Legal Business

Mishcon de Reya to launch independent private client business with offshore fiduciary firm

Mishcon de Reya to launch independent private client business with offshore fiduciary firm

Mishcon de Reya has today (11 June) announced it is set to launch an independent, private client advisory business entitled ‘Mayfair Private’ with offshore fiduciary firm Opus Private to provide ‘discreet professional solutions’ to wealthy individuals, families and private offices.

The joint venture will create a single point of access for co-ordinating legal, fiduciary and family office services. Heading the initiative at Mishcon will be executive partner James Libson, real estate partner Ian Paul and immigration partner Kamal Rahman.

With the service set to become available across Mayfair Private’s London, Guernsey and Dubai offices, advice on offer will include family governance; family office advisory; wealth protection; philanthropic structuring; sourcing and protecting lifestyle assets; and bespoke concierge services. It will not offer investment, asset, treasury or portfolio management services.

Opus Private, which has worked with Mishcon for many years, comes from a tradition of being professional service providers as well as fiduciaries. Dubai-based group director Andrew Young was formerly head of private client at Lawrence Graham and before that headed DLA Piper’s private client team between 1991 and 1997.

Mishcon’s managing partner Kevin Gold (pictured) said: ‘Years of experience advising clients on their business and personal matters has helped us understand that families really are the most complex organisations in the world.

‘We have a reputation of fiercely guarding our clients’ interests through the specialist legal advice we provide but we have become increasingly aware of a gap in the wider service offering for them.

‘It became clear that there was a pressing need for the family and private office-related services – that traditionally fall outside of the remit of a law firm – to be professionalised. Consolidating the specialist private experience of Mishcon de Reya and Opus Private to create Mayfair Private enables us to fulfill this need. Clients of Mayfair Private will also enjoy access to an exclusive network of best in class professionals who will help them to achieve their goals.’

Sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Revolving Doors: Key hires for Mishcon, Penningtons Manches, DWF and TLT as NRF loses head of planning

Revolving Doors: Key hires for Mishcon, Penningtons Manches, DWF and TLT as NRF loses head of planning

With the blurring between criminal and civil law becoming ever more prominent, Mishcon de Reya announced last week that Alison Levitt QC, the principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of England and Wales, is to join the firm as a dispute resolution partner, as other firms to announce key hires over the past few days include TLT, DWF and BrookStreet des Roches.

Levitt, who oversaw Crown Prosecution Service’s decision-making and potential prosecutions in relation to the News of the World phone-hacking investigations, will join the LB100 top 40 firm in April, where she will concentrate on bribery and corruption, significant regulatory matters, private prosecutions and will offer high-level advocacy where necessary.

Head of dispute resolution, Kas Nouroozi said: ‘There are very few individuals in the English market who have worked at the highest level in public office and also have the experience of having operated in private practice. Alison’s depth and breadth of understanding of the working of the English criminal and regulatory system will prove invaluable to our clients. It is something that has worked to great effect in the United States and I believe will become more prevalent here in due course.’

Moving out of the City is Norton Rose Fulbright’s head of planning, Nigel Hewitson, who will leave the firm at the start of April for Oxfordshire-based commercial real estate boutique BrookStreet des Roches, which counts National Grid, MEPC, Lafarge Tarmac and Vodafone among its clients. Hewitson will establish and head up a new planning service at BrookStreet, which has long focused on the commercial real estate sector but, prior to Hewitson’s arrival, did not have a significant planning capability.

Before joining Norton Rose, Hewitson was head of planning at Howard Kennedy and served for several years as legal director at English Heritage. Recent notable cases of his include advising a consortium of Malaysian businesses on the acquisition and development of Battersea Power Station; advising on the planning aspects of Crest Nicholson’s 2013 Initial Public Offering on the Stock Exchange; and advising DP World on its development of the six berth London Gateway Port and its associated two square mile logistics park.

Managing partner at 20-partner BrookStreet des Roches, Hugh Blaza said: ‘Our clients have been telling us that they would like us to provide planning as well as our established services. We knew that, if we were to successfully establish such a planning service, we needed a highly-regarded individual with extensive experience across relevant sectors. Nigel ticks all the boxes. We are delighted he has decided to join us and we are very much looking forward to working with him.’

Hewitson said: ‘There is a very good business fit, which will enable me to compete effectively by bringing City quality at regional prices to a very price-sensitive market place. Equally importantly, there is a great personal fit. I share the view the firm holds that success is about more than doing good work: it’s also about enjoying working with your clients.’

