Legal Business

Moving on up: BCLP heading for new post-merger London digs

Moving on up: BCLP heading for new post-merger London digs

Newly merged Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has signed a lease on a new City office in what it calls a ‘significant commitment’ to a modern working space.

The announcement today (26 April) will see the combined firm move a stone’s throw from legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) London HQ at Adelaide House to the 125,000 sq ft Governor’s House office building at 5 Laurence Pountney Hill.

Legacy Bryan Cave’s London office, which has about 39 fee-earners and 12 partners, is already in the process of moving from its previous London base at 88 Wood Street to Adelaide House.

In a statement, BCLP said: ‘The proposed move represents a significant commitment by the firm to a modern, flexible working space, encouraging of collaborative working.’

The transatlantic merger between legacy Bryan Cave and BLP went live this month, creating a 1600-lawyer, financially-integrated practice with 32 offices across 11 countries, good for a combined revenue of more than $900m.

BLP has been based in Adelaide House since 1970, and has occupied the entire building since 2005. It is in talks with its landlord about what space they will keep in that building.

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Addleshaws loses another litigator as Kirkland, Hogan Lovells and Bryan Cave make new hires

Revolving doors: Addleshaws loses another litigator as Kirkland, Hogan Lovells and Bryan Cave make new hires

The steady pace of lateral hires continues in the beginning of 2017, with Kirkland & Ellis, TLT, Hogan Lovells, K&L Gates and Bryan Cave making appointments around the globe.

Addleshaw Goddard has lost another litigator this year as K&L Gates has taken on Clarissa Coleman, who joins from Addleshaw Goddard. Coleman is the second litigator to exit the LB100 firm’s disputes practice this year, following the resignation of Kambiz Larizadeh who is moving to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Hogan Lovells has also solidified its global practice with the hire of Marc Elvinger as a partner for the firm’s Luxembourg office. Elvinger, previously of Arendt & Medernach, has 15 years’ experience in corporate matters, M&A and transactional business law.

Elvinger, who will link up with current Luxembourg partners Gerard Neiens and Pierre Reuter, said: ‘Hogan Lovells represents a formidable opportunity for me. Corporate law is a global business and I am delighted to join a firm with global reach and genuine international capability.’

Judith Allen, formerly of A&L Goodbody, will bolster TLT’s Belfast office after her appointment on 18 January. An expert of Northern Irish property law, Allen joins as a real estate partner. TLT’s real estate group acts for a variety of clients, including BBC, EDF, WHSmith and Pets at Home.

TLT head of real estate Maria Connolly said: ‘Over the last 12 months we have seen significant growth in our real estate practice on a national scale. Having Judith on board will only further cement our expertise within this sector.’

Bryan Cave has expanded its London-based US private client team with the appointment of David Adler, who joins as a partner from McDermott Will & Emery. Adler, a specialist in advising international entities, individuals and intermediaries on US-related planning, said: ‘Bryan Cave’s private client team in London, with its impressive reputation and its focus on helping those with US interests, is a perfect fit for me. I have also been attracted by the collaborative and friendly culture at the firm.’

Kirkland & Ellis has strengthened its Shanghai office after taking Paula Liu from Clifford Chance (CC) to join as a partner. Liu, who joins from CC’s Shanghai office, specialises in M&A transactions with a particular focus on private equity.

David Zhang, senior partner of Kirkland’s Asia corporate practice group, said: ‘Paula has built a reputation as one of the leading young corporate and private equity lawyers in Shanghai.

‘She is a talented lawyer and an important addition to our Shanghai office as we look to further strengthen the firm’s China corporate practice.’

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Pinsent Masons makes board appointments as BLP and Mayer Brown make City hires

Revolving doors: Pinsent Masons makes board appointments as BLP and Mayer Brown make City hires

In a busy week for City hires, Pinsent Masons, BLP and Mayer Brown have made key appointments, as DWF, Irwin Mitchell and Burness Paull all added to their benches around the regions.

The Royal Bank of Canada’s former head of London Pauline Egan will join Pinsent Masons as a non-executive board member, the firm’s first external board appointment. The firm has also appointed while Alastair Mitchell as its first chief operating officer. With over 30 years of experience, Mitchell joins from Holman Fenwick Willan, where he was chief operating officer for over three years.

Pinsents senior partner Richard Foley said the firm has made significant progress towards achieving its vision of being an international leader in its market sectors, but there’s more to do. He added: ‘There is significant evidence that organisations which have an external viewpoint to test and challenge at board level outperform those that do not, and I welcome Pauline in that capacity. She has impressive commercial credentials and international experience which make her a strong addition to our moard. Alastair is also a highly impressive individual whose focus will be on the efficient and effective running of our business operations on an international scale.’

