Legal Business

Clydes sacks veteran partner after ‘inappropriate behaviour’ investigation

Clydes sacks veteran partner after ‘inappropriate behaviour’ investigation

The trend of large firms dismissing partners for wrongdoing following internal investigations continues with Clyde & Co today (12 October) announcing the dismissal of a senior partner after investigating complaints of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ from two female lawyers.

The partner – based outside the firm’s City HQ – was dismissed by the firm on 28 September following an internal investigation. Legal Business understands that no non-disclosure agreements (NDA) have been signed in relation to the complaints, and that the firm has self-reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

A Clydes spokesperson said: ‘We hold ourselves to the highest standards of behaviour and expect all of our partners and staff to act with integrity, maintain high ethical standards and to respect local and global regulatory environments at all times.

‘Allegations of inappropriate behaviour were made against a partner. When the allegations came to light we carried out an internal investigation. The outcome of the investigation is that the partner has been dismissed from the firm with immediate effect. Out of respect for the privacy of those concerned we will not be commenting further.’

A spokesperson for the SRA said: ‘We will look at all the available evidence before deciding on the appropriate action.’

This dismissal echoes the similar sacking of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Mark Hastings in May this year. Hastings was fired after an independent investigation into ‘inappropriate behaviour’, based on accusations by two staff members. Mishcon de Reya’s Alison Levitt QC carried out the probe, with her findings presented on 26 April. Hastings was expelled without compensation on 8 May.

Hastings has already found new work however, with Mayfair litigation boutique announcing yesterday (11 October) it had hired him, in spite of an ongoing SRA investigation.

Elsewhere, a Baker McKenzie partner left that firm in February after allegedly sexually assaulting an associate. A review by Simmons & Simmons found a ‘number of shortcomings’ in Bakers handling of the incident.

Meanwhile, eight law firms are known to be under some form of SRA investigation related to circumstances surrounding NDAs and harassment, including at least three major firms.

For more on the issue of City law’s handling of NDAs, see ‘Draining the swamp – Do NDAs represent a #MeToo problem for the profession?’


Legal Business

Life during law: Simon Konsta

Life during law: Simon Konsta

My father is Greek, my mother was English. There’s been no law in the family, much more of a trading background on my father’s side. But there is a wonderful circularity between his old Greek shipping mates that would be in my environment as a child, and the fact that Clyde & Co is the world’s number one marine firm.

I had an open mind going into articles. I was lucky to have a seat in Paris, which is disputes and arbitration. A combination of that plus the domestic disputes work I did, I just preferred it to corporate or real estate.

Legal Business

Clyde & Co grows revenue for second decade running as profitability sees double-digit increase

Clyde & Co grows revenue for second decade running as profitability sees double-digit increase

After a year of major international expansion, Clyde & Co has recorded another robust round of revenue growth with the firm’s top line rising 9% to £551.3m year-on-year.

The 2017/18 result means the firm’s revenue has grown by nearly 200% on a ten-year track – Clyde’s turnover in 2008 stood at £185m.

Profitability also saw a significant boost, increasing 10% to £140.5m. Profit per equity partner (PEP) was also up, climbing 2%, a success in relative terms when considering the firm added 63 new partners through lateral hires and promotions during the last year.

Clyde’s chief financial officer Duncan Crowdy told Legal Business that only around 1% of the firm’s revenue growth was due to currency fluctuations, a significant reduction on last year when roughly 6% was linked to currency. For this reason, chief executive Peter Hasson considers this year’s result a stronger showing than last year’s, despite revenue increasing 14% in 2016/17.

Hasson commented: ‘It’s another set of good results in a challenging environment. Growth is getting pretty hard to achieve, it’s not an environment where it is easy to increase prices.

‘The insurance sector was extremely solid as always. But two of the other standout areas were construction, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, and the energy sector in both disputes and transactional work.’

Half of Clyde’s business is now derived from outside the UK, while the Americas region accounted for 20% of the firm’s revenue, up 4% on last year’s share. This is a result of Clyde’s fervent expansion in the region, with the firm opening three offices in the Americas in the last year: Mexico City and Los Angeles in 2017 with the addition of Orange County at the beginning of this year.

Hasson also highlighted the firm’s Canadian operation, noting that the region has seen a 20% hike in revenue over the last year, due to a strong performance in the insurance sector.

Other office openings for Clyde in the last year included a Bristol hub, which was established in May. The firm also entered Hamburg in February after hiring a four-partner team from insurance and shipping rival Ince & Co.

A major factor in Clyde’s swelling partnership ranks was the 15-strong team it picked up from now-defunct US firm Sedgwick at the end of last year. In addition to 15 partners, 65 other lawyers and staff jumped ship to Clyde’s, joining the firm’s offices spanning San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, Chicago, New York and Miami.

