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

Legal Business

Deal watch: Nabarro and Addleshaws take the lead on £800m Hermes/Co-Op regeneration joint venture

Deal watch: Nabarro and Addleshaws take the lead on £800m Hermes/Co-Op regeneration joint venture

While major real estate deals are hard to come by, the usual suspects continue to take the lion’s share of the work as LB100 firms Nabarro and Addleshaw Goddard have advised on a £800m real estate deal between Hermes Real Estate and The Co-Operative Group to become equal partners on the regeneration of buildings and land in central Manchester.

The 20-acre regeneration of Manchester urban land, called NOMA, is considered to be the UK’s biggest regional redevelopment project. The joint venture involved teams of lawyers at both firms to cover real estate, joint venture and tax aspects of the deal.

The Nabarro team advising longstanding client Hermes was led by real estate partner Simon Staite and included funds and indirect real estate partner Chris Luck, planning partner Christopher Bowes, and tax partner Nick Burt.

At Addleshaws, the team advising The Co-Op was led by real estate partners Mark Haywood and Monica Brij, as well as partners Justine Delroy and Philip Goodstone who specialise in tax and joint ventures respectively.

Nabarro’s Staite, said: ‘This is an exciting deal and the UK’s largest regional redevelopment. The range of what our clients intend to build will create a vibrant new neighbourhood in one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. It only takes a site visit to see the potential of this project, right next to the Co-Ops’ new HQ, the refurbished Manchester Victoria Station and the Printworks.’

Addleshaws’ Haywood added: ‘This 20-acre, £800m scheme promises to be a game changer for Manchester’s continuing urban re- invention as an international city for business and investment.

‘We are delighted to have played a part in bringing together two organisations that share the same vision for responsible sustainable mixed use city centre development, and who together will unlock real long-term value for investors, residents and business.’

Other high-profile real estate coups for Nabarro recently includes partner Marie Scott being shortlisted for Real Estate team of the Year at the 2014 Legal Business awards for work advising Google on all aspects of its £1bn acquisition and development of a site at Argent’s King’s Cross estate for the development of its new UK headquarters, which includes around one million square feet of office space.

Addleshaws, meanwhile, which was appointed to a panel of five firms to provide commercial legal services for both the Co-operative Group and Co-operative Financial Services, has previously advised the group on the sale and leaseback of its new head office building in Manchester, after a foreign investor purchased the One Angel Square property for £142.3m.

Sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Comment: Democracy and half measures are not delivering for Addleshaws

Comment: Democracy and half measures are not delivering for Addleshaws

I wrote recently of the need, when commenting on the firms and individual lawyers we cover, to give the benefit of the doubt, and I meant it, but sometimes it’s hard to find that silver lining or constructive slant. Addleshaw Goddard, unfortunately, has become a case in point.

Recent years have seen materially below-trend financial performance, indications of tension between its City arm and northern offices and an international strategy that looked just too little, too late. Perhaps more damaging has been the uncertain tone that has emanated from Addleshaws about where it sits in the market and wants to go.

The previous long-running management pair of Mark Jones and Paul Lee was not perfect. Indeed, some of the decisions taken during the boom years caused a good deal of the legacy problems the current leadership team have been wrestling with, notably an oversized real estate practice and an expensive City office. But they had the virtue of a complementary mix of styles and a willingness to robustly and unitarily run the firm when necessary.

As such, it has not always been apparent that the democratic instincts of senior partner Monica Burch and managing partner Paul Devitt are what the firm needs.

Remember, this is a firm that had professed to have had its long, hard look in the mirror three years ago, having been chastened by falling revenues and one of the lowest profit figures in the UK top 50. There has been no evidence of revival since, with Addleshaws’ top line still £30m below its 2007/08 high.

Recent news that the firm has had to write off substantial fees on litigation uplifts – recalling a £6m shortfall that occurred in its 2010/11 year due to conditional fee agreements undershooting expectations – and miscalculated profit points only heightens the sense that something is not right.

It’s been apparent for a while that Addleshaws – despite a formidable plc client base and having secured probably the best national/City merger in 2003 with Theodore Goddard is suffering more than its peers with commoditisation and fee pressure.