Meanwhile, former Olswang restructuring and insolvency partner Séamas Gray has joined Penningtons Manches to develop the team following the firm’s merger of Penningtons and Manches last October.

Previously joint head of Pinsent Mason’s London restructuring practice, Gray has particular expertise in the healthcare, real estate, retail, leisure and pensions sectors, having set up the first dedicated pension restructuring team in the City in 2010.

Significant recent mandates include the restructurings of the Akari Group, a group of 39 care homes separating from the wider Bondcare Group; Ashpol Group, a property portfolio group with £130 million professional securities exchange listed debt; and Milton Keynes NHS Hospital Foundation Trust, a £285 million turnover, 3,000 employee hospital.

Franco Bosi, head of Penningtons Manches’ business services division, said: ‘His experience in complex restructurings as well as his considerable insolvency experience will fit perfectly and assist in the continued development of our established multi-disciplinary restructuring and insolvency team.’

Elsewhere, DWF has strengthened its financial services practice with banking partners Iain Shurwood and John Fox and real estate finance partner Simon Elphick, who join from Lawrence Graham.

Shurwood, who joined in February to head up DWF’s corporate banking team in London has experience in acquisition finance, corporate lending, restructuring and workouts, acting for major high street banks, borrowers and investors, while Elphick who also joined in February acts predominantly for lenders on financing and restructuring.

Fox, who is expected to join in April, has over 27 years’ experience acting for major banks and borrowers with a real estate focus.

Also in the City, TLT makes its fourth employment partner hire in six months with former head of employment at media and commercial law firm Michael Simkins, Mark McQuillan, whose practice focuses on retail & consumer goods and financial services, having

McQuillan, who was previously a partner at Addleshaw Goddard, advises listed companies, Fortune 500 companies and smaller owner-managed businesses on the full range of employment issues, with particular expertise in sensitive and high-value litigation, restructurings, outsourcings and employment change programmes.

Stuart McBride, partner and head of TLT’s employment, pensions & incentives group said: ‘Mark is a great fit for TLT. His arrival means we have true national coverage of employment expertise and a solid base in London. We’re very clear on our strategy to build on our market leading position in the south west, across the UK. Mark’s arrival is a significant step forward to achieving that.’

Francesca.fanshawe@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Strategic growth for Mishcon, Hill Dickinson, Herbert Smith Freehills, Orrick Rambaud and Addleshaw Goddard

Mishcon de Reya this week (25 November) announced that it is to completely restructure its tax offering, consolidating its real estate, corporate tax, and private tax and wealth planning divisions and invest in the area with the hire King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin tax partner John Skoulding and solicitor Charlie Sosna from Berkeley Law.

Focusing on UK and international M&A, management buy-outs and corporate restructurings, among other issues, Skoulding has worked across sectors including betting and gaming, fashion, retail, intellectual property and financial services.

The launch of Mishcon’s new tax practice is said by the top 40 firm to recognise the changing needs of its clients, as their personal and business concerns increasingly overlap, and Andrew Goldstone, head of private tax and wealth planning commented: ‘John and Charlie are great additions to the team – they are joining at a busy and exciting time, not just for our tax practice, but also the firm more broadly.

‘We’ve expanded from 300 employees in 2009, to over 500 in 2012, and have seen a 75% revenue rise within this period. This was achieved by investing in people and securing the best talent, and these new hires demonstrate our on-going commitment to this strategy.’

Also in London, Blake Lapthorn banking and finance partner Claire Wheatley, who launched the top 65 LB100 firm’s City banking practice with her arrival from Clyde & Co in 2009, has joined Hill Dickinson.

Wheatley, who has also held roles at Howard Kennedy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Clifford Chance since 1988, said: ‘Hill Dickinson has an excellent reputation in the City, particularly within the banking and finance sector and I look forward to drawing on my connections with international banks, property companies and private sector organisations to further develop the team’s well established relationships in the City.’

On the Continent meanwhile, Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) Paris office last Thursday (21 November) announced the growth of its Paris-based Africa, energy and infrastructure teams, with the arrival of Gide Loyrette Nouel oil, gas and mining corporate partner Leïla Hubeaut and JeantetAssocies mining and infrastructure associate Hiba Abi Haidar.

Hubeaut, who before Gide was part of the corporate team at Ernst & Young, combines her oil and gas practice with privatisations and business structuring/restructuring for African nations. Her experience, the firm said in a statement, extends to all regulatory aspects of projects, especially in obtaining permits and other government approvals.