Hasson told Legal Business that the firm has set a target to generate 5% of its revenue from ‘services or products that we weren’t able to offer at the end of last year’. The target ties into the firm’s new data analytics lab, launched in December 2017. The lab, which is overseen by insurance partner Mark Wing, is run in conjunction with University College London (UCL) to develop services for clients.

Legal Business

Clyde & Co launches new UK office in Bristol with three lateral disputes hires

Clyde & Co launches new UK office in Bristol with three lateral disputes hires

Ever-expansive Clyde & Co has deepened its domestic footprint with the launch of an office in Bristol, south west England, and the arrival of three new partners to staff it.

The new office, which opened its doors today (1 May), is Clydes’ tenth in the UK and will be focused on professional and financial disputes in addition to infrastructure work.

Among the incoming partners is Ian Peacock, a professional indemnity litigator who joins from Womble Bond Dickinson, the recent transatlantic tie-up of UK shop Bond Dickinson and US firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice.

Peacock, who is credited with setting up Bond Dickinson’s Bristol-based insurance practice in June 2000, typically represents solicitors, accountants, brokers and financial advisers.

Also joining is John Eastlake from Kennedys’ London office. Eastlake served as the firm’s head of professional indemnity in London, and largely mirrors Peacock’s client-base.

Completing the trio is Peter O’Brien, who was previously a partner at Bristol-headquartered Clarke Wilmott. O’Brien has over 14 years’ experience in construction industry disputes, representing both contractors and sub-contractors in the energy and infrastructure spheres.

The Bristol office will also soon boast five associates, with three focused on professional and financial disputes and two on projects and construction.

The new outpost will be seen as a significant strengthening of the firm’s already robust professional and financial disputes group. The group, now consisting of more than 150 lawyers in the UK, sees Clydes recognised as a leader in the professional liability space.

Robert Hill, employment partner and Clydes’ chair of the UK board, told Legal Business: ‘Bristol is a strong centre for liability disputes, a large number of insurers and brokers have set up there in the last few years. It was the obvious missing office for us.

‘Our view of the regional offices has always been insurance-based but we have also grown out other practices. In Manchester for example we added employment, marine cargo and property. It’s not out of the realms of possibility that Bristol could develop in a similar way.’

Simon Konsta, Clydes’ senior partner, added: ‘Bristol is a key centre for professional and financial disputes and infrastructure work, so having John, Ian and Peter on board gives us a great foundation, as well as a platform for further growth.’

The Bristol opening marks Clydes’ second new office of 2018, after announcing in February that it was setting up a four-partner Hamburg office.

However last year was particularly expansive, as the firm launched new offices in Los Angeles, Mexico City, Washington and Chicago.

Legal Business

Who Represents Who: Firms that will be affected by the fall of Carillion

Who Represents Who: Firms that will be affected by the fall of Carillion

For more information on Who Represents Who, contact:
David Burgess,
Publishing Director, The Legal 500

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Clyde & Co launches in Hamburg with four-partner Ince team

Revolving doors: Clyde & Co launches in Hamburg with four-partner Ince team

Germany has today (12 February) taken centre stage in the European lateral recruitment market with Clyde & Co announcing the launch of a new office in Hamburg on the back of a four-partner team hire from insurance and shipping rival Ince & Co.

Clyde will be launching its second German office after Düsseldorf later this year, with Ince’s former head of English law Daniel Jones and head of admiralty and energy Eckehard Volz.

Litigation and arbitration expert Tim Schommer and cargo claims specialist Volker Lücke will also join Clyde from Ince, bringing the firm’s Germany partner headcount to six.

Based in Hamburg office since 2008, Jones has been acting for German and Scandinavian shipowners in contentious matters in London maritime arbitration and the English courts. He was also a member of Ince Consultancy, the firm’s non-legal arm launched in 2016 to offer financial, tax and project structuring advice.

Volz joined Ince in 2007 and works on shipping, marine and offshore matters, while Lücke qualified at the firm in 2006 and helped setting up its yacht practice. Schommer joined Ince as a newly qualified German lawyer in 2005 and specialises in in handling shipbuilding, ship repair, yachting and trade disputes.

The news marks the latest chapter in Clyde’s international expansion of late. The firm launched in Los Angeles , Mexico City, Washington and Chicago last year.

As for Ince, senior partner Jan Heuvels said the firm was in a ‘strong position to deal with the increasing mobility of lawyers, which is prevalent within the market’.

‘Over the last two years we have successfully restructured our business, including the adoption of a hybrid lockstep remuneration model that rewards our highest performing partners. This will inevitably result in certain partners seeking other opportunities.’

Heuvels announced the appointment of three new partners in Hamburg. Associates Götz Rahne, Christian Reinert and Martin Malinowski will be promoted to the partnership later this year, meaning the firm will have 13 partners and 23 other fee earners in Germany from 1 May 2018, spread between Hamburg and Cologne.