On one hand its efforts to respond creatively to a changing market with its low-cost Manchester centre are commendable. But rather than forging a strong brand to resonate with clients, much of the New Law pizazz has been lost amid talk of process mapping. And even if such a venture had been pulled off with Axiom-style panache, it hardly answers concerns that Addleshaws needs to be pushing higher into premium work, while managing costs at the commodity end.

The argument put forward before the breakaway of the litigation boutique Enyo Law that the firm should differentiate itself with a sustained push into high-end disputes in retrospect looks to have been a stronger notion than the generalist stance it has trudged on with.

In the end, the time for half measures has now surely long passed. There are a handful of strategies Addleshaws can credibly pursue – some involving substantive mergers but all demanding a clearer view about the firm’s London and international ambitions. Which path is for the firm to decide, not pontificating pundits. What is crucial is that Addleshaws – with a change in management looming – fixes on a clear plan of action and then unambiguously executes it. Sometimes in business you need to be your own harshest critic.

alex.novarese@legalease.co.uk

See also ‘We’ll see who wants to step up’ – Burch on growth, ambition and managing partners

Legal Business

Partner promotions – Trowers, Nabarro and BLP see reduced numbers as Addleshaws holds on eight

Partner promotions – Trowers, Nabarro and BLP see reduced numbers as Addleshaws holds on eight

Partner promotions at the UK’s leading firms have largely been down so far down this year, as firms including Trowers & Hamlins, Nabarro and Berwin Leighton Paisner all promote fewer senior associates than last year, with Addleshaw Goddard maintaining a promotion level of eight associates.

Trowers & Hamlins made up just four new partners globally, down from seven in 2013, of which three were in the Middle East – Oman, Dubai and Bahrain – and just one in London.

Three of the promotions were across the top 50 firm’s global real estate practice, with the remaining one promotion in corporate. The promotions were a 50:50 split in female and male promotions. All promotions will take effect from 1 April 2014. Last year, the majority of promotions took place in London, while elsewhere they were in Manchester and Dubai.

Trowers’ senior partner Jennie Gubbins said: ‘We have a strong, international portfolio of work across real estate and corporate, which are both highly important, strategic areas for the firm. We are actively developing and expanding these core areas in the UK and overseas. These promotions will help us make additional strides towards bolstering our offering to clients and – with three promotions in the Gulf – further strengthening our Middle East offices.’

Meanwhile, Nabarro announced last week (27 March) that three associates would be made up, down from eight last year, taking effect from 1 May. The top 30 firm said this year’s round focused on the firm’s intellectual property, funds and real estate practice areas in London. All the partners came of age through Nabarro’s talent development programme for senior associates – a joint venture with the London Business School set up in December 2010 to create a wider pool of potential partnership candidates.

Elsewhere Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) made up eight senior associates to partner level, down one from last year, of which the lion’s share are in London.

Six promotions took place in London, while the remaining two were in Moscow and Hong Kong. BLP’s corporate department saw the largest intake with four partner promotions, followed by finance with two, and one each in disputes and real estate. All of the appointments are effective from 1 May 2014. BLP’s managing partner Neville Eisenberg said: ‘I am delighted to welcome these very talented lawyers into the partnership.’

Addleshaw Goddard, on the other hand, promoted eight, in an all-male round of promotions, also taking effect from 1 May. Last year, the firm made up three female partners, also from a total of eight. Promotions have remained UK-based for the last two rounds, with London and Leeds taking on three partners this year and two in Manchester.

‘Unusually for us, this year all the successful candidates meeting the competencies in those areas are male,’ says Addleshaws senior partner Monica Burch. ‘We have a strong cohort of managing associates pushing for partnership and I anticipate that we will have a more gender balanced slate next year and going forward.’

The results follow a mixed set of numbers from the Magic Circle so far: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is promoting 15 this year, up one on last year; Allen & Overy is promoting 16, down from 19; and at Slaughter and May it is a bumper year for promotions, with seven associates made up to partner, up from two in the previous two years.

Jaishree.kalia@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘We’ll see who wants to step up’ – Burch on growth, ambition and managing partners

Francesca Fanshawe talks to Addleshaw Goddard’s senior partner ahead of big strategic decisions

There is a lot riding on the strategy Addleshaw Goddard will finalise this year, with the national thoroughbred still struggling to regain its form five years after the banking crisis severely hit its practice.

