Legal Business

‘Shining examples’: Three law firms make Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list

‘Shining examples’: Three law firms make Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list

Weightmans, Addleshaw Goddard and Oxfordshire-based Brethertons Solicitors have all made it on to the top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list.

The list, which is compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with City & Guilds, recognises excellence in businesses that employ apprentices. The three firms were selected by a panel of judges from the employment and skills arena for their exceptional contribution to apprenticeships.

With law firms increasingly looking at new routes into the profession, particularly as a way to encourage people from poorer backgrounds into legal services, top 50 law firm Weightmans was selected for its heavy intake, with ten apprentices across legal, paralegal, business administration, management and accounting. The firm was also highly commended in the Rolls Royce Award for Newcomer Large Employer of the Year.

Rob Williams, partner and board director at Weightmans, said: ‘We are the first employer in the country to recruit a Higher Apprentice in Legal Services and hope to help many more young people who have chosen the apprenticeship route into a successful legal career.’

Meanwhile, Brethertons’ apprenticeship programme, supported by training providers Heart of England and CILEX, has engaged 41 young people since its inception 13 years ago. Deborah Atkins, partner and head of HR, said: ‘Our apprenticeship programme serves to nurture and give real opportunities.’

Addleshaw Goddard, which this year has been working with government on establishing standards for apprentices to qualify as solicitors, also made it onto the list.

The list was announced by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg at the National Apprenticeship Awards last week. ‘I would encourage more businesses across England to follow these shining examples and find out how apprenticeships can help them build a skilled, motivated and highly qualified workforce,’ said Clegg. ‘For the Top 100 Apprentice Employers recognised in 2014, their great achievement clearly outlines why apprenticeships deliver the skills that young people and the economy need.’

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘How not to conduct investment banking’: Addleshaws defeats Mayer Brown in UBS Commercial Court derivatives battle

‘How not to conduct investment banking’: Addleshaws defeats Mayer Brown in UBS Commercial Court derivatives battle

Banking giant UBS has been defeated in the Commercial Court today (4 November) over a $340m dispute it mounted against German water utility company Kommunale Wasserwerke Leipzig (KWL) relating to the sale of complex derivatives products by the bank, after a five-year long battle that saw Addleshaw Goddard and German firm Noerr defeat Mayer Brown.

KWL, the municipal water company for the City of Leipzig, entered into four single tranche collateral debt obligations (STCDOs) between 2006 and 2007 either directly with UBS or indirectly through two other intermediary banks, Depfa Bank and Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW). The STCDOs, which each consisted of a synthetic portfolio of credit default swaps on which KWL ‘sold’ credit protection to UBS in exchange for payment of a ‘premium’, had a notional value of over $400m.

After the STCDOs sustained major losses in the wake of the financial crisis, it emerged that the sale had been procured by substantial bribes paid by KWL’s financial advisers to its then managing director. Consequently, UBS sought to enforce each of the STCDOs against KWL and the intermediary banks.

Following a 14 week trial, Justice Males described the case as ‘a case study in how not to conduct investment banking in an honest and fair way’ and made findings of serious misconduct by UBS personnel and other parties involved, including bribery and dishonest behaviour which led to KWL investing in the complex products.

Notably, the court said it seemed surprising that a municipal water company should engage in the speculative business of selling credit protection which, if things went wrong, would expose it to liabilities on such a scale.

This was expressed in an internal email sent by Dublin bank Depfa, a third party to the proceedings, in November 2008: ‘You have to wonder what in the name of God a utility company were doing selling protection on this portfolio!! They must have been persuasive UBS salesmen!!!’

The judgment further criticised UBS Global Asset Management (UBS GAM) and held that it failed to properly monitor its concentrated bet on high risk financial entities. Males further found that the losses that KWL sustained under the STCDOs were caused by UBS GAM’s negligent portfolio management and KWL would therefore have been entitled to recover these losses as damages from UBS GAM if the STCDOs had not been rescinded.

Brick Court Chambers quartet Tim Lord QC, Simon Salzedo QC, Stephen Midwinter and Craig Morrison were all instructed for KWL by Addleshaw Goddard, which included a team led by partner Michael Barnett. Instructed by Mayer Brown for the UBS parties was Lord Falconer, and Brick Court Chambers trio Richard Slade QC, Jonathan Dawid and Edward Harrison.

