Arguably the most ambitious deal to hit the global legal market since the 2010 tie-up between Hogan & Hartson and Lovells looks set to go ahead as it emerges that SJ Berwin is to vote next week on its proposed merger with Asia-Pacific giant King & Wood Mallesons.
Legal Business understands that SJ Berwin partners were given a week’s notice this morning of the vote, which will close at the end of the month.
Reed Smith has received nearly a million pounds in legal fees as a result of assisting in the BBC’s investigation into the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal as the corporation comes under criticism for spending a total of £5m of licence fee payers’ money on three reviews.
The BBC’s annual report today (17 July) revealed that the cost of the Pollard Review – one of three reviews set up in the wake of the Savile scandal – was £2.8m, of which £893,500 went to Reed Smith.
Moses LJ has set his satirical pen a scribbling in a recent speech reported in the Gazette. It simplifies, as satire must I suppose, but it got me thinking about something that has been bothering me for some time. Before I come to that, let me set the general theme. There is already a market for judicial services. It may not bite as hard or as dangerously as price competitive tendering, and it may not as directly influence the judges, but it is there nonetheless. It works on a number of levels. Forum shopping from judges can be a form of market for influence. Arbitration is a more obviously economic market in competition with the courts.
Norton Rose Fulbright and Bond Dickinson have been reappointed to the Crown Estate’s energy and infrastructure panel in what will be regarded as an important win for both law firms.
The Crown Estate said that the move ‘consolidated legal advice across an extremely diverse portfolio’, cutting the body’s previous specialist panel from five to two advisers after a competitive tender process. The appointments will be considered as trophy roles for both firms, in particular underlining their credentials in the renewable energy sector, which remains a coveted area for advisers despite protracted challenges in Europe’s sustainable energy sector.
The balance sheets of most English clubs may be shakier than Villa’s back four, but when it comes to raising your deal-doers’ profile there’s still nothing like acting for major football teams.
Among the advisers getting off the bench (sorry) are Dechert, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Squire Sanders on the sale of Fulham Football Club while DLA Piper is working on the £260m regeneration of Liverpool’s Anfield ground.
So far the high-stakes merger between Norton Rose and US practice Fulbright & Jaworski has been sealed with minimal fall-out but a prominent exception has been confirmed in the Middle East with an eight-partner team quitting the legacy Houston law firm’s Dubai arm for a rival.
Baker Botts today (16 July) confirmed the hire of a 14-lawyer team, which includes the bulk of the legacy Fulbright & Jaworski’s Dubai branch.
Big ticket M&A may be in short supply but both defensive and regulator-instigated investigations into corporate behaviour is burgeoning, as Linklaters becomes the latest leading law firm to secure a high profile mandate, advising G4S on its recent tagging scandal.
The Magic Circle firm led by corporate partner Richard Godden and litigator Tom Lidstrom has been called in to advise the private security company, which recently returned to the public eye after the justice secretary Chris Grayling called for it and rival security firm Serco to be investigated for overcharging for the electronic tagging of offenders.
Direct Line Group (DLG) looks set to become the next major insurance group to launch a new legal services venture, in partnership with Parabis Law, after applying to the Solicitors Regulation Authority to form an alternative business structure (ABS).
The retail general insurer has also added an interesting dimension to the debate over cuts to legal aid by announcing it plans to launch ‘competitive’ law firm DLG Legal Services at a time when most Britons are struggling to afford legal services.
Top 30 UK firms DAC Beachcroft and Stephenson Harwood today (15 July) unveiled growth in revenue for 2012/13, while Brodies last week revealed a third consecutive increase in turnover and profit and Morgan Cole has seen its profits drop significantly.
DAC Beachcroft’s revenues have increased by 14.2% to £188.2m, up from £164.8m in 2011/12. Net profit at the 1079-lawyer firm also increased by 42% to £31.8m at the end of the last financial year, up from £22.4m the previous year. However, profit per equity partner (PEP) is down by 11.5% from £321,000 in 2011/12 to £284,000.
London has been the focus of a series of hires for top national, City and US firms including DAC Beachcroft, RPC, K&L Gates and Reed Smith, as Dechert has also boosted its Moscow offering with a hire of a partner from Hogan Lovells.
Adrian Williams joins DAC Beachcroft’s corporate insurance team from reinsurance giant Swiss Re, where he was general counsel for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and was based in Zurich. The firm has also bolstered its real estate team in London with the hire of Nathan East from Hempsons. East specialises in advising medical professionals, care providers and the NHS.