Stéphane Brabant, head of the five-partner, thirty-lawyer Paris energy and infrastructure practice and the global Africa practice at HSF, commented: ‘Leïla and Hiba combine the strong advantages of thorough technical expertise and a solid understanding of the African environment, which will help us provide even better service to our clients investing in the continent.’

Also in the vibrant Paris market, where Speechly Bircham this week launched with the hire of an 11-lawyer team, former SJ Berwin partner Etienne Boursican joined Orrick Rambaud Martel’s regional private equity practice.

Boursican focuses on M&A and capital markets, particularly advising and acting for listed companies in cross-border transactions involving tender offers, sale and purchase of equity stakes, public offerings, private placements and IPOs.

Pascal Agboyibor, Orrick’s Paris office head said: ‘The European M&A market continues to be a favoured destination for international investors with Paris acting as a vital centre for M&A activity throughout the continent.’

Orrick recently advised Paris-based Neolane on its $600 million acquisition by Adobe Systems and represented U-Shin on its $270 million acquisition of Paris-based Valeo S.A.’s access mechanisms business.

Elsewhere, Addleshaw Goddard has strengthened its Arab Gulf Coordination Council (GCC) offering with the hire of K&L Gates head of private equity for the GCC, Andrew Johnston, who joins a month after the hire of Clyde & Co corporate partner Ben Gillespie in Dubai.

Johnston and Gillespie, who will work alongside corporate partners Keith Johnston and Tim Field, join as the 660-lawyer firm invests in new service lines beyond its core offering of international arbitration and construction litigation in the Dubai office, which opened in September 2012 following the hire of Trowers & Hamlins regional head of construction, Andrew Greaves.

International division managing partner Andrew Carpenter said: ‘Andrew and Ben’s hires are the latest in a series of exciting investments we have made to broaden our international capability and to accelerate the growth of our GCC team.

‘Both partners have significant experience of acting in Dubai and the wider region and have practices that can be leveraged across our three GCC offices and the UK, as well as complimenting the investment we have already made in the UAE. Their hires are an exciting milestone and are indicative of our progress and ambitions.’

francesca.fanshawe@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Coming of age: Mishcon’s inaugural management elections see Gold voted in

Coming of age: Mishcon’s inaugural management elections see Gold voted in

If formal management elections are a sign of a firm coming of age then Mishcon de Reya, the second fastest growing firm in terms or organic revenue over the past five years, is all grown up, with Kevin Gold and two department heads formally elected for a further term.

The 254-lawyer firm has given its vote of confidence to incumbent head of corporate Nick Davis and disputes leader Kas Nouroozi, although, given that neither Gold nor the department heads faced any challengers, the inaugural election appointments have more of the symbolic than the victorious about them.

The new election process means that Mishcon’s partners will vote for two of the department heads every two years on a rolling basis, while the managing partner position will be voted on every three years. Other heads of department include family practice leader Sandra Davis, James Libson, who runs private client and is also the executive partner, employment chief Joanna Blackburn and head of real estate Nick Doffman.

Davis told Legal Business: ‘We’ve grown quite a lot – it’s about growing up as a firm and making sure we have the proper succession plans in place. It’s about building a proper platform – the firm has changed a lot in nine years. It’s about growing up and having the right structure in place. It’s an incredibly happy place. That’s the best thing about the firm. We feel we’re winning market share, even in difficult times, we’ve grown.’

Gold (pictured), who reluctantly took over the MP role in 1998 alongside Philip Freedman QC, becoming sole managing partner in 2002, was a safe bet. Last year, when Legal Business profiled the highly profitable top 50 firm, Gold was described variously by partners as ‘visionary’, ‘extraordinary’ and ‘a fantastic leader’, with one ex-partner (a breed more given to indiscretion than praise) waxing: ‘I can’t imagine Mishcons without Kevin as managing partner.’

Since then, the firm has had another impressive financial year, its 2012/13 revenues up by 21% to £88.4m while the profit per equity partner rose by 20% to £840,000.

By profitability, the firm now sits just outside the top 10 firms in the LB100.

The firm also has had a few new and interesting developments up its sleeve, including the launch of a venture for high-net-worth individuals headed by Libson. The service looks after the interests – legal and non-legal – of private families and individuals including trusts, tax planning, reputation management, family issues, and business matters.

