Grapevine

Time for Weil Gotshal to call on some old-timers


Time for Weil Gotshal to call on some old-timers
When all the kerfuffle surrounding Marco Compagnoni’s move to Weil Gotshal & Manges (first revealed on www.thelawyer.com, 2 February) dies down, Mike Francies and his team will have a lot of hard thinking to do. The London office will be groaning with private equity partners – Compagnoni’s and Wood’s moves takes it to five – but when it comes to acquisition finance resource, it’s tumbleweed time in Moorgate. And even big swinging corporate partners can’t get very far without some help on the financing docs.

So how about calling on some star acquisition finance lawyers who have been busy making their names in the past five years? Such as, ah, some random suggestions here: Maurice Allen, Helen Burton, James Chesterman or Sean Pierce? At least they’ll know their way around the office.

Football League v Hammonds: the showdown
The Football League’s hefty £150m negligence claim against Hammonds finally kicks off in the High Court this week after mediation attempts failed to achieve a settlement between the parties. A bullish Hammonds has vowed to fight the case every inch of the way, and sources have indicated that the firm’s insurers are fully behind it.

Enter professional negligence star Sarah Clover of Barlow Lyde & Gilbert and Brick Court Chambers’ Jonathan Sumption QC for the defence. In case you’ve forgotten, the Football League says Hammonds’ forerunner Edge Ellison failed to protect its interests during negotiations with OnDigital (now ITV Digital), and that it subsequently lost £119m. That has risen to around £150m due to interest. Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, instructing Four New Square’s Justin Fenwick QC, is acting for the Football League.

Stephen Townley, former senior partner of sports boutique Townleys, which merged with Hammonds in July 2001, is attached to the claim as a Part 20 defendant. He has called on the big guns, too: Townley is being represented by Clyde & Co senior partner Michael Payton and Four New Square’s Sue Carr QC. Law firm professional negligence cases rarely reach the court, so this will be one to watch.

Addleshaws: the only way is the AG Way
Addleshaw Goddard is on the warpath to hit its wildly ambitious end-of-year profit target of some £500,000 per equity partner. Average profit per equity partner stands at £404,000, so it would be one almighty leap if it makes it.

The word is that there has been a flurry of internal emails hectoring its under-the-cosh fee-earners to pull their collective fingers out. A spokesman for the firm denied there were any such messages. But he did admit that last month Addleshaws launched a series of presentations aimed at hitting that elusive half-million target. It’s name? The AG Way.

The AG Way, a name that is already destined for the diary page, is Addleshaws’ first formal attempt to focus the minds of everybody at the firm on efficient working as the end of the year approaches. Management, partners and the directors of all its support departments are involved in this firmwide push for profit. The firm’s financial year starts on 1 May, so don’t bother trying to contact an Addleshaws lawyer in the last week of April – they’ll have their heads down and Mark Jones will be standing over them.

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