Not getting Slaughtered

Last night was the retirement party of Slaughter and May senior partner Tim Clark.

It was a riotous occasion. Slaughters booked out the entire dance floor of Chinawhite for brandy drinking games. Whole hogs were roasted and three fights broke out between best friend firms.

We wish.

No, Tim Clark’s departure was marked with an elegant champagne do in the art deco surroundings of the Royal Institute of British Architects on Portland Place, W1.

“There was chicken and pate and nice little raspberry tarts,” a source close to Slaughters told us.

Clark’s term of office at Slaughter and May has been steely. Under his leadership, the firm has hacked its international network, embedded strong relationships with its best friends and seen average profit per equity partner touch £3m.

We’ll drink to that.

Anyone for chilli ice cream?

Should Lindi have been fired? Did Jennifer’s lipstick glow in the dark? Can you eat chilli ice cream?

Just some of the urgent questions the nation was asking this morning after last night’s edition of The Apprentice.

We set some employment lawyers the task of subjecting the programme to a rigorous legal analysis. See story.

You can read the comments from Kiran Daurka of Russell Jones & Walker, Ellie Hibberd and Jo Keddie of Dawsons, Emma Sanderson of Withers and Hannah Ford of Stevens & Bolton on today. (Male lawyers are welcome to add their bit.)

So far, our panel has unearthed gross misconduct while barging into a yoga class, health and safety infringements in an archery field and possible harassment.

And we haven’t even touched on the crimes against fashion, either.

It’s a minefield, we tell you.

Lawes and order

In a hard-fought fight for instruction of the day, the honours go to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which after a close match, narrowly managed to beat arch-rival Linklaters.

Freshfields is advising the underwriting banks, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and UBS, who will share a £210m payday by underwriting a £12bn rights issue from RBS, which is being advised by Linklaters. See story.

With mergers and acquisition activity all but dead, the banks will be relieved at the windfall and Freshfields will hope to get its fair share.

The Freshfields team is being led by corporate partners Simon Witty and Sarah Murphy, alongside that man Will Lawes, who arrives at his next landmark deal fresh from his pivotal role on Northern Rock.

The corporate market may be tough but Freshfields is doing OK with Lawes rapidly becoming the man to turn to for key crunch deals.

Quinn’s in to win

You can get a table for lunch at short notice. Corporate lawyers are being terribly clubbable. Meanwhile litigators are the hot ticket.
You can get a table for lunch at short notice. Corporate lawyers are being terribly clubbable. Meanwhile litigators are the hot ticket.

Cue Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges’ entry to the UK market.

The US litigation powerhouse, which specialises in bringing super-complex, big-buck cases against major financial institutions, is – as The Lawyer reveals today – launching in London after poaching Kirkland & Ellis restructuring and litigation partner Richard East (see story).

The firm aims to clean up in one area the magic circle won’t touch – suing the major banks.

In the US it’s been pretty successful, even bringing a suit against Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs after the banks reneged on a $2bn loan commitment to Monsanto spin-off company Solutia. As the lawyers prepared to give their closing arguments the banks caved and stumped up the cash after all.

Oh, brave new world…

Global Links
If you want an idea of where a firm is seeing potential markets, check out the partnership promotions. Especially if that firm is Linklaters, which has more options than many.

As we report today, seven of the 28 promotions were in London. But what’s more noteworthy is which regions have been favoured with new partners. Germany and France get four apiece.

But check out Linklaters’ more distant regions. It’s managed to tick off the entire BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) block: two in Sao Paolo, two in Moscow, two in China and another in the India group, based in Hong Kong.

But the biggest gesture of intent is Linklaters’ decision to promote three in New York: Lorna Bowen in investment management, Scott Sonnenblick in corporate and the superlatively named Chip Gage in finance.

For the inside track on Linklaters’ new partners, see The Lawyer’s Partnership 2008 blog here.