Bouncing back

Good news for vilified banking lawyers: the loan market is on the rebound. Today the FT is reporting that prices for leveraged loans have just reached a year high, at 85 per cent of face value.

But just as the leveraged loan market shows signs of recovery, here comes news – first reported on yesterday – that Freshfields’ two very expensive LBO signings were quitting the firm after just over a year (see story).

Maurice Allen and Mike Goetz left White & Case last year (see story) in a blaze of discontent over the US firm’s strategy.

They both managed more than eight years at White & Case, but could barely stomach a year at Freshfields.

But then, it doesn’t look like Freshfields fought terribly hard to keep the dynamic duo. The official line is an amicable separation, but it looks suspiciously like there were just too many big beasts in the same room.

Naturally enough, readers are already speculating. “Can The Lawyer please get transcripts of any of the screaming rows?” asks one poster.

Another asks: “Why not set up Allen & O’Goetz? People might mistake it for Allen & Overy and give them work by mistake.”

The bigger question goes further than a personality clash. This was Freshfields’ latest attempt to get into the banking market, but it seems it was considerably less attached to the notion than it thought.

When the loan market really comes back, Freshfields might start having second thoughts about the ease with which it appears it let Allen and Goetz go.


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