ABS rising – Slater and Gordon and Plexus announce four law firm acquisitions in a day

Both sides of the volume insurance market saw significant Legal Services Act-themed developments today as two of the most touted investor-backed law outfits announced four proposed acquisitions in a single day.

Plexus Law today (7 May) confirmed it is to merge with insurance dispute resolution practice Greenwoods, creating a £90m defendant insurance litigation business. Plexus is the defendant arm of the Parabis Group, the legal outfit that last year sold a majority stake in its business to buyout house Duke Street in a move expected to fund a war chest for expansion.

In-house moves: Glencore and RSA announce senior appointments

In-house moves: Glencore and RSA announce senior appointments

Glencore Xstrata has promoted former Glencore general counsel (GC) Richard Marshall as its overall head of legal in the wake of its $66bn merger.

Marshall joined Glencore in 2005, having worked at Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft. He moved to the firm’s London office from the Sydney office of Mallesons Stephen Jacques where he had been a partner since 1984.

Comment: Things I would have said about the future of law if I hadn’t forgotten my notes

I was recently asked to speak on a panel debate for Georgetown Law at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s City office to discuss the big issues facing the profession. As the panel’s host, Freshfields managing partner Ted Burke, sent the speakers some outline topics and questions beforehand, I sketched out some points to help order my thoughts.

Legal education – either free or very expensive as BPP to train job-hungry grads for nothing

Legal education – either free or very expensive as BPP to train job-hungry grads for nothing

Law schools have been dogged by controversy in recent years on both sides of the Atlantic but one of the UK’s major providers has a novel response: giving education away for free.

BPP Law School this week confirmed that it is to offer a free qualification worth up to £16,500 to any of its legal practice course (LPC) graduates who fail to secure a job in the legal sector within six months of graduating.

Enter A&O, exit CC for Aviva’s top roster but insurance giant drives a hard bargain

Allen & Overy (A&O) has won a place on Aviva’s top corporate panel after a lengthy review that saw Clifford Chance (CC) lose its spot as plc adviser.

The move comes as Aviva also kick-started its UK and Europe panel selection process in mid-April, following an overhaul of its 280-staff global legal team.

The review of the plc panel was led by general counsel (GC) and company secretary Kirsty Cooper and Aviva Group GC Monica Risam (pictured).

‘The pace has been relentless’ – the man who led the SRA through its birth has had enough

Antony Townsend, the man who led the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) through its controversy-strewn separation from the Law Society, has today (2 May) confirmed that he is to leave the body.

Chief executive Townsend announced that he is stepping down later this year once a successor has been appointed. He commented: ‘I have headed up the SRA from its inception. The pace of change has been relentless; the challenges have been formidable.

DLA and Simmons promote fewer partners as firms continue to favour Europe

DLA and Simmons promote fewer partners as firms continue to favour Europe

DLA Piper and Simmons & Simmons are among the latest UK firms to announce a reduced number of partnership promotions, appointing 34 and seven lawyers respectively, down from 58 and 10 in 2012.

DLA’s appointments came largely across its US offices, where 19 lawyers were made up to the partnership, with a further seven in continental Europe, four in the UK and four in Australia.

Asia round-up: DLA hits Jakarta while Stephenson Harwood expands in Singapore and Beijing

Despite concerns over a cooling eastern economy, UK advisers continue to invest in Asia with DLA Piper and Stephenson Harwood this week making major plays in the region.

DLA Piper has entered into a strategic alliance with Indonesian law firm Almaida Baely & Firmansyah (IAB&F), ramping up its already huge global footprint. Like most international advisers, DLA had previously largely serviced Indonesian work from its Singapore arm.