No let up for Libor claims as FSA issues record fines

With the Financial Services Authority (FSA) issuing a record £300m of total fines in the UK in 2012, up from £65.5m in 2011, litigation teams in the City are predicting a further surge in banking litigation in 2013 thanks to the Libor scandal.

Barclays’ fine of £59.9m in June was dwarfed by UBS’ £160m fine in December. Clifford Chance and Sullivan & Cromwell were brought in to advise Barclays, while Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher advised UBS in both the US and the UK.

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RPC expands corporate practice with partner hires

RPC has beefed up its corporate practice with the hire of three of Wragge & Co’s heavyweight partners as it targets more mid-sized deals for the largest FTSE 100 and 250 companies and multinational businesses.

The City Domestic firm hired Wragges’ former managing partner Richard Haywood and corporate head Maurice Dwyer. The duo joined fellow partner David Marshall at the beginning of the year.

Haywood was managing partner at Wragges from 2003 until 2006 and was also the firm’s corporate head. Most recently, he advised Premier Foods on the £182m sale of its canning division to Princes Foods. Continue reading “RPC expands corporate practice with partner hires”

Herbies and Hogan Lovells win places on Land Securities panel

Land Securities has appointed Herbert Smith Freehills and Hogan Lovells to its revamped legal panel following a year-long review that ended in January. The largest commercial property company in the UK now has nine external law firms on its roster.

Group general counsel and company secretary Adrian de Souza has organised his law firms into two main panels, with Berwin Leighton Paisner, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells and Nabarro placed on panel A, while panel B comprises Dundas & Wilson and Herbert Smith Freehills. There is also an additional specialist panel that contains Allen & Overy for finance and Clifford Chance for corporate work.

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Parabis Group storms into Scottish insurance market

Private equity backed Parabis Group recently entered the Scottish legal insurance market with a bold statement of intent, hiring local rival HBJ Claim Solutions’ litigation head Tony O’Malley in the process.

Parabis, an alternative business structure in England and Wales, has opened a single-partner-regulated law office known as Parabis Scotland. It will offer claimant and defendant insurance law services with the defendant branch carrying its Plexus Law brand.

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Ashurst expansion continues full throttle

Ashurst’s recent appetite for international expansion shows no sign of abating, with the firm announcing in November the launch of a new operation in Saudi Arabia.

The firm will soon be able to practise Saudi law after establishing a partnership with Faisal Adnan Baassiri, the former head of legal at Ashurst client Saudi Economic and Development Company (Sedco).

Baassiri has experience working in private practice: he worked at Osama S. Al-Yamani law firm in Jeddah, where the Ashurst office will open under the official name of Law Office of Faisal Baassiri in association with Ashurst. Continue reading “Ashurst expansion continues full throttle”

DAC Beachcroft becomes first UK firm in Chile

DAC Beachcroft has strengthened its presence in Latin America by becoming the first European-based firm to launch in Chile by acquiring two local firms.

Chilean players SegurosLex and Amunategui y Cia joined the English firm to create DAC Beachcroft Chile at the beginning of November in a move to extend its leading insurance practice in the continent.

DAC Beachcroft is also keen to seal a partnership with Colombian firm De La Torre & Monroy within the next 12 months. De La Torre works primarily with insurers and undertakes a lot of work related to the London market, so would be a logical fit for the major UK firm. Continue reading “DAC Beachcroft becomes first UK firm in Chile”

Locke Lord’s lateral spree continues in London

US firm Locke Lord has continued its rapid expansion in London since launching in February this year with the addition of three more lateral hires within a few weeks.

The arrival of Mayer Brown reinsurance litigator Ian McKenna at the end of October was followed by the hire of Fox Williams’ corporate finance partner James Channo and Mishcon de Reya’s former head of finance, Luke Morris, in November.

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Magrath launches in Singapore

November saw London-based Magrath become the first corporate immigration specialist to open a standalone presence in Singapore; Ben Sheldrick and Mark Chowdhry will spearhead the firm’s practice in the city state.

The launch of Magrath Global reflects the eastwards shift of several of the firm’s multinational clients, eager to capitalise on more buoyant markets. ‘Clients have been proactive in asking for this expansion,’ explained Sheldrick. ‘It has been driven by their growing focus on the region.’

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Korea legal market shows signs of saturation

With the recent influx of foreign firms into Seoul showing no signs of stopping, questions are being raised as to whether the market has reached saturation point and which firms will win the race for Korea’s most prestigious clients.

Paul Hastings and Covington & Burling became the most recent firms to open new offices in South Korea, both at the beginning of November. Since ratification of foreign trade agreements (FTAs) between Korea and the EU in July 2011 and the US in February 2012, 17 firms from the LB Global 100 have either opened an office, applied for a licence or have expressed an interest in opening in Seoul.

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Banks could face backlash on legal panel reviews

With the latest round of bank panel reviews in full swing, early indications show signs of a backlash from law firms as banks place increasing demands on panel candidates at the same time as driving down costs.

In October, The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announced the results of its long-running panel review. By reducing its number of sub-panels from 13 to five, it has significantly lowered the number of law firms on the panel from around 100 previously to between 55 and 60 now. Meanwhile, former panel firms Slaughter and May, Olswang and Mayer Brown didn’t pitch to join the panel this time around.

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