Global giant raises capital and shakes up corporate as HSF moves through merger integration
The merger between Herbert Smith and Freehills continues to give rise to growing pains as last month saw the UK half of the firm issue a multimillion pound cash call to its equity partners in preparation for financial integration.
The cash call was issued in a memo sent earlier this year to all equity partners. It is understood that they have been asked to contribute £2,000 per equity point. Herbert Smith’s lockstep ladder runs from 43 to 100, meaning those at the top of equity, around 65 individuals, are liable to pay around £200,000 each.
Continue reading “HSF merger throws up partnership issues as Herbert Smith issues cash call”
Four of the five Magic Circle firms have now revealed their decisions on newly qualified (NQ) and trainee salaries, with decisions pending from the remainder of the top ten City firms.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer so far tops the table for NQs, despite its decision to freeze pay for its career milestone foundation. Junior-banded associates – equivalent to NQ to one-year PQE – will earn between £65,000 and £72,500. The firm’s trainee pay has also been frozen at £39,000 for first-year trainees and £44,000 for second-year trainees.
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Top 15 UK firm advises clients Commerzbank and Morrisons
Ashurst is leading on two headline transactions announced in mid-May as Germany’s Commerzbank entered talks to sell £4bn of its UK property loans and supermarket Morrisons signed a long-term deal with online grocer Ocado.
The top 15 UK law firm is advising longstanding client Commerzbank on the proposed sale of its Eurohypo UK operation to US bank Wells Fargo and private equity group Lone Star.
The work was awarded to Ashurst following a competitive pitch in November 2012. For Ashurst, which had an existing relationship with Commerzbank through its German operations, this will be the first corporate M&A deal it has advised Germany’s second-largest bank on, having undertaken largely finance mandates in the past.
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A handful of major corporate mandates were unveiled last month as private equity house Cinven kicked off its £1.4bn proposed initial public offering (IPO) of annuity provider Partnership Assurance Group and Severn Trent rejected a preliminary takeover offer by an international consortium.
Amid signs of renewed confidence in the IPO market, Cinven instructed Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – led by corporate partners Mark Austin and Adrian Maguire – to advise on the float of Partnership, which Cinven acquired for €200m in 2008.
Continue reading “Cinven gifts Freshfields with IPO while HSF defends Severn Trent”
Number of firms granted licences by SRA hits 2012 levels
The number of firms granted alternative business structure (ABS) status in 2013 has now hit the same level as for the whole of 2012, as Shakespeares became the latest mid-tier outfit to announce it has been granted a licence in mid-May.
Shakespeares was the 72nd firm to obtain a licence in 2013, the same number as obtained a licence in total in 2012 after the Solicitors Regulation Authority began accepting applications on 3 January. After a slow start, the first licences were granted in March 2012, when Co-operative Legal Services, Kent family practice Lawbridge Solicitors and Oxfordshire firm John Welch & Stammers became an ABS. 144 firms have now been granted ABS status.
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Top 50 City firm Travers Smith has suffered the rare public reverse of losing a high-profile discrimination case after a tribunal found the firm denied a former trainee a place in the firm because she became pregnant.
The Central London Employment Tribunal found that Travers ‘contrived to prevent Katie Tantum from being offered a post as a newly-qualified solicitor because of her pregnancy’, according to a statement by Tantum’s solicitors, Leigh Day.
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Bluechips continue to grow legal teams as buyside lawyers shift from external counsel
In-house departments are expanding rapidly and overshadowing private practice growth as corporates plan to further bolster their internal legal capability.
Both recent statistics and developments on the ground indicate that corporates are increasingly addressing issues such as regulatory and compliance pressures, as well as budgetary restraints, by expanding their internal capabilities.
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US firms in the City continue to demonstrate their appetite for big name lateral hires from leading UK firms, with Latham & Watkins and Reed Smith picking up experienced partners from Clifford Chance (CC) recently, while Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan announced the hire of disputes expert Ted Greeno from Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF).
Latham & Watkins’ acquisition of CC’s global head of private equity, David Walker, particularly caught the eye last month. This is one of the most significant blows to CC’s corporate practice since the departure of Adam Signy to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in 2009.
Continue reading “Lateral push sees key UK players switch to US firms”
A number of global firms boosted their white-collar defence practices last month with a spate of hires from US and UK government agencies. The hires come as regulators on both sides of the pond continue to tighten their grip on domestic and international businesses.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer hired Matthew Friedrich, former acting head of the criminal division at the US Department of Justice (DoJ), to bolster its white-collar practice based in Washington DC.
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has demonstrated that US firms in the City are not the only ones to be making high-profile partner hires, announcing the recruitment of respected Shearman & Sterling partner and head of global project development and finance Tim Pick in April.
The arrival of Pick, described as ‘outstanding in all respects’ in the latest edition of The Legal 500, is a significant appointment for Freshfields. He will join as a finance partner in London and will focus on advising clients in the energy and natural resources sector in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Continue reading “Freshfields Pick ‘outstanding’ energy hire”