Libel law to be overhauled as Defamation Bill gets royal assent

A three-year battle to bring libel law into the 21st century came to a close yesterday (25 April) as the Defamation Bill received Royal Assent.

The Defamation Act 2013 will mean that companies and individuals bringing a libel claim are now required to show serious harm – including serious financial loss for a company – to establish a claim.

Harbour Litigation funds claimant in dispute with Barclays

Third party financier Harbour Litigation Funding is to bankroll a claim against Barclays alleging the bank mis-used confidential information in its 2010 takeover of Tricorona.

The £164m claim is being brought by UK trading and investments firm CF Partners, which alleges that Barclays used confidential information it supplied to the bank when requesting funding for its own bid for Tricorona.

A&O introduces first trainee salary increase since 2010

Allen & Overy has increased trainee pay rates bringing to an end a three-year freeze and has promoted 24 lawyers to the role of counsel.

The Magic Circle firm is the first to raise the stakes amongst its peers this year, with second-year trainee rates increasing by £800 to £44,000 – £200 less than the previous increase in May 2010, where pay packets grew from £42,200 to £43,200.

Former Dewey chairman to pay $500k mismanagement settlement

Steve Davis, former chairman of Dewey & LeBoeuf, has offered to pay over half a million dollars to settle claims against him following the firm’s collapse last year.

Davis has agreed to pay $511,145 in the form of a promissory note to the firm’s liquidation trust, after Dewey became the largest law firm in US history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last May.

Mills & Reeve confirms merger with Manchester firm George Davies

Mills & Reeve today (24 April) announced that it is to expand its presence in the North through a merger with Manchester-based law firm George Davies, after partners voted in favour of the move.

Public sector and sports law specialist George Davies will add around £7m in revenue to Mills & Reeve’s £69.4m, based on 2011-2012 results, consolidating the national firm’s position in the Legal Business 100 rankings where it currently sits at position 47.

Ropes & Gray boosts London and Hong Kong with double Fried Frank hire

Ropes & Gray is to bolster its City and Hong Kong arms with a two-partner hire from US rival Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson.

In London former Allen & Overy finance partner Mark Wesseldine will join from Fried Frank on 1 May, bringing the City partner and counsel total to 20, while Fried Frank capital markets and M&A partner Victoria Lloyd is to join the Hong Kong office on 13 May.

A&O picks up corporate partner as Shearman announces Düsseldorf and Munich closures

Allen & Overy has hired Shearman & Sterling’s corporate partner Hans Diekmann as a partner in its Düsseldorf office.

Diekmann, whose start date at A&O is yet to be confirmed, joined Shearman as a partner in 1999. Before that he worked in the legal department of Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt for over seven years. Diekmann will become the sixth partner in A&O’s Düsseldorf office, all of which have been hired in.

HSF and Ashurst announce partner promotions

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and Ashurst have both announced their latest partner promotions today (23 April), with Herbert Smith promoting considerably more associates than last year while Ashurst made up fewer partners this time around.

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has promoted 19 lawyers to its partnership, up from just 10 last year, with the majority of the partners come from the firm’s self professed twin engines of corporate and dispute resolution, with seven partners being made up in each practice areas.

Following the firm’s merger with Australian outfit Freehills last summer, seven partners have been made up in Australia. These include corporate lawyers Paul Branston in Brisbane and Mark Currell in Sydney; disputes specialists Leon Chung and Hugh Paynter in Sydney; Matthew Bull, a competition associate in Brisbane; and projects associate Daniel Zador and finance lawyer Rowen Cross, both based in Perth.