Legal Business

Nabarro promotes restructuring head Godfrey to international role

Nabarro promotes restructuring head Godfrey to international role

Nabarro has appointed restructuring and insolvency head Patricia Godfrey as its new head of international.

As part of the new role Godfrey will have a seat on the firm’s board and chair its international committee, which oversees the firm’s relationships with its European Alliance partners and international plans.

Currently Godfrey heads up Nabarro’s European group which manages the relationship firms within the European Alliance, including French firm August & Debouzy, GSK Stockmann + Kollegen in Germany, Nunziante Magrone in Italy and Spain’s Roca Junyent.

In the new post Godfrey will also explore opportunities for further international expansion following the opening of Nabarro’s Singapore office in November 2010.

Godfrey currently advises on international and cross-border insolvencies related to the use of the European Insolvency Regulation and UNCITRAL Model Law on insolvency. She is also currently chair of INSOL – Europe’s Lenders Group.

Graham Stedman, senior partner at Nabarro, said Godfrey’s international client-base, reputation and experience made her a ‘natural choice for this important role’.

He added: ‘As a Board member she will help make sure we capitalise on opportunities to deepen relationships with international clients and explore options to extend our reach to further jurisdictions.’

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Addleshaw Goddard and Nabarro end merger talks

Addleshaw Goddard and Nabarro have confirmed that they were in merger talks at the start of the year but the former is understood to have called the talks off.

In separate statements released by both firms, Addleshaws and Nabarro said that discussions would not progress any further.

Nabarro said: ‘Nabarro and Addleshaw Goddard did hold very preliminary conversations to explore a possible merger. However, both firms agreed not to pursue discussions further.’

It is thought that Addleshaws decided that there weren’t sufficient business interests for the firm to merge with Nabarro. One former Nabarro partner said the talks were being held before Christmas, with the firms exchanging financial information, although both firms declined to comment on this point.

Legal Business

CMS to reduce scope of Integreon outsourcing agreement

CMS Cameron McKenna is to scale back its staff outsourcing agreement with Integreon just three years into its ten-year contract.

The news comes four days after Osborne Clarke confirmed it will dramatically reduce its own use of the outsourcing provider.

Duncan Weston, CMS managing partner, today (28 March) confirmed that the firm is considering turning to an alternative provider for facility services currently provided by Integreon but would not provide any detail of how many staff would be affected or the name of the third party provider.

CMS and Integreon first struck the deal, the largest of its kind worth just under £600m, in May 2010. At the time the firm hoped to establish a revolutionary alternative model for legal support services by outsourcing its entire support staff function, including finance, human resources and IT.

Following the original deal CMS made roughly 9% of its support staff redundant and relocated another 21% to either Bristol or India.

Weston said: ‘Integreon remains a trusted and strategic procurement partner for us in delivering efficiencies for the firm and our clients. In collaboration with Integreon and as part of good business practice, we continually review all aspects of these services to ensure those efficiencies are maintained.

‘We can confirm that we are currently considering the possibility of an alternative third party provider for one part of the facilities services currently provided by Integreon and they are leading the sourcing project to find us the best in class facilities provider. In addition Integreon is increasing the provision of legal process support for our firm and our clients.

‘Employees have been informed and both CMS and Integreon are committed to confirming final decisions as soon as possible.’

In the same statement, it said that the firm would increase the level of legal process outsourcing managed by Integreon.

Osborne Clarke announced earlier this week that 65 of its 75 staff outsourced to Integreon in February 2009 would be returning to the firm while the firm’s Bristol and Reading hospitality operations would move to rival outsourcer, Mitie.

francesca.fanshawe@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Dundas departures reflect pressure on Scots firms

Dundas & Wilson has confirmed the departure of three more partners from the firm’s London arm. Corporate partners Julian Mathews and Simon Sale, along with banking and finance partner Michael Wrigley, have decided to leave the Scots leader, which has faced a difficult few years by any yardstick.

