Deal watch: CMS, Matheson and Akin Gump act on high-profile international deals

As international M&A catches the headlines, CMS Cameron McKenna has advised a consortium owned by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing on a HK$9.7 billion dollar acquisition of the Netherlands’ largest waste management group AVR Afvalverwerking.

CMS London corporate partner Charles Currier and Amsterdam partners Martika Jonk and Cecilia van der Weijden led the multi-disciplinary team advising Cheung Kong Infrastructure Consortium (CKI). Last year CKI acquired MGN Gas Networks for $1bn, also advised by CMS.

Three years in the making: Legal education and training review unveiled

Three years in the making: Legal education and training review unveiled

A report touted as the most comprehensive review of legal education in the UK since the Omrod report of 1971 has finally been published today (25 June), three years after it was first announced.

The Legal Education and Training Review (LETR), which was undertaken on behalf of the Bar Standards Board (BSB), ILEX Professional Standards and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), looks at the educational requirements for entering the profession, continuing education including the obligations of law school providers and the impact of the Legal Services Act.

Corporate: Alibaba and Kabel Deutschland deals land roles for Freshfields, Linklaters and Hengeler Mueller

Corporate: Alibaba and Kabel Deutschland deals land roles for Freshfields, Linklaters and Hengeler Mueller

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters have landed two major corporate mandates advising Alibaba on what Reuters describes as ‘the most anticipated IPO since Facebook’ and Vodafone on its €7.7bn (£6.6bn) acquisition of Germany’s largest cable TV operator respectively.

Amidst much market speculation over roles and particularly the levels of fees that will be commanded, Freshfields is understood to be advising the China e-commerce giant on an IPO reportedly valued at as much as $100bn (64bn), with Hong Kong equity capital markets partner and Greater China head Teresa Ko understood to be leading the team.

Coming on like 2009 – Weil Gotshal becomes the first major NY firm to announce job cuts this year

Coming on like 2009 – Weil Gotshal becomes the first major NY firm to announce job cuts this year

So far the wave of redundancies that have rippled through the UK legal profession has not been replicated across the Atlantic but that may be about to change with news on Monday (24 June) that Weil Gotshal & Manges is to cut around 170 staff.

The New York-based law firm announced the move internally in a package of cuts expected to impact on 60 associates, around 7% of its non-partner lawyer ranks, and 110 support staff, citing what it described as the ‘new normal’ of low growth.

In addition, Weil is to cut the compensation for some partners and the firm said it would be ‘de-emphasising’ its complex commercial litigation practice in Houston and Boston.

Middle East: Dentons ends period of upheaval in Kuwait with decision to close local office

Middle East: Dentons ends period of upheaval in Kuwait with decision to close local office

Dentons’ partnership has voted in favour of shutting its Kuwait office following a review, bringing to an end a turbulent chapter in the region.

The firm, which has had an office in Kuwait since 2008, only in January entered into a new association with local lawyer Jamal Ahmed Al-Shehab, replacing its association with International Legal Group.

In-house: Facebook and Diageo fill top GC roles

In-house: Facebook and Diageo fill top GC roles

Social networking giant Facebook and global drinks brand Diageo both this week announced appointments to fill their top legal positions.

Facebook confirmed yesterday (20 June) that it has appointed Colin Stretch to succeed company general counsel (GC) Ted Ullyot as vice president and general counsel from 5 July, following Ullyot’s announcement in May that he would be stepping down.

All or nothing: Only a handful of DBAs entered into as confusion reigns over hybrid model

All or nothing: Only a handful of DBAs entered into as confusion reigns over hybrid model

‘It’s an extraordinary thing – hundreds of lawyers should have entered into Damages-Based Agreements (DBAs) by now.’

So says Leslie Perrin, former managing partner and senior partner of Osborne Clarke who is now chairman of litigation funding group Calnius Capital, with around £40m of capital to invest in litigation.

Instead, DBAs, which came into force under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and entitle a lawyer to claim a percentage of their client’s damages by way of fees, have failed to take off at all and Perrin adds: ‘The confusion around the regulations has been such that I don’t think more than a handful of DBAs have been entered into all across the country.

Lawyers On Demand launches new pay-as-you-go model as demand increases for flexible staffing

Lawyers On Demand launches new pay-as-you-go model as demand increases for flexible staffing

As senior private practice and in-house lawyers increasingly turn to flexible staffing options to manage their costs, Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) Lawyers on Demand (LoD) has extended its offering in the marketplace by adding a pay-as-you go, remote services model.

The new service, LoD on Call, will operate alongside the firm’s existing secondment model, now rebranded LoD on Site, which launched in 2007 and spun out from BLP in June 2012. Both are aimed at helping corporates and law firms to cost effectively manage the inevitable peaks and troughs in workflow.

CC to boost London corporate and regulatory insurance capability with hire of NRF’s Ashley Prebble

Clifford Chance (CC) has hired Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) corporate insurance partner Ashley Prebble as the Magic Circle firm aims to boost its Lloyds and London market and general insurance capability.

Prebble, who will work closely with the firm’s private equity and regulatory teams, specialises in corporate and regulatory insurance work including initial public offerings (IPOs), mergers and acquisitions, Part VII transfers, distribution agreements and regulatory matters.