On your marks…

On your marks…
Never mind flavour of the month, the Middle East looks set to be flavour of the year…again.

Never mind flavour of the month, the Middle East looks set to be flavour of the year…again.

Post-merger Dewey & LeBoeuf has sprung out of the New Year blocks to grab a piece of the action. The merger between Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae completed in record time last October and now the resultant firm has got 2008 off to a flying start with the launch of its first office as a merged entity. See story.

What is Dewey & LeBoeuf’s gain is Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld’s loss, however, with the latter being forced to close its Dubai operations after the former poached its two-strong partnership team.

Talks are still ongoing regarding over which firm gets to keep the team of associates, but Akin Gump will shut up shop by the end of the month with any remaining lawyers transferring to the firm’s yet-to-open Abu Dhabi branch.

Akin Gump’s unwillingness to abandon the Middle East underlines the attractiveness of a region that seems to have escaped the credit crunch. For more on that theme, check out Monday’s edition of The Lawyer.

Refusing to conform to type

There are many lawyers out there who make a living from messy divorces and there are many out there who are making a living despite their own messy divorce.

In Cologne it seems there is no love lost between the newly-launched Oppenhoff & Partner and the firm formerly known as Linklaters Oppenhoff & Radler.

You will remember that this is the office that Linklaters unceremoniously closed down in favour of a launch in Dusseldorf. Linklaters put the split down to “strategic differences”.

An Oppenhoff spokesperson was far more eloquent: “Small is beautiful. It is a return to traditional values, away from the pressure on lawyers that you had at Linklaters where if in the first year there was no performance you would get the red card.”

Today, another brace of Linklaters partners were freed from their shackles. See story

It’s cheering that the footloose and fancy-free Germans are stepping out, free from the inflexible Anglo-saxon machine.

From Aberdeen to Baghdad

While most lawyers still seems to be in holiday mode and most deals and cases are yet to wake up this year, some lawyers got off to a flying start in 2008 by cleaning up on the New Year’s Honours list left, right and centre.

Or rather, North, North East, North West and mid-East: OBEs were doled out to lawyers in Aberdeen, Newcastle, Manchester and, er, Baghdad.

Of those gongs, only Ward Hadaway‘s Jamie Martin picked up a medal for exceptional business acumen, while the others were praised for their efforts in animal welfare, legal education, and, er, living in Baghdad for a year. See story.

While Abda Sharif’s mission to Baghdad for the British Embassy is creditable, Lawyer News Daily is pleased that Martin’s efforts on the mean streets of Newcastle have finally been rewarded. It’s a jungle out there.