After leaving the firm for Hausfeld, Edward Coulson has rejoined BLP‘s corporate litigation team as a partner. Coulson advises on complex competition litigation and regularly conducts multi-party litigation, with a focus on cartel damages actions and other competition and regulatory disputes, including in relation to procurement matters and sector regulation.

Mayer Brown has introduced two Dentons partners to its London banking and finance practice. The firm has added fund finance partner Liz Soutter, who provides debt financing solutions to investment funds across a range of sectors, including private equity and financial institutions. Project finance partner Tom Eldridge also joins the firm, and is focused on the mining and metals, energy and infrastructure sectors.

As it continues with its expansion strategy, DWF will add three to its partnership as it merges with niche insurance firm Fox Hartley. Partners Trevor Fox, Michael Hitchings and Peter Barnes are to join DWF in Bristol along with 13 other staff. With close links to French, German, Japanese and Swedish insurance markets, the move will bring sector expertise to DWF’s 900-strong insurance team.

National law firm Irwin Mitchell has appointed Paddy Sturman to its banking and finance team as it continues to build its business legal services division. Joining the firm from Gordons in Leeds where he led the banking team, Sturman specialises in advising institutional lenders and corporate clients on all aspects of banking and finance including corporate acquisitions, real estate investment and development and asset based lending.

Burness Paull has strengthened its tax team with the hire of former DWF tax expert Ronnie Brown,who joins the firm’s Glasgow office. Brown has expertise in a wide spectrum of corporate tax and property tax.

Legal Business

Significant departures: BLP and Olswang heads of arbitration both leave for the bar

Significant departures: BLP and Olswang heads of arbitration both leave for the bar

Nicholas Fletcher QC, who has led Berwin Leighton Paisner‘s international arbitration practice for the last five years, has resigned from the firm to join barristers’ chambers 4 New Square while Olswang arbitration chief Andrew Aglionby is also set to leave for the bar.

In what will come as a major blow to BLP, Fletcher is set to join 4 New Square as an independent arbitrator on 1 December 2014. The firm has been working hard to establish its own advocacy unit following the hire of Stuart Isaacs QC from South Square three years ago but Fletcher’s exit will raise doubts that the firm can compete with the Bar for instructions.

Fletcher, who spent 23 years at Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance before joining to spearhead BLP’s arbitration push in 2009, made silk earlier this year. He is a member of the International Chamber of Commerce’s task force on the New York Convention, which 152 states around the world have signed in commitment to the enforceability of arbitral awards, and specialises in handling disputes in the energy, oil and gas and natural resources sectors.

Singapore-based Kent Phillips and London-based Richard Power will co-head BLP’s international arbitration group on Fletcher’s departure.

Fletcher told Legal Business: ‘I’ve enjoyed leading and helping to build the international arbitration practice at BLP and I’m confident it will continue to thrive. After 30 years acting as counsel in international arbitration, I hope and believe I’ve got something to offer as an international arbitrator.’

Over the last 12 months 4 New Square has been aggressively expanding its international arbitration group. The set appointed Murray Rosen QC in June after he resigned as head of advocacy at Herbert Smith Freehills earlier in the year and energy arbitration specialist Paul Cowan joined from White & Case in May.

Head of 4 New Square, Ben Hubble QC, commented: ‘We are absolutely delighted to welcome Nic as a member of chambers. He is a doyen of the international arbitration community and further strengthens our offering in that area.’

Meanwhile, Aglionby who became a member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration last year has also decided to leave his role as head of arbitration at Olswang.

He was appointed to the position in 2011 after joining the firm a year earlier from Baker & McKenzie where he had worked for 17 years. He spent ten years as Baker & McKenzie’s head of international arbitration in Asia Pacific and also headed the firm’s construction group in Hong Kong.

Before his career at Baker & McKenzie, Aglionby was an assistant solicitor at legacy firms Denton Wilde Sapte and DJ Freeman – whose property team was taken over by Olswang in 2003.

Aglionby told Legal Business: ‘I have been very happy working at Olswang and deciding to join the bar was a personal preference.’ He added that he is yet to decide which set he is joining.

Olswang is currently reviewing options in regards to Aglionby’s successor. Richard Bamforth, head of Olswang’s litigation group said: ‘Andrew is planning to transfer to the Bar and will be leaving the firm in a few months. We wish him all the best for this change of career and thank him for his contributions to the international arbitration practice and the firm.’,

Legal Business

Lawyers on Demand launches in Manchester

Lawyers on Demand launches in Manchester

Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP’s) spin-off lawyer contracting service Lawyers on Demand (LoD) is set to launch its first hub outside of London in Manchester, after BLP in March announced it will open an office in the UK’s second largest legal market.

