid office. See story.

DLA has hired 16 lawyers in the 51 days since Big Ben chimed for the first time in 2008. That works out roughly at one lawyer every three days. If the firm keeps up this pace, it will hire another 116 European lawyers before the end of this year.

It sounds like a lot but it should be no sweat off DLA’s back. It is a leap year, after all.

If anything, 116 lawyers is a sign the firm is slowing down. Between 2006 and 2007 the firm managed to hire a whopping 419 lawyers in EMEA. With the credit crunch kicking in, the partners might not be busy, but the HR function certainly will be.

Linklaters rocks
Depending on your political colours or the newspaper you read, the Northern Rock saga could bring down the Brown government, be the end of the West’s global economic hegemony or cost you your job, £3,500 or £100bn. Unlucky if it’s the latter.

For our little corner of the City, it’s also the Big Story of the week, and the political intrigue does not end with Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. With the bank’s fate all but sealed Linklaters has finally landed a major role on the Northern Rock deal (see story). As the only magic circle firm not directly involved with Northern Rock, you could argue it was a shoo-in for its role advising the new board but it’s good news nonetheless.

Not such good news for Freshfields, it would seem. After dumping its longest-standing client – the Bank of England – so it could act for the Rock, it looks like Freshfields’ Northern Rock relationship could be nearing an end. Slaughter and May will be advising on the bulk of the near-certain nationalisation so the bank no longer needs advice as a takeover target.

Still, fees of around £10m should ease the pain.

Nigel Knowles and the secrets of DLA Piper
The February edition of The Lawyer Podcast has arrived complete with symphonic lawyers, a visit to the slightly rowdier HR Awards and DLA Piper head honcho Nigel Knowles on the secrets of the firm’s success. Click here

Knowles reveals that he first heard about his own firm’s Facebook group for trainees from the Lawyer News Daily email. Perhaps he prefers MySpace.

He also speaks out about the “misinformation” regarding DLA Piper’s transatlantic integration, or lack of it, and tells us how the firm has become recession proof. The secret is to be totally full-service, even to the point of having a celebrity palm and tarot reading practice group – apparently.

Today thelawyer.com revealed that DLA Piper’s Scotland offices advised cheeky pop red-head Cilla Black on her venture to set up a psychic romance hotline (see story). Talk about niche.

But hopefully Our Nigel knew that before reading this email.