Deal watch: Corporate activity in February 2015

Deal watch: Corporate activity in February 2015

FRESHFIELDS, CC AND NRF CALLED IN ON BT’S £12.5BN PURCHASE OF EE

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised telecoms giant BT as it opted to acquire Britain’s largest mobile network group EE, over rival O2, for £12.5bn. The joint owners of EE, Deutsche Telekom and Orange, were advised by Clifford Chance and Norton Rose Fulbright respectively.

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The national market – brutally competitive but opportunity abounds

The national market – brutally competitive but opportunity abounds

At one point in our Regional Insight report – a major collaboration with our colleagues at The Legal 500 included with this issue of Legal Business – one GC based in the North West discusses a recent pitch in which a City law firm came out best on price against regional rivals. Surprising as it may seem, it is reflective of a dynamic that has seen London advisers focus on handling work from UK regions after realising that simply aspiring to be a City leader is a road to nowhere for many firms.

This shift in focus comes with the acknowledgement that post-Lehman, demand for external law firm services in the UK has become more polarised. The need for high-end transactional and disputes advice still exists but is increasingly now the preserve of the elite firms in those fields in London. At the opposite end, in-house teams are retaining more work and will only outsource work to law firms if it is cost effective.

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Insight report on cyber security – Anatomy of a breach

Insight report on cyber security – Anatomy of a breach

With breaches impossible to stop, companies are focusing on managing the huge risks of a major cyber incident. We teamed up with PwC to gauge the client response.

In cyber security circles, it has already become a hoary cliché to claim that there are two types of companies: those that have been breached and those that have yet to discover they have been breached. This rang particularly true this year when JPMorgan revealed that 76 million households and eight million small businesses were exposed to its data breach over the summer.

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Partner exits mount: Edwards Wildman loses commercial litigation partner to GlaxoSmithKline

Partner exits mount: Edwards Wildman loses commercial litigation partner to GlaxoSmithKline

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is the latest to dip into the dwindling partnership at Edwards Wildman Palmer’s London office as it has emerged that commercial litigation partner, Antonio Suarez-Martinez, is leaving the firm for the corporate’s legal team.

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After major acquisitions, Cofely set to create first legal panel

Cofely, a subsidiary of French energy giant GDF Suez, is to establish its first legal panel in a bid to reduce legal fees and the number of firms it deals with.

In what will be a mass reorganisation of the company’s legal services expenditure, which currently involves business managers in selecting law firms, general counsel Simone Tudor is hoping to reduce the company’s go-to law firms down to just three after a review found that Cofely had instructed 25 law firms so far this year.

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Guest post: Partners Behaving Badly – how not to handle client relations

Guest post: Partners Behaving Badly – how not to handle client relations

The other day we were in a meeting with the head of strategy and marketing and the chair of an AmLaw 100 firm, and the chair mentioned an extremely promising introductory meeting he’d had a few days earlier with the General Counsel of a well-recognised company.

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News in brief – October 2014

LORD CHANCELLOR ACTED ‘UNLAWFULLY’ IN LEGAL AID CONSULTATION

Kingsley Napley and 11 KBW last month acted for the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association and the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association in their successful challenge against the Lord Chancellor’s failure to disclose the contents of two reports during the legal aid reforms consultation process. The Treasury Solicitor instructed Blackstone Chambers’ James Eadie QC and Fraser Campbell, and 4 New Square’s Richard O’Brien on the case.

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The Last Word – The client’s view

The Last Word – The client’s view

Interviewed for our annual in-house report, general counsel (GCs) at leading companies give us their views on panels, pricing, regulation and diversity

Law across borders

‘We are going to see a lot more cross-border, multinational transactions that involve an in-depth legal scope well beyond the UK Companies Act. In-house lawyers, especially at the GC level, even if they just manage a local UK business, are going to see a lot more cross-border transactions and complexity. In my experience, law firms in the UK, especially in the South East and London, are much more flexible and open about the discussion on alternative billing than firms in New York.’

Bill Mordan, senior vice president and group GC, Reckitt Benckiser

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News in brief – September 2014

Squire Patton Boggs loses 23-strong team in Middle East

Squire Patton Boggs saw the departure of five partners and 18 supporting lawyers from its Middle East offices after tensions arose as the recently merged firm integrated its regional affiliates. The exits came as legacy Patton Boggs’ Khalid Al-Thebity was appointed managing partner of the Riyadh office.

Clydes settles whistleblower case

Clyde & Co has settled its dispute with former partner Krista Bates van Winkelhof out of court after she alleged she was forced to leave after blowing the whistle on the managing partner of its Tanzanian associate firm and announcing her pregnancy. The case involved a landmark Supreme Court decision which held that members of an LLP could be considered workers. Continue reading “News in brief – September 2014”