Top HSF litigator Greeno defects to Quinn Emanuel’s City arm

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) partners received more bad news this morning as it emerged that top litigator Ted Greeno has resigned to join US disputes leader Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

The departure represents arguably the most high profile contentious practitioner to join a US law firm in London directly from private practice and will be regarded as highly significant for Quinn Emanuel, which is moving to broaden the practice of its City arm.

Greeno’s resignation was announced this morning (27 March) to HSF’s partnership and comes after almost 30 years with the City firm.

DWF makes 38 redundancies post Cobbetts pre-pack

Following its acquisition of Cobbetts, DWF has laid off 38 staff from its central services support team following a consultation which ended last Friday (22 March).

DWF initially placed 140 staff under redundancy risk but 83 have now been placed into roles and 21 are still in the selection process.

The firm said the move was ‘inevitable with an acquisition of this size and nature’ and that ‘there was an element of overlap of roles’.

Lone star state of mind

Reed Smith’s assault on Houston is a brave move following its failed merger with Thompson & Knight three years ago.

The firm launched a greenfield office in downtown Houston last month, where it will fill two floors of the city’s tallest building, the BG Tower, with up to 30 lateral hires over the next quarter. Firmwide managing partner Greg Jordan says Reed Smith has already recruited several partners and associates from leading local firms.

Pay for female lawyers not up by much

Pay for male lawyers in the UK is significantly down from 2011, while women enjoyed a small rise in salary in 2012. Despite this sliver of positive news, the gender imbalance continues with male and female lawyers still receiving dramatically different treatment. The profession still has a long way to go.

Recent research from recruiter Laurence Simons found that average pay for male lawyers – both in-house and in private practice – was down £5,000 on 2011, while pay among female lawyers was up by nearly £1,400. Even considering this feeble rise, men on average in the legal profession made over £50,000 more than women last year. Average salary for male lawyers was £162,689 compared to £111,293 for female lawyers looks pretty bad.

Manchester market takes another hit as Cobbetts seeks saviours

With Manchester-based Cobbetts on the verge of administration, signalling increasingly difficult market conditions in the north, local rivals will surely be able to snap up some bargains and save jobs.

The firm, ranked 62nd in the LB100, announced on 30 January that it was seeking to obtain ‘statutory moratorium to enable a sale of the business and assets of the firm to be concluded in a short time’. The news has sent shockwaves across the legal market and puts Manchester at the epicentre of law firm casualties following the demise of Halliwells in 2010.

Cleary and 2012 GC take top prizes in 2013 Legal Business Awards

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Linklaters and London 2012’s Terry Miller were among the key prize-winners at last night’s Legal Business Awards.

Cleary Gottlieb was named Law Firm of the Year from a shortlist including Baker & McKenzie, Bristows, Clifford Chance, Clyde & Co, RPC and Travers Smith. The Wall Street leader was singled out for a truly outstanding year, combining cutting-edge mandates such as Greece’s sovereign bond restructuring and advising Rosneft on its $55bn acquisition of TNK-BP, while posting the highest five-year growth rate of any elite global law firm.

Latest Dundas departures are reminder of pressure facing Scotland’s most storied firms

Dundas & Wilson is bracing itself for the departure of three more partners from the firm’s London arm. Corporate partners Julian Matthews and Simon Sale, along with banking and finance partner Michael Wrigley have decided to leave the Scots leader, which has faced a difficult few years by any yardstick.

These moves compound an unsettled time for the firm’s London office, that last year saw Martin Thomas, one of the firm’s top litigators, leave for Wragge & Co, along with banking partner John Pike, who quit for Osborne Clarke. More recent senior departures include TMT partner Paul Graham, who left for Field Fisher Waterhouse, while real estate partner Nick Padget left for Osborne Clarke. Of this month’s departures, it is thought that Wrigley and Matthews will leave immediately, with Sale leaving next month. Familiar questions about the firm’s London ambitions have been raised.

Freshfields partners with Stephen Lawrence charity to provide scholarships to aspiring black lawyers

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is launching a scholarship with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust (SLCT) to help students from black and ethnic minorities gain access to the profession, in the latest of a string of diversity initiatives in law.

The scholarship will allow four successful male candidates committed to pursuing a career in the legal profession to receive a £3,500 annual contribution towards living expenses, training, mentoring, work experience at Freshfields and a guaranteed interview for a training contract.

4-5 Gray’s Inn Square merges with public law specialists Atlas Chambers

4-5 Gray’s Inn Square has merged with Public law set Atlas Chambers in a bid to boost headcount following a swathe of barrister exits late last year.

The tie-up will see Atlas director John Lister and his team of eight barristers move in with 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square, which was hit by the exit of 24 members including seven QCs, in November last year (See: 39 Essex Street takeover heralds new dawn) and a further four clerks earlier this year. Both groups joined 39 Essex Street.

Beyond the boundary: India

Despite a raft of international alliances and the growing globalisation of Indian business, the opening up of India’s legal market seems as far away as it’s been for the past 20 years

The managing partners of most international law firms would be happy if India’s legal market took a lead from cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL). If that were the case the finest local legal talent would advise alongside rainmakers from the UK and US, with foreign lawyers able to practise on the ground in Delhi and Mumbai. It may not generate quite the same fervour as Sachin Tendulkar et al manage in the IPL’s Twenty20 games but throughout the past decade India has been a legal market to get seriously excited about.