Legal Business

Case study: Clyde & Co

Case study: Clyde & Co

A model of consistency in the Legal Business 100, 2018/19 was Clyde & Co’s 21st consecutive year of growth – albeit with a merger or two thrown in. This time around it grew 11%, adding £59.7m to its top line to reach £611m.

In just three years, the firm has grown by 36%, or £160m in total. ‘If you went back eight years, we were around £250m turnover. We are now a £600m+ business,’ says senior partner Simon Konsta.

Legal Business

Another team walks at Clydes as eight partners depart in San Francisco

Another team walks at Clydes as eight partners depart in San Francisco

Eight partners will be leaving Clyde & Co’s  San Francisco office in favour of setting up their own firm in the US.

As reported in RollOnFriday, the partner group led by Joan D’Ambrosio and Bill Casey, focuses on insurance coverage and monitoring work. The team includes Christina Terplan, Julie Hawkinson, Jamie Narbaitz, Christina Marshall, Eric Moon and David Jordan who will also be leaving the firm.

D’Ambrosio’s team is focused on tech errors and omissions and cyber coverage and monitoring work, while Bill Casey’s group focuses on coverage and monitoring for architects, engineers and lawyers.

The departure of the group, which joined the firm in 2008 from Duane Morris, means that the firm’s San Francisco office will have close to 100 people and 13 partners in total.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘We wish the team well as they set up an independent law firm and are working amicably and constructively with them to achieve as smooth a transition as possible for all parties.’

Of its ‘leading US insurance coverage practice’, the spokesperson added that the team was  ‘one of the largest in the country, with 70 partners, 250 legal professional and 450 people across ten offices. The US practice has experienced compound annual growth of over 20% in the past ten years and is now the firm’s largest region outside the UK, accounting for 23% of firm wide revenue.’

Earlier this week, Clydes confirmed the resignation of six shipping partners from its global marine group in London. That team will also be leaving to establish its own boutique firm, Preston Turnbull. Ed Mills-Webb resigned with immediate effect, while Andrew Preston, co-chair of the firm’s Latin American strategy Elizabeth Turnbull, Fanos Theophani and Rob Collins will also be leaving.

Muna.abdi@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

Clyde & Co shipping team sets sail to establish boutique firm

Clyde & Co shipping team sets sail to establish boutique firm

Clyde & Co has lost at least five partners from its global marine group, with the shipping team leaving to set up a boutique firm.

Andrew Preston is set to leave after joining the firm in 1994 and becoming a partner in 2000, as well as Elizabeth Turnbull, co-chair of the firm’s Latin American strategy committee who joined Clydes in 2009.

Fanos Theophani and Rob Collins will also be leaving for the new firm, which will be named Preston Turnbull, after two of the partners.

Rob Collins told Legal Business: ‘It will be a marine trade, commercial litigation boutique firm and a lot of detail is still up in the air as far as that’s concerned.’

Meanwhile, the firm have also confirmed that Ed Mills-Webb has resigned with immediate effect.

In July Clydes confirmed that it has suspended two lawyers including a partner after alleged breaches of accounting rules.

The firm referred the two lawyers to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) in relation to alleged breaches of obligations in the SRA handbook, including its Code of Conduct and the Accounts Rules.

A spokesperson for Clydes said: ‘We continue to assist the SRA fully with their investigations. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.’

It has been an eventful few months at Clydes, which is set to go through a management shake-up when senior partner Simon Konsta steps down from his role in October just over half way into his five-year term.

Konsta will make way for arbitration co-chair Peter Hirst amid a 21st consecutive year of revenue growth to £611m in the year to 30 April, up 11% on £551.3m last year.

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Back to school for new City Clydes, Kennedys and Pinsents laterals as European hires continue apace

Revolving doors: Back to school for new City Clydes, Kennedys and Pinsents laterals as European hires continue apace

City firms have been gearing up for what looks to be a busy September as Clyde & Co, Kennedys and Pinsent Masons have added to their London benches and others continue with European investment drives.

Clyde & Co has appointed Stephen Jurgenson as partner in the firm’s global projects and construction group.

Jurgenson was previously a partner at Winston & Strawn in London and advises on project development and financing, banking and institutional finance, corporate lending and M&A in the utilities, renewable energy, oil and gas, natural resources, real estate and transport sectors.

Clydes partner and member of the global management board Liz Jenkins told Legal Business: ‘We needed to increase our project finance capabilities. We are particularly strong in disputes but we needed a better offering on the front end and Stephen absolutely ticked that box.

