Legal Business

Clyde & Co, CMS and DAC Beachcroft pick up partners from an ailing Sedgwick

Clyde & Co, CMS and DAC Beachcroft pick up partners from an ailing Sedgwick

As US firm Sedgwick heads towards closure in the New Year, UK-based outfits Clyde & Co,  CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang and DAC Beachcroft have profited by picking up a number of partners.

DAC has hired a team comprising two partners and four associates from Sedgwick that will join its London office in January. This includes Mark Kendall, who led Sedgwick’s London international property and casualty team since 2010 and has also headed the firm’s Latin American group since 2014. Kendall’s practice has a strong focus on product recall and liability in sectors including food and pharmaceuticals. DAC confirmed that Kendall ‘shares a number of key clients’ with the firm.

Disputes partner Duncan Strachan will also be joining DAC in the New Year with a practice that centres on litigation defence in Latin American jurisdictions in addition to the UK and Europe. Alongside Strachan and Kendall, four associates and a non-fee earner will be making the switch to DAC.

Helen Faulkner, DAC’s head of insurance, told Legal Business: ‘While there aren’t many insurer clients that we don’t work with, Mark’s team gives us additional traction with some clients. We needed to build our bench strength in London. Mark and Duncan’s collaborative nature fits well with our culture.’

CMS has also tapped Sedgwick’s London office recruiting partner Tristan Hall. Specialising in financial claims and cyber risks, he will quit the US firm after seven years.

Office managing partner Edward Smerdon is now the only London partner whose destination remains unknown.

Meanwhile Clydes is looking to make a major US play, hiring two partners from Sedgwick to its San Francisco office, while discussions to bring in around 20 additional partners are ongoing.

Aside from San Francisco, Clydes is also in discussions with various other Sedgwick partners across the US. The firm will be seeking to build on the opening of its ninth US office in Los Angeles in July.

A spokesperson at the firm said: ‘We are sorry to hear the news of Sedgwick’s closure. We know many of its lawyers and hold them in high regard. In line with our own growth potential in the US, we are in advanced discussions with a number of its insurance partners, predominantly in California, about the possibility of them joining us. It would not be appropriate to comment further while discussions are ongoing.’

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Profitability drive sees DAC Beachcroft hike bonuses to incentivise top performers

Profitability drive sees DAC Beachcroft hike bonuses to incentivise top performers

DAC Beachcroft will reward top-performing partners with more generous bonuses after the top-25 Legal Business 100 firm voted through changes to its remuneration structure.

The national firm has introduced the new bonus scheme with immediate effect following a full governance review, removing a cap on the level of profit going into its merit pool to allow for more flexibility in remuneration.

The change is part of DAC’s new member’s agreement, which follows the consultation process started by senior partner Virginia Clegg and managing partner David Pollitt  when they took over in November 2015.

A newly-established remuneration committee, including Clegg, will make recommendations to the LLP group board on the distribution of the bonuses.
Clegg said the changes ‘will support a more diverse international business operating in a variety of highly competitive environments’.

Partners also agreed to extend the powers of the LLP group board, run by Clegg, and to establish a new group executive role, reporting to Pollitt. A new audit committee will be responsible for financial matters and risk.

The changes also allow for the appointment of a non-member chief executive, although the firm said it is not actively seeking one at the moment.

Reflecting a greater focus of management on profit and reducing debt, profit per equity partner at DAC grew 20% from £358,000 to £432,000 this year, despite subdued revenue growth of 3% to £207m. It has reduced its debt from around £30m in 2015 to £19m since the new management team took over.

The insurance-focused firm is also responding to the need for wider geographic coverage in its core sector through collaboration with international firms.

In January, it signed up to the collaborative insurance alliance Legalign, while in December last year it established associations in Peru and Central America .

marco.cillario@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

‘Particularly pleasing’: DAC posts 20% rise in PEP despite subdued revenue

‘Particularly pleasing’: DAC posts 20% rise in PEP despite subdued revenue

DAC Beachcroft‘s profit per equity partner has increased 20% from £358,000 to £432,000, despite subdued revenue growth which the firm attributed to global investments and challenging market conditions over the year.

The firm recorded a 3% revenue rise from £201.6m last financial year to £207m this year.

DAC Beachcroft notably further reduced its debt by £1m to £19m over the period.

In a statement, DAC’s managing partner David Pollitt (pictured) highlighted panel wins for the firm, including RSA, Chubb, BT and Crown Commercial Services, alongside retaining a place on the NHS resolution panel, as contributors to the firm’s growth.

Given the economic climate, Pollitt said that to have achieved all this ‘in a year of challenging market conditions, including Brexit, is particularly pleasing.’

