News in brief

Stephenson Harwood wins Barlow Lyde partner
Barlow Lyde & Gilbert has lost insurance partner Andrew Hinton (left) to Stephenson Harwood. He has acted for Axa Reinsurance, one of Barlow Lyde’s main clients. Hinton said that while Barlow Lyde has a strong insurance practice, he believes that Stephenson Harwood is rapidly becoming an important and innovative player. Hilton boasts specialist knowledge of property insurance, fraud, war and political risk. Brendan Malkin
Defamation head quits Finers for Schilling & Lom
Finers Stephens Innocent is losing its highly-rated head of defamation Amber Melville-Brown to media and entertainment firm Schilling & Lom and Partners. Melville-Brown was not a partner at Finers, but will join the partnership at Schilling & Lom. Finers head of media Mark Stephens says he expects to refer defamation work to Melville-Brown. The remaining practice focuses on defendant work. Julia Cahill
City set for planning inquiry
Linklaters & Alliance and Bond Pearce are gearing up for a pivotal planning inquiry, due to start tomorrow (23 October) into Gerald Ronson’s Heron Tower. Plans to build the 42-storey tower on the site of Norton Rose‘s Bishopsgate offices have been called in because of concerns over the impact on London’s skyline. Linklaters planning head Ray Jackson (above) is advising Heron. Bond Pearce is advising English Heritage, which opposes the plan. Julia Cahill
Spitalfields goes top of A&O’s wish list
Allen & Overy remains undecided over the site of its future London headquarters. The firm is understood to have put Spitalfields at the top of its list at a weekend partnership meeting, but agents continue to negotiate on two further options. Lehman Brothers’ Northgate scheme and 201 Bishopsgate are still in the running. Julia Cahill
Coudert partner gives Travers German presence

Travers Smith Braithwaite is to have a presence in Germany for the first time, following the recruitment of Coudert Brother corporate partner Karl Pilny. Based in Berlin, Pilny will head the firm’s first local office in Continental Europe, which will focus on M&A, private equity, competition and litigation. The move is a marked reversal in strategy for Travers, which claimed that it would continue to focus on domestic work despite the decision of its competitors to move into Europe.
Bird & Bird opens Dutch practice
Bird & Bird is set to launch a Dutch-based practice with a lawyer from Houthoff Buruma. The practice will have around three partners specialising in intellectual property, litigation, telecoms and corporate. The firm is also hiring Harry Rek from Houthoff’s Amsterdam office. Bird & Bird already has offices in Paris, Brussels and Stockholm and is said to be planning to open a practice in Germany.
Following an article in last week’s issue entitled ‘Eversheds nets Man City FC to defend Royle action’, Kuit Steinart Levy has asked The Lawyer to clarify that it is representing the club in relation to Joe Royle’s claim for breach of contract in which Royle is arguing that his payoff was £500,000 less than he was entitled to. Eversheds’ employment team is dealing with Mr Royle’s tribunal claim.
In the 17 September issue, we reported that Beachcroft Wansbroughs had not been picked to join Shell’s new legal panel handling UK and international claims work in partnership with Claims Management Group. While this was accurate, Shell has asked us to point out that Shell Risk and Insurance continues to use the firm, both directly and through its employers’ liability insurers.