‘He will be working alongside our partners and teams in Africa and doing quite a bit of work looking into Latin America as well, which is a very interesting growth area. It’s an exciting time for the team,’ Jenkins added.

Meanwhile Clydes’ head of pensions Mark Howard has left after almost eight years to join workplace pension’s platform Smart Pension as general counsel. Clydes confirmed that partner Terry Saeedi would be taking over as head of the pensions team.

Elsewhere the ever-expansive insurance firm Kennedys has made four partner hires in its professional liability teams across three UK offices, including London partner Paul Castellani from RPC.

In Birmingham, partners Paul Chaplin and Steve Oates joined from DWF. Chaplin was head of professional indemnity at DWF in Birmingham while Oates is also qualified in the Republic of Ireland. Helen Ager has also been hired as head of the professional liability team in Taunton and joins from DAC Beachcroft.

Head of professional liability Jeremy Riley told Legal Business: ‘They all bring new client relationships to us and new specialisms, so it’s grabbing that market share through these hires. What’s been refreshing is that people are knocking on our door as opposed to us approaching people externally.’

Elsewhere in London, Pinsent Masons has hired Fieldfisher’s co-head of life sciences Nicole Jadeja.

Clare Tunstall, head of life sciences at Pinsents, told Legal Business: ‘We were interested in Nicole as somebody who is clearly a preeminent adviser in patent litigation supporting target clients. She’s a likeminded individual with the right skillset, doing really interesting work for exactly the sort of clients we act for.’

Further afield in Paris, Ashurst has hired Allen & Overy counsel Tom Longmuir as partner in its project finance team and Fieldfisher has appointed Emmanuel Paillard from Gowling WLG as partner and head of a new public law team.

Co-head of Ashurst’s global projects Joss Dare told Legal Business: ‘We’re making a consistent push at the moment to grow our international project finance capabilities in strategic locations, and one of those is Paris. We’re looking to capitalise on the opportunities with francophone clients and French banks in particular, who are operating out of Paris into francophone Africa.’

In Frankfurt, Morgan Lewis hired Sabine Konrad to its international disputes team from McDermott Will & Emery.

Konrad told Legal Business: ‘Morgan Lewis has the exact geographical spread that I need for an international arbitration practice, especially with the focus on the Middle East.’

Managing partner in Frankfurt Joerg Siegels told Legal Business: ‘It’s a once in a lifetime chance to find someone like Sabine, with her reputation, recognition, demand and connections into the market. Sabine, from an arbitration perspective, is an excellent fit and addition to the practice.

‘On the other hand it is a new field. It doesn’t mean we give up on our transactional focus. From a strategic point of view, although it’s a new field in terms of practice area, it helps us as a Frankfurt office to connect further with our colleagues all over the world,’ Siegels added.

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Two Clydes lawyers suspended for alleged financial breaches

Two Clydes lawyers suspended for alleged financial breaches

Clyde & Co has suspended two lawyers, including a partner, while alleged breaches of accounting rules are investigated.

The firm said today it had recently referred two lawyers to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) regarding alleged breaches of obligations in the SRA handbook, including its Code of Conduct and the Accounts Rules.

The former includes provisions on the fundamental ethics and professional standards expected from lawyers and law firms, particularly in relation to clients, their money and assets as well as the handling of the business in areas such as governance, equality and regulatory compliance, while the accounts rules cover the protection of client money.

A firm spokesperson said: ‘The solicitors have been suspended pending an internal investigation. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.’

The firm has previously been penalised by the SRA in this area. Back in 2017, three Clydes partners were each handed £10,000 penalties and the firm fined £50,000 for breaching accounting and money laundering rules.

In that case, corporate partners Christopher Duffy and Simon Gamblin, as well as projects partner Nick Purnell, admitted they allowed a client bank account to be used as a banking facility, acting against SRA accounting rules and in breach of obligations under money laundering regulations. Clydes was also judged to have failed to follow rules on dealing with dormant client balances.

The fine was at the time said to be one of the largest handed out by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal against a law firm. Clydes responded in 2017 by saying it had worked with the SRA to strengthen its approach to risk management.

muna.abdi@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Clydes senior partner Konsta to step down as firm grows revenue 11% in 2018/19

Clydes senior partner Konsta to step down as firm grows revenue 11% in 2018/19

Clyde & Co senior partner Simon Konsta (pictured) is to step down from his role in October just over half way into his five-year term.

The firm announced today (10 June) that Konsta will hand over to arbitration co-chair Peter Hirst, as it reported its 21st consecutive year of revenue growth to £611m in the year to 30 April, up 11% on £551.3m last year.