Pollitt said: ‘We have also continued with our investment in international expansion this year with new associations formed in Peru and Central America, as well as being one of the founding members of Legalign Global, an alliance of four of the world’s leading insurance law practices.’

DAC signed up to Legalign in January along with three others: German firm BLD Bach Langheid Dallmayr, US firm Wilson Elser and Australian outfit Wotton + Kearney.

The firm also filed its LLP statements for 2015/16 in January, which showed that turnover rose 1.5% to £201.5m from £198.5m, while profit before tax grew 9.5% from £32.3m to £35.3m.

Meanwhile, as the firm’s average number of employees increased from 2,027 to 2,093, average statutory profit before tax per member increased from £296,000 to £361,000.

Total net debt at year-end fell 18% from £24.6m in 2015, to £20m in 2016, while growth in operating profit grew 10.2% from £33.2m to £36.6m.

In December 2016, DAC strengthened its Latin America presence through insurance associations with Torres Carpio Portocarrero & Richter (TCPR), and BLP in Peru and Central America.

The associations are additions to DAC’s existing presence in Latin America, where the firm has offices in Mexico, Colombia and Chile, a Brazil alliance and a Miami hub.

The new arrangement will see all three firms work together to share best practice and meet mutual clients’ key business needs in Latin America.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Firms including Bond Dickinson, TLT and DAC Beachcroft appointed to local authority framework

Firms including Bond Dickinson, TLT and DAC Beachcroft appointed to local authority framework

A host of UK firms including Bond DickinsonTLT and DAC Beachcroft have been appointed to West Yorkshire authorities’ legal framework (WYLAW) for three years.

A total of nineteen law firms have been appointed across ten lots which include childcare law, general litigation, routine property and contracts, commercial and IT. National firms Browne Jacobson, Ward Hadaway and Weightmans also feature on the roster. The last WYLAW review was carried out in June 2013 resulting in a panel which included Eversheds Sutherland and Pinsent Masons.

WYLAW comprises Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield councils, as well as the City of York Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The framework term is three years, with an optional further one year extension.

In a statement commenting on the review, Jackie Gray, head of Bond Dickinson’s local government group in Leeds said the appointment was ‘strategically important for the firm and for the Leeds office’ as Bond Dickinson looks to expand its capability in local government work.

Gray added: ‘Having a dedicated local government team means that together with our property, planning, employment, pensions, litigation, corporate and commercial teams in Leeds we have a local responsive team of lawyers who can advise members of WYLAW every step of the way.’

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Lots are categorised as (1) childcare law, (2) adult social service and community law, (3) general litigation, (4) routine property, (5) contracts, commercial and IT, (6) highways and environments, (7) major or complex procurements, (8) local government and corporate governance, (9) employment and pensions, (10) public health.

Firms appointed to multiple panels include:

  • Bevan Brittan (lots 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10)
  • Browne Jacobson (lots 1, 2,)
  • Bond Dickinson (lots 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9,)
  • Freeths (lots 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  • Sheffield City Council (lots 1, 2, 3, 9,)
  • Stephensons Solicitors (lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 9)
  • Ward Hadaway (lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10)
  • Weightmans (lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
Legal Business

Revolving doors: DAC Beachcroft hires from DWF as Ropes partner quartet leave for Gibson Dunn

Revolving doors: DAC Beachcroft hires from DWF as Ropes partner quartet leave for Gibson Dunn

In another active week for lateral hires, firms have expanded their ranks in the UK and internationally. DAC Beachcroft has added to its Manchester office, while ARC Pensions Law, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and McDermott Will & Emery have all also made key hires.

Adding to its Manchester-based employment and pensions group, DAC Beachcroft has hired Philip Harman as a partner. Harman, who joined the firm on 3 April, was previously head of DWF’s employment practice.

DAC Beachcroft head of employment and pensions Alex Lock commented: ‘I am delighted to welcome Philip to the firm and we all look forward to working with him. His depth of knowledge and aspirational nature make him a very exciting new addition to our team.’

McDermott has expanded its London restructuring and insolvency practice, hiring Alan Gar from Simmons & Simmons. Gar arrives at McDermott as a partner, bringing with him significant experience in advising financial institutions on restructuring and insolvency matters. Gar’s appointment follows a string of similar hires in the last year, with the firm appointing Piero Carbone, Michael Holter, Gary Howes and Alicia Videon into its corporate and transactional practice.

Head of McDermott’s London office Andrew Vergunst said: ‘His appointment will continue to build upon the positive momentum taking shape in London. Adding another quality lateral will enable us to further expand our client offering.’

ARC Pensions Law has also added depth to its London office by bringing in Gowling WLG’s partner Jane Kola. Kola, who is a specialist in defined contribution pension schemes, joined the firm on 18 April.