Fountain Court Chambers’ trio David Railton QC, Richard Power and Edward Levey were instructed by Dentons for Depfa, while Maitland Chambers’ Nicholas Peacock QC, Catherine Addy, and Fiona Dewar were instructed by Baker & McKenzie for LBBW. Bakers’ financial disputes partner, Arun Srivastava, said: ‘We are pleased to have secured a positive outcome for our client LBBW. The Court accepted LBBW’s case on construction that the swap with UBS was not enforceable.’

On the decision, Addleshaws partner Barnett said: ‘While the judge expressed the hope that the bank’s conduct in this case “belonged to a bygone era”, the outcome highlights the importance for banks of maintaining rigorous, effective and independent control functions.’

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘A key strategic objective’: Shearman continues to build its global M&A/private equity practice with London hire from Addleshaws

‘A key strategic objective’: Shearman continues to build its global M&A/private equity practice with London hire from Addleshaws

Addleshaw Goddard partner Ben Rodham, who joined the firm only 18 months ago, has joined Shearman & Sterling’s fast growing private equity group in London as the US firm eyes more work in the sector.

The move strengthens Shearman & Sterling’s relationship with many of London’s most active private equity groups, with Rodham having advised Carlyle, Hg Capital and Bridgepoint in the past. That roster was kick-started during his time at Linklaters where he was an associate for eight years and part of the renowned private equity team of Richard Youle and Ian Bagshaw, who have since switched to White & Case.

Rodham’s relationship with Bridgepoint will be extremely valuable, given that Shearman managed to pip Linklaters on its latest acquisition, a £212m acquisition of forex provider Moneycorp.

His exit leaves Addleshaw Goddard with five private equity partners, but will come as a bigger blow as Rodham was influential in winning the firm a spot on BP’s most recent legal panel.

Shearman’s private equity team was boosted by the triple hire of private equity partner Mark Soundy, tax partner Sarah Priestley and private equity associate Simon Burrows, who joined as partner, from Weil Gotshal & Manges. Since their arrival in May, the number of lawyers in the group has risen from 15 to 20.

Shearman’s senior partner Creighton Condon said: ‘We have made the expansion of our global M&A/private equity practice a key strategic objective in recent years, and Ben enhances our offering with outstanding experience in private equity transactions.’

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

A&O, Addleshaw and Hogan Lovells line up on Co-op’s £620m pharmacy spin-off to Bestway

A&O, Addleshaw and Hogan Lovells line up on Co-op’s £620m pharmacy spin-off to Bestway

As the Co-operative Group moves to reduce its £1.2bn capital deficit and focus on core business lines it has turned to longstanding advisers Allen & Overy (A&O) and Addleshaw Goddard to lead on the £620m sale of its pharmaceutical business to Bestway Group, advised by Hogan Lovells.

Addleshaw corporate finance partner Richard Thomas led the deal for the Co-op, supported by corporate partner Richard Fleetwood and associates Andy Green, Ryan Barber, Dean Cox. The Co-op is a longstanding client of Thomas, who is also a member of Addleshaw’s healthcare group and counts as clients Lloyds Pharmacy and Capita, which he advised on its acquisitions relate to its Medicals Direct Group.

At A&O, banking partner David Lines and pensions partner Dana Burstow led for the Magic Circle firm, which last year advised the Co-op on a capital generation plan in the aftermath of it unveiling a hole of in excess of £1bn, and which saw finance partner Alistair Asher join as Co-op Group’s general counsel.

Tom Brassington, a corporate partner at Hogan Lovells who counts Johnson and Johnson among his clients, advised Bestway.

This latest transaction is due to complete in October 2014.

The deal sees 774 pharmacies transferred to Bestway in a move that will mean the group, run by Asian tycoon Sir Anwar Pervez, will own the third largest chain of pharmacies in the UK and have an annual turnover of around £3.4 billion.

Brassington said: ‘Hogan Lovells has worked with Dawood Pervez and the Bestway team for a number of years and we were extremely happy to assist with this major acquisition for the group. The Co-op Pharmacy’s focus on supporting and servicing the needs of local communities makes it a natural fit with Bestway’s existing portfolio of businesses.’

Richard Pennycook, interim group chief executive of The Co-operative Group, said: ‘The proceeds will enable The Co-operative to reduce debt and invest in our business and is part of the focused delivery of our clear strategic plans and priorities.’

Tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Financial results 2013/14: Addleshaws posts mixed results as profit down 11% after partner restructuring and CFA write-off

Financial results 2013/14: Addleshaws posts mixed results as profit down 11% after partner restructuring and CFA write-off

Addleshaw Goddard today (9 June) unveiled mixed financial results for the 2013/14 period, with turnover up by 3% to £171.4m but net profit down 11% from £44.9m to £39.8m.

