Mike’s Mechanics

White & Case sent Mike Goetz to London in 2000 to take its City finance practice to a new level. Thirteen years – and two law firms – later, he’s still one of the biggest names on the London scene. LB meets a banking legend.

Ropes & Gray’s London office has just turned three years old and more than a few cynics didn’t expect it to last that long. Former White & Case finance partners Maurice Allen and Mike Goetz had just spent a disastrous 18 months at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer before announcing that they would be fronting the Boston-based private equity firm’s London offering in 2009. The aftershock of the collapse of Lehman Brothers was in full effect and Allen and Goetz had failed in their quest to build a strong transactional banking practice at Freshfields to rival Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy.

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On the Mend

When the credit crisis hit, leveraged finance lawyers were among the first to fall. They are still in the doldrums, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. After some serious market reshaping, LB asks which firms will reap the rewards when the market finally returns.

To say that leveraged finance lawyers have had it tough in the last few years is the ultimate understatement. Some feel like they’ve been to hell and back.

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Hedge funds: Get debt go

In the global financial crisis, the hedge fund industry lost about a fifth of its value. Now distressed debt in Europe is seen as the route to renewed wealth, and two law firms look set to dominate, again.

When the dotcom bubble burst at the start of the Noughties and the fantastic bull market of the previous decade shuddered to a halt, two little-known American firms in London cleaned up, big style. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and Bingham McCutchen made hay a decade ago acting for bondholders on a wave of contentious restructurings that pitted American hedge funds against European senior debt holders. Ten years on, and some serious personnel changes later, they’re doing the same again.

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Rule changes put transfer pricing practices centre stage

The increased global focus of governments on tax avoidance means a handful of international law firms have been pushing their transfer pricing practices to the fore recently.

In July Macfarlanes announced the appointment of Martin Zetter to the new role of head of transfer pricing and senior economist in its tax and structuring group. Zetter joined the firm from Ernst & Young, where he was a director in its financial services transfer pricing group.

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Wealth management – Filling big shoes

The global diversification of wealth continues to drive the efforts of law firms’ private client teams as the world’s population of affluent individuals continues to climb. LB tracks the latest developments.

The international private client teams at major law firms are thriving. The practice area, for decades regarded as the black sheep of the family, has now been warmly accepted into the fold. In some cases private client has become more than a much-loved practice area.

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Creditors draw battle lines over Dewey & LeBoeuf assets

An intense and long-running battle is set to begin over the assets of Dewey & LeBoeuf which, as many observers had long predicted, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan on 28 May.

The filing sets the stage for a struggle between creditors that experts predict could run for years in a process that one observer likened to ‘bear-baiting’.

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Scams driving another bumper year for insurance firms

Leading insurance firms that reported unprecedented revenue and headcount growth in their counter-fraud teams in 2011 expect this trend to continue in 2012.

Many firms have some capability in insurance fraud, however the biggest reported growth in the sector is undoubtedly within motor fraud. This is a practice area dominated by regional and national firms such as Keoghs, Hill Dickinson, DWF, Berrymans Lace Mawer, Weightmans and DAC Beachcroft. All saw sizeable increases within their teams in 2011.

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FSA’s Cole holds all the cards in choosing her next move

After two years of speculation in the financial services sector, it has finally happened. Margaret Cole, Financial Services Authority (FSA) managing director and all-round tough lady, is leaving the regulator after seven years.

Dubbed in 2011 by a finance partner as the ‘most hated woman in the City’, Cole’s legacy at the UK watchdog will forever be entrenched in her recent uncompromising stance against the country’s banking industry. The past five years have seen the FSA hand out a number of jaw-dropping fines and crack a series of insider trading rings.

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Switzerland – Fighting fit


Switzerland’s dispute resolution market is in rude health. LB talks to the key players about recent headline cases and what the implementation of new arbitration rules in 2012 will mean

The volume of Swiss M&A and capital markets may have flattened out in Switzerland but the global downturn has produced a raft of investor claims against banks and investor management disputes. ‘In tough economic times, people are much more prepared to take their case to court and less willing to settle,’ says Patrick Sommer, partner at CMS von Erlach Henrici (CMS). Consequently, Switzerland has become a major battlefield for asset recovery and enforcement of foreign judgments. Continue reading “Switzerland – Fighting fit”