Back in May, Gold pitched the new service to Legal Business as providing ‘an all-encompassing solution’ to high-net clients, adding, ‘It’s bringing together the unified message that speaks to our client base… [We’re] ready to be distinguished from acting as advisers for FTSE100 companies, which is not our space.’

However, with success comes a pressure to sustain the firm’s performance in an enduringly turbulent market. Pressed last year on when he might step down, Gold gave the emphatic answer: ‘Not for a while’. Now we know, not for three years, at least.

david.stevenson@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Good girl gets mad: Rihanna wins t-shirt tiff against Topshop

Good girl gets mad: Rihanna wins t-shirt tiff against Topshop

In a case where the profile of the parties far outshone the legal substance and had many media outlets overexcited, global popstar Rihanna yesterday ( 31 July) won a High Court battle against high street retailer Topshop over the unauthorised use of her ‘brand’. The £5m case has resulted in untold lovely column inches and hopefully hefty fees for the two firms involved, Reed Smith and Mishcon de Reya.

Suing parent company Arcadia Group, the Barbadian songstress, whose real name is Robin Fenty, filed the claim after Topshop sold t-shirts with her face printed on without permission.

She was represented by 8 New Square’s Martin Howe QC and Hogarth Chambers Andrew Norris, who were instructed by Michael Skrein at Reed Smith, while One Essex Court’s Geoffrey Hobbs QC and 11 South Square’s Hugo Cuddigan acted on behalf of the retail giant under the instruction of Jeremy Hertzog at Mishcon de Reya.

The issue at trial, which took place over a four day period between the 17 and 23 July, was whether Topshop had committed the tort of passing off by using Rihanna’s photograph on its t-shirts. There has been little precedent for the rights of celebrities to protect their image in the UK, with the most established case involving former Ferrari F1 driver Eddie Irvine who successfully sued TalkSport in 2002 for using his image to endorse the radio station.

Mr Justice Birss, who opened his 16-page judgment with the thumpingly literal line: ‘Topshop is a well-known fashion retailer. Rihanna is a famous pop star’, ruled that a substantial number of purchasers would likely be deceived into buying the t-shirt because of a ‘false belief’ that Rihanna had authorised it, which would ultimately be ‘damaging to the claimants’ goodwill’.

‘For one thing it amounts to sales lost to her merchandising business. It also represents a loss of control over her reputation in the fashion sphere. The fact the garment is a high quality product does not negate that aspect of damage. It is a matter for the claimants and not Topshop to choose what garments the public think are endorsed by her.’ So far, so obvious.

He added: ‘The mere sale by a trader of a t-shirt bearing an image of a famous person is not, without more, an act of passing off. However the sale of this person on this garment by this shop in these circumstances is a different matter. I find that Topshop’s sale of this Rihanna t-shirt without her approval was an act of passing off. I find for the claimants.’

Certainly the case has done much to enhance the profile of the two solicitors, Mishcons’ Hertzog and Skrein at Reed Smith. Hertzog was quoted in City AM this morning saying: ‘There is “no such thing as a free standing general right by a famous person (or anyone else) to control the reproduction of their image”. Put simply, there is nothing unlawful in selling garments bearing the images of well-known celebrities without the approval of the celebrity in question.’ Meanwhile, Skrein and Reed Smith have stayed quiet, with a single line: ‘The judgment speaks for itself,’ the only comment attributed to Skrein so far.

Jason Rawkins, head of the fashion group at Taylor Wessing, says the odds were always ‘stacked up against Topshop’.

‘There haven’t been many image rights cases in England because most just settle,’ he says. ‘It’s quite interesting when you compare what was going on in the 70s to now, and how the world has moved on. The judgment is partly a reflection of how the real world has changed and ultimately how the public have changed in their thinking. It is now the norm for celebrities or musicians to make money outside of the day job.

‘It’s quite specific. They had done collaborations with Kate Moss, Kate Bosworth and even Rihanna herself. And Rihanna had also done collaborations with H&M and Armani. So there’s a connection in people’s minds between Rihanna and fashion, and between Topshop and celebrities. The photograph they used was also similar to how she appeared on one of her albums. That’s another reason people would think it was authorised.’

‘The interesting question is whether it will now be easier for celebrities to get home on passing off. I suspect it’s now going to be significantly easier for celebrities in the modern world to win on these sorts of cases because of the way they operate these days.’