The dip in profits was blamed on exceptional expenses during the year, namely partner restructuring and a written off conditional fee agreement, which relates to the firm’s role advising the late Boris Berezovsky in his high profile court battle with former business partner, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

In a statement today Addleshaw said: ‘During 2013/14, 14 partners left the firm for a range of changing client, business and personal circumstances. In view of that, the firm has decided to provide for a significant element of the profit share of those partners that will be payable during their notice periods, in its 2013/14 accounts.’

Prior to these exceptional items the firm achieved an underlying fee income of £172.5m, an increase of 5% on the prior year, and the highest for five years, as well as an equity partner profit of £44 million.

In a statement today, John Joyce, Addleshaw Goddard’s newly-elected managing partner, said: ‘Underlying growth of between five and eight per cent combined with a margin of 26 per cent in half a year of investment shows the strength of core business.

‘Our performance climbed throughout the year, and since the half-year more strongly still across the business. Our focus now will be to translate this momentum and our continued investment in the business, in the UK and internationally, into a material improvement in our competitiveness, performance and returns.’

Joyce was appointed in mid-May for a three-year term following a contested election against real estate head Adrian Collins.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

For further commentary on Addleshaw Goddard see Comment: Democracy and half measures are not delivering for Addleshaws

Legal Business

Keystone brings in partners from Addleshaws, SGH Martineau and former GC of Yahoo!

Keystone brings in partners from Addleshaws, SGH Martineau and former GC of Yahoo!

Keystone Law has hired into its most senior ranks a former partner from Addleshaw Goddard and SGH Martineau alongside a former general counsel (GC) of Yahoo! to bolster its disputes, corporate and TMT practices.

Robert Harvey has joined Keystone’s disputes team of 32 lawyers after leaving Addleshaw Goddard’s partnership in November last year. He joins as a consultant as Keystone, whose lawyers work from home, has no partners after converting to an alternative business structure (ABS) last year.

Harvey has experience of advising on large-scale commercial litigation and white-collar crime investigations for high-net-worth individuals and companies, including those in the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250.

Andrew Stilton joins Keystone after 34 years at SGH Martineau, where he focussed on mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance. He was previously involved in the consultation process that culminated in the enactment of the Companies Act 2006.

The third appointment is the former GC of Yahoo! UK, Liyen McCoy, who has joined Keystone’s TMT group. She joins with knowledge of the digital and telecommunications sector and sat on the management board of Yahoo! UK, where she was charged with all legal and regulatory matters. She also served as the company’s head of European compliance for three years.

James Knight, managing director of Keystone Law, said: ‘With the economy on the rise again we have seen an increase in client activity across all areas, and we are absolutely delighted that Robert, Andrew and Liyen—three leading industry figures in their respective areas—will be joining the growing teams here at Keystone.’

Keystone operates a performance-based remuneration structure rather than paying conventional salaries. Lawyers receive support from a central London office, which provides meeting rooms and support staff and performs the firm’s administrative functions.

Last year Keystone hired ten lawyers, including six partners, from firms including Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and Davenport Lyons and Nokia’s director of legal and IP Stephen McCue.

Addleshaw Goddard, meanwhile, saw DWF last week hire its former national head of employment, Andrew Chamberlain, to take on an identical role at his new firm. This shortly followed the news that global accountancy giant EY had hired Addleshaw’s corporate managing partner Philip Goodstone in a bid to build up its UK legal credentials.

jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Strategic hires: DWF brings in Addleshaws employment head; Addleshaws takes on Eversheds financial services partner

Strategic hires: DWF brings in Addleshaws employment head; Addleshaws takes on Eversheds financial services partner

DWF has hired Addleshaw Goddard’s former national head of employment Andrew Chamberlain to take on an identical role at his new firm, leading the strategic growth of its 60-strong UK-wide employment team.

Chamberlain headed Addleshaws employment team for nine years until 2012, when Michael Leftley took over, and served terms on both the firm’s executive committee and its governance board.

He has over 25 years’ experience advising corporate clients and FTSE 100 employers on all aspects of employment, from service agreements through to termination and restrictive covenants to TUPE, and has particular in-depth industry expertise in the financial services, transport and retail sectors.

Chamberlain initiated and led the development of Addleshaw Goddard’s transaction services team, an in-house centralised support team to manage the process elements of legal work, which was recognised in the Financial Times’ Innovative Lawyers Awards.

Commenting on the appointment, Andrew Leaitherland, managing partner & CEO at DWF said: ‘The UK legal market is undergoing significant change and these changes are bringing opportunities, which Andrew has said to me he feels strongly that DWF, based on its current market proposition, its senior management sponsorship and its ambition, has the right mindset to embrace and build a new employment proposition in the market which better meets the needs of clients.’

