Lovells becomes Equitable’s top adviser

Troubled mutual Equitable Life has named Lovells as its main legal adviser, despite its historic relationship with Denton Wilde Sapte.

`Equitable Life chairman Vanni Treves described Lovells as the society’s main adviser at its annual general meeting on 23 May.`A Lovells team led by insurance specialist Robin Spencer is advising Equitable Life on a compromise known as a scheme of arrangement to satisfy members, the court and the Financial Services Authority. Client partner John Young won the firm’s first piece of work for Equitable Life last year when he was instructed to act on the sale of the society after the House of Lords judgment in July 2000.`Treves told The Lawyer: “The main work that the society is doing now is in connection with the compromise. Lovells has been retained to do that and therefore it is doing the bulk of the society’s day-to-day work.”`All professional advisers were reviewed when Treves became chairman of Equitable Life’s new board of directors in March, including the appointment of Lovells to work on the compromise.`Treves said: “We came to the easy conclusion that Lovells were the right people for the job.”`It is understood that Dentons, which is among the Equitable Life advisers currently being investigated by Herbert Smith, continues to act on ongoing matters. Treves said it would be inefficient and unnecessary to take work away from the firm, but whether it will be instructed in the future will depend on “all the circumstances”.`He said: “We’ll review what else will be done and by whom as and when it happens. Instructions in relation to major matters will be approved by the board. Either the chief executive officer or I will take a preliminary view on major matters and make a recommendation to the board.”