The firm will not disclose profit figures until next month, although Konsta said they too have increased on last year.

Konsta, who had been elected to the role in October 2016 following an uncontested election, told Legal Business: ‘My decision is, in my mind at least, relatively straightforward: I have been in a leadership role for the best part of 11 years now.’

He pointed to the firm building a £600m+ business with offices all over the world and to the fact that there was ‘so much more to be done to unlock the value within that infrastructure’. ‘As senior partner, you have a huge amount on your plate – whether it’s board meetings, travel, remuneration [review], year closing. The challenge to myself was: professionally and personally, how can I operate most effectively for myself and for Clyde?’

He concluded that the best way forward for him was to now focus on the firm’s insurance practice and professional liability defence capability: ‘There is something to drive home now and that’s where I want to focus – drive home our effectiveness in those areas rather than the broader church.’

Following Konsta’s decision to step down, Hirst was elected to the role after a vote by the global partnership, although Konsta would not say whether others stood in the election.

Konsta was first elected senior partner of Barlow Lyde & Gilbert in 2008 and led the firm into its merger with Clyde & Co in 2011. He then settled for a place on Clydes’ senior management board after Clydes’ former senior partner Michael Payton took up the position at the merged entity. He was also global head of the firm’s signature insurance practice group since 2013. His election to senior partner followed his predecessor James Burns’ own resignation in September 2016.

During his three years as senior partner, Clydes grew revenue 36%, adding £160m to its top line. It opened offices in Chicago and Washington DC, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Kuala Lumpur, Auckland, Orange County, Muscat and Bristol. This year it launched in Hamburg and Dublin.

On this year’s financials, Konsta said: ‘For the first time we have 50% of our revenue coming from outside the UK, which has been an objective for some time; 23% of our revenue is coming from the Americas. Given our focus on growing in that region, that’s very gratifying.’

marco.cillario@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘Makes sense’ – Clyde & Co becomes latest English firm to launch in Dublin

‘Makes sense’ – Clyde & Co becomes latest English firm to launch in Dublin

Clyde & Co has become the latest UK firm to enter the Republic of Ireland, opening a base in Dublin for its Irish law insurance practice.

In a move announced today (13 May), insurance partner Garrett Moore has relocated from London to Dublin to ensure he continues practising Irish law ‘whatever the outcomes of Brexit’.

Moore will initially be the only lawyer operating from the office. The firm’s five other Irish-qualified lawyers will continue operating from London and Manchester. ‘We have been working in Ireland for nearly ten years now,’ Moore told Legal Business. ‘We have reached a critical mass whereby we have a number of clients, so it makes sense to have a brick-and-mortar presence in Dublin. It also provides certainty from the perspective of Brexit.’

Clyde’s announcement follows a number of other law firms launching in the Irish capital since Britain voted to quit the European Union in June 2016, opening the prospect for Ireland to become the only English-speaking common law jurisdiction fully integrated into the EU. The number of lawyers qualifying in Ireland has also grown significantly in the last three years.

Fieldfisher launched a Dublin base last month, following in the footsteps of firms including DLA Piper, Lewis Silkin, Simmons & Simmons, Covington & Burling and Pinsent Masons.

For Clyde, the Dublin opening follows the launch of its second German office in Hamburg in February last year. The firm also deepened its domestic footprint in 2018 with the launch of an office in Bristol.

Marco.cillario@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

Sponsored briefing: The lawyer’s lawyer

Sponsored briefing: The lawyer’s lawyer

The risks and exposures facing law firms have dramatically changed over the last decade. The legal industry now faces a significantly more complex risk landscape and one that will continue to evolve as technology transforms the way firms operate.The risks and exposures facing law firms have dramatically changed over the last decade. The legal industry now faces a significantly more complex risk landscape and one that will continue to evolve as technology transforms the way firms operate.

That is certainly the view of Sarah Clover, partner in Clyde & Co’s specialist lawyers’ liability practice. She believes that while the risk landscape is already more complex than ten years ago, new products and services will shape and test the boundaries of liability, and law firm’s regulatory and ethical obligations.

Clover says: ‘Working alongside our clients to identify the current and future threats facing their organisations, it is apparent that law firms continue to face pressure from consolidation, globalisation, increased regulation and ethical dilemmas, but in the near future this list will continue to grow rapidly.

‘As law firms find ways to operate using technology, automation, data analytics and artificial intelligence, to name a few, their exposures will become increasingly more complex.’