Chamberlain’s appointment is the latest in a series of strategic lateral hires for DWF which include, most recently, the recruitment of Stephen Miles as CEO for commercial services from Pinsent Masons.

Meanwhile, Addleshaw Goddard this week announced the hire of financial services partner Fiona Ghosh from Eversheds.

City based Ghosh, who currently co-heads Eversheds payment processing group, acts for financial services providers in the retail and investment banking and insurance services sector, as well as being a key advisor in the field of retail payments.

A statement from the 174-partner firm said: ‘[Fiona] has market leading expertise in joint ventures and acts for acquirers, payment facilitators and merchants on a global basis – her clients include American Express, Euronet and numerous US merchant acquirers.’

The hire marks a return to Addleshaws for Ghosh, who was a lawyer at the top 25 firm between 2001 and 2006.

Malcolm Pike, Addleshaws commercial services divisional managing partner said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Fiona back to the firm. Her skill set perfectly complements ours in that she has an existing strong track record of deals under her belt, she has financial services market credibility; and excellent client and relationship skills.’

Ghosh’s hire follows the announcement on 16 May that Addleshaws has appointed business support and restructuring head John Joyce as managing partner for a three-year term after a contested election against real estate head Adrian Collins, following outgoing chief Paul Devitt’s ahead-of-term resignation.

Devitt stood down more than a year before his term was due to end on 30 April 2015. The 174-partner firm carried out a soundings process followed by a formal period for nominations, which closed around Easter time and moved to a formal vote this month.

caroline.hill@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

New leadership for Addleshaws with election of John Joyce to managing partner

New leadership for Addleshaws with election of John Joyce to managing partner

Addleshaw Goddard has today (16 May) announced the appointment of business support and restructuring head John Joyce as managing partner for a three-year term after a contested election against real estate head Adrian Collins, following outgoing chief Paul Devitt’s ahead-of-term resignation.

Devitt stood down more than a year before his term was due to end on 30 April 2015. The 174-partner firm carried out a soundings process followed by a formal period for nominations, which closed around Easter time and moved to a formal vote this month.

Addleshaw Goddard made it into the headlines in recent months when it emerged that it had miscalculated partner profit points and overestimated its profitability on one measure at the halfway point of its 2013/14 financial year.

The firm said it reviewed its procedures after underestimating the number of allocated equity points but stressed that it would not impact on underlying profitability.

Senior partner Monica Burch told Legal Business in early April: ‘It’s the pizza and slices analogy: the profitability isn’t affected, the size of the pizza isn’t affected, but the size of the slices were thought to be bigger. The points are slightly less valuable than they thought they were.’

Burch said of Joyce’s appointment: ‘Our congratulations go to John Joyce, as well as our thanks to both Adrian Collins and John for standing.

‘At a time when businesses continue to concentrate instructions amongst smaller groups of law firms, we have retained and greatly improved our position and opportunity with many significant clients. We have gained a strong reputation for innovation and for commitment to and understanding of clients’ needs. We have developed our sector focus and expertise, both in areas of traditional strength for the firm such as financial services, and in other areas such as energy and rail. We have significantly increased our international capability. And we have invested in building the experience and expertise within the partner group. Our thanks go to Paul Devitt for his leadership over the past five years and for his significant contribution to all of this.

‘We now look forward to the future with John as managing partner, and, as a partnership, to formulating our strategy for the next phase of Addleshaw Goddard’s development.’

Joyce (pictured) added: ‘I am delighted to serve as managing partner of Addleshaw Goddard, and to drive forward our firm’s growth and development. We have great clients and great lawyers and it is a privilege to have been given the responsibility to lead our continued progress and to helping the firm fulfil its potential.’

Sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

For further analysis and commentary on Addleshaw Goddard see Comment: Democracy and half measures are not delivering for Addleshaws

Legal Business

Nabarro launches in Manchester with hire of Addleshaws trio; CMS brings in BLP partner to head aircraft finance

Nabarro launches in Manchester with hire of Addleshaws trio; CMS brings in BLP partner to head aircraft finance

Nabarro is set to launch an office in Manchester with the hire of a trio of real estate partners from Addleshaw Goddard as CMS Cameron McKenna also announced today (14 May) that it has hired Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) asset finance partner Keith Wilson, who joins to head up the top 10 UK firm’s aircraft finance practice.

