The slight was an undignified end to a long relationship. Clifford Chance had represented Whitbread in its failed attempt to take over Allied Domecq's retail arm. It lost out to Punch Taverns, which was represented by Slaughter and May. A&O, which up until this point had never acted for Whitbread, was delighted, having courted the company for a long time. The connection was made through Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, the bank working on the Swallow Group deal.
Twelve months later and the situation is much the same. A&O remains one of the main corporate advisers to Whitbread along with Slaughter and May, which advised the company on the sale of its brewing business to Interbrew. However, while Clifford Chance has lost out on corporate work it has not disappeared from the scene altogether. Whitbread continues to use the firm on certain specialist matters.
National Power in-house team in demerger fall-out
National Power's announcement that it planned to demerge prompted seven of its 25-strong legal department to jump ship.
The company was split into a domestic and an international division. The departing lawyers, described by the then head of legal Stuart Wheeler as "natural wastage", either moved to private practice or other in-house positions, or accepted early retirement or voluntary redundancy.
Since then the demerger has been finalised with the two divisions now housed under International Power and Innogy. Just two of the seven lawyers responsible for the international arm ended up moving to the new unit. The remaining four opted for a severance package. Of these, three went on to other in-house positions while just one ended up in private practice.
As for the domestic business, now called Innogy, Wheeler stepped down from his position as head of legal in February, while former company secretary Andrew Swanson took severance.
Clifford Chance won a place as the main legal adviser to International Power, displacing Linklaters & Alliance which had acted on the demerger. Linklaters was not asked to retender for the international role against Clifford Chance, A&O and Freshfields. However, Linklaters will continue to work with Innogy.