Amid all the hype surrounding alternative business structures (ABS) one story that emerged last month stood out – the aggressively-marketed Riverview Law’s eye-catching alliance with 48-partner practice DMH Stallard.
In an ABS market heavily focused on the high street and volume insurance work, the deal stands out for aiming to provide something different to corporate buyers of legal services.
After the slowest opening M&A quarter for a decade the past week saw signs of the forecasted uptick in M&A activity as a clutch of US firms including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Kirkland & Ellis and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton secured high value mandates.
In what is said to be the largest Chinese takeover of a US company, Hong Kong-based meat processing giant Shuanghui International Holdings has acquired the world’s largest pork processor, Smithfield Foods, in a deal worth $4.7bn, or $7.1bn including assumed debt. US Paul Hastings led by Hong Kong-based partner Raymond Li advised the buyer alongside LB Global 100 US firm Troutman Sanders, led by corporate partners Mason Bayler, David Myers and Coburn Beck. Smithfield Foods was advised by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett led by M&A partners Robert Spatt and Patrick Noughton and McGuireWoods led by corporate partners David Oakey and James Anderson.
Dundas & Wilson’s beleaguered City office has deferred its 2014 trainee intake by a year and cancelled its London summer vacation scheme just weeks before students were due to arrive.
Around 24 students who were due to spend two weeks at the Scottish firm’s London office next month have been told the scheme will no longer go ahead, which it blames on the ‘firm’s strategic business objectives.’
A raft of leading UK and US firms boosted their East Asian presence this past week, including K&L Gates, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy and Addleshaw Goddard, with Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo a continuing focus of international attention.
On 31 May, Hong Kong corporate partner Virginia Tam moved from White & Case to US rival K&L Gates’ established 19-lawyer office, set up as its first Asian post 15 years ago.
Even I’m concerned about Chris Grayling’s proposals for criminal legal aid. When the government announced cuts to civil legal aid, I broadly backed them, in contrast to most lawyers. Now, the government’s proposing some further cuts to civil legal aid as well as major changes to the criminal legal aid system most dramatically, a move to competitive tendering of publicly-funded criminal defence work.
One man’s slashing red tape is another’s endless tinkering. Either way, the much-meddled field of legal regulation may face more intervention with news this week that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is to conduct a wholesale review of the profession’s regulatory landscape, little more than a year after the Legal Services Act (LSA) came into full force.
As Bristol-based TLT yesterday posted a double-digit hike in turnover and announced a dual hire to launch an office in Manchester, in contrasting fortunes Glasgow-based Maclay Murray & Spens became the latest UK firm to announce a redundancy consultation in a move that could affect up to 30 roles.
It has swiftly moved from obscure regional player into one of the most closely watched practices on the national scene and financial results announced today (6 June) confirm the extent of its dramatic ascent. DWF, which has completed five mergers in under 18 months, has unsurprisingly reported significant revenue and profit increases for the 2012/13 financial year.Turnover at the law firm is up 84% to £188m, while the firm’s net profit is up 41%, with profit per equity partner standing at £429,000, against £408,000 the previous year.
The #SAVEUKJUSTICE demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice yesterday (4 June) was well attended. Coverage of the event has been extensive and well dealt with in the law blogs.
A few observations…
The unified stance taken by the Bar and Law Society has been a remarkable feature of the campaign.Leading lights from the legal profession have given time and thought to putting the message across through blogs and on twitter. Many bloggers have written on the subject. Patrick Tornsey has a comprehensive listing of blogs written by lawyers and others from the legal blogging community.
King & Spalding has continued its City recruitment drive with the hire of Steptoe & Johnson’s London dispute resolution partner and co-head of the Russia and CIS group, Egishe Dzhazoyan.
Listed by Legal 500 as a leading arbitrator with ‘excellent common sense’, Dzhazoyan is a UK and Russian-qualified lawyer who has represented clients in more than 50 arbitration and litigation proceedings across a host of international jurisdictions. He has a particular focus on the banking, telecoms and energy sectors.