Top 10 stories: 20-26 November 2015

It was merger mania on TheLawyer.com this week, with news of three imminent tie-ups between major UK firms.

Top of the list was our exclusive story revealing that Addleshaw Goddard is understood to have signed a merger agreement with Scottish firm Maclay Murray & Spens, although the deal is yet to go to a partner vote. The news was greeted largely with enthusiasm by the market.

Also receiving a fairly positive reception was confirmation that Irwin Mitchell is merging with Thomas Eggar. The merger will create a £250m firm, on the verge of breaking into the UK top 10.

The final merger on this week’s top 10 stories list was Knights’ acquisition of Darbys. That move will create a £40m firm, pushing the combined outfit into the UK top 100 for the first time.

Meanwhile several firms have benefitted from the pre-pack administration of the Parabis Group. As well as the founders of subsidiary Plexus Law, who are buying out the business, Lyons Davidson, Carpenters Solicitors and Horwich Farrelly have all taken on chunks of the business.

Away from legal market a host of US and Irish firms have lined up to advise on the mega-merger between pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Allergan. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz are leading for Pfizer, with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton on for Allergan. A&L Goodbody and Arthur Cox have scooped the lead Irish mandates.

In the courts this week, the long-running battle between the Royal Bank of Scotland and its shareholders looks set to drag on, with the trial now adjourned until 2017 amid heavy criticism of the disclosure process by Mr Justice Hildyard.

Bircham Dyson & Bell was also criticised by the courts, but despite this defeated a negligence claim brought by a property developer client. Over the Channel, Fieldfisher lost an unfair dismissal claim brought by a former Paris secretary with damages set at €28,454 (£20,000).

The top 10 was completed this week with news of DWF’s promotions round, which saw five new partners, and the conclusion of Bryan Cave’s firmwide strategic review which will see the firm focus on thought leadership, sector focus and diversity.

The top 10 stories in full:

1. Exclusive: Addleshaws set to merge with Scottish heavyweight Maclays

2. Irwin Mitchell and Thomas Eggar confirm £250m merger

3. RBS £4bn shareholder battle adjourned to 2017 amid criticism of disclosure process

4. Knights buys Darbys to create £40m top 100 firm

5. DWF promotes five to partnership in 44-strong round

6. Full details of Parabis administration emerge as Plexus sale completes

7. Bryan Cave to focus on three key areas after firmwide strategic review

8. US and Irish firms line up on Pfizer and Allergan’s $160bn merger

9. Bircham Dyson Bell defeats negligence claim despite court’s criticism of “sloppy” work

10. Fieldfisher hit with €28k damages after tribunal rules it unfairly dismissed Paris secretary