Each week as we count down ;to ;The ;Lawyer Awards 2008 we will take a look at some previous winners and see how their careers have progressed.
Finance Team of the Year Allen & Overy‘s (A&O) finance team, which won the 2001 gong, has experienced massive change during the past seven years. Banking chief David Morley went on to become managing partner in 2002 and was elected senior partner this year. The Lawyer praised Stephen Kensell as a “young partner of calibre” and he has since become co-head of banking at A&O (TheLawyer.com, 1 May). But other senior figures have since quit. Together with Morley, Stephen Gillespie was the most senior partner in that team. He went on to sit on the A&O board, but quit the firm for Kirkland & Ellis in 2006.
Management Team of the YearThe Management Team of the Year Award went to Osborne Clarke managing partner Leslie Perrin and others for boosting turnover by 40 per cent to £50m, while juggling openings in the US and refocusing its European strategy by ditching a German merger and hiring laterals en masse instead. The legacy has endured, notwithstanding Perrin’s retirement in 2005, and turnover is now at a healthy £82.8m and the firm is a well-respected global player. And its Silicon Valley office is still standing, albeit with only one partner.
Partner of the YearClifford Chance‘s then London managing partner Peter Charlton picked up the Partner of the Year Award in 2001, having been instrumental (and controversial) in moving the firm from the Barbican to Canary Wharf. He also kept associates happy by being the first in the magic circle to hike London salaries in the midst of the dotcom madness and in his spare time managed to fit in some impressive deals, such as floating Canary Wharf for a £1bn. Although Charlton lost out in the global managing partner election (for the second time) to Peter Cornell, Clifford Chance did win Corporate Team of the Year at the 2001 awards and Charlton went on to become the department’s global head in 2005.
Macfarlanes partner Vanni Treves was runner-up in the Partner of the Year category for taking on the unenviable chairmanship of Equitable Life. After several tumultuous years, featuring calls ;for ;resignation, smashed windows and death threats, however, he has nevertheless remained in the position, with the insurer reportedly looking for a purchaser this year. But Treves’ story is unlikely to be over, whatever happens.
Media/IP & IT Team of the YearTheodore Goddard picked up the Media/IP & IT Team of the Year Award in 2001. Two years later, after tripartite merger discussions with Denton Hall and Richards Butler broke down and another couple of merger attempts failed, the firm finally tied the knot with Addleshaw Booth & Co to create Addleshaw Goddard, which has now grown into one of the most solid and successful mid-tier national firms. But many of Theodore Goddard’s ;most ;senior partners have since departed, with ;chairman ;Paddy Grafton-Green and four other media partners joining The Simkins Partnership, signalling the end of an era for the firm formerly known as Theodore Goddard.
Global Law Firm of the Year The Global Law Firm of the Year gong was carried away by White & Case on the back of almost doubling the size of its European operations to 700 lawyers. Instrumental were a merger with German independent Feddersen Laule Ewerwahn Scherzberg Finkelnburg and poaching Maurice Allen and his team from ;Weil ;Gotshal ;& Manges. Allen, of course, went on to create a respectable acquisition finance team at White & Case, but recently upped sticks again for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer with his buddy Mike Goetz (The Lawyer, 11 March). Whether his departure will clinch the prize at this year’s ceremony for his new firm, nominated for Law Firm of the Year, remains to be seen. White & Case, meanwhile, is up for International Law Firm of the Year. It promises to be interesting.
Law Firm of the YearSeven years ago Macfarlanes picked up the Law Firm of the Year Award for being one of the most successful and profitable mid-size firms. The Lawyer wrote that Macfarlanes “happily ignores any current theory on how to run a law firm”, evidenced by its independent international strategy with no Continental expansion, virtually no lateral hires and consistently acting on top-quality deals.
“Anyone who argues that the mid-size law firm is doomed should think again,” we wrote at the time, and this statement is as apt now as it was then, particularly with regard to Macfarlanes.