‘Our Hamburg office is blessed with a depth of talent and events such as this provide opportunities to reinvigorate our team and allow our lawyers to develop further in a collegiate environment,’ added Heuvels.

Meanwhile, north of the channel competition partner Satyen Dhana left CMS last week for Simmons & Simmons’ EU, competition and regulatory group.

Hogan Lovells appointed Tom McFarlane as EMEA head of transfer pricing. He joins from professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal, where he led the transfer pricing and tax-efficient supply chain management practice in London. He previously spent six years at KPMG.

Elsewhere Addleshaw Goddard brought its UK financial regulation partner headcount to six with the appointment of consumer finance specialist Clare Hughes will from Eversheds Sutherland and Lorna Finlayson, former head of Burness Paull’s financial services regulatory practice.

Legal Business

LLP round-up: Bird & Bird debt soars as rising partner count freezes top pay at Clyde & Co

LLP round-up: Bird & Bird debt soars as rising partner count freezes top pay at Clyde & Co

While top 20 LB100 firms Bird & Bird and Clyde & Co both boosted their operating profit in the 2016/17 financial year, LLP accounts show that Bird & Bird also saw its debt grow while Clyde & Co’s rising partner numbers contributed to management and highest-paid member numbers barely increasing.

Bird & Bird’s LLP accounts showed pre-tax profit rose 9% to €103.5m in the year to April 2017 and the highest-paid member brought home €1.08m, up from last year’s €962,000. Turnover was also up 5% to €360.7m.

However the firm also saw net debt soar 24% to €49.3m. However, the firm’s chief financial officer Richard Olver told Legal Business the debt had been reduced to €30m as of 31 October last year.

He added that the increase in debt in 2016/17 was partly due to the figure being ‘slightly understated the previous year due to the financial arrangement for our new London base’, and partly the increased level of business and ‘clients paying more slowly’.

Bird & Bird moved to new premises at 12 Fetter Lane in September 2016. Last year the cost of the new building, equipment and computers was reported at €17m and the firm’s accounts showed debt tumbling 15% to €39.5m.

Olver added that the firm had since April 2017 implemented a ‘concerted effort’ to secure payments from debtors and asked partners to contribute more quickly without increasing the amount of capital required from them.

Bird & Bird has also unveiled its half-year financial results for the 2017/18 financial year, showing turnover rose 6% against the same period last year to €177m. On a like-for-like basis, the increase was 9%, the firm said.

‘The growth has been quite widespread across the areas we are focused on – the core sectors which are changed by technology,’ said chief executive David Kerr. Profit before tax was also up 7% to €52m in the first half of the financial year.

Meanwhile, insurance heavyweight Clyde & Co also filed its LLP accounts this week, recording a 14% uptick in turnover from £447m to £511m. The firm’s operating profit also saw a boost, rising from £117.4m to £124.8m.

Clyde’s highest-paid member took home slightly less than last year however, pocketing £1.37m instead of 2016’s £1.39m. The relatively static figure is explained by a healthy 16% upturn in the number of partners at the firm, which rose from 262 in 2016 to 305 in 2017.

The firm’s key management personnel, described in the accounts as ‘all designated members and a number of senior members and senior managers’ also took home less than last year. In 2016, £12.5m was distributed to the group, compared to £12.4m this time round.

The accounts show that Clyde took out over £76m in new bank loans in 2017, a significant increase on 2016 when the firm took out £10m. But despite the rising bank debt, Clyde’s cash position is more secure, with cash at bank and in hand growing from £18.2m to £28.3m. Clyde has also paid back £30m of the debt, meaning £36m of the loan is outstanding.

An increase in staff costs reflected an increase in headcount for Clyde, with the global number of fee-earners rising from 1,699 to 1,780 and the number of support staff growing from 1,324 to 1,494. Overall, staff costs went up 18% to £237.4m.

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Baker McKenzie and Clyde & Co double up in the City as international hires gain momentum

Revolving doors: Baker McKenzie and Clyde & Co double up in the City as international hires gain momentum

The City is stirring during a typically dreary January with at least six firms making lateral partner hires in London, while others bolster in Europe and Asia.

Baker McKenzie and Clyde & Co both landed two London partners in the last week, while Osborne Clarke, White & Case, Fieldfisher and Brown Rudnick added to the City moves with one lateral hire apiece.

Baker McKenzie added finance partner Matthew Cox from Ropes & Gray, while Megan Schellinger joined from Linklaters as a capital markets partner. Former European Commission head Jonathon Stoodley has also joined the firm as a special adviser.