Legal Business

Democracy and half measures are not delivering for Addleshaws

Democracy and half measures are not delivering for Addleshaws

I wrote recently of the need, when commenting on the firms and individual lawyers we cover, to give the benefit of the doubt, and I meant it, but sometimes it’s hard to find that silver lining or constructive slant. Addleshaw Goddard, unfortunately, has become a case in point.

Recent years have seen materially below-trend financial performance, indications of tension between its City arm and northern offices and an international strategy that looked just too little, too late. Perhaps more damaging has been the uncertain tone that has emanated from Addleshaws about where it sits in the market and wants to go.

Legal Business

Diageo’s consolidated panel unveiled as Slaughters, Addleshaws and Pinsents win a place

Diageo’s consolidated panel unveiled as Slaughters, Addleshaws and Pinsents win a place

Global drinks brand Diageo has appointed Slaughter and May, Addleshaw Goddard and Pinsent Masons as its ‘general preferred suppliers’ for the UK following a four-month long review.

Confirmed today (31 March), Diageo has since December been reviewing its legal suppliers for the UK (excluding Northern Ireland), resulting in a ‘material consolidation’ of its legal services suppliers. Firms that have previously been reported to be on the FTSE 100 company’s main panel include CMS Cameron McKenna and legacy SJ Berwin.

The trio of LB100 firms will formally take up the role tomorrow (1 April) – tasked with a broad range of commercial services – with the role running to 30 June 2016.

In addition, a number of ‘specialist approved suppliers’ will be appointed to cover areas such as intellectual property, and specialist commercial and contentious work.

In a statement, Diageo said: ‘We do not intend to publicise a list of the “specialist approved suppliers” or comment further on the process or outcome of the review.’

Corporate lawyer Moriarty stepped into the role in mid-July last year, having taken over the 76-lawyer team from Tim Proctor who retired from the company after 13 years. Moriarty previously worked in private practice in London and Dublin before joining Diageo’s in-house team in 1997, where she also worked as corporate M&A counsel and regional counsel for Ireland.

Diageo last carried out a review of its external advisors in 2009.

Slaughters’ well-established relationship with the Diageo team includes corporate partner Simon Nicholls’ role in 2012 advising on the drinks company’s £2.4bn transaction to acquire up to 53.4% in United Spirits Limited, India’s leading spirits company.

Sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Capital call on salaried partners at Weightmans and Addleshaws in response to impending LLP tax overhaul

Capital call on salaried partners at Weightmans and Addleshaws in response to impending LLP tax overhaul

The tally of City firms calling on salaried partners to increase their capital investment in response to new HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) rules is growing as Weightmans and Addleshaw Goddard this week confirmed they are in the process of significantly raising contribution levels.

Partners at Addleshaws voted in favour last Thursday (20 March) of 60 fixed share partners (FSPs) making a cash investment of just over 25% of their salary, the minimum stipulated by HMRC in order to be considered a partner as opposed to an employee.

The firm called for investment of a few percentage points above the minimum to allow room for error, with the definition felt to be unclear, according to head of employment Michael Leftley, who led the top 25 firm’s response to the new legislation.

Meanwhile, at LB100 top 50 firm Weightmans, following a consultation with partners into how the firm should meet the new taxation rules, almost all the FSPs chose to put more capital into the firm with each FSP contributing on average around £30,000 to the firm, totalling £3.8m.

The amount collected – which will be invested in the firm’s development according to managing partner John Schorah – varied among partners depending on their seniority, with those who chose not to add to the pot regarded as employees under the new rules.

In response to the overhaul, which was confirmed in Chancellor George Osborne’s budget as going ahead as planned in April 2014, despite protests from the industry, firms including Herbert Smith Freehills, Ashurst, TLT, DWF and Trowers & Hamlins have all confirmed to Legal Business that they are reviewing their partner remuneration arrangements.

The new rules will mean partners with under 25% of their salary attached to profits will be regarded as having a ‘disguised salary’ and treated as employees by tax authorities in a move expected to add thousands of pounds onto firms’ tax bills.

Of the firms that have announced substantive changes so far, TLT has requested that each of its 60 fixed-share partners contribute £20,000, a move that will boost its funds by a minimum of £1.2m. ‘We will put in place external funding for fixed-share partners if needed, to support any capital contribution,’ a spokesperson for the firm said.

francesca.fanshawe@legalease.co.uk