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Editor's picks

PROCUREMENT

Sellers beware. How 'big data' will shift the balance from law firms to clients

Law firms had better watch out. Clients now have inside information on law firms with decades of data on price and purchasing power, says Jaap Bosman, author of Death of a Law Firm.

SOVEREIGNITY

How legal is Catalonia's declaration of independence?

Much has been said on Catalonia's declaration of independence from Spain. But is it legal? Alfonso Valero, principal lecturer in law at Nottingham Law School, considers the case.

LEGALTECH

NetApp legal department recognised for legal technology skills

NetApp's legal department has become the first in-house legal department to receive a legal technology certificate.

LAW FIRM MARKETING SUMMIT

GCs disgruntled over communications with law firms

They are also calling for more commercial awareness from their external advisers.

LAW FIRM MANAGEMENT

Profits decrease at half of UK law firms

UK law firms are suffering from increased competition, poor adaption of cutting edge technology and rising fee-earner costs.

ETHICS

Ghana judge criticises 'get-rich quick' lawyers

The top judge said that an increasing number of lawyers were putting money over ethics.

BIG FOUR

PwC launches flexible lawyering arm

The accountancy giant is set to compete with law firms for companies in need of flexible resourcing solutions with its latest New Law offering.

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Tuesday, 08 May 2012

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  • ASIA EXPANSION

    July likely for law firm openings in South Korea

    Leading western law firms waiting for licences to practise in Seoul could get the green light to open offices in July this year, according to a statement from South Korea's justice ministry.

    The Bloomberg news agency reports that London magic circle firm Clifford Chance, Boston-based Ropes & Gray and California firm Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton all received notice of the preliminary approval. South Korea's Ministry of Justice said in a statement yesterday that it may grant final approval to applications to operate in the country as foreign legal consultants by the end of this month.

    Clifford Chance announced its intention to enter the Korean market before the EU-South Korea free-trade agreement took effect last July, with several US firms also signalling interest when a similar agreement was struck between Seoul and Washington in November.

    New York-based law firm Cleary Gottlieb and Chicago's McDermott Will & Emery have since also announced plans to launch outposts in the jurisdiction.

    Bloomberg coverage >>

  • GLOBAL LAW FIRMS

    Morgan Lewis, DLA Piper and Akin Gump latest to boost partnerships

    Philadelphia-based law firm Morgan Lewis has boosted its ranks with 10 partners, Anglo-US practice DLA Piper has strengthened its Italian team with five partners, and Akin Gump has brought in three energy specialists in the latest round of partnership prizes handed out by global law firms.

    Morgan Lewis' partners will beef up the firm's business and finance practice in London, Moscow and Kazakhstan. The London office gains financial heavyweights Bruce Johnson, Amanda Jennings and mergers and acquisitions expert Amy Comer. A six-partner team in Moscow will be led by dealmaker Brian Zimbler, while in Almaty, transactions specialist Aset Shyngyssov gets his keys to the partnership lavatories.

    DLA has poached five partners as well as 15 legal professionals from Studio Legale Grimaldi e Associati. Francesco Novelli will lead a team including Giovanni Ragnoni Bosco Lucarelli and Francesco Satta, joining as partners in Rome, and Ugo Calò and Federico Zucconi Galli Fonseca in Milan. The team of 15 other legal professionals will also be based in the Milan and Rome offices.

    The team has cross-disciplinary expertise and a specific focus on the energy, infrastructure and project finance sectors.

    Washington-based Akin Gump has boosted its global transactions department with three partners moving over from limping law firm Dewey LeBoeuf. John LaMaster and Marc Hammerson join the firm in London, while Steven Otillar joins the Houston office. All three partners focus on cross-border energy transactions.

  • COMPENSATION

    Lawyers point British BP investors to Texas law

    A specialist New York law firm is urging British pension schemes with investments in BP during the Deepwater Horizon disaster to take advantage of Texas law and file claims for compensation.

    According to London newspaper The Guardian, Pomerantz Haudek Grossman & Gross - a corporate, securities and class action litigation practice- is sending lawyers to London to explain to investors that they should file claims in Texas to recover 'billions of dollars' in compensation.

    Pomerantz partner Marc Goss said: 'Since BP's [alleged] misconduct and defrauding of investors occurred principally in Texas, non-US residents can seek recovery under Texas statutory and common law.'

    Despite a recent US Supreme Court decision blocking investors from seeking compensation in federal courts (Morrison v National Australia bank), Pomerantz is advising pension schemes that bought BP ordinary shares on the London Stock Exchange between 16 January 2007 and 28 May 2010 to contact the firm's lawyers.

    The Guardian coverage >>

  • THIRD-PARTY FUNDING

    Four-fold cash boost for litigation funder

    Litigation funding organisation Vannin Capital is to increase its immediately available facility to the market from £25 million to £100m, making it arguably the largest private funder of litigation in the UK.

    Isle of Man-based Vannin, which has made great strides in the litigation market since bursting onto the scene in June last year - backed by top private equity firm Bramden Investments - was initially allocated four years of funding at £25m annually.

    But according to the group, owing bumper business has encouraged the funder to increase that figure to £100m, with that amount set for further review within 12 months.

    The increase is also partly attributed to US expansion plans, with a number a high-profile cases already in the works.

    Vannin consultant Nick Rowles-Davies commented: 'Our initial remit and capacity targets have expanded many fold since inception, with our original UK focus now being completely global.'

  • INSURANCE

    Washington offloads $5.8bn of AIG stock

    The US Treasury Department will sell $5.8 billion worth of shares in insurance company American International Group, in a deal that sees New York-based law firm Cleary Gottlieb advise the sale underwriters.

    It is Washington's third offering of AIG shares since last May, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, with the bailed-out insurer is buying approximately $2bn of the total shares involved in the transaction.

    Some 188.5 million shares are involved in the sale, which reduces the American government's stake in the company from 70 to 61 per cent.
    AIG chief executive Robert Benmosche has sold assets to raise the funds to buy back shares from the US, with dividends from insurance subsidiaries, proceeds from divesting a plane-leasing unit, a stake in Hong Kong-based AIA Group and other holdings allowing AIG to generate as much as $30 billion that could be returned to shareholders by the end of 2015.

    'The company has been able to monetise sales of non-core assets and we expect this to continue for the longer term,' JPMorgan Chase & Co analysts led by Arun Kumar said in a note to clients last week before the sale was announced.

    Cleary Gottlieb partners Craig Brod and Jeffrey Karpf led the firm's deal team.

    San Francisco Chronicle coverage >>

 

Also read...

How legal is Catalonia's declaration of independence?

Much has been said on Catalonia's declaration of independence from Spain. But is it legal? Alfonso Valero, principal lecturer in law at Nottingham Law School, considers the case.