These moves, which were confirmed in February, compound an unsettled time for the firm’s London office. The City practice last year saw Martin Thomas, one of its top litigators, leave for Wragge & Co, along with banking partner John Pike, who quit for Osborne Clarke. More recent senior departures include TMT partner Paul Graham, who left for Field Fisher Waterhouse, while real estate partner Nick Padget left for Osborne Clarke. The latest departures have raised familiar questions about the firm’s London ambitions.

Legal Business

Latest Dundas departures are reminder of pressure facing Scotland’s most storied firms

Latest Dundas departures are reminder of pressure facing Scotland’s most storied firms

Dundas & Wilson is bracing itself for the departure of three more partners from the firm’s London arm. Corporate partners Julian Matthews and Simon Sale, along with banking and finance partner Michael Wrigley have decided to leave the Scots leader, which has faced a difficult few years by any yardstick.

These moves compound an unsettled time for the firm’s London office, that last year saw Martin Thomas, one of the firm’s top litigators, leave for Wragge & Co, along with banking partner John Pike, who quit for Osborne Clarke. More recent senior departures include TMT partner Paul Graham, who left for Field Fisher Waterhouse, while real estate partner Nick Padget left for Osborne Clarke. Of this month’s departures, it is thought that Wrigley and Matthews will leave immediately, with Sale leaving next month. Familiar questions about the firm’s London ambitions have been raised.

Caryn Penley, joint managing partner at Dundas, said in response: ‘We have been open about our plans to manage our business. We are focussing on our strengths in both Scotland and London. Last month, for the first time, we were appointed to the Government Procurement Service legal panel in England & Wales. Our London office is a key platform for us going forward.’

The firm’s financial state may shed some light on the number of departures. Last year, the firm’s turnover dropped by 12% to £54.5m, while the bottom line came under severe pressure. Profit per lawyer was down by 36% from the previous year, to £49,000, and profit per equity partner was down by a similarly stark 38%, to just £203,000, well under half the average across the UK top 50.

Dundas’s problems undoubtedly reflect the long-term pressure on leading Scottish firms, which have been heavily impacted by the diminished status of Edinburgh as a finance centre since the credit crunch hit in 2007.

With Scots leaders struggling to build national UK practices, many have flirted with mergers, with Dundas being linked to a string of deals, including an abortive and unhappy attempt to align with London’s Bircham Dyson Bell, which was abandoned in 2011.

Evidence of the reduced status of Scotland’s legal elite was seen in 2012 when old rival McGrigors submitted to an unceremonious takeover by Pinsent Masons, a deal that would have been unthinkable on such terms a decade ago.

While it is apparent that some departures were agreed, it is clear that Dundas’s options to sustain its position as a credible national UK player without a merger (or more likely takeover) are reducing quickly. If Dundas – with over 200 years of history and still regarded as the bellwether for high-end commercial practice north of the border – was to lose independence, the implications for Scotland’s legal market would be very considerable indeed.

david.stevenson@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Shaw abruptly steps down from Dundas leadership

Dundas & Wilson’s managing partner Donald Shaw unexpectedly announced in March that he is stepping down from his post midway through his second term.

It is unclear why Shaw stepped down, however suggestions from former partners and the market are that partners were unhappy with his management.

Legal Business

Consolidation is the word of the day across Scotland’s firms

Consolidation is the word of the day across Scotland’s firms

The Scottish market is awash with merger rumours. Perhaps the imminent tie-up between McGrigors and Pinsent Masons has kick-started the recent developments but Scottish managing partners now have consolidation high up the agenda.

The marriage between McGrigors and Pinsents, which is expected to go live in May, will create a national heavyweight with combined revenues of roughly £282m and over 1,500 lawyers, pushing the new venture comfortably into the top 15 of the LB100.

Legal Business

Crunch time

Crunch time

The past few years have seen dramatic changes at Lawrence Graham and Nabarro, two firms hit hardest by the real estate downturn. But as LG approaches its 300th anniversary, it is looking its age, while Nabarro still has its bite

Before you embark on a rebrand there’s so much to consider. How much are you willing to invest in a renaming and follow-up marketing campaign? How do you attract new clients without alienating longstanding business partners? Will you share your identity with a household-name electronics manufacturer? Evidently, the last issue is easily overlooked.