Aloof Cahill to pay for European apathy

Nobody could accuse Cahill Gordon & Reindel of having a Napoleon complex. The New York high-yield specialist is notorious for keeping its partnership closed to all but a few and has shown a dogged reluctance to expand its operations abroad.

One former lawyer sums it up thus: “The firm’s focus is on profitability and they don’t want to dilute their profits with an overseas office.” However, it looks as if this rather insular attitude may be coming back to bite it on the behind. Former Cahill lawyers are springing up at other firms all over the world ready to battle for a share of the high-yield market.

Many of the departees have fled to London, including associates such as Michael Dakin to Clifford Chance, John Bloom to Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson and Rod Matthews to White & Case. The exodus will make it even harder for Cahill to service its clients in Europe.

Haarmann takes eponymy to new heights

Wilhelm Haarmann, the deposed name partner of Haarmann Hemmelrath, has finally set up on his own following his resignation from the firm he previously set up. And what modern and dynamic name has he given his new setup to help differentiate it from his former firm? Yes ladies and gentlemen you guessed it: Haarmann. Well, to be exact, it’s Haarmann Partnerschaftsgesellschaft Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater Wirtschaftsprüfer, but that’s a bit of a mouthful.

Haarmann resigned from Haarmann Hemmelrath in the summer following a row about remuneration. At the time it was a bit of a shock, but he seems to have started a trend, and since then partners have been walking out left right and centre. Perhaps it’s time for Haarmann Hemmelrath to rebrand. How about Hemmelrath Partnerschaftsgesellschaft Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater Wirtschaftsprüfer?

Manchester buyout gives a taste of things to come

A recent deal that saw a Manchester fraud boutique bought by a local lawyer may be among the first of an avalanche of similar deals once the white paper is made law. Hanman Associates, already a limited company, was bought late last year by Laurence Goldstone, formerly a private client partner at Manchester firm Betesh Fox & Co.

The deal, financed by NatWest and featuring Cobbetts for Goldstone, was run as a management buyin. Consequently, it was structured more along the lines of a corporate deal than a partnership merger.

The deal for this six-lawyer outfit may be small, but it offers a hint of what’s to come. The next logical step for many of the firms in the stampede to convert to limited-liability partnership status will be to incorporate. Once that starts to happen, the UK legal market will be in the post-Clementi land of legal disciplinary practices, third-party capital and flotations. The market is changing and the signs are already there.