‘I think the decision broadens the circumstances in which passing off can be claimed and is likely to lead to more claims against the use of celebrity images on products,’ adds Peter Brownlow, IP partner at Bird & Bird. ‘In the previous UK leading image rights case, Irvine v Talksport, the Judge drew a distinction between “celebrity endorsement” – where the use of the image was to endorse a product and “character merchandising” where there was mere use of the image on a product such as clothing or a mug. The former amounted to passing off but the latter didn’t. This case appears to blur that distinction.’

Perhaps pop stars such as Rihanna should brush up on their knowledge of offshore legal jurisdictions, as Guernsey has been pioneering legislation and a register for image rights that can be enforced effectively.

Topshop will be seeking leave to appeal, according to Mishcons’ website. But for now, it seems that as far as the English legal system is concerned, the singer has found love in a hopeless place (sorry).

Sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

For a link to the judgment click here. Visit the IP blog IPKat for its good value and irreverent take the case.

Legal Business

Gold’s blend: Mishcons managing partner reflects on another year of trend-busting growth

Gold’s blend: Mishcons managing partner reflects on another year of trend-busting growth

It’s become a familiar fixture in the annual reporting season to see Mishcon de Reya announce annual growth rates that are the envy of its peers and the London law firm hasn’t disappointed.

This week, Mishcons confirmed a turnover increase of 14% to £83.5m for 2012/13 – an increase of £10m on last year’s £73.1m. Profits per equity partner at the 300-lawyer firm are expected to top £700,000, making it one of the most profitable firms outside the City top 10. Mishcons has now grown revenues by nearly 200% since 2006/07, a performance vastly ahead of the LB100 average.

Legal Business caught up with managing partner Kevin Gold to find out what the firm is putting in the Kool-Aid.

Gold says that its growth has come in large part from an ambitious three-year strategy that has seen the firm invest heavily through the down-turn. As part of this Mishcon aimed to build a distinct brand as an adviser bridging high-end private client work with an entrepreneur-heavy corporate client base.

This link is neatly made through the firm’s heavily-promoted motto, ‘It’s business. But it’s personal’.

On its corporate ambitions, Gold says: ‘Our corporate business has grown in its own right. We invested heavily in private capital and private equity, while the real estate practice is also important.’

But despite Mishcons’ rising transactional aspirations, there is no doubt that the firm still sees disputes as core to its growth and has no intention of aping the full-service model of many City rivals. ‘We are generally conflict-free against banks and financial institutions,’ he says.

He adds: ‘We have ambitions to be known as one of the leading litigation firms in London. We have an army of just under 200 litigators in the firm, and across our practice areas, to solidify and communicate our offering.’

Gold is likewise adamant that the firm’s against-trend decision to stick with private client has helped drive its recent success. He also stresses the natural link between the private client and contentious sides of the firm. ‘We continue to grow the reputation in a private space and dealing with big disputes which might involve underlying multinational companies but are really private disputes at the top end.’

The firm will shortly launch a new venture for high-net-worth individuals called Mishcon Private. Executive partner and head of Mishcon Private James Libson has been leading the project. The service will look after the interests – legal and non-legal – of private families and individuals including trusts, tax planning, reputation management, family issues, and business matters.

It will create a service that Gold says will provide ‘an all-encompassing solution’ to high-net clients. Gold pitches the approach: ‘It’s bringing together the unified message that speaks to our client base… [We’re] ready to be distinguished from acting as advisers for FTSE100 companies, which is not our space.’

Despite Mishcons’ bold decision to launch a litigation practice in the US in 2010, Gold says the next three years will see it avoid any further international launches. However, the firm is planning to unify its expanding London business from three current sites into one building in the near future.

The firm has a (now rather conservative-looking) revenue target of £100m by 2016, and a spate of recent lateral hires – including real estate partner Raji Bartlett from SJ Berwin and Dundas & Wilson private equity duo Simon Sale and Nadim Meer – suggest the expansive form will continue.

If it ain’t broke…..

 

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Mishcon hires SJ Berwin finance partner

Mishcon hires SJ Berwin finance partner

Mishcon de Reya has enhanced its real estate finance offering with the addition of former SJ Berwin partner Raji Bartlett.

Bartlett joined Mishcon as a consultant this week, having previously been a partner in the finance department at SJ Berwin for the last 16 years.

An advisor of financial institutions as well as corporates and sponsors/funds, Bartlett has particular expertise in advising borrowers and lenders in syndicated real estate investment and development finance as well as acquisition/leveraged finance transactions.

Bartlett said he joined Mishcon to ‘work with the existing real estate practice with work the firm is currently handling, and also helping to develop the practice.’

