Harbottles players continue to dance to a different tune

Harbottles, sad to say, has a history of losing key people from its music department to glitzy new jobs. So the exit of music head Antony Bebawi to a prestigious job at EMI Music Publishing shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Let’s list a few of these stellar names. There’s Jim Beach, who trooped off to manage a little rock band called Queen; James Wylie, who popped off to manage Eurythmics; Andy Stinson, who found a home close to Simon Fuller’s 19; and Mark Davis, the D in Statham Gill Davis. Shall we go on? There was Charles Levinson, who went to Virgin, Charles Law, who joined DWS, and of course who could forget the venerable Robert Lee and Andrew Thompson, co-founders of Harbottles arch rival Lee & Thompson?
Believe it or not, the list goes on, with the exit of former music head Ann Harrison among the most recent high-profile departures. So presumably the only person to show any surprise at Bebawi’s exit will be James Sully, who now heads the team solo. The top five guesses as to Sully’s pop-related destination will win a Hear’Say CD.

Dublin firms: how much green?

There is thought to be some €35bn (£23.89bn) of profit, largely from property and corporate deals, swilling around Ireland. That’s a country with four million people. The billions are believed to be held primarily by some 100 individuals. And when they feel like buying, a chunk of those euros tend to go to one of the handful of major corporate firms that dominate the Dublin market.

It’s been a secret worthy of Dan Brown exactly how much of that finds its way to Dublin’s top firms. Until now. The Lawyer has spent the last month quizzing people in the know around Dublin to try to prise open the usually most loquacious of mouths. The results are published on page 27. Although the figures remain estimates, they represent the first detailed analysis of the Irish legal market’s value.

Why do it? This is a question most of Dublin’s managing partners might ask. Well, attracted by the 12.5 per cent corporation tax, Dublin is becoming home to an ever-growing list of international corporates. In the US and UK, those buyers of legal services are used to ever-more detailed corporate governance requirements and increasingly demand a similar level of transparency. If it happens there, then why not everywhere? Including Ireland.

Up, up and away

There’s gratitude. You make somebody up, and then they bugger off. Still, the lure of Skadden‘s lucre is as strong as ever, so who could blame newly-minted Clifford Chance tax partner (made up this year) James Anderson for legging it.

To be fair to Anderson, a specialist in advising banks, hedge funds and corporates on tax finance matters, it doesn’t look as if it’s all about the money (although it’s got to help). Offered the chance to open up a new lode of work in finance tax, to complement Tim Sanders’ M&A specialism, and be instrumental in doubling the size of Skadden’s tax group in London, few would turn it down.

But it seems there might be more to this move than meets the eye. A week before Anderson quit, another Clifford Chance tax partner also threw in the towel for a US firm. The question should not be: ‘Why join a US rival?’, but: ‘Why is Clifford Chance shedding its rising stars?’