A&O mystery partner out-trousers NY managing partner

Shock, horror! Allen & Overy (A&O) New York managing partner Dan Cunningham was not the firm’s highest paid partner in the last financial year.

According to the magic circle firm’s 2005 annual report, one lucky devil scooped a whopping £1.8m. A&O unsportingly refused to disclose the name of the individual, but the amount (referred to in page 62 of the annual report) includes a lump sum payment to a retiring partner, which a source described as a “soft landing” for outgoing partners.

Retiring partners are eligible to receive nine months’ pay spread over a five-year period, or they can elect to take a one-off payment. In this particular case the partner opted to take the lump sum. Cunningham’s lockstep-busting pay packet has been the talk of the town ever since he became the first partner to leave his white shoes at Cravath. It seems that you can earn all the cash in New York City, but you’ll still be better off out.

Simmons IT ace switches back to Arnold & Porter

Simmons & Simmons’ trump card in its flourishing offshore outsourcing business, senior associate Murali Neelakantan, has taken up the position of partner at US firm Arnold & Porter.

Simmons IT head David Barrett has been trumpeting Neelakantan’s work for the past 18 months, telling all who would listen about his development of elite Indian IT companies such as Tata and Wipro. Barrett must be smarting at the irony of Neelakantan joining the firm that Barrett quit in favour of Simmons in 2000.

Neelakantan scoffed at suggestions that the enticement of a partnership at Arnold & Porter prompted the move, claiming Simmons’ partnership was within his reach, but sources at Simmons claimed that he had not been nominated for the latest partner round.

Partner or not, Neelakantan’s bills will be missed. Perhaps the biggest indicator of his value is the fact that he was marched out of the building just two hours after he resigned.

They’re not quite so cuddly at Simmons nowadays.

Trio quits Slaughters’ non-starter partner regime

The decision of three senior associates at Slaughter and May to join Dorsey & Whitney highlights the mystical world that is the partnership selection process at Slaughters.

Litigator Jean-Pierre Douglas-Henry missed out on partnership last year but is widely respected at the firm. Indeed, his CV is awesome, with involvement in high-profile cases such as the Enron-related prepay dispute between JPMorgan Chase and WestLB, the Marks & Spencer injunction against Freshfields and Riyad Bank v Ahli United Bank.

Thomas Ross had also been dropped the negative wink that his chances were slim, but one colleague reckoned that the least experienced of the three, Jamie Curle, was a dead cert for partnership. It is understood that he did not want to take the risk of hanging around and saw a clearer future as part of Douglas-Henry’s team.

Slaughters will shrug off the loss of talent, while Dorsey will rejoice. Funny old game, this partnership lark.