A year ago this week

Eversheds steps up Euro plan with Dutch merger

Eversheds merged with leading Dutch practice Boekel De Neree (BDN) in pursuit of its three-year aim of pan-European capability.

The merger with BDN, a top corporate and commercial practice in The Netherlands, added to Eversheds’ European offices in Paris, Monaco, Brussels and Moscow, and its associated offices in Copenhagen and Sofia.

At the time, Tim Maloney, head of Eversheds’ litigation department in London, said the next move had to be an association leading to a merger with a German firm.

The firm did enter talks with Gaedertz, but narrowly missed out on progressing to the next stage of negotiations, beaten by Norton Rose. However, given Norton Rose’s initial failure to win over the German partnership, there might yet be an opening.

Top silks call for partnership rights

Leading silk Andrew Arden QC, head of Arden Chambers, called for radical changes to barristers’ practice rules to enable them to create partnerships.

Arden demanded the rules change because the market and the way in which barristers operate has changed. He pointed to increasing competition with solicitors and the consequent corporate branding of chambers as well as the potential benefits to productivity.

But there has been no significant progress since last year. Arden himself says: “It’s short-termism. The very pressures which produce the need for change also mean that people have less time to address the issue.

“A professional body should be taking the long-term view that individuals are under too much pressure to push for themselves.”

The Lawyer understands that the Government believes that while it is a matter for the profession, it would be unlikely to make any public policy objections to barristers being allowed to enter partnerships.

Linklaters & Alliance names litigation head

Linklaters & Alliance appointed Christopher Style as its new head of litigation to replace Brinsley Nicholson, who was stepping down after seven years in the post.

One of Style’s first acts was to announce the launch of an international arbitration practice, which was to be led jointly by himself and Sigvard Jarvin in Paris.

Style says the department has improved financially on last year’s performance, billing £27m compared with the £22m billed in 1999. The firm has also hit budget in the half year to 31 October.

These figures are for the central litigation department and are exclusive of the separate litigation teams housed in the real estate, corporate, intellectual property and IT departments, which are not within Style’s remit. However, one matter under discussion is the possibility of restructuring to put all of the areas under a unified management structure.