Legal Business Blogs

The Friday Edit: New year, new partners and a new world order in finance

Happy New Year and welcome to the first Friday Edit of 2015, our weekly review of the top stories to emerge from Law Land over the past five days. Click here for full access to Legal Business or email for more information. Corporate subscribers can also access our premium reporting firm-wide online and via our iPad edition as well as print copies.

Analysis of the week: The king is dead – hunting out the new breed of dealmakers in banking lawyers sights

For our banking and finance special this year, we turned our analysis on its head and instead of looking at the performance of finance teams in private practice, we sought to identify how the key players at the banks have changed and how old relationships have evolved. Amid the upheaval in the leveraged finance and syndicated loan departments in the wake of the banking crisis, many houses retrenched, senior figures departed and new players appeared. A new pecking order has emerged with US banks and credit funds staking their position in Europe.

Subscribers can access our analysis here, while our May 2014 feature Back in the machine – opportunity and threats amid much-changed debt markets charted the dramatic changes to Europe’s credit markets post-Lehman.

Theme of the week: Global 100 firms unveil new crop of partners as lateral hire market kicks off again

Partner promotion stories generate a hefty amount of traffic, and some of the strongest Global 100 players have started to unveil bumper crops of new talent on both sides of the Atlantic this week. Reed Smith promoted seven in London out of a 24-strong partnership round; Hogan Lovells also made up 24 associates, including five in London.

There was little surprise that the first week of the new year saw some heavyweight partners hires unveiled, not least news that corporate heavyweight Jim Lerner is re-joining Kirkland & Ellis, whose City practice he helped establish, from US private equity house HGGC. Meanwhile, Fried Frank has also strengthened its City private equity practice with the hire of partner Daniel Oates from O’Melveny & Myers.

Story of the week: Gap between US firms and Magic Circle widens as UK firms slump in 2014 deal rankings

Sadly, the most visited story on our website this week was the tragic news of the untimely death of Dechert partner and disputes heavyweight Antony Dutton. We will not dwell on this here, other than to offer our sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of this very popular and talented lawyer.

The 2014 M&A deal rankings were released this week and news of a mini collapse in the European M&A market last year accompanied by an overall slide in the adviser rankings by the Magic Circle attracted much attention. Overall, the global M&A market was much healthier, with M&A values up 15% and the US elite have been the main beneficiaries of that. Undoubtedly the overall adviser rankings were skewed by Vodafone’s $130bn disposal of its stake in Verizon Wireless last year.

Quotes of the week:

‘Sitting in banks getting paid in shares will never get you rich as they’re not worth anything.’

Maurice Allen, London senior partner at Ropes & Gray, reflects on why some of the banks’ biggest stars have moved on, The king is dead

‘We believe the time is right to consolidate the provision of these services in one key partner and that DLA Piper demonstrated an excellent cultural fit and the business focus we were looking for.’

Heineken UK head of legal Graeme Colquhoun on selecting DLA as its principal legal adviser, Cheers

‘It’s a long-term play, we’ve not been forced to do this for short-term cost cutting reasons’

Rod Harrington, Latham & Watkins’ chief administrative officer for Europe, on news that the firm is to launch a business services office in Manchester this year, ‘An investment in Europe’.

Top posts:

‘We are deeply saddened’: Dechert disputes star Antony Dutton dies

New Year promotions: Hogan Lovells makes five up In London amid 24-strong promotions round

League tables: gap between US firms and Magic Circle widens as UK firms slump in 2014 deal rankings

Accounts revealed: Allen & Overy profits jump £35m as it cuts staff costs

Moving back: Jim Learner re-joins Kirkland & Ellis in the City