Kola said: ‘I’m convinced that the boutique law firm solution is the best for trustee and corporate clients alike, when it comes to specialist services like pensions.’

Elsewhere in the UK, Mishcon de Reya has hired Alessandra Buonfino as head of international development. Buonfino joined the firm this week, after previously acting as the head of GREAT investors programme and deputy director of the department for international trade.

In Hong Kong, Gibson Dunn has hired a four-partner team from Ropes & Gray. Among the partners moving to Gibson Dunn are the firm’s Hong Kong managing partner Paul Boltz. Joining him are private equity partners Scott Jalowayski and Brian Schwarzwalder and banking partner Michael Nicklin.

tom.baker@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

DAC Beachcroft signs up to new Legalign alliance to provide global client reach

DAC Beachcroft signs up to new Legalign alliance to provide global client reach

DAC Beachcroft has signed up to a collaborative new insurance alliance, Legalign, along with three others: German firm BLD Bach Langheid Dallmayr, US firm Wilson Elser and Australian outfit Wotton + Kearney.

According to DAC, the model is designed to deliver legal services seamlessly across jurisdictions in three primary areas: insurance/reinsurance coverage, insurance/reinsurance defence and insurance regulatory and compliance. The alliance will comprise more than 2,000 lawyers across the four firms.

DAC managing partner David Pollitt (pictured) said it gives the firm an even bigger global footprint.

He added: ‘The synergies between our respective clients, our service capabilities and our cultures are genuinely noteworthy. That makes the opportunity to join forces an exciting one both for us and for our clients, many of which will feel the benefit of this comprehensive new global offering with almost immediate effect. We can’t wait to continue to build on what we have already achieved.’

DAC filed its LLP’s for 2015/16 last week, which showed turnover increased by 1.5% to £201.5m from £198.5m, while profit before tax increased 9.5% from £32.3m to £35.3m. Meanwhile, as the average number of employees increased from 2,027 to 2,093, average statutory profit before tax per member increased from £296,000 to £361,000.

Total net debt at year-end was reduced by 18% from £24.6m in 2015 to £20m in 2016 while growth in operating profit increased 10.2% from £33.2m to £36.6m.

In December DAC strengthened its presence in Latin America with insurance associations with Torres Carpio Portocarrero & Richter (TCPR) and BLP in Peru and Central America.

The associations are in addition to DAC’s existing presence in Latin America, where the firm has offices in Mexico, Colombia and Chile, as well as an alliance in Brazil and a hub in Miami. The arrangement will see all three firms work together to share best practice and meet mutual clients’ key business needs in Latin America.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

DAC strengthens presence in LatAm with two new insurance associations

DAC strengthens presence in LatAm with two new insurance associations

DAC Beachcroft has strengthed its presence in Latin America with new insurance associations in Peru and Central America.

The associations are with Torres Carpio Portocarrero & Richter (TCPR) and BLP, providing clients with coverage in Peru (TCPR) and Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras (BLP).

The associations are in addition to DAC’s existing presence in Latin America, where the firm has offices in Mexico, Colombia and Chile, as well as an alliance in Brazil and a hub in Miami. The arrangement will see all three firms work together to share best practice and meet mutual clients’ key business needs in Latin America.

DAC’s managing partner David Pollitt said the associations marked a further important step in the firm’s expansion plans.

DAC’s Latin American regional head, Anthony Menzies, added: ‘We know Latin America is a hugely important market and one to which we are committed as part of our international growth strategy. It is undoubtedly a region where our clients want us to be. These associations now give us a presence in no fewer than ten Latin American jurisdictions, either through our own or associate offices.’

Meanwhile, DAC has seen a weaker financial performance for the six months ending 31 October. The firm’s revenue for the period stood at £102m, up 1% on the same period in 2015/16.

The firm saw a steady financial performance for 2015/16, reporting a turnover increase of 2% to £201.6m while profit was up 9% to £35m.

Pollitt (pictured) said: ‘I am pleased with this good result at the half-year stage, which bears testament to the continuing hard work of all our people. We have managed to trade through some difficult market conditions in the first six months of this financial year, hitting the tough targets we set ourselves at the beginning of the year.’

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

H1 2016/17: Watson Farley achieves 14% growth as DAC endures a slower first half

H1 2016/17: Watson Farley achieves 14% growth as DAC endures a slower first half

Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has reported strong first half results for the 2016/17 financial year as DAC Beachcroft saw its turnover grow just over 1%.

WFW recorded a strong first half to the year with its revenue growing 14% for the first six months of the financial year. H1 turnover grew from £59.5m to £67.6m. The LB100 firm’s full financial results for 2015/16 saw turnover increase 5%, hitting £131.6m.