Joining Nabarro are Addleshaws real estate head Mark Haywood and partners Nathan Jansen and Monica Brij, who the top 30 firm said it has taken on in a bid to ‘enhance its practice and reputation for acting on the largest and most complex deals in the sector.’

It is understood that Addleshaws announced the departures to its partnership yesterday. Haywood has served as head of real estate at Addleshaws since last summer, after taking over from partner Adrian Collins. A spokesperson for the firm confirmed that real estate partner Michael Reevey is taking over as interim head of real estate before the firm officially appoints a successor. Brij, meanwhile, joined Addleshaws in 2007 after a four-year stint at Linklaters.

The launch of a lower-cost Manchester office follows the announcement by BLP in March that it is launching in the North West City, from where it has already been appointed as Tesco’s go-to real estate provider after a panel pitch.

The firm’s head of real estate, Ciaran Carvalho said: ‘Mark, Nathan and Monica are fantastic additions to our real estate team. Today’s announcement is a sign of intent. Nabarro is rightly proud of its market leading real estate practice and we are confident in investing to continue to support national and international clients in the sector.

‘An office handling the most complex real estate structures, funds and deals in Manchester will strengthen the reputation established by our London team and complement the high quality investment, leasing and asset management work we deliver to clients from our Sheffield office.’

Nabarro has made several lateral hires in recent months including Osborne Clarke employment partner Richard Brown last September; IT and disputes partner Lee Gluyas from DLA Piper in March; and real estate and healthcare partner Candice Blackwood from BLP in early May.

Elsewhere, Wilson’s departure to CMS comes three years after he joined from Paul Hastings’ City office, where he was head of finance.

Wilson has 25 years’ experience in aircraft finance and has acted for clients within debt and capital market transactions, leasing transactions and portfolio acquisitions and sales. He also has experience advising in oil and gas financing and leasing particularly reserve based lending, vendor financing, ship finance and real estate finance.

CMS banking and international finance head Rita Lowe said: ‘His [Wilson’s] appointment is consistent with our global strategy and in particular our focus on sectors which support our clients. Keith will work alongside an international team to support and strengthen our existing expertise and international client base.’

Wilson’s move to CMS is the most recent in a spate of BLP exits, and follows the departure of former head of finance Matthew Kellett to accountancy giant EY in April and head of banking and finance litigation David Hughes to King & Spalding.

Sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Addleshaw Goddard’s Collins and Joyce go forward for contested managing partner elections

Addleshaw Goddard’s Collins and Joyce go forward for contested managing partner elections

Addleshaw Goddard partners have nominated Adrian Collins and John Joyce as challengers for the managing partner role in the forthcoming elections after incumbent Paul Devitt announced he is stepping down almost a year early.

Real estate partner Collins and business support and restructuring head Joyce were widely predicted as forerunners in the contested election. Voting is due to close in mid-May following a period of hustings.

Adrian Collins joined the LB100 top 25 firm in 2000 as a partner in the real estate division, has served on the firm’s governance board and held the role of real estate managing partner from 2009 until 2013.

A partner since 1998, Joyce has been head of business support and restructuring since 2007, and is also a serving member of the firm’s governance board.

The new managing partner will serve a three-year term beginning mid-May, almost a year earlier than planned after Devitt stepped down long before his term expired in April 2015.

The firm said in a statement today: ‘The board, Paul Devitt and partners are in agreement that bringing forward the managing partner election process to coincide with the next iteration of our strategy (from May 2014), allows for a constructive discussion about the next phase of the firm’s strategy, helps to build momentum entering that phase, avoids a drawn out hustings, and provides certainty over our managing partner for the next 3 years, from the beginning of the coming financial year.’

Speaking to Legal Business after Devitt’s move from management was confirmed, senior partner Monica Burch commented: ‘We have had a strategy that we’ve focused on until 2014 and now it’s time to look at the macro as well as the micro environment to see what will be the kick-start for the strategy for the next five years. With the managing partner election coming up, it’s a great time to do that.’

The firm recently confirmed it is reviewing the administration of its partner remuneration system following an error in calculations at the start of the current financial year, which related to the number of points by reference to which profit is distributed to partners, which will result in a slightly lower than forecast end-of-year pounds per point.

It also emerged last month that the firm has decided to write off a large success fee on the basis that it would be extremely difficult to collect. That fee is understood to relate to litigation brought by the late Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky.

francesca.fanshawe@legalease.co.uk

For further commentary on Addleshaw Goddard see Comment: Democracy and half measures are not delivering for Addleshaws and ‘We’ll see who wants to step up’ – Burch on growth, ambition and managing partners