Theodore Goddard's head of its commercial law group has become a partner. Lesley Hall joined the firm from Berwin Leighton in January while associate Claire Shepherd, formally of Linklaters & Alliance and head of the environmental law group at Theodore Goddard, has also been promoted to partner level.

McKee Nelson Ernst & Young, the new US associate law firm of accountants Ernst & Young, has added two lawyers to its Washington DC office. The firm has raided King & Spalding, the former home of its four founding partners, for tax partner Tom Wessell, and has recruited James Bridgeman from Washington practice McGuire Woods Battle & Boothe.

Norton Rose is taking back its former head of competition who left the firm for MacFarlanes two years ago. John Cook is returning to Norton Rose as a partner in the competition and EC group under Martin Coleman who replaced Cook when he left in 1997.

Pannone & Partners in Manchester has appointed a new partner from five-partner Manchester commercial firm Lyons Wilson. Andrea Cohen joins the commercial litigation department, bringing the number of partners at Pannones to 54, and increasing the number of lawyers in the department to 32.

Halliwell Landau has expanded its commercial property department with the appointment of six new lawyers. Jane Coyle, previously group solicitor at Preston-based property company The Eric Wright Group and Andrew Ward, head of property at Manchester firm Cooper Sons, Hartley & Williams, join as senior solicitors along with four junior solicitors.

Clyde & Co has appointed a former in-house lawyer to its banking practice. Julia Smithers Excell joins the firm's Guildford office as an assistant from UBS London, where she was assistant director of structure finance, securitisation and capital markets. Smithers Excell joined UBS two years ago from Clifford Chance's Singapore office.

BNP Paribas has chosen the former general counsel at BNP to head the legal department at the recently merged bank. Jean-Louis Guillot will lead a legal team of 200 made up of lawyers from both BNP and Paribas which he will attempt to consolidate over time.

Charles Russell has been appointed as legal advisers to the Diocese of Guildford. The diocese holds a large property portfolio within 162 parishes and Charles Russell says it will advise mainly on legal issues connected to these, including sales of buildings. A tender was held for the work, but neither the firm nor the diocese would comment on the beauty parade.

Criminal legal aid solicitors on duty in police stations during the Millennium celebrations are to be given a 50 per cent pay bonus, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine has announced. However Crown Prosecution Service lawyers are to be given more, according to London criminal firm Tuckers' business manager Brian Craig.

Baker & McKenzie and its Brazilian firm Trench Rossi e Wantanabe are acting for Petrobras on a pair of oil and gas deals worth an estimated £2bn. The Baker & McKenzie team is led by London-based finance partner Peter Gaines, Rio-based oil and gas partner Luis Pacheco, New York finance partner Janna Bellwin and Houston oil and gas partner Philip Weerns.