Cox’s hire follows the recruitment of other banking and finance partners Geoff O’Dea and Matthew Smith, as well as Alex Lewis from Ropes & Gray as a private equity partner in April. Schellinger, meanwhile, will join the firm in March from Linklaters, where she is counsel in its capital markets group.

Baker McKenzie London managing partner Alex Chadwick said the appointments come as the firm looks to achieve greater bench strength in its corporate, private equity, tax and banking and finance practices.

Clyde & Co has brought in London insurance partners Mandip Sagoo and Angus Duncan from Mayer Brown. Sagoo is described as experienced in civil and criminal litigation and regulatory proceedings and investigations, while Duncan is experienced acting for insurers in the financial lines markets.

Elsewhere, Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft lost its fifth restructuring partner in a week after Brown Rudnick hired Louisa Watt. Watt was head of loan portfolios, claims and debt trading at her previous firm, and her departure follows Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy hiring four restructuring partners from the same firm earlier in the week.

Osborne Clarke has hired its second private equity partner from Squire Patton Boggs in the past four months, as Alistair Francis joined Tim Hewens at the firm. To round-off the City lateral moves, White & Case recruited Hannah Field-Lowes from Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where she was co-head of international dispute resolution in London, while Fieldfisher hired Shepherd and Wedderburn data privacy partner Judy Krieg to work with Phil Lee in the privacy, security and information and also with Tony Lewis in the corporate crime team.

Further afield, DLA Piper appointed Federico Pacelli, a partner in its international tax practice in Italy, where he will lead the Italian transfer pricing team. He was most recently at Italian Euro Elite firm BonelliErede.

Eversheds Sutherland expanded its Paris office with a corporate hire, bringing in Sébastien Pontillo as a partner in its private equity practice, and Ashurst added to its finance team in Frankfurt with the hire of real estate partner Filip Kurkowski, who was formerly of Baker McKenzie and Allen & Overy.

In Asia, Mayer Brown hired corporate partner Brian McKenna from Debevoise & Plimpton, and King & Spalding brought in M&A lawyer Lee Taylor in Singapore. Taylor previously led Clifford Chance’s M&A group in Singapore and the south-east Asia private equity practice. King & Spalding’s Singapore office opened in 2010 and now has 30 lawyers.





Legal Business

‘Another mechanism for unlocking insight’ – Clyde & Co launches tech initiative with UCL

‘Another mechanism for unlocking insight’ – Clyde & Co launches tech initiative with UCL

Following the trend of tech incubator programmes  set by City firms, insurance heavyweight Clyde & Co has launched a data analytics lab to develop products and services for its clients.

The new initiative is being ran in conjunction with University College London (UCL), with which the firm has a longstanding relationship.  

Insurance partner Mark Wing and Clyde & Co’s innovation board are overseeing the project. The board, which was established in 2016, was designed to improve Clyde’s relationships with its clients by creating new products and services.

It comprises Wing and fellow partners Nigel Brook, Lee Bacon, Carolena Gordon, Leon Alexander, Patrick Murphy and Sally Sfeir-Tait , as well as chief strategy officer William Isaac, chief information officer Chris White and senior strategy manager Nadine Bairle.

Overall, the lab will be staffed by Clyde legal, data science and strategy staff in addition to students from UCL’s computer science department. The team will combine data analysis with machine-learning technology to develop new products.

So far, projects at the lab have explored predicting fraud in relation to claims, the likelihood of disputes going to trial or settlement, as well as potential litigation outcomes.

Wing said: ‘A large part of the value that law firms provide to their clients is the knowledge and expertise of their lawyers. As a global firm we have heaps of knowledge but the question we always challenge ourselves with is how we harness it as quickly and efficiently as we can for our clients. Having a data analytics lab provides us with another mechanism for unlocking insight, value and solutions for our clients.’

The data analytics lab launch caps off a productive year for Clydes in terms of tech innovation, with the firm launching Clyde Code in September, a consultancy focused on advising mainly insurers on smart contracts, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.

It has also been an internationally expansive year for the firm, announcing yesterday (11 December), that it had established a best-friends association with five-partner New Zealand boutique insurance litigation firm Fee Langstone.

Over the past year, Clydes has opened offices in Chicago, Washington DC , Los Angeles and also formed an association with Malaysian firm Shaikh David & Co in Kuala Lumpur. A Bristol office is also slated to launch in the New Year.

Legal Business

Locke Lord fined, Clydes ex-partner suspended, while Appleby hit by data breach

Locke Lord fined, Clydes ex-partner suspended, while Appleby hit by data breach

In a tough period for international firms at the hands of legal regulators, US firm Locke Lord received the largest-ever fine handed down by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) in November.

The £500,000 penalty handed to Locke Lord came after one of its former UK lawyers engaged in ‘dubious financial arrangements’ with a client’s bank account. The lawyer in question, Jonathan Denton, left the firm in October 2015.