Clydes outlines global strategy following Hong Kong exits

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.’

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Dewey management in denial as exits continue

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.

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Shaw abruptly steps down from Dundas leadership

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.

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LLP filings show increase in net debt at leading UK firms

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.

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DLA Piper plans ‘relationship building’ technology push in London

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.

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UK listing for Russell Jones & Walker not immediate priority

Neil Kinsella, Russell Jones & Walker (RJW)’s chief executive, is non-committal on the possibility of a UK listing for his firm, should its recently announced acquisition by listed Australian firm Slater & Gordon (S&G) complete.

S&G, the world’s first listed law firm, is set to buy UK personal injury firm RJW for £53.8m later this year. The publicly listed Melbourne-based practice will become the first Australian firm to take over a UK firm.

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Pinsents and McGrigors tie-up gets rubber-stamped

Pinsent Masons and McGrigors confirmed in early February that partners had voted in favour of the two firms merging. The new firm will operate from 1 May as one unified partnership under the Pinsent Masons brand.

Management says that the combination will likely see the creation of a near £300m, 1,500 lawyer business spanning 15 offices, seven of which are outside of the UK.

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Shearman’s rainmaker leaves for Skadden

Shearman & Sterling’s loss is Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s gain after Stephan Hutter, Germany’s pre-eminent capital markets specialist, swapped one US firm for another in February.

Hutter joined Skadden’s Frankfurt office along with fellow partner Katja Kaulamo, gifting the firm the German capital markets capability it has sought for so long.

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Leeds market set to change markedly as top tier loses talent

Firms operating in the Leeds market have been in a state of flux recently, with the region’s mid-tier firms taking advantage of the shrinking headcount at the larger players.

Despite troubling economic conditions in the Leeds market, Gateley was not deterred, and opened its Leeds office in January, marking the firm’s eighth office in the UK.

The move saw Gateley hire restructuring partner William Ballmann and finance litigator Rob Payne from Cobbetts to launch the office. Ballmann is set to run Gateley’s Leeds outpost. Continue reading “Leeds market set to change markedly as top tier loses talent”