Why keeping it low key can be shrewd

On the face of it, news that Bristol-based TLT is to open simultaneously in Scotland, by acquiring niche firm Anderson Fyfe, and also in Belfast, by hiring a small team of local lawyers, is hardly earth-shattering.

But while the news may be dominated by major international firms’ expansion plans in Asia, or even significant full-scale tie-ups such as McGrigors and Pinsent Masons, you could argue that, relatively speaking, low-key moves such as TLT’s make better strategic sense for all concerned.

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Jones Day keen to boost London headcount after departures

Jones Day, one of the largest law firms in the Global 100 by headcount, is most commonly recognised for its US strengths, but John Phillips, partner-in-charge of the London office, says the firm is keen to expand its UK offering: ‘We have to develop in London and turn it into a main office. The plan is to recruit more people, more lateral hires.’

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Shearman’s rainmaker leaves for Skadden

Shearman & Sterling’s loss is Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s gain after Stephan Hutter, Germany’s pre-eminent capital markets specialist, swapped one US firm for another in February.

Hutter joined Skadden’s Frankfurt office along with fellow partner Katja Kaulamo, gifting the firm the German capital markets capability it has sought for so long.

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Cleary hires former Stephenson Harwood chief executive

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has hired former Stephenson Harwood chief executive and litigation heavyweight Sunil Gadhia in its London office, marking a growing trend of US firms bulking up City disputes practices.

Gadhia is set to join Cleary’s London outpost this year after 15 years as a partner at Stephenson Harwood, of which he spent six as chief executive.

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Tip Top

Intellectual property is the trophy practice for many firms in 2011. LB examines the current popularity of IP at law firms and the story behind a spate of lateral hires in the past year

Whisper it, but for the global legal community the demise of Howrey brought two pieces of good news. First, its collapse meant a credible competitor had fallen away in the areas of intellectual property (IP), litigation and antitrust. The other bonus was that a number of excellent IP specialists were suddenly on the market. While Howrey’s decline has been well documented, the speed with which other firms scooped up many of the survivors is worth noting.

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Talent scouts

With the City’s law firms bogged down by plummeting profits and disaffected partners, the Americans have seized the chance to hire some serious big cheeses. Here, LB names our top ten laterals of the year

If you thought one of the most turbulent 12-month periods that the legal market has ever seen would result in partners hunkering down and getting on with whatever work they could find, then think again. Since our last Global London survey a year ago, no fewer than 64 partners have opted to up sticks and join US firms on this side of the Atlantic, and not all of them were moving because they were pushed.

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