‘I already have connections with some of its real estate clients,’ he added, confirming that he will bring clients with him.

‘Mishcon for the last three years has grown significantly,’ says Bartlett. ‘The firm has had a very healthy increase in turnover and profit in the last year, so the hope is that this continues.

‘The real estate market is still struggling in terms of funding side, with non-bank lenders coming into market, but the existing Mishcon finance practice will be more active on that side, which is positive.’

Mishcon has been one of the strongest performers financially in recent years. In 2011/2012, the firm grew revenues by 12% to £73.1m. Profit per equity partner also increased by 22% to £700,000, according to the Legal Business 100.

Nick Strutt, head of real estate finance at the firm, said: ‘An intelligent and experienced approach to finance is essential to successful investment and development in both the residential and commercial real estate sectors.’

SJ Berwin also lost corporate partner Nicholas Plantst to Dentons this week.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Dundas & Wilson woes continue as it loses private equity duo to Mishcons

Dundas & Wilson woes continue as it loses private equity duo to Mishcons

Dundas & Wilson has lost private equity partners Simon Sale and Nadim Meer to Mishcon de Reya, the latest in a series of partner exits from the Scottish firm.

Sale and Meer will move to 300-lawyer Mishcon, along with senior associate Allison Keyse, once the terms of their exits have been agreed. They will join current Mishcon private equity partners Kevin McCarthy and Andrew Rimmington and the intention is that they will bring clients with them. Before joining Dundas, both worked at Hammonds (now Squire Sanders).

The expansion of Mishcon’s private equity offering is of little surprise, given the firm’s recent success providing commercial legal services to private capital and wealthy entrepreneurial clients. Head of corporate, Nick Davis, said the private equity team ‘has always acted for high-net-worth family offices, based on the private equity model, and investment holdings with a 3-5 year exit.’

However, the latest departures are another blow for Dundas, which has suffered multiple departures in the last year. Most notable was the resignation of long-serving corporate partner Michael Polson in November, as well as former Stephenson Hardwood CEO John Pike, who left Dundas after less then a year to join Osborne Clarke in February.

Other recent exits include technology and media expert Paul Graham who left for Field Fisher Waterhouse, while restructuring head Claire Massie moved to Pinsent Masons. Real estate specialists Shane Toal and Martin Thomas also went to Osborne Clarke and Wragge & Co respectively.

In statement Dundas said it was continuing to focus its London office on ‘key areas of strength’. This includes work flowing from the cross-border UK real estate team recently hired from Semple Fraser and a reappointment earlier this year by Land Securities to its panel.

Co-managing partner Allan Wernham said the firm had been ‘very clear’ in the last six months about its strategy, and ‘for London that means a focus on playing to our strengths by investing in the areas we are best known for’.

‘Taking this approach will enable our corporate practice to play a key role in delivering our strategic ambitions for high-growth sectors across the London marketplace,’ he added.

However Douglas Connell, senior partner of Turcan Connell -which spun out from Dundas in the late nineties – suggested that the exits were a planned response to recent poor financial performance.

Dundas was the worst-performing firm in the LB100 last year, posting a 12% fall in revenues to £54.5m, while profit per lawyer was down 36% to £49,000.

‘It was a conscious and deliberate decision that the number of equity partners should also reduce,’ said Connell. ‘In that kind of process, I think one should admire the leadership. I think that they are actually making tough decisions.’

He added that it is inevitable that downsizing leads to the defection of partners.

‘There are some unexpected consequences and fallout. Firms that are actually taking this kind of deliberate restructuring will be the ones who’ll survive. It’s the ones who haven’t done so that will suffer. It’s a painful period for Dundas, being one of the greatest Scottish firms, but it’s necessary.’

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Growth in LB100 regional peer groups half that of London

The capital has extended its position as the most buoyant legal market in the UK, with midsize London law firms continuing to outpace their regional rivals, notching up an average 10% increase in organic revenue this year compared to just a 5.5% revenue rise for non-London firms.

The South, North and Scottish regions are among the worst performing markets for LB100 firms this year, with firms in those regions increasing revenue on average by just 1%, 5% and 5% respectively.

Legal Business

DLA Piper plans ‘relationship building’ technology push in London

DLA Piper has revealed plans to open a second London office this year, concentrating on the burgeoning technology startup community.

Simon Levine, the firm’s IP and technology global co-chair, said plans were to open ‘before the summer’, with the office likely to be located in the Tech City area of East London, near the Old Street roundabout.