In early May, members of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s management team left the firm. One headed for the greener pastures of O’Melveny & Myers; one headed for a new home at Winston & Strawn; while the others went to Proskauer Rose and Arnold & Porter. Online message boards lit up like a Christmas tree, with commentators likening those moves to ‘rats fleeing a sinking ship’ and to Francesco Schettino, the captain who allegedly left the sinking Costa Cruise ship off the coast of Italy.
Leading insurance firms that reported unprecedented revenue and headcount growth in their counter-fraud teams in 2011 expect this trend to continue in 2012.
Many firms have some capability in insurance fraud, however the biggest reported growth in the sector is undoubtedly within motor fraud. This is a practice area dominated by regional and national firms such as Keoghs, Hill Dickinson, DWF, Berrymans Lace Mawer, Weightmans and DAC Beachcroft. All saw sizeable increases within their teams in 2011.
Nearly a quarter of UK law firms with revenues over £50m derive more than half of their turnover from overseas, according to a recent survey by Barclays.
Three quarters of firms surveyed by the bank, of which 73% have a presence in more than five countries, pull in more than 10% of their revenues from outside the UK.
Jones Day, one of the largest law firms in the Global 100 by headcount, is most commonly recognised for its US strengths, but John Phillips, partner-in-charge of the London office, says the firm is keen to expand its UK offering: ‘We have to develop in London and turn it into a main office. The plan is to recruit more people, more lateral hires.’
With the International Relations Committee of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) due to vote on suggested changes to the country’s Bar rules, LB has obtained a copy of the proposals up for discussion.
Drafted by attorney Carlos Roberto Siqueira Castro, partner in Rio de Janeiro-headquartered litigation outfit Siqueira Castro Advogados, the report pushes for a major reinforcement of the existing rules governing international law firms practising in the country.
Clyde & Co saw seven partners leave its Hong Kong arm in April. Significantly, the departures were all former Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) partners that Clydes inherited following the two firms’ merger last year.
‘Our strategy in Hong Kong has been to focus on corporate insurance,’ said Peter Hasson, chief executive at Clydes. ‘The loss of our more generalist insurance team in Hong Kong is not an issue for us.’
Management at Dewey & LeBoeuf has reacted defensively to widespread partner exits in 2012, contending the firm’s position is ‘strong’ and that it will ‘meet its financial targets for the year’.
Dewey has already seen a mass exodus of partners from its business since the start of the year, with almost 70 partners having departed – one of the highest number of partner departures in such a short timeframe.
Dundas & Wilson’s managing partner Donald Shaw unexpectedly announced in March that he is stepping down from his post midway through his second term.
It is unclear why Shaw stepped down, however suggestions from former partners and the market are that partners were unhappy with his management.
Debt levels at the top UK firms by revenue have increased to £185m compared to £138m last year.
Data taken from top UK firms’ annual LLP filings at Companies House reveals that Simmons & Simmons, Addleshaw Goddard, Bird & Bird and Herbert Smith are the most indebted of the leading firms.
Herbert Smith saw its debt level rise by £17m to just over £41m worth of net debt in 2010/11. It increased its overdraft facility by £11m to £18.6m with part of the new loan going to fund the fit out of the firm’s new Belfast office. The firm saw its turnover rise by 3% last year to £465.1m.
DLA Piper has revealed plans to open a second London office this year, concentrating on the burgeoning technology startup community.
Simon Levine, the firm’s IP and technology global co-chair, said plans were to open ‘before the summer’, with the office likely to be located in the Tech City area of East London, near the Old Street roundabout.