The firm’s co-managing partner Chris Lowe (pictured) said: ‘This is a very encouraging financial result for the firm, building on the solid 5% revenue increase achieved in the 2015/16 financial year. The past six months have seen significant market volatility due to events such as the Brexit vote, but this is something WFW is well placed to manage.’

Last year, the firm invested heavily in lateral hiring by adding 17 new partners to its offices, while last month WFW also strengthened its Dubai office, adding aviation finance partner Oliver Tebbit from Clyde & Co.

Meanwhile, DAC has seen a weaker financial performance for the six months ending 31 October. The firm’s revenue for the period stood at £102m, up 1% on the same period in 2015/16.

The firm saw a steady financial performance for 2015/16, reporting a turnover increase of 2% to £201.6m while profit was up 9% to £35m.

DAC managing partner David Pollitt said: ‘I am pleased with this good result at the half-year stage, which bears testament to the continuing hard work of all our people. We have managed to trade through some difficult market conditions in the first six months of this financial year, hitting the tough targets we set ourselves at the beginning of the year.’

matthew.field@legalease.co.uk

 

Legal Business

DAC Beachcroft takes on Clyde & Co team including four partners

DAC Beachcroft takes on Clyde & Co team including four partners

DAC Beachcroft will pick up a team from its insurance competitor Clyde & Co with four partners making the move to the firm.

Casualty partners David Knapp (pictured), Danielle Singer, John Goodman and Nigel Adams will join DAC with up to 30 fee earners.

DAC will gain ‘strong and consistent performers’ in Knapp and Singer, according to the Legal 500, with Knapp and Adams bringing their strong ties to insurance group Zurich.

Knapp specialises in the defence of complex personal injury claims brought against private and public sector organisations while Goodman advises on general insurance work.

Singer will bring her experience advising on the defence of catastrophic and complex injury claims. Adams, who joined Clyde & Co from Weightmans in 2010, specialises in the resolution of catastrophic and complex injury claims.

A spokesperson at DAC said the firm and its claims solutions group would ‘continue to seek investments that help them sustain and build on the service they provide to their clients’.

In May it emerged DAC had signed a three year ‘best friends’ agreement with Belfast’s McKinty and Wright in a bid to expand its network. From June DAC began referring shared clients and combined marketing efforts with the Northern Ireland firm, a top-ranked specialist insurance defendant practice with seven partners and 19 lawyers in total.

DAC also became one of a few firms to take advantage of the liberalisation of the Malaysian market as it applied to the country’s Bar council for a joint venture licence with Kuala Lumpur-based association firm Gan Partnership, in April.

Meanwhile Clyde & Co has continued with its international expansion this year opening offices in Dusseldorf and Miami, where DAC also opened an office late last year.

madeleine.farman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Clydes, DAC and Kennedys named as AXA finalises UK claims roster

Clydes, DAC and Kennedys named as AXA finalises UK claims roster

The UK legal arm of French Insurer AXA has finalised its UK claims roster, with Clyde & Co, DAC Beachcroft, Horwich Farrelly, Kennedys, Keoghs and Taylor Rose all winning spots on the panel.

Commenting on the review, which was held in-house, a spokesperson for AXA said: ‘We are delighted to have completed the review of our claims legal panel and look forward to working with our new roster in the future. Claims are at the very heart of our business and having the right legal representation in this area is fundamental to our continued success.’ The panel will remain in place for two to three years.

Last year it emerged that AXA was set to look at its relationships with Magic Circle and international firms and how they can work more effectively for the company. It followed a review of the UK specific ‘business-as-usual’ panel, which was cut from seven to two firms and compromises Pinsent Masons and DAC Beachcroft.

Headed up by longstanding group general counsel (GC) Edward Davis (pictured), the objective was to explore new efficiencies with the premium fee firms it currently works with – including Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Hogan Lovells and Norton Rose Fulbright was sparked after the 35-lawyer AXA UK legal team carried out a substantive review during 2014.

Led by Davis and department heads, chief counsel AXA healthcare Sam Patel, chief counsel AXA insurance Mark Gardner, and general counsel wealth Emily Coupland, the team achieved a 10% reduction in external legal spend and, internally, a 20% reduction in the number of full time equivalent staff.

An ongoing feat, AXA UK’s legal function has reduced its external legal spend by 35% annually since 2011 with total legal spend currently less than £10m and around 70% of that spent in-house.

Recent panel reviews include Lloyds Banking Group, which finalised its UK legal roster in a review which saw DLA Piper and Norton Rose Fulbright losing their spots as the bank’s core panel shrunk from ten to eight firms.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk