Heller Ehrman up for grabs

Heller Ehrman up for grabs
26 September 2008
Some usual suspects are circling Heller Ehrman as the fire sale of its various practices kicked off in earnest after news of the West Coast firm’s dissolution.

Some usual suspects are circling Heller Ehrman as the fire sale of its various practices kicked off in earnest after news of the West Coast firm’s dissolution.

Baker & McKenzie and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe were among the key beneficiaries of Coudert Brothers’ demise three years ago. And both are interested in various bits of Heller (see story).

Bakers turned down a full-scale merger with Heller just last month, mainly due to its lack of interest in the firm’s London or Asia offices, but it could emerge as a favourite for the US offices if it is willing to take over liability for the leases.

Winston & Strawn has popped up again as another contender, as it was with Coudert, but it is likely to try and cherry pick its favourite bits.

But one firm is conspicuously and mysteriously missing from the fray. Where is DLA Piper? It was happy to take huge swathes of Coudert. Yet it is not even rumoured to be interested in Heller. Come on Big Nige, what’s wrong? There are deals to be done.

More Morleys
25 September 2008

You’ll find him here, you’ll find him there, you’ll find that Morley everywhere.

Yes, in his latest manifestation Allen & Overy senior partner David Morley has managed to bag himself a seat at Boris Johnson’s International Business Advisory Council for London, the mayor’s group dedicated to maintaining London’s position as world business centre (see story).

Despite Morley’s relocation to New York for three months from October.

Short of developing some sort of teleportation machine, Morley will have to train a squad of body doubles to see him through all his high-powered roles. Slap a grin, a sharp suit and a slick haircut on a handsome senior associate and you have David Morley MkII.

But Morley is not the only senior partner to be popping up all over.

Rodgin Cohen, Sullivan & Cromwell‘s chairman, totem and the King of Manhattan, has seemingly developed the power of omnipresence during the financial crisis, advising in, well, almost all of the big deals that followed the Wall St turmoil.

In the latest, his firm is advising Goldman Sachs on Berkshire Hathaway’s $5bn cash injection.

Which is the reason that The Lawyer’s New York office investigates Cohen’s astonishing rise in Monday’s edition of The Lawyer, also available on TheLawyer.com. At least, we think it’s Cohen…

Champagne Charlie
24 September 2008

Charlie Geffen’s victory in the Ashurst senior partner election is further good news for the firm’s lawyers in Asia.

Spirits already raised by outgoing senior partner Geoffrey Green’s move to Hong Kong to lead a push on China, the rest of the firm’s eastern talent will be pleased to hear that Geffen’s priority is expansion there too – read Geffen’s first interview since taking on the new job.

But for the rest of the partnership, the decision was a simple barometer of feeling about the future.

As one Ashurst partner told The Lawyer, “Charlie’s gung-ho, energetic, outward-looking and comes up with lots of ideas” (see story).

The alternative, by contrast, is litigation partner Ed Sparrow, described by the same source as being “good at reconciling competing interests… seen as a candidate for those who think we’ll be in for a choppy ride.”

The choice of a buccaneer over a slow and steady hand at the tiller shows a confidence among the partnership that, downturn or no downturn, Ashurst remains a firm in expansive, not defensive mode.

Both of which observations lead rather neatly to a little crystal ball gazing we’ve been enjoying with Ashurst and other firms in its silver circle peer group. Expansion in Asia? A boost in London? And a revenue surge to rival Herbert Smith? All available via a merger with Stephenson Harwood. See our UK 200: Silver Circle feature for details.

The aftermath e
22 September 2008

At the end of a manic week in Manhattan and the City, a little reflection was called for. In today’s Wall St special, we take a look at the winners, losers and opportunities from last week’s turmoil.

As our top story reveals, the City’s banks are clamouring for the cream of the Lehman Brothers’ lawyers, with many setting up special processes to deal with the demand (see story).

Meanwhile, as today’s leader explains, while grabbing a lead role on Lehman was a coup for Linklaters, the mandate also revealed a few weaknesses in the succession strategy at that firm and others.

The City page, dedicated exclusively to the Wall St aftermath, rounds up not only Linklaters’ role in Lehman but also those of Shearman and Wachtell in the Merrill Lynch takeover; of Sullivan in the AIG rescue and those of Cravath and Davis Polk on the creation of a $70bn liquidity fund.

And lastly our feature explains just who’s got what in the Lehman and HBOS sagas.

And don’t forget our Wall St Woes blog, featuring views from New York and London on the crisis. Log on for the comprehensive round-up.