LoD, which was launched by Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) in 2007 but hived off into a separate company in 2012, is recruiting local legal talent ahead of the Manchester launch in the autumn of 2014. LoD will initially launch the service as a pilot, offering organisations across the North-West access to local, qualified freelance lawyers on ‘secondment style’ arrangements.


LoD has more than 200 lawyers on its books and has carried out assignments for Google, Barclays Bank and the BBC, which relocated to Salford in 2011. The firm turned over £9m in its first year after spinning out from BLP, which retains an 80% stake in the company.


The expansion is being spearheaded by Tim Bratton, who joined LoD in September 2013 after more than a decade at the Financial Times. Operations in the North West will be managed out of BLP’s new Manchester office, scheduled to open in September. LoD lawyers will have access to BLP professional support and training.

Bratton, who used LoD lawyers during his time at the Financial Times, told Legal Business: ‘The success of LoD when we launched in London came from developing a small pool of quality lawyers and placing the emphasis on getting the right quality of lawyers. We went from five or six lawyers to nearly 200 in London and we see ourselves replicating that model in the North West.’

LoD is also looking to expand its remote working service, LoD On Call, by recruiting local lawyers to work remotely with its clients.

LoD co-founder, Simon Harper, said: ‘Twenty years ago, when I was looking for a legal training contract, local options in the North-West were very different. But over recent years, the legal market has fundamentally changed. Manchester is the UK’s second largest legal market and now seems poised for further growth. We want to hear from talented lawyers in the area who have a desire to practise law on their own terms but without compromising on quality and interest in the work they do.’

Legal Business

Back of the net: BLP and Fladgate advise on Gareth Bale’s £85m transfer to Real Madrid

Back of the net: BLP and Fladgate advise on Gareth Bale’s £85m transfer to Real Madrid

It was a busy football transfer window for some of the UK’s leading law firms, with Berwin Leighton Paisner’s Graham Shear and a host of Fladgate partners advising Premier League footballer Gareth Bale on his record-breaking transfer to Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur for (€100m) £85m. Slaughter and May and Charles Russell were also both very active on deadline day yesterday (2 September).

Media and sports disputes partner Shear is a longstanding advisor to Bale as well as a good friend of Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy. Shear spent five years as managing partner at West End firm Teacher Stern where he advised Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez’s agent Kia Joorabchian on the player’s move to Manchester City from rival Manchester United in 2009.

Shear also currently advises Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, and negotiated the footballer’s £25,000 phone hacking settlement with the News of the World in 2012.

Legal Business100 firm Fladgate meanwhile, also acted for Bale on the transfer. A cross-firm team advised on various aspects of the transaction, led by the firm’s head of corporate Grant Gordon, alongside sports partner Alan Wetterhahn and tax partner Huw Witty.

Gordon said: ‘Transfer deals of this nature are becoming ever more complex, reflecting the need for advice on a myriad of elements, including corporate, tax, regulatory, IP, image and media rights, and employment.’

‘This matter had to accommodate a number of competing interests and, of course, was against a background of intense press speculation. We are delighted to have been able to act for Gareth and wish him every success in his move to Real Madrid.’

Meanwhile, Slaughter and May partner Andrew Jolly advised Arsenal FC on its club record £42.4m purchase of Germany international Mesut Özil from Real Madrid; the acquisition of Yaya Sanogo from Auxerre; and the transfers of Gervinho to AS Roma, Marouane Chamakh to Crystal Palace, and André Santos to Flamengo.

Charles Russell advised on Mathieu Flamini’s return to Arsenal after five years with AC Milan. The team, led by the joint head of the firm’s sports group, Ian Lynam, also acted on Kolo Toure’s move from Manchester City to Liverpool and Gael Clichy’s new contract at Manchester City.

Legal Business

Taylor Wessing to review secretarial jobs

96 London support staff put on notice of potential redundancy.

Taylor Wessing is to make 26 of its City secretaries redundant with all 96 secretaries in London put on notice pending a consultation.

The firm but expects the process to last for at least 30 days.

A statement released by UK managing partner Tim Eyles said: ‘The realisation of our strategy is dependent on us ensuring that all areas of our business are structured with a view to providing the best and most efficient service possible to our clients.

The redesign of our secretarial support is driven by that focus.’

Taylor Wessing in May announced that its revenues increased by 7% annually in 2012/13 to £228m, with UK revenues up 4% to £104.5m. The firm has yet to confirm partner profits for the financial year.

Taylor Wessing joins a growing list of major UK practices to announce job cuts in recent months including DWF, Berwin Leighton Paisner and Osborne Clarke, with 2013 shaping up to be the toughest legal labour market since 2009, when more than 2,000 jobs were cut in the UK.

Last month Ashurst launched a wide-ranging consultation with 350 support staff in London after announcing plans to launch a ‘north-shoring’ arm in Glasgow to provide back office and legal support.