Clyde & Co’s specialist lawyers’ liability practice has defended the interests of law firms for over 40 years. The team has in it a large number of solicitors whose practices are dedicated to lawyers’ liability and regulatory work. Firms will be familiar with the work of partners such as Richard Harrison, Andrew Blair, Fergal Cathie, Neil Jamieson, James Preece, Tony Nurse-Marsh, Clive Brett, Tom White and Helen Rowlands. The current team’s roots stem from lawyers’ professional liability, their predecessors having drafted the first solicitors’ professional liability policy in 1928 and devised the first professional liability insurance scheme for solicitors in the mid-1970s.

It has acted in a series of landmark cases that have developed professional liability law. A very few of the notable highlights include:

  • The Football League v Edge Ellison [2006] EWHC 1462 (Ch), led by Clover, which looked at the boundary between legal and commercial advice.
  • Paragon Finance plc v Freshfields [1999] EWCA Civ 955, led by former Barlow Lyde & Gilbert senior partner Richard Dedman, which concerned the extent of the implied waiver of privilege by a client suing his solicitor.
  • More recently, Solicitors Regulation Authority v Leigh Day & ors [2018] EWHC 2726, led by Fergal Cathie, was the most high-profile and longest-running disciplinary prosecution ever brought by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Although the team has acted for over 40 of the top 50 law firms over many years, they will not descend into specifics, client confidentiality and discretion being of paramount importance to them.

Current risk landscape

According to Clover, some of the key threats currently facing law firms include:

Globalised civil exposures: The threat of civil claims is nothing new, but law firms are increasingly facing claims of greater severity and complexity. As firms operate in a more globalised marketplace, a growing number of liability claims traverse jurisdictional boundaries. Law firms must also grapple with a changing litigation environment, not least the growing prevalence of litigation funders who view professional liability claims as an attractive hunting ground.

Regulatory exposures: These represent perhaps the biggest shift in the last decade. The threat of regulatory investigation and enforcement is now as high as that in respect of civil claims. Indeed, civil and regulatory claims can feed off one another, with firms often facing parallel proceedings, which throw up a myriad of issues. Firms must now also navigate ever-more burdensome regulatory self-reporting obligations and an increasingly politicised atmosphere. In recent years this has led individuals at large firms to be brought before parliamentary committees in the full glare of the media spotlight and often without the procedural safeguards that a more formal regulatory process would entail.

Criminal exposures: Broadening criminal liability regimes, particularly in the tax sphere, have the potential to snag law firms. In line with other professional advisers, there is also concern about getting embroiled in criminal investigations brought against a law firm’s clients.

Data issues: Data breach issues are a core risk for all organisations and law firms are no exception. Firms must ensure they have the systems and controls in place to manage the risks posed by the introduction of the GDPR regime as well as the changing modus operandi of increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals. As recent history has shown, a significant data breach has the potential to destroy a firm.

In line with the increasingly global nature of exposures, Clyde & Co’s specialist lawyers’ liability team now boasts the largest global professional liability practice, and regularly acts in international and cross-border claims for global law firms.

Clover explains the reason for having an extensive global team: ‘Litigating overseas presents a number of challenges for organisations, including law firms. In addition to the practical difficulties of securing local representation and managing the translation process, firms must navigate cultural differences, local court systems, procedural requirements and the selection of local experts. Having boots on the ground is essential to consistent delivery of the highest quality service to our clients.’

Recognising that law firms face a broad range of exposures and challenges, Clyde & Co has developed a reputation as ‘the professional’s professional’, handling, in addition to civil claims, disciplinary and regulatory issues, a long list of other advisory work for professional services firms, including employment, bribery and sanctions, partnership and other corporate structures, as well as  commercial and intellectual property advice. It has also built up a leading practice advising on the structuring of insurance and reinsurance arrangements for global professional service networks.

‘Our close-knit team works in tandem to draw on each other’s expertise and ensure our clients are equipped to face the evolving risk landscape that continues to threaten the operations of the world’s leading law firms,’ concludes Clover.

Sarah Clover has been a partner at Clyde & Co since 1992. She has specialised in lawyers’ professional liability for 30 years and advised on a wide range of professional liability claims against lawyers, including claims involving corporate finance, tax, pensions, commercial and residential property, litigation and commercial contract. She also advises clients on regulatory and disciplinary issues, risk management and policy coverage. Sarah has a wealth of experience in mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

For more information, please contact:Sarah Clover

Sarah Clover, partner, Clyde & Co

T: 020 7876 6386
E: sarah.clover@clydeco.com

www